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Joint Communique. UNHCR and AKAH Strengthen Operational Ties in Tajikistan

Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 26 May, 2017

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in recognition of the long standing collaboration between the Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) in Tajikistan was officially signed today by the two organizations at the premises of the Ismaili Centre in Dushanbe.
The purpose of the MOU is to outline current and future operational collaboration in the area of joint emergency preparedness and response in case of a large number of new refugees’ arrival. In particular, the Parties recorded their collaboration in protecting and assisting refugees in case of a possible influx of Afghan refugees arriving in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of Tajikistan (GBAO) and the South of Khatlon province.
This additional coordination effort aims at avoiding duplication and ensuring smooth coordination of work between the two agencies, in order to increase the efficiency of humanitarian assistance and ultimately, provide protection and immediate relief to those concerned and the hosting communities. The joint emergency preparedness efforts of UNHCR and AKAH will strengthen the capacity of the country to better respond to a situation of a sudden new refugee’s arrival or mass influx, supporting the Tajik Government in meeting the needs of persons of concern and the affected local communities.
In close coordination and support to the Government of Tajikistan, the UNHCR also maintains an Inter-Agency Contingency Plan which outlines the roles and responsibilities of various humanitarian agencies in a refugee influx situation. Tajikistan currently is hosting the largest number of refugees in the Central Asian region; some 3000 asylum seekers and refugees reside in Tajikistan, primarily from neighboring Afghanistan.
According to Mr. Vito Trani, the UNHCR Representative in Tajikistan: ‘’The signature of this MOU between the UNHCR and AKAH is not only timely considering the events currently unfolding in northern Afghanistan, but it is catalyzing the already very good partnership and cooperation between the two agencies in Tajikistan. Putting together resources and strengthening coordination will undoubtedly strengthen the existing emergency preparedness, joint reaction capacity and most important enhance the impact on lives of beneficiaries that will be ultimately supported and assisted with Core relief Items (CRIs) and other humanitarian assistance at the field level’’.
The agencies of the Aga Khan Development Network have a long-standing presence in Tajikistan and the region and have well established, strong links to local civil society organizations, including over 2000 individuals, forming a network of Community Emergency Response Teams that can be mobilized within hours of an incident. The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat has built a strong partnership with the Government of Tajikistan and Afghanistan for the provision of humanitarian assistance, including agreements to deliver cross border assistance.
Speaking on the occasion of the signing of the MoU, Mr. Hadi Husani, the regional CEO of the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat noted, “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding will formalize the existing strong working relationship between the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat and UNHCR, enhancing the joint preparedness and emergency response capacity in Tajikistan. This MoU builds upon the synergies between UNHCR and AKAH, and sets the ground for partnerships over the long term.”

UNITED NATIONAL HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES: The UNHCR in the world is saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. The UNHCR it is a member of the United Nations Development Group while the UN Refugees Agency has won two Nobel Peace Prizes respectively in 1954 and in 1981. UNHCR started working in Tajikistan in 1993. Along with other activities pertaining to UNHCR’s core mandate as outlined above, the Representation in Tajikistan works on leading emergency preparedness and response work focused on the potential of cross-border flows from neighboring countries, including Afghanistan. Signing of the MOU with different humanitarian actors is part of the Office’s efforts to ensure inter-agency coordination and strengthen the capacity of key actors to effectively respond to possible large number of new refugees’ arrival to Tajikistan. For more information please see: http://www.unhcr.kz/eng/
AGA KHAN AGENCY FOR HABITAT (AKAH): AKAH, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network works to ensure that people live in physical settings that are as safe as possible from the effects of 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 opportunities and a better quality of life. Additionally, it facilitates community transition to sustainable, self-reliant, long-term development. AKAH is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of institutions working to improve opportunities and living conditions for people of all faiths and origins in specific regions of the developing world. For more information please see: http://www.akdn.org/our-agencies/aga-khan-agency-habitat

For further information please contact:
Ms. Nodira Akbaralieva
PI Focal point at UNHCR in Tajikistan
Ms. Malika Giles
Communications Officer, AKAH office in Tajikistan
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