The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) Tajikistan has begun implementing an initiative to undertake afforestation as risk reduction measures in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) of Tajikistan.

Deforestation within fragile watersheds in Tajikistan has increased the risk of disasters such as landslides and flooding significantly, exacerbating the impact on communities in post-civil war GBAO, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

With anecdotal evidence suggesting that areas under tree cover have declined from 20 percent in 1991 to less than 3 percent today across the country, initiatives like this - which will see a total of 5000 trees planted - will significantly reverse this, particularly in the vulnerable GBAO area.

Nikqadam Nazarov, AKAH Program Manager responsible for the project, noted that “this is the first program of its kind in the GBAO/Pamir region.  We are targeting nine villages that stand to benefit the most from the initiative.  It is a holistic program that will see us working towards attaining the Gold Standard Accreditation as regards the calculation of carbon credits, and contribute significantly to SDG goals such as economic growth, climate action, and life on land.”

With funds received from the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment (PSAKFE), the project will see the extension of the forestry initiatives undertaken in other parts of Tajikistan by sub-implementer Caritas Switzerland, to the highly vulnerable region of GBAO.

In 2019, as part of its activities, AKAH facilitated the planting of a total of 2,000 trees in risk-prone areas including the slopes of the Pamir mountain range in GBAO.

Established in 2017, the AKAH includes the legacy programs and initiatives of the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services (AKPBS) including Water Sanitation Extension Program (WASEP), FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance, the Disaster Risk Management Initiative (DRMI), the Portfolio Management Office (PMO), and the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment (PSAKFE). It also includes the habitat related activities of Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) and the Mountain Societies’ Development Support Program (MSDSP).  The latter is operating in Tajikistan’s Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region.

The Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment (PSAKFE) is the center for environmental activities of the Aga Khan Development Network.