National Conference on Poverty in Tajikistan
DUSHANBE, 3 May - Tajikistan continues to make significant progress in achieving its goals of economic development with significant economic growth rates observed in recent years. A number of structural reforms necessary for the efficient functioning of a market economy have been implemented. Levels of poverty in Tajikistan declined considerably from 81 per cent in 1999 to 64 per cent in 2003, according to the World Bank Poverty Assessment. Most recent analysis suggests that these positive trends are continuing, reflecting the effects of post-conflict reconstruction and stability.
The sustainability of the economic development, however, will be dependent on a new and evolving set of factors. This will include maintaining macroeconomic and fiscal balance, investment in physical infrastructure, job creation, and productive utilization of remittances inflows, as well as the building up of institutions to support market reform, and government’s fiduciary accountability and transparency. It will also crucially depend on the approach adapted to human capital formation, the capacity to absorb and apply new knowledge and to pass it on to the next generation, policies towards migration, and equity.
The National Development Strategy till 2015, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy 2007-2009, which are endorsed by the Government to support such a process, provides the overall framework of economic and social policy direction. Major goals have also been set out for the achievement of the MDGs. These two strategic documents provide exceptional development opportunity for universal approach of investment into the development of the human resource capacity especially among children and youth. Thus linking the tasks of developing of more transparent budget expenditures as well as providing next generations with appropriate equipment and knowledge will give them an opportunity to contribute to the national progress and stability of economic growth.
Investing in the next generation and children in particular will be central to that strategy of human capital development, as children under age 18 accounts for a half of the total population in Tajikistan. Tajikistan’s stock of human capital remains relatively high with high levels of adult literacy and high gross enrolment in primary schooling, and a legacy of near universal access to health services.
There is however worrying evidence that children and the most vulnerable population are not fully benefiting from the economic recovery and there are signs that past investments in the social sectors are eroding:
Poverty among children is significantly higher than is the adult population, with 66% of children compared with 61% of adults. Strong regional disparities have emerged with the risk of child poverty being highest in GBAO and Khatlon.
There are disturbing trends in secondary school enrolment rates, and signs that quality of education and its relevance are declining. Girls remain less likely than boys to enroll in secondary education. The mix of skills being produced by the education system is still not well matched to the needs of a modern market economy.
Child mortality remains very high with significant variations across the country. Nutritional status of children is a major cause for concern with levels of stunting in children under 5 years that are amongst the highest in the region. Acute child malnutrition increased during the period of economic growth between 2003 and 2005.
This Conference is a contribution to the realisation of its long- and mid-term development strategies; National Development Strategy (NDS) for 2006-2015 and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for 2007-2009. It also aims to be of direct value in helping to identify policy options and investments needed to address poverty reduction, especially from non-income/social aspects of poverty, since economic growth does not necessarily bring about poverty reduction.
The Conference will take stock of the latest data to address different dimensions of poverty by presenting a series of research papers, which is followed by technical discussions. It will focus on overall poverty analysis, sector poverty analysis (education and health), monitoring and evaluation (M & E) of the PRS. Attaining objectives in the PRSP requires continuous monitoring of poverty and performances of different sectors ranging from economic growth, social cluster, to financing of the PRS 2007-2009. The importance of M & E is clearly stated in the National Development Strategy till 2015 and PRSP 2007-2009
The Conference prepared by Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Tajikistan with support from UNICEF and the World Bank in close collaboration with the Government of Tajikistan and in partnership with UN and other international partners and donors.
The WB and UNICEF engaged 8 local researchers from among governmental partners and non-governmental organizations to work on research papers for the Conference. The WB Poverty Analysis based on TLSS 20003 and a synthesis of data on children living in poverty on available Household Survey data and MICS 2005 form the basis of the evidence based policy analysis. A series of background papers by local experts has been commissioned to review aspects of policy.
In addition, other international organizations are also invited to contribute respective analysis based on their research and/or actions related to poverty reduction and impacts on poverty.
Rrepresentatives from key Ministries (Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, GoscomStat, SRC, National Commission on Child Rights, etc.), parliamentarians, representatives from international organizations, national and international research and scientific institutions took part in the event.
The Opening session will gave an overview on poverty issues by the organizers (Ministry of Economy, WB, and UNICEF). Technical sessions gave the participants sector poverty analysis. Each technical session started with a serious of presentations and followed by the open discussion with the floor. The sessions were co-chaired by a Government Official and a Representative of an International Organisation, who are familiar with respective sector and issues. The Concluding Panel Discussion was opened by summary of the Conference, and then followed by the panel discussion.
By the end of the conference the participants developed a concise complex of recommendations on directions and scale of investments for policy making bodies, donors, UN agencies and partnership institutions, which are necessary to undertake for reduction of the scale of poverty among all groups of population, especially children, who are the future of Tajikistan
All interested mass media representatives were invited to participate to the process of the Conference.
For additional information please contact:
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of RT: 227-13-29
UNICEF Dushanbe: 701 14 89
World Bank: 2210756
Children's Voices: A Qualitative Study of Poverty in Tajikistan