The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) and its partner the State Agency for Hydrometeorology (Hydromet), with the financial support of the Government of Switzerland, successfully launched the knowledge and  data-sharing platform dubbed “Open Centre” at Hydromet offices in Dushanbe last week, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

Officially known as the Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI), the “Open Center” is the third of three facilities that were launched over the past three years beginning in 2017.  It was developed to address the important need of access to clear and reliable information on the hazards and risks affecting the country.

The first center, located at the Department of Geology and funded by the SDC, was put in place to establish the ground for the data-sharing platform.  This was scaled up to the Committee for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense (CoESCD) in 2018, with support from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and Aga Khan Foundation United Kingdom (AKF UK).

The emergency operations centers (EOCs) reportedly serve as a connector between three governments departments that are all committed to enhancing access to analytical data to support emergency response in the country.  In addition, international organizations, donor agencies, NGOs and other researchers or practitioners in this field will use the service. 

Representatives from government, and the local and international development community attended the launch. In his opening remarks, the Head of Hydromet, Homidjon Rasoulzoda, reiterated the importance of the facilities.  “Data assessment and analysis will allow stakeholders to be better prepared to manage hazards. It will also serve as information repository, storing data for future generations”.

SDC Country Director Walburga Roos on her part noted, “The SDC’s continuing support to the Centre emphasizes how important data is to disaster management, and the plan is to further expand the support to the Academy of Sciences and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point office.  This will enable a holistic approach to data management towards risk-informed planning. The ultimate goal of this initiative therefore is to showcase Tajikistan as a best practice case in this area.”

AKAH Tajikistan CEO Hadi Husani said, “AKAH is committed to working with government and the international community to provide solutions for disaster management. This is just the beginning, and we look forward to seeing how the interlinked centres support the work between these three government departments.”

AKAH, which merges the capabilities of Focus Humanitarian Assistance, the Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, and AKDN’s Disaster Risk Management Initiative, focuses on preparing for both sudden and slow-onset disasters.  AKAH works to ensure that poor people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of natural disasters; that residents who do live in high-risk areas are able to cope with disasters in terms of preparedness and response; and that these settings provide access to social and financial services that lead to greater opportunity and a better quality of life. Initially, priority areas of AKAH will include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and India.  

Within its Cooperation Strategy for 2017-2020, Switzerland focuses on the four sectors in Tajikistan: 1)  water, infrastructure and climate change; 2) health; 3) governance, institutions and decentralization; and 4) employment and economic development.

The overall goal of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in Tajikistan is peace and social cohesion as well as responsive and inclusive institutions and sustainable development to improve the population’s well-being.