28 February 2019 Debriefing on the outcome of the use of remittances in Tajikistan

Remittances sent home by hundreds of thousands of Tajik citizens working abroad play a vital role in supporting the economy, but their potential contribution to natural resources management is often overlooked. The Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)*, in collaboration with its Tajik partner the Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI)*, has conducted a study on remittances in Tajikistan and their current and future investment possibility into natural resources management and specifically into reforestation. The study financed by BMZ* was conducted in Indonesia, Peru and Tajikistan, three countries strongly affected by migration and consequently dependent on remittances flows. In Tajikistan
the research was conducted in the pilot areas of the SLU-CA programme in Penjikent and the pilot areas of
BMU IKI EbA project* in Bartang, GBAO*.

The purpose of the study was to provide accurate information to policy makers, development practitioners, and rural households on patterns of migration and remittances and determine how they influence changes in livelihoods, gender roles, natural resource use and income distribution. The desired outcome of the study was to equip these actors with knowledge that can be integrated into policies, programmes and livelihood strategies.

The findings showed that dependency on remittances is high and local communities expect to continue receiving remittances in the coming years. Interestingly, women are increasingly part of the migrating labour force and today make up nearly 20% of migrants. Women from Bartang work abroad predominantly in white-collar sectors.

Further, the study showed a strong link between remittances and disaster recovery strategies. Remittances were used for the construction of new houses after natural disasters. As traditional houses in Pamir communities are typically constructed from wood, wood demand has increased, yet the study found that fuelwood consumption decreased in households which receive remittances. It is important to use remittances as an entry point for disaster preparedness or collective interventions as well as for working more closely with the diaspora community in the future.

This study is of interest to the SLU-CA programme, since its results can help to generate ideas for mechanisms to channel remittances into natural resources management investment. Its data could also be used for future project proposals and as a basis for decision making in the long-term.

*Abbreviations/Explanation:
CIFOR
– Center for International Forestry Research, a non-profit, scientific institution that conducts research on the most pressing challenges of forest and landscape management around the world. Headquarters are in Bogor, Indonesia, with offices in Nairobi, Kenya; Yaounde, Cameroon; Lima, Peru and Bonn, Germany.
MSRI – Mountain Societies Research Institute of the University of Central Asia.
BMZ – German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperationfounded in 1961, the Ministry works to encourage economic development within Germany and in other countries through international cooperation and partnerships. It cooperates with international organizations involved in development including the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the United Nations.
BMU IKI EbA project – Regional Project “Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change in High Mountainous Regions of Central Asia”, financed
by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Natural Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The project is being implemented in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan since 2015.
GBAO – Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, Tajikistan.

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