Khorog, Tajikistan, 7 October 2020: To mark World Habitat Day this week,  a meeting was held to initiate the Integrated Spatial Plan for Environmental and Socio-Economic Resilience project in Khorog. This is the first collaboration between UN-Habitat’s Urban Planning and Design Lab (Urban Lab), and the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), a subset of the Aga Khan Development Agency (AKDN). It is the Urban Lab’s first project in Tajikistan.

The project was launched at an online forum attended by Governor Fayzov of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), Mayor Shamiri of Khorog, Christine Knudsen, UN-Habitat’s Director of External Relations, Strategy, Knowledge and Innovation, Sezin Sinanoglu, UN Resident Coordinator in Tajikistan and Onno Ruhl, the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat General Manger.

Governor Fayzov noted the importance of this project for the city, with particular emphasis on the need to facilitate long-term, sustainable development in a fast changing context.

Khorog, the administrative and cultural centre of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO), is one of the highest-altitude peri-urban settlements in Central Asia, and was planned for a population of 15,000. As the currently population is double that number, new residents are at risk from  natural hazards and have limited access to municipal services.

The project provides aims to increase the resilience of Khorog, to strengthen its potential for economic development and to position the city as a model for resilient economic growth in a dynamic urban planning environment while enhancing social stability.

UN-Habitat aims to increase its technical support capacity in the Commonwealth of Independent States, as part of its Strategic Plan 2020-23. The work involved promotes the Sustainable Development Goals in Tajikistan through the reinforced partnership between the Government and the United Nations Country Team.

The project will take place within the framework of the Khorog Urban Resilience Programme (KURP), funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and will draw from global expertise, lessons learned, best practices and tools from UN-Habitat and other United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Framework. It will guide spatial strategy, improve capacity and facilitate participatory, local development, with a forward-looking approach, to guide safe and resilient development for years to come. For more information see this article and short film, from AKDN.