WASHINGTON, March 31, 2010 – The Community Agriculture and Watershed Management Project in Tajikistan was named one of the 12 winners in the World Bank’s third annual ‘Improving the Lives of People in Europe and Central Asia’ 2010 competition.
“More than 40,000 households in over 400 rural, upland villages have benefited from the Community Agriculture and Watershed Management Project. The project is notable in Tajikistan for its participatory approach in which villagers play key roles in identifying and managing small-scale agricultural, sustainable land management and infrastructure investments,” said Tohir Ostonaev, Director of the Project Management Unit in Dushanbe. “Furthermore, the CAWMP partnership with the World Bank has highlighted the importance of environmental considerations in agricultural production in upland areas, and is helping rural populations respond to global challenges, especially climate change.”
The Community Agriculture and Watershed Management Project is helping upland and mountain communities in the Surkhob, Zarafshan, Vanj and Toirsu watersheds raise their agricultural productivity and household assets in ways that support the sustainable management of land resources. This approach is providing replicable models for comparable areas throughout the country. The project has introduced local communities to improved sustainable land management practices. It has increased the productivity of land while reducing erosion problems related to poor land use; built the capacities of rural populations to identify and implement rural investments; and developed the government's role as facilitator and supporter of local initiatives.
“Although many countries in the Europe and Central Asia region enjoyed very strong growth and higher living standards throughout the past decade, the global financial and economic crisis has hit this region the hardest,” said Philippe Le Houérou, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “But the winners of the 2010 ‘Improving the Lives of People in Europe and Central Asia’ competition show how innovative projects improve the daily lives of people in the region despite the harmful effects of the recent financial turmoil on country economies.”
Le Houérou also emphasized that “the winners demonstrate real results, including job growth, establishment of small businesses and improved enterprise access to financing, improved health care and health protection and rehabilitated water and irrigation systems that have increased crop yields, just to name a few. These innovative projects and programs also show that a continuous partnership with the World Bank can leverage the effects of economic downturn and demonstrate a real positive impact on the ground.”
The winners of this year’s competition are (listed in an alphabetical order by country):
Armenia Rural Enterprise and Small Scale Commercial Agriculture Development Project
Armenia Lifeline Road Improvement Project
Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project
Bulgaria Policy Notes
Georgia Joint Needs Assessment, Donors Conference, and Progress Report
Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, and Tajikistan Food Crisis Response Projects
Latvia Safety Net and Social Reform Special Development Policy Loan
Macedonia Real Estate Cadastre and Registration
Russia Health Reform Implementation Project
Tajikistan Community Agriculture and Watershed Management Project
Turkey - Support to the Turkey Health Transformation Program
Ukraine Programmatic Financial Rehabilitation Development Policy Loan 1
The third annual celebration of results to recognize the winners will take place on June 3, 2010, in Washington, DC.