Over the past 25 years, Tajikistan has taken innumerable steps for its prosperous future which will bear fruit in the coming years. This has been possible with the dedicated efforts of Tajik people that have enabled us to achieve significant progress in political, economic, social and cultural development of our country. These efforts are aimed to strengthen the foundation of State Independence, since freedom and independence are our greatest achievements and remain very sacrosanct in our national ideology.
Post Tajik independence period was very testing and tough times for our people as is the case when most countries gain independence. During the 1990s, Tajikistan was gripped in a whirlpool of severe internal conflicts owing to intervention by some foreign countries in the garb of democratization of our society that led to a civil war and fratricidal tragedy.
The people of Tajikistan well remember the terrible aftermath and harrowing tragedies of the war started by a group of people with a view to imposing an alien culture and religion on Tajik people and establish an Islamic State. This caused endless miseries, death of tens of thousands of people and massive economic loss.
It took the Government of Tajikistan almost ten years after the independence to restore the constitutional regime, pillars of governance, particularly law enforcement agencies and military, and ensure return of more than one million refugees to the country, and to undertake post-war revival activities, ensure peace, stability and national unity.
It will be of interest to the readers that according to the assessment of international financial institutions Tajikistan is rated among the top six countries of the world in terms of environmentally clean energy share and currently “green power” accounts for 98% of the electricity generated in our country. Tajikistan has shared valuable input in prevention of devastating consequences of climate change and implementation of environmental initiatives at the regional and global levels.
2016 was indeed a historical and successful year for Tajik people, during which we have made significant achievements. While we maintained a sustainable economic growth, the macroeconomic and social indicators are based on laid down priority objectives despite the negative impact of external factors. GDP reached TJS 54bn with a real growth of 6.8%.
During the previous year there have also been some shortcomings and new challenges emerged in the real economic situation. For example, some ministries and agencies did not take appropriate measures to offset the negative impact of external factors on the economy, fee-based public services, foreign trade turnover, import and lending have declined and the public budget’s revenue was not fully implemented. Despite these shortfalls, we ensured full and timely funding of the social sector from the public budget.
Since no country can ensure its development without compatible energy resources, we have also identified energy security and energy efficiency as one of the State’s strategic objectives. We are currently implementing 11 public investment projects amounting TJS 10bn to achieve the objective of development and effective use of huge energy resources of the country. Additionally, construction of new and rehabilitation of existing hydropower plants is being done. We have completed first two phases of Dushanbe-2 thermal power plant with a capacity of 400 MW, that will address the winter power shortages for various facilities and residents of Dushanbe.
During the next five years the Government’s focus is on development of science, education, healthcare, culture, environment and employment, all of which would ensure a high level of human development. It is aimed that all adults must have at least secondary education and not less than half of the able-bodied population of the country must get either vocational or higher education.
Tajikistan is a law-based, democratic and secular state, where human and civil rights and freedom, rule of law and legal order are guaranteed. We have improved the legal framework of the country and adopted many legal and regulatory documents with a view to implementing and strengthening the Constitutional value. The Parliament has also adopted a number of laws aimed at protection of human and civil rights and freedom, ensuring law and order and development of economy and business.
Likewise, in order to strengthen an independent judiciary, certain amendments have been made in the Constitution. In the process, we have abolished the Council of Justice and matters pertaining to the selection, rotation as well as advanced professional training of judges have been entrusted to the Supreme Court and Supreme Economic Court.
Terrorism and extremism have emerged as a global threat over the past many years which are of great concern for the contemporary world. This has promoted expansion of international terrorism, intensification of extremist elements, enhanced involvement and induction of youth in terrorist organizations and participation in the armed conflicts in other countries. These are very dangerous trends which call for serious consideration.
The menace of corruption has become a challenge for our country, which has impeded sustainable socio-economic development and is of great concern to the citizens. Despite stringent measures to control it, corruption-related crimes in governmental agencies and other institutions still go unabated. This calls for an awareness and direct involvement of every citizen, the civil society and the entire community to combat corruption. It is undoubtedly the only possible way to arrest the level of corruption in our country.
The implementation of an open-door foreign policy is a great achievement of our State in the period of our independence. A balanced foreign policy has enabled the country to create a good repute at the international level that has led to multifaceted relations and cooperation with other countries, international and regional organizations and international financial institutions.
The goals of our foreign policy are aimed at protecting national interests at the international stage, ensuring favorable conditions overseas for the sustainable development of the country and promoting and strengthening the pillars of State and sovereignty of Tajikistan. Therefore, promoting an environment of trust and security with all neighboring countries through expansion and strengthening of good neighborliness, the use of political and diplomatic tools, consistent efforts towards addressing urgent regional issues remain the core principles of our foreign policy.
Resultantly, Tajikistan has established friendly relations and multidimensional beneficial cooperation with all countries and has been continually expanding constructive friendly ties based on mutual respect and equality. It is intended to undertake further measures for expansion of our cooperation with development partners, international and regional organizations and international financial institutions.
Tajikistan is acknowledged as the initiator to spearhead the effective use of water resources at the international stage. Currently, we are making efforts for adoption of our proposal for an International Decade of “Water for Sustainable Development” in cooperation with the international community.
I am confident, through our collective efforts, we will brave all the challenges faced by our society and the state in the future, and Tajikistan will truly emerge as a prosperous and developed country.
The writer is Ambassador of Tajikistan.