Opening Remarks by Dr. Pratibha Mehta, UNDP Resident Representative UN Resident Coordinator

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Dear Mr Azizzoda, Advisor to the President of Tajikistan

Mr. Salimzoda, Member of the Parliament

Representatives of CSOs,

Thank you very much for inviting me to this forum. It is good to see CSOs representatives from all the regions of Tajikistan, and almost equal number of men and women.

We believe that CSOs are an important pillar of democratic governance and national development. Today's complex challenges need partnership approach, as governments alone cannot address the intricate problems of poverty reduction, climate change, inequality, migration, health and education etc. Additionally, shrinking world through internet, awareness, higher income has also contributed to people's rising aspirations for justice, access to quality services.

I would like to emphasize that global SDGs were developed with participation of the civil society and the SDGs agenda highlights the role of CSOs in planning, implementation and monitoring of SDGs and encourages government-CSOs-private sector collaboration. It is very good to see on the agenda that you are discussing the role of CSOs in SDGs.

In Tajikistan, with over 2500 registered organizations, and collectively they implemented programmes for nearly USD 80 million in 2018. The CSOs are also invited by Parliament committee for consultation and to better understand aspirations of people. This shows that CSOs have capacity, outreach and network to be effective partners in advancing priorities of the National Development Strategy 2016-2030, and the SDGs in Tajikistan.

To fulfill their role even more effectively, CSOs need an enabling environment, including a NGO law designed to give legitimate role of CSOs in planning, implementation and monitoring; allows them to operate in all parts of the country and reach all vulnerable populations, such as women, children, disabled, aged, MSM, those living in remote rural areas etc., without any restrictions; as well as allowing CSOs to mobilize resources, more effectively, including through financing means.

I am sure this Forum will be a notable step in strengthening CSOs' role and partnership with the government and business in Tajikistan. UN is committed to fostering CSOs partnership, as well as supporting their capacity-building.

I would like to wish you all a productive dialogue at this Forum.

Source: United nations in Tajikistan