European Union discusses Development Cooperation with Tajikistan (22/04/2016)

Dushanbe, 22 April 2016 - Within the framework of the EU – Tajikistan cooperation, joint mission led by the EU Special Representative for Central Asia Ambassador Peter Burian and Mr. Jobst von Kirchmann, Head of the Development Coordination Unit for Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and Pacific of the European Commission visited Tajikistan from 20 – 22 April 2016 and held a series of high level meetings with the Tajikistan authorities.

"We had open and franc discussions with the government of Tajikistan," said Mr. von Kirchmann and added that "the challenges the country faces today are also an opportunity for reform. The EU will support the government in this endeavour". 

The visit took place in the context of recent series of meetings between the EU and Tajikistan aimed at focusing on priorities of the future cooperation given the economic and social challenges Tajikistan is facing and the interest of the EU to build upon its current development assistance.

Meeting with the Prime Minister H.E. Qohir Rasulzoda together with the partner line Ministers provided an opportunity to take stock of the long standing cooperation between the EU and Tajikistan, and to discuss the way forward. Prime Minister expressed Tajikistan`s appreciation for the current activities and support of the EU within the assistance agreement for the period 2014-2020 with €251 million being committed, whilst expressing interest for further support in the implementations of Government`s measurers aimed at responding to the current challenges and opening of a new stage of development of Tajikistan`s economy. It has been emphasized that the current EU Multiannual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 meets the priorities of Tajikistan for exactly the same period, whilst the EU's Rural Development axis largely corresponds to the economic plans, just as the Education and Health are crucial parts of the Human Capital development strategy.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to elaborate on ways to foster an even closer alignment at the level of implementation of the strategies and goals prepared and planned by the Government, and two sides agreed to set up the joint sub-committee for development cooperation as an additional platform to support the efforts of Tajikistan's authorities to focus on the new stage of economic and social development of the country. In this context the EU side underlined the importance of continuing reforms and enhancement of the rule of law, human rights and social cohesion.  

Two sides welcomed the recent signature of the EU Financing Agreement on Annual Action Programme 2015 which covered "Quality Education Support Programme I" for Tajikistan for the amount of 15 mln EUR. This is part of the 75 mln EUR of the overall EU portfolio for the Education sector in Tajikistan for the 2014-2020 Budget period.

The meeting with the Minister of Economic Development & Trade focused on the review of macroeconomic situation of Tajikistan, the implications for the economic situation of the population – especially the most vulnerable groups – and the ways of EU support through the three main sectors of assistance. A point was made on the post-WTO accession support to Tajikistan.

At the meeting with the Deputy Minister of Finance the macro-financial situation of the country has been reviewed, as well as the budgeting process including possible adjustments to the 2016 budget. A point was made on the substantial support of the EU to public finance reforms in Tajikistan and on the ongoing budget support operation in the health, education and social protection sectors.

The meeting with the First Deputy of Minister of Foreign Affairs was focused on political and security cooperation, and on the forthcoming High Level Security Dialogue, Human Rights Dialogue and other high-level meetings on bilateral and regional level.  

EU delegation also had a meeting with the representatives of the EU Member States accredited to Tajikistan and with the Development Cooperation Council, focused in particular to the enhancement of the Member States activities in development of Tajikistan using the Joint Programming platform, whilst the meeting with the Aga Khan Development Agency was focused on elaborating future joint activities in the border region between Afghanistan and Tajikistan. 

The EU Delegation also met with the representatives of various NGOs, civil society and media organizations and groups, as part of continuous EU interest in the state of democracy, human rights, individual freedoms and media situation in Tajikistan, in particular as the development in this important area of political and social life in Tajikistan are facing challenges.

EU delegation, together with a group of Tajikistan journalists went to Nurek city where Mr. von Kirchmann together with Mrs. Umarzoda, the First Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan opened a Social Centre for children with special needs. This is part of the Programme "Support to Development of Social Services in Tajikistan" for the budget of over 500,000 EUR. Mr. von Kirchmann pointed out that "children don't choose to have special needs. They need even more care and integration in their families".

EUSR Peter Burian gave a lecture at the Tajiki National University and had an interactive  meeting with the students  who used the opportunity to get acquainted with the current international relations, European challenges, EU relations with Central Asia and Tajikistan, education opportunities offered by the EU and many other relevant issues.  

The European Union, composed of 28 Member States, is the world’s biggest aid donor. Tajikistan is getting the main share of EU's bilateral assistance to Central Asia: with around €300 million for 2014-2020. During this period the EU will focus its development cooperation with Tajikistan on the sectors of education, health and rural development. Tajikistan also receives regional and thematic assistance in areas like border management and drug control (BOMCA/CADAP), education (CAREN & Erasmus+), democracy and human rights (EIDHR), non-State actors (NSA), energy (IFCA & INOGATE), transport (TRACECA), SME development (IFCA & CA-Invest), peace and stability (IcSP) and water/environment and nuclear safety (IFCA, EURECA & INSC). The EU has been active in Tajikistan since 1992 and provides approximately EUR 35 million annually in development assistance.

CONTACTS: EU Delegation to Tajikistan
Address details: 74 Adhamova Street, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 734013
Tel: ( +992 37) 221 74 07 - Fax: (+992 37) 221 43 21
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