Urban resilience in Khorog, Tajikistan
- Category: News
- Published: Tuesday, 01 March 2022 13:36
- Written by Zoe Thouvenot
Tajiskistan is particularly vulnerable to climate change induced natural disasters. It has been listed as the most vulnerable country of Central Asia as well as the second to least coping capacity of the region to address those upcoming risks (World Bank, 2010). Natural disasters occur in Tajikistan on average every 2 days and have resulted in the loss of over 2,000 lives and over EU 145,060,000 over the last two decades (CoESCD) - actions are needed.
The city of Khorog:
Khorog is the administrative hub of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO) as well as a cultural hub for its 240,000 inhabitants. Most of Khorog’s infrastructure has been constructed in the 1960’s/1970’s, designed to accommodate a population of 15,000 individuals. As a result of population growth and urbanization, the population base in 2018 has been estimated to around 35,000, a number expected to double over the next 20 years as communities marginalized by the impact of climate change and economic stagnation continue to relocate to the centre. The city faces a crisis of aging and failing infrastructure, increasing demographic and social instability and an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters attributed to climate change.
The work of the municipality in identifying resilience gaps and strategies:
The municipality of Khorog has been working jointly with UN-Habitat on diagnosis workshops and surveys that concluded an insufficient utility infrastructure. The municipality of Khorog has also organized regular consultations – gap analysis have been carried out and key municipal services have been identified as priorities for improvement – (1) solid waste management, (2) public lighting, and (3) disaster risk reduction through climate smart nature-based solution.
Significant efforts from the office of the Mayor of Khorog are undertaken and will be pursued to tackle these priorities in an effort to make the city sustainable, green and resilient. Specifically, under the European Bank for Rural Development (EBRD) project, a new landfill is being constructed in Khorog. But measures for an environmentally sustainable waste management are lacking. An important number of households dispose of their waste in the river or inhabited areas of the city centre.The Environmental Protection Municipal Department estimates that each resident produces an average of 1kg of waste per day, in addition to the waste produced by commercial entities and public institutions - improvements are still needed to face this issue.
The BRUD project:
Therefore, the Building Resilience through integrated Urban Development (BRUD) project is gathering the municipality of Khorog, Agan Khan (Dushambe, Tajikistan) and the University Gustave Eiffel (Paris, France) to tackle these issues.
 A first part of the project will be focusing on solid waste management by providing a strategy for solid waste management and an organized waste recycling programme, improve the capacities of solid waste facilities and raise awareness around this issue.
 A second part of the project is seeking to tackle the issue of public lighting by developing and implementing a framework/strategy for efficient and environmentally friendly public lighting (solar, smart lighting systems).
 Finally, the project will focus on local knowledge for effective disaster risk reduction measures and practices to increase the resilience of urban environment.