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Climate Risks and Food Security in Tajikistan: A Review of Evidence and Priorities for Adaptation Strategies, April 2017

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1. Executive Summary

This document reviews some of the main existing studies, national strategies and reports related to climate impacts on food security and livelihoods in Tajikistan. It highlights the socio-economic vulnerability context and main challenges for food security as a result of climate change and related disasters. By employing a broad approach to food security, it contributes to the overall understanding of how climate change will impact not only production and availability related concerns, but also economic access and poverty links to climate change, and stability and utilization challenges.

The review highlights existing evidence carried out by partners and by WFP, with a particular focus on WFP’s Integrated Context Analysis and its subsequent tools for community consultations, the Seasonal Livelihood Programming consultation and the Community Based Participatory Planning tool.

It then presents the current measures undertaken by WFP Tajikistan in addressing climate-related risks to food security linked with national priorities. The last section of this report provides summarizing conclusions, highlighting key areas of concerns based on the presented information and gives topical suggestions on ways in which risk informed development and climate adaptation can be supported.

Tajikistan is highly vulnerable to climate change. According documentation compiled by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change1, temperatures in Tajikistan will rise from 1.8 °C to 2.9 °C by 2050. Should these projections be realized, climate change in the country will negatively impact water resources, the agricultural sector, transportation infrastructure and public health.

Food insecurity in Tajikistan is a serious concern and is likely to be further exacerbated by climate change. Trend analysis carried out and presented in this review estimates that more than 1,000,000 individuals are consistently food insecure and exposed to recurrent climatic shocks. More than 1,750,000 individuals are either currently food insecure, have experienced food insecurity at some point, or could be recovering from an event that caused them to be regarded as food insecure. Even more individuals are at risk of becoming food insecure in the event of a shock.

Based on the reviewed studies and reports, the main challenges to food security from a climate perspective can be summarized as the following: Climate change exacerbates structural challenges and increases vulnerability of the already vulnerable. Tajikistan is the most climate-vulnerable country in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region due to its relatively weak social and economically productive structures and low adaptive capacity. High poverty rates among rural communities of Tajikistan increase people’s vulnerability to climatic shocks and stresses, and is further compounded by food insecurity, high rates of labor migration and poor provision of services. The cumulative effects of repeated climate-related disasters impact on poverty-stricken and vulnerable populations, severely restricting their ability to improve their coping capacities.

Tajikistan’s relative economic exposure to natural hazard losses is particularly high and has been calculated at over 20 percent of GDP for a natural hazard event with a 200-year return period. Around 75 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas with the majority being engaged in the agriculture sector. In addition to being materially poor and thus prone to financial risks, the agricultural sector is also vulnerable to climate variability and climate change.

Tajikistan faces severe challenges in relation to soil degradation such as erosion, swamping, deforestation and salinization. These problems are both due to climate change and man-made factors. Desertification has become one of the burning issues of the country. Long dry periods together with high temperatures in spring and summer seasons lead to the intensification of desertification processes in Southern and Central Tajikistan. In view of climate warming and increased evaporation, water needs for irrigation of basic agricultural crops are likely to increase by 20-30 percent compared to present climate conditions.