DUSHANBE, October 9, 2015, Asia-Plus — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) notes that Tajikistan with mountains occupying 93% of the terrain and glaciers making up 6% of its total land area is also one of the most climate vulnerable countries in Central Asia.
According to ADB’s Climate Change Intervention in Tajikistan, Tajikistan frequently experiences intense spring rainfall and excessive snow-melt, which flood many rivers, as well as droughts and occasional floods from lake outbursts. Many such extreme situations lead to mudflows, landslides, avalanches, and rockfalls in the mountains—which, along with floods and droughts, routinely destroy or degrade land and economic and social infrastructure, and lead to loss of life.
As per the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, Tajikistan is classified as being severely vulnerable to climate change for the present and the near future (up to 2030).
Significant climate change has reportedly already been observed in Tajikistan, such as increase in average temperatures, glacier retreat, and change in average precipitation and range. Climate projections also show higher average temperatures over the coming decades, accompanied by higher evapotranspiration losses, changes in seasonality of precipitation, and more extremes in precipitation levels. Such changes are expected to increase the frequency of floods and droughts, and to change the seasonality of river flows and water availability. Tajikistan has the highest risk associated with climate extremes among the Central Asian countries.
Therefore, the most important vulnerability indicators for Central Asia capture the long-term trend toward increasing aridity, and are related to water resources availability and food security. Tajikistan was included as a participant in the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) because, compared with other countries in the region, it was worse off in terms of (i) percentage of population with access to improved water sources, and (ii) percentage of population undernourished. Its adaptive capacity, inferred from its lowest ranking as per the human development index, was lowest in the region, and reinforced the selection of Tajikistan as a pilot country in the PPCR. Tajikistan has the highest vulnerability to food insecurity resulting from climate change hazards.
Along with the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Bank (EBRD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been actively engaged in framing the Strategic Program for Climate Resilience (SPCR) under the PPCR, and then implementing it. In addition, ADB continues to support the government of Tajikistan in its development programs through non-PPCR interventions. Since 2009 ADB’s non-PPCR interventions are supposedly intended to climate proof infrastructure projects, which appears to be different from the mix of interventions approved in 2007 and 2008, when some of the interventions could possibly be considered as contributing to building some aspects of climate resilience (howsoever unintended or unplanned).