The people o Tajikistan, a small, mountainouscountry in Central Asia, are experiencing theimpacts o climate change. More requentdroughts and heightened extreme weatherconditions are hitting poor communities,eroding their resilience. The country’s glaciersare melting, bringing the danger, in the uture,o greater water shortages and even disputes inthe wider region. Last summer’s unusually goodrains and consequent harvest brought somerelie to rural communities across Tajikistan butthe long-term trends are clear – and ominous.
Tajikistan’s plight highlights the international injustice o climate change. Tajikistan is one o the countries leastresponsible or the greenhouse gas emissions that arecausing climate change. It ranks around 109th in theworld or all greenhouse gas emissions and 129th inemissions per capita; its people emit less than 1 tonneo carbon dioxide per head, compared to nearly 20tons by citizens o North America.
The government o Tajikistan recognises the actand importance o climate change and its impacts,but it aces serious challenges in terms o undingand lack o capacity to cope with such a potentiallyoverwhelming phenomenon. Increased unding orresearch on the impacts o climate change is urgentlyneeded. Planning in high-risk environments requiresinvestments that are beyond the nancing capacitieso most governments acting alone.
“It’s not crisis point yet butit will be soon”
Timur Idrisov, NGO, Little Earth,October 2009.
This Oxam report is based on interviews undertaken incommunities in Spitamen and Ganchi in the north and Vose, Fakhor and Temurmalik in the south in October2009. It gives an insight into how poor men and womenare experiencing climate change, what challenges theyare currently acing – and will continue to ace in theuture. It makes suggestions or what they say needs tohappen to help them cope better with climate change. This report draws attention to the plight o poorcommunities in Tajikistan, and also highlightsOxam’s demands or a climate change deal that isboth air and sae – that agrees both the drastic cutsthat are necessary in greenhouse gas emissions andthe new unds that developing countries like Tajikistanneed to adapt. Oxam considers the United Nationsconerence on climate change at Copenhagen amissed opportunity, and the Accord that came out o it, a “climate shame”. The talks were characterized bychaos and near-collapse. The pursuit o national interestby the major powers deepened the mistrust betweendeveloped, developing and industrializing countries.2010 may be the last chance or these climatenegotiations to prove they are an eective process orstopping climate change by delivering a air, ambitiousand binding deal. The time or action is now.
“Last year was drought – or 3 yearswe could not grow wheat and barley.Because o 3 years o drought we arenot planting wheat in rain-ed lands,people do not want to invest,”Saidshoev Abdualim, a village elder in Vose District,October 2009. Photo: Anita Swarup
Temurmalik District, south Tajikstan. Photo: Anita Swarup