Migration, remittances and climate resilience in Tajikistan

Publication date: 17 May 2018
Migration, remittances and climate resilience in Tajikistan

DUSHANBE. On May 10-11 CAREC in cooperation International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the World Bank held a Subregional Workshop "Research for climate change policies: Migration, remittances and climate resilience in Tajikistan"[1]. The seminar was organized within the framework of the project "Ways to sustainability to a semi-arid economy PRISE" with the financial support of the Department of the Government of Great Britain (DfID) and the International Development Research Center (IDRC), in conjunction with the Program for Adaptation to Climate Change and Mitigation in the Aral Sea Basin (CAMP4ASB) with the support of the World Bank.

Key objective of the Subregional Workshop is to introduce results of the research project on migration, remittances, and climate resilience in arid and semi-arid regions of Tajikistan to a wider range of national and regional stakeholders, as well as exchange of experiences on the study of gender dimension in context of climate change in Central Asian countries.

Representatives from governmental and non-governmental agencies, the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, international (SDPI, IED Afrique) and regional organizations, as well as representatives from civil society, took part in the workshop.

Starting from 2012 Tajikistan is one of the developing countries with the highest rates of remittances of labour migrants in the country's GDP. According to estimates, only in 2013, the inflow of remittances from labour migrants was about 4.2 billion US dollars or almost 46% of GDP (in equivalent), which contributed to the growth of domestic current consumption and investment ("Trading Economics", 2016).

At the same time, the country is characterized by low ability to adapt to the effects of climate change and high vulnerability to disaster risks. According to the World Bank estimates, Tajikistan is the most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change in the Central Asian and European regions.

To determine how migrant remittances can be more effectively used and reinvested to increase climate resilience in semi-arid regions of Tajikistan, CAREC in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Employment of the Republic of Tajikistan, conducted a study of 500 households in 13 pilot areas of the country. The study was conducted within the framework of the project "Migration, remittances, and climate resilience in arid and semi-arid regions of Senegal and Tajikistan" which is part of PRISE research projects.

"I received a huge scientific and practical knowledge for use in my future research from presentations. And also, thanks to meeting participants from Senegal, Pakistan and the countries of Central Asia," said one of the seminar participants, Dr Kurbonali Partoyev, Director of the NGO "Cooperation for Development".

At the workshop, CAREC presented key results of PRISE project on migration, remittances and climate resilience in Tajikistan. Based on the research results, CAREC recommends the development of programs that would stimulate small businesses work in Tajikistan, in particular reinvestment of remittances in development of agriculture, taking into account adaptation measures to climate change, supporting the most vulnerable population in constructing of infrastructure for protection from natural, raising public awareness on adaptation measures to climate change, including effective budget management, as well as encouraging migrants to invest in education equally for girls and boys.

Also, during the workshop, the representative from IED Afrique, Dr Cheikh Tidiane Wade, shared his research experience in PRISE project and presented the research results achieved on migration and climate resilience in Senegal.

During the implementing of PRISE project, CAREC conducted a gender case study in the context of migration processes and the role of women in enhancing the resilience to climate change in Tajikistan, the results of which were also presented in a separate session of the workshop.

At a session on gender studies, representatives from the Association of women of Central Asia and Afghanistan on water resources (Kazakhstan), the Global Water Partnership of the Kyrgyz Republic, and SIC ICWC (Uzbekistan) presented an overview of gender in climate change and shared their research experience on gender. An interesting assumption of a reason for a different activity of women in the countries of Central Asia was proposed by Ms Galina Stulina. In her opinion, the activity of women differs in the region as a result of the historical way of life. For example, the most active social activity is observed among women from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as there were a nomadic lifestyle and women were always in movement, while in other countries of the region women are less active in social life due to the historically sedentary lifestyle. However, when the issue concerns the well-being of the family, according to Ms Galina Stulina, women are always more active than men.

Women's activity in the household budget management was also investigated in PRISE project, where it was revealed that women, leading the family budget, are more likely to invest in the education of children, considering it as for long-term sustainability of family.

This session was held with the support of the World Bank, within the framework of CAMP4ASB project, which also considers the gender dimension in the context of climate change in Central Asia.

The representative of the Agency for Hydrometeorology of the Committee for Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan - Sattor Saidov, made an overview of environmental policy and policy on climate change in the country.

During the second day of the Subregional Workshop, participants visited the Training Center for Professions under the NGO “Munis” in Gissar, which is operating for 20 years. Currently, up to 300 students study here. The Center was established with the support of the Republic of Tajikistan, international organizations and embassies of different countries, which still cooperate with the NGO “Munis”. The centre provides trainings on: languages - Russian and English, mental arithmetic, creativity (dancing and singing), computer courses, and also teach various crafts as cooking, beekeeping, cutting and sewing.

The participants got acquainted with the work of migrants’ wives and children. At the meeting, the migrants’ wives presented the results of their needlework, which is an additional source of income in their families. Participants were able to try the fruits from farms, honey from apiaries and own cooking. Children demonstrated proficiency in languages, creativity in dancing and singing. The participants asked various questions concerning the issues of children's education, duration of migration, additional sources of income.

During the Subregional Workshop, the participants provided some recommendations for future activities:

- Conducting gender-related research in the context of climate change in all countries of Central Asia;

- Organize workshops to present international research experience in the field of migration and climate change, gender case studies in the Central Asian region;

- Assistance in motivating women to increase their activity in climate change issues by presenting stories of success got from women in this field;

- Dissemination of research methodology, research results to a wider range of stakeholders.

The research project results are reflected in recommendations, addressed to decision-makers in the country as well, in particular on the policy for supporting migrants to use adaptation measures to climate change. The results of the gender study have shown the high vulnerability of women, in particular, the wives of labour migrants. The additional responsibility for managing the family budget, farming, poor awareness of climate change consequences and adaptation measures, directly affect the health of women and make the household even more vulnerable. All recommendations, content in the framework of the research project, received positive feedback from the participants of the Subregional Seminar. Moreover, the participants showed their interest in the research methodology, which can also be applied in other countries of Central Asia where labour migration exists.

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