Strong GDP growth lays a foundation for poverty reduction
Since signing the Millennium Declaration in 2000, the Government of Tajikistan has taken major steps to establish a policy framework for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In 2005, the Government developed an MDG Needs Assessment focusing on the cost and reforms needed to reach the MDGs. The findings were used as a basis for preparing the National Development Strategy, spelling out the Government’s vision for the period 2007-2015, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy, which serves as the implementation plan of the Strategy for 2007-2009. UNDP and other donor organizations provided technical support to design these strategic documents. Both were adopted in April 2007 following a participatory process engaging national stakeholders.
Tajikistan has enjoyed significant progress towards certain MDGs. From 1999-2007, the number of people living with less than US$ 2.15 per day decreased from 81 per cent to less than 60 per cent. Estimates suggest that Tajikistan’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth must be greater than 3 percent per year to cut poverty by half. Since 2000, annual GDP growth has been over 8 percent, which lays a strong foundation for poverty reduction.
Tajikistan inherited high primary school attendance rates and has set the target of achieving universal secondary school enrolment by 2015. To this end, the government has restructured education through per capita financing and greater civic involvement. It has increased spending on education by 50 percent from 2006-2007, co-financed by international grants. At this point, there is almost no gender gap in primary school enrolment.
While progress has been made in education, the health sector continues to be under-financed by both government and donors. Private sector health providers remain weak, in part because of a poor regulatory framework. At the present rate, it is doubtful that health-related MDGs will be achieved. Reaching the target of 83 percent access to safe drinking water also seems unlikely.
Government management constraints and weak capacity in planning and implementing policy in line with the MDGs are hindering their achievement. However, starting in 2008, the Government is partnering with UNDP to reform the local budgeting and planning processes to consider the priorities of the National Development Strategy, the Poverty Reduction Strategy, and the MDGs.
Best practices have been found in the education sector and with local governments. Based on the Needs Assessment, the Ministry of Education, with the support of donors, designed a strong policy framework with a National Education Strategy until 2015, which attracted donor funding. In local development, local governments and civil society partnerships coupled with significant donor investments, have yielded good results in reversing declines in the prevalence of rural poverty.
Last updated September 2008
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