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The Costs of Environmental Degradation in the Mountains of the Republic of Tajikistan


90% of Tajikistan is upland and mountainous, two thirds of the population are rural, and agriculture accounts for 65% of employment, however it suffers from low productivity, thereby affecting local livelihoods. Land degradation, caused by both natural and anthropogenic factors, is increasingly affecting the economy and quality of life in Tajikistan. The resulting loss of arable land is particularly affecting the rural poor, who depend directly on what the land can provide for their survival and livelihood. This is one of the countries most affected by Climate Change (Glacier melting, droughts, flooding, landslides, etc.), that acts as a multiplier in the vicious-cycle of land degradation, decrease in agriculture productivity, water pollution and sedimentation, increased disasters, destruction of infrastructure and loss of lives.  Although over 70 per cent of the population lives in rural areas and in 2018 45.5 per cent of the total employment was in the agricultural sector, agriculture accounts for only 23 per cent of the GDP growth in 2017 and 11 per cent in the first nine months of 2018. Tajikistan saw an estimated loss in GDP of around 8 per cent in 2010 as a direct result of land degradation with the cost of inaction being 6 times higher than the cost of action (Source: Economics of Land Degradation Central Asia Region Report). Despite the significant importance of the topic for Tajikistan’s current and future economic growth, the negative effects from environmental degradation are missing from the country’s economic analysis and are not taken into account in the medium-term macro projections.



The objective of this activity is to enhance the understanding of the economic costs of environmental degradation for improved management and planning at national and subnational levels in the Republic of Tajikistan. This analysis is part of the of the first phase of the Central Asia Resilient Landscapes Program (RESILAND), which is the second pillar of the overarching Central Asia Climate and Environment Program (CLIENT) (P170870). The objective of the CLIENT programmatic technical assistance is to help strengthen the capacity of Central Asian countries to help achieve sustainable and resilient economic growth.


Task 1. National and regional policy dialogue: Initiated a policy dialogue with the government of Tajikistan to identify the root causes of erosion as an entry point for integrated forest landscapes restoration. The dialogue would assist in defining priority areas of intervention at the national and regional levels with emphases on erosion, restoration, reforestation (plantations and agroforestry), livelihoods, and ecotourism, depending on circumstances. The ASA helps Tajikistan become part of the movement to launch a new multipartner/multidonor initiative (ECCA30 Initiative: 30 million hectares of restored land by 2030), involving European and Central Asian governments, donors, private sector, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in support of the possible UN Landscape Restoration Decade (2020-2030) under discussion.

Key output 1: Two workshops organized for the primary audience of the project: (i) the first workshop explained the parameters of the COED; and (ii) the second workshop trained the key stakeholders to perform similar analysis and presented the results, findings and recommendations from the analysis.

Task 2. Data and knowledge for resilient landscapes management practices: The study undertook a key economic analysis (assessment of the cost of landscape degradation) that provided decision makers with a new set of tools to mainstream climate resilience and land degradation into national priorities and the developmental agendas. These tools helped the team and client engage with “key ministries,” such as finance, economy, and planning, to mobilize the necessary resources for the implementation of future integrated local landscape restoration and development plans.

Key output 2: COED for the economy of Tajikistan completed and confirmed that the country suffers from several types of land degradation-induced problems. The report considered losses in several domains: (i) agricultural croplands; (ii) forests; (iii) pastures; and (iv) infrastructure consisting of roads, buildings, facilities; v) destruction of assets, properties and infrastructure caused by natural disasters. To address these concerns, the study focused on enhancing the understanding of the current economic costs of environmental degradation for improved management and planning at national and subnational levels in the Republic of Tajikistan.

Task 3. Communications: The communication strategy to present the results from the COED analysis is based on a broad involvement of experts in discussion of the methodology and results. The corresponding brochures to primary and secondary audiences of the ASA were designed and disseminated.

Key output 3: Communication plan prepared, and brochures disseminated.

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Last Updated : 06-11-2020