77 portable dash cameras have reportedly been handed over to the border guard administration of Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region.

The portable dash cams have been handed over to Kyrgyz border service for foot border patrols in the framework of UNDP Project, Cross-border Cooperation for Sustainable Peace and Development, Sarvar Turdiboyev, specialist with Cross-border Cooperation for Sustainable Peace and Development project, UNDP Kyrgyzstan told Asia-Plus in an interview.

According to him, the dash cams will be used for recording possible cross-border incidents in communities of Tajikistan’s Sughd province and Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region.

Meanwhile, the II phase of the 18-month Cross-border Cooperation for Sustainable Peace and Development Project was launched on May 25 by the United Nations and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan with participation of state partners from the national and local levels, UN agencies, Swiss Cooperation Office in Tajikistan.

According to UNDP Tajikistan, the Project is funded by the United Nations Peace-building Fund (PBF), Swiss Cooperation Office and is implemented by five UN Agencies (UNDP, WFP, UNICEF, UN-Women and FAO) in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan and other national, local counterparts.

The Project aims to mitigate the risk of cross-border conflicts in communities of Sughd province of Tajikistan and Batken region of Kyrgyzstan by building linkages and trust between border communities and facilitating communication between border service and other law enforcement agencies, authorities and citizens.

The Project will build on results of the phase I implemented during the period of 2016 – December 2018 and will support trust-building between communities through implementation of infrastructure projects around water and other social infrastructure, building capacities of water management and pasture, organizing joint events for youth and women from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as supporting economic linkages between communities on both sides of the border.

The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Zohir Saidzoda, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, and Ms. Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator /UNDP Resident Representative in the Republic of Tajikistan.

In his opening remarks Saidzoda underscored that during the first phase project implemented 31 infrastructure projects, enhanced peace-building skills of 1601 young people in the country; supported 7 women initiatives.  Moreover, 80 events (meetings, trainings, consultations etc.) carried out by security providers, local authorities and communities in Tajikistan, which resulted improved understanding of border crossing for 2630 people.

Ms. Pratibha Mehta mentioned that investing in prevention of crisis by addressing the root causes of the problem is the best way to ensure sustainable peace and, prevention is one of the most important priorities of the UN agenda today in the world.

All participants underlined the importance and relevance of the project, reviewed all project components, work plan, provided their recommendations to ensure achieving the sustainable results and at the end approved the Work Plan for all period of project implementation.

Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have been unable to agree on the location of the border they inherited when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.  As the population in the dense Ferghana Valley grows, it has become increasingly difficult to demarcate the contested sections, where valuable agricultural land often lies.

The area at the focus of unrest among residents of border areas of the two countries lies on the jagged frontier where the east of Tajikistan’s Sughd province and Kyrgyzstan’s Batken region meet.

Skirmishes have sparked between residents of Isfara (Tajikistan) and Batken (Kyrgyzstan) districts along the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border.

The latest serious skirmishes sparked by a territorial dispute between residents along the Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan border escalated on August 4, 2015, leaving several people injured and damaging multiple homes.