On Wednesday February 8, the high-level launch event of the new multi-stakeholder cooperation for the Zarafshon Valley was held in Dushanbe with participation of Tajik government officials and development partners.

The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Representative Office, Dushanbe says to improve the quality of life of people of the Zarafshon Valley, the Government of Tajikistan, the European Union (EU) and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) by the agency of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) launched a new five-year program under the banner of the “Integrated Natural Resources Management in Zarafshon Valley for Equitable and Sustainable Development (INVEST)” Project.

The aim of the partnership is to strengthen sustainable management and protect natural resources to improve the standard of living, food security and nutrition of more than 200,000 people in the Zarafshon Valley.

As Mr. Anvar Yoqubi, Deputy Chairman of the Sughd province noted: "The implementation of this project, covering more than 16.6 million euros, is a significant incentive for us to develop rural areas, in particular improving the living conditions of the population and the economic and social progress of the Zarafshon Valley".

"This cooperation is aimed at implementing the reforms carried out by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan in the agricultural and water sectors - these are exactly the initiatives within which the program for the development of rural regions was prepared," said Ms. Zulfiya Davlatbekova, representative of the European Union.

Mr. Qozidavlat Qoimdodov, Permanent Representative of AKDN, emphasized the value of the project: “This project can provide practical assistance to three mountain regions in solving issues of water scarcity and sanitation, responsible land use and construction of new intensive gardens that mountain residents need.”

Other speakers, including the heads of the Zarafshon Valley districts and development partners, noted the importance of the project, aimed at improving the living standards of the population of the region.

The project will be implemented by a consortium of partners from the agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), the Aga Khan Health Service in Tajikistan (AKHS), the Mountain Societies Development Support Program (MSDSP) and the Non-Profit Cooperative Sarob.