DUSHANBE, March 26, 2009, Asia-Plus  -- On March 18 2009 the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) signed an agreement to implement the Remote Geo-Hazards Capacity Building and Monitoring Project.

According to the British Embassy in Dushanbe The project is worth US $ 1.47 million and will be implemented by FOCUS in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan. DFID and SDC provide US$ 623,000 and US$ 560,000 respectively. The project is also supported by the Aga Khan Development Network and FOCUS.

The project seeks to reduce the risk of communities to glacial lake outburst floods in Tajikistan as well as build the capacity of communities and institutions in Tajikistan to assess and monitor these risks. It specifically addresses the need to strengthen the capacity of government institutions, namely the Tajik Hydrometeorology Agency, Head Agency of Geology and the Committee of Emergency Situations and Civil Defense under the Government of Tajikistan to monitor remote geo-hazards in mountainous regions of the country.

The initiative includes conducting glacial lake risk assessments in the Zarafshon Valley, the Jirgatol District and the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (Gorno Badakhshan or GBAO) of Tajikistan. Implementation of community-based risk reduction activities in the assessment areas and institutional capacity building activities in Dushanbe are also part of the project.  The total number of beneficiaries will be close to 200,000.

The Department for International Development (DFID) is the part of the United Kingdom Government that manages Britain’s aid to poor countries and works to get rid of extreme poverty.  DFID supports long-term programs to help tackle the underlying causes of poverty in over 150 countries world-wide. DFID also responds to humanitarian crises around the world, providing funding to relief operations, search and rescue expertise and emergency supplies to help save lives when disasters strike.  DFID has been in Tajikistan since 2003 and has provided over $ 18 million of support during that time.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has been present in Tajikistan since 1998. Swiss cooperation supports the efforts of all its diverse partners to create sustainable development: the government, the civil society organizations and the equally important private sector. Swiss technical cooperation focuses on health care services, on support to improved water management and on better institutions. Financial cooperation engages in basic infrastructure in the fields of water and energy supply, private sector development and public finances management. And long term oriented humanitarian aid addresses the utterly crucial management of disaster risks and their mitigation.

Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) is an international disaster management and emergency response agency providing relief and support services during and following natural and man-made disasters, primarily in the developing world. It is established in Europe, North America, Central and South Asia and helps people in need reduce their dependence on humanitarian aid and facilitates their transition to sustainable, self-reliant, long-term development. Since 1997, FOCUS in Tajikistan has responded to over 40 natural disasters and deployed over USD 600,000 for relief to affected communities.  FOCUS is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve opportunities and living conditions for people of all faiths and origins in specific regions of the developing world.