The EU assistance to Tajikistan is aligned with the government`s own priorities, as defined in its National Development Strategy and the Poverty Reduction Strategy 2010-2013. As the poorest country in the region, Tajikistan benefits from the highest level of development assistance in the region.
From 1996 to 2006, €39.5 million was committed to the food security programme in Tajikistan. The main part of this assistance was in the form of budget support for a reform programme in agriculture and social protection.
Between 2002 and 2006, €58.55 million were allocated through the TACIS [498 KB] programme. The main areas covered were Civil Service reform, education, social programmes in the Ferghana Valley, improving living standards in the Khatlon and Sughd regions, and an institutional reform support programme.
From 2007- 2010 the portfolio for EU development activities in Tajikistan focuses on the following sectors: health, social protection, with continued actions aimed at improving the Public Finance Management/Public Administration embedded into these sectors and Private Sector Development with a focus on agriculture.
In the period 2011-13, an amount of €128 million is allocated for the bilateral programmes with the priority areas being:
- Social protection
- Agriculture/Rural development
Since 2004, the EU has been supporting national efforts to develop a more effective and efficient social protection system. Particularly important has been the rehabilitation of infrastructure, provision of essential supplies, and better response to local people in particular difficulty.
Since 2008, the Social Protection Sector Policy Support Programme has been providing assistance to support reforms of social assistance (targeted social benefits), development of social services for disabled and elderly people and labour market policies. In 2008 – 2009 eight new centres providing social services for vulnerable groups of the population were opened. Since 2010 these centres are fully financed by the government. Since 2011 6500 families in two pilot districts of Javon and Eastravshan receive targeted social benefits of 400 TJS (tajik somoni).
The EU has been supporting health since 2007, mainly by providing support to building the key blocks in moving towards a Sector Wide Approach, with a focus on support to drafting of the National Health Strategy 2010-2020, improvement of budget process and mid-term expenditure framework (MTEF), performance monitoring through a more effective and reliable Health Management Information System and improved evidence based policy making.
Since 2008, as a result of re-activated and deepened policy dialogue of the EU and other development partners, the health sector has benefited from an increase in the share of allocations in the public budget.
Starting 2011, the EU is supporting a comprehensive package for both health and social protection with the Human Development Support Programme funded by € 26 million in the form of budget support, along with a capacity development assistance component for ongoing reforms in these sectors, and support to civil society organizations to ensure consistency and coherence between different aid modalities targeted in these sectors.
Establishment of a well-founded and transparent, accountable public resource management system, based on international best practices for budget preparation, monitoring and execution, would allow Tajikistan to better direct and prioritize the allocation of resources to programmes that are most important to economic and social development. With the EU Technical Assistance all required MTEF guidelines and instructions were worked out and a new public finance law was developed and became effective in June 2011 which incorporates MTEF. Progress has been made also in macro-economic forecasting, with EU technical assistance support, through establishment and training of a joint Government forecasting group comprising the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism (MoEDT), Ministry of Finance (MoF), National Bank of Tajikistan, and Statistical Agency.
Through the combined efforts of the Government of Tajikistan (GoT) working in cooperation with donors and international financial institutions within the framework of the Public Finance Management Reform Strategy, substantive advances have been made in the areas of budget policies and procedures aimed at more efficient organisation, control an utilization of public funds.
In the past, EU support to agriculture focused on legal reform to allow for improved economic development. In 2007, the European Union re-activated a policy dialogue for agriculture and has been involved in developing an agricultural strategy and implementation plan. Land reform and associated laws and regulations are being addressed.
Since 2008, the Commission has striven to promote agriculture related private sector development through the € 7 million Support to Private Sector Development project. Since the beginning of the project, the Tajik Agricultural Finance Framework Phase II (TAFF II) component (implemented by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) has been improving access to finance for Dehkan farmers to purchase supplies, and has been advising them on efficiency measures. The establishment of businesses has now been simplified and takes less time, largely as a result of the successful One Stop Shop for Business Registration project. The country improved its position in the "Doing Business" 2011 ranking to 139, from 149 in 2010 (out of 183 countries worldwide). In 2012/2013, the project Support to the Establishment of a Single Window for Export, Import and Transit Procedures (allocated € 2 million) will allow a simplification of foreign trade operations for businesses. The future Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agri-business program for which EUR 16 million have been committed, will support specific value chains in agriculture and agro-processing through Technical assistance and Grants scheme, thus ensuring the further diversification of both sectors.
Details of other funded projects and programmes, including regional and thematic, can be found on website of the Delegation of the European Union to Tajikistan.