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Joint Communique: UNHCR and UNICEF Enhance Cooperation in Tajikistan


Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 31 May, 2017

A Letter of Understanding (LOU) reinforcing the existing collaboration and setting up new operational modalities for a much stronger joint cooperation between the Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) in Tajikistan was officially signed today by the two UN sister agencies at the premises of United Nations House in Dushanbe. 

The ultimate purpose of the LOU is to maximize the technical synergies between the two UN agencies with regards available resources, response capacities vis-à-vis refugee emergency as well as routine activities related to refugees, stateless women and children. 

This LOU at national level is framed within a Global Memorandum of Understanding between UNHCR and UNICEF signed in March 1996 and a Joint Letter signed in October 2011 by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Executive Director of UNICEF in New York. The above frameworks are clearly promoting coordinated action in areas of common interest to the Parties and ensuring the predictability of their partnership and bilateral cooperation particularly at country level. 

Among others, the LOU in Tajikistan establishes cooperation in promoting access to services by refugee and stateless children and women: ensuring access to education, health and nutrition, child protection and social protection, facilitating country-wide birth registration and promoting the right of every child to a nationality. The two UN agencies will conduct joint advocacy and awareness raising initiatives on key issues of joint concern; collaborate on risk assessment, contingency planning, preparedness, information sharing and analysis; leverage resources or joint resource mobilization to assist persons of common concern to realise their rights.

In its last part, the LOU contains a "Joint Plan of Actions' which defines more into details all substantive areas of collaboration, logistical arrangements, specific timeframes, technical standards and joint methodologies for data collection, assessment, monitoring and reporting.

According to Mr. Vito Trani, the UNHCR Representative in Tajikistan: "the signature of this important LOU between the UNHCR and UNICEF offices in Tajikistan is representing a further step forward with regard Interagency Cooperation while it is recognizing an already excellent partnership between the two UN agencies in the country. In this specific moment where most humanitarian agencies in the world are facing a significant reduction of funding capacity, it is more crucial than ever to work together, further strengthen the existing interactions and take all necessary measures to improve the impact of our joint activities on lives of beneficiaries mostly vulnerable women and children’’. 

Speaking on the occasion of the signing of the LOU, Mrs. Lucia Elmi, the UNICEF Representative in Tajikistan noted: “The signing of this Letter of Understanding will create a platform for a collective responsibility of the two UN agencies to work closely with relevant government institutions and civil society to ensure that a child’s status does not represent a barrier to accessing essential services. Supporting refugee, displaced and migrant children is a shared responsibility – shared because no one is untouched by the impacts of the multiple crises in the world. Jointly, we will bring children’s voices – boys and girls - their plight and the issues they face to the focus of debates on migration and displacement of children and their families seeking refuge”

Tajikistan currently is hosting the largest number of refugees in Central Asian region; some 3000 asylum seekers and refugees reside in Tajikistan, primarily from neighboring Afghanistan. At the same time, around 26,000 persons at risk of statelessness had been identified in targeted districts since launching the joint UNHCR and the Government national pilot project to address statelessness.


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. UNHCR started working in Tajikistan in 1993. Currently, UNHCR works with the Government of Tajikistan and inter-agency partners in three primary areas: (1) strengthening the national asylum system to ensure that refugees who seek international protection in Tajikistan receive it, and that existing refugees are able to integrate and contribute to Tajik society; (2) leading emergency preparedness and response work focused on the potential of cross-border flows from neighboring countries, including Afghanistan; and (3) addressing the issue of statelessness in Tajikistan, which is rooted in the break-up of the former Soviet Union, disputed borders in Central Asia, and cross-border movements, marriages and births. 

UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND: The UNICEF provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. The UNICEF for more than 70 years, across 190 countries and territories, defends the rights of every child. UNICEF started working in Tajikistan in 1993. Currently, UNICEF works with the Government of Tajikistan and inter-agency partners in four primary areas: Mother and Child Health, Quality and Inclusive Education, Protective Environment, and Full Participation of Adolescents.


For further information please contact:

Ms. Nodira Akbaralieva
PI Focal point at UNHCR in Tajikistan


Ms. Parvina Muhamedkhojaeva
PI Focal point at UNICEF in Tajikistan
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