UNDP Country Director in Tajikistan, Mr. Norimasa Shimomura summarized the Program’s 20-years activity in our country and shared his plans for the near future as well.

This year UNDP celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its activities in Tajikistan. Throughout these years, we have helped people and found constructive solutions referred to sustainable development, improvement of living conditions and the most pressing needs. This support was intended for strengthening the capacity of national government and local authorities, so that the Administration to the best advantage could communicate, understand and meet the people’s needs in whose service it is. We have been working with women, youth, the elderly citizens, disabilities, with the private sector and civil society representatives, as well as with the governmental officials supporting their participation in the process of planning and construction of the country''s future. Thanks to these efforts, many children have gotten an access to education; they attend schools that are supplied with water and heat. We assisted in creating a market for microfinance in the country, so that tens of thousands of citizens have received funds to open their own enterprises that are now thriving in Ayni, Khujand, Kurgan-Tube, Kulyab, Shaartuz, Garm, Dushanbe and elsewhere.

In what direction we go from here? Tajikistan got over a long path since gained independence and post-conflict humanitarian recovery going to the stage where people are looking forward to perspective, sustainable development. In the past, the international community proposed to Tajikistan likely "fish" rather than "bait." Now the organized system of responsible management at all levels was established, and our partners themselves can solve development issues. In recent years, due to the international financial crisis in the world there is a decrease in aid aimed at developing, and now we are watching the process of rethinking the international assistance. In this regard, we see the strengthening of the countries’ profile of non-members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as partners in international cooperation aimed at the development. In other words, Tajikistan has achieved some success; the international situation has changed, and UNDP is ready to convert the direction of its activities. 

Every year around the world, UNDP provides finances, which is equal to $5 billion. Assistance to Tajikistan is estimated at more than $30 million thanks to our donors and collaborators that trust our mission and we are sure that it is focused on outcomes. Such success is contributed by efforts of the people and the Government of Tajikistan that wished to choose UNDP as its partner. To preserve its relevance globally UNDP has recently adopted a new Strategic Plan, in which the poor and vulnerable citizens including women are in the spotlight. In the framework of new Strategic Plan we intend to support by reducing the poverty and creating conditions for the economic growth, thus many generations can continue benefiting from our activities even after completion of the projects. Therefore, citizens can learn, have an access to healthcare, clean water, electricity and employment, as well as live in a safe environment! We will facilitate in strengthening the capacity of governmental agencies so that they can support their people to the best advantage. As part of this support, governmental agencies will learn to hear the voice of the people and meet the needs of the poor, women, those who live in rural areas, the disabled ones, those who are in need of legal assistance. We will help agencies and communities to be ready to crises; strengthen their skills for the early release from these situations to minimize the damage and prevent destroying the program’s valuable results aimed at the development. UNDP in Tajikistan carefully analyzes its activities in the country to understand how best to address the changing needs of the people and how to direct its efforts under the Strategic Plan. 

I am writing this essay during my flight from Bishkek to Istanbul. The representatives of UNDP headquarters and regional experts in Turkey will discuss the possibilities of more effective support to countries by the UNDP offices – considering reorganizations in all UNDP offices; in particular, we are talking about reducing the number of employees in the organization''s headquarters by 10 percent. Recently, we have discussed the successful implementation of initiatives to promote small businesses that was supported by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) together with senior officials from Tajikistan and Afghanistan in Bishkek; we intend to expand this initiative in Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The participants were pleased to note that the United Nations Development Programme could mobilize so many partners and organizations from different countries creating the conditions for the knowledge exchange in areas that bring tangible benefits and value to our peoples. In fact, we take many efforts in this direction establishing contacts between countries, which are performing our programs so that they can learn from each other; we also help them to cooperate with the industrialized advanced countries and learn from their best practices. The principle of neutrality of the United Nations and the widespread presence of the UN Development Program has enabled us to successfully develop this activity in many countries. Special demand of such support is stipulated by that fact that we have an access to the experience and intellectual resources of the United Nations organizations. Positive changes in the UNDP are obvious. However, there are areas where nothing should be changed: partnership and accumulated knowledge will always remain as core values of UNDP – these are effective tools to assist improving the quality of people’s life in the service of which we are. In our endeavors, we are guided by the principles of professional integrity and transparency. 

Being at the turn of the 20-years activity in Tajikistan UNDP continues to be creative and innovative organization. We are proud of our successes, and at the same time, we are immensely grateful for the opportunities provided for us – the opportunity to work in Tajikistan with the Tajik citizens to build a bright future.