In Central Asia, water is becoming more and more critical and a potential source of regional conflict. The growing demand in hydropower, especially in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with no natural oil and gas resources, and the growing need for agriculture water in the region are already causing tension between the riparian states, especially Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. The planned Roghun Dam construction in Tajikistan has already escalated the fragile peace between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan while growing agriculture in Kyrgyzstan and the need for more irrigation water has been the source of timely minor border incidents between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, such as the recent events in December 2013.

 While drinking water supply in much of the urban areas is being addressed thanks to major investment by development partners, notably the Swiss, the World Bank and EBRD, access to clean drinking water in rural areas remains a major challenge in all of the Central Asian countries. With the growing industry, especially in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and with attempts to improve management of the natural resources, especially in view of deteriorating environment, coupled with the impact of climate change, demand for water keeps growing.

 There is no lack of water in the region but prevailing miss-management of water resources continues to reduce access to water. According to national reports, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the two upstream states, for instance utilize only 20-30% of the available water resources, while continued deterioration of the irrigation infrastructure causes further losses in the system, further reducing the actual water available for the users.

 In Tajikistan, the government has taken the initial step towards water sector reforms in November 2013, by separating the water resources regulation and policy development from day-to-day management and operation. Overall policy and regulation responsibilities have been transferred to the newly restructured Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MoEWR) and the irrigation management and operation has been shifted to the newly established Agency for Land Reclamation and Irrigation (ALRI). The approved regulation of the MoEWR state that “Ministry of Energy and Water Resources of the Republic of Tajikistan (hereinafter - the Ministry) is the central body of executive power that works on the state policy formulation and implementation and on legal regulation in the sphere of fuel and energy and water resources.” (Article 1. of I. General Provisions of the draft regulation).

 Yet, considering the severe brain drain and as a result of lack of necessary policy and regulatory skills and institutional abilities as well as lack of sufficient financial resources, the implementation of these reforms remains a challenge. Therefore, without a systematic approach to policy dialogue, including provision of necessary Technical Assistance, the implementation of these reforms will remain a challenge.

Existing Policy Dialogue Platforms in Tajikistan

 Two major policy dialogue initiatives have been key to reform processes in Tajikistan and have also enhanced closer cooperation between the Government of Tajikistan and its development partners:

  • The Agrarian Reform process 2009-2012; and
  • The Development Forum since 2010.

 Both platforms had significant impact and prompted the Government of Tajikistan to agree to a series of reform agenda. As part of the Agrarian Reform programme, for instance, the government agreed to reform the water sector in line with IWRM and RBM principles and the initial steps were taken in November 2013 by separating roles and responsibilities between policy and regulation on one hand and management and operation on the other hand.

 In addition to these platforms, there are two more platforms specifically dealing with water.

  • The National Policy Dialogue (NPD): funded by the EU and implemented by the UNECE, this platform promotes IWRM (Integrated Water Resources Management) and RBM (River Basin  Management) approaches to water resources management and supports the National Water and Energy Council (WEC) to act as a platform for dialogue as well as cooperation and coordination between all water users (irrigation, drinking water, energy, industry, environment, fisheries, tourism and others) with the aim to eventually transform the WEC into National water Council (NWC). Its strength is that it has over the past three years managed to bring as many stakeholders as possible on board and organize and support regular meetings of the WEC. However, there is a lack of continuity in the process in the sense that project staff is not based in Tajikistan and travels from time to time to the country specifically to organism the planned meetings of the WEC;
  • The Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group (IMCG) on drinking water supply and sanitation: The purpose of the IMCG is to discuss issues related to policy and regulation, tariff setting and promotes closer cooperation and coordination between different stakeholders in the sub-sector of drinking water supply and sanitation.

 Following requests by the government in 2012 to support the piloting of the water sector reforms, various donor development partners responded with different projects to support the government in piloting its water sector reforms in identified river basins (Tajik side). As the need for coordination of such support from different donors is growing the Government of Tajikistan agreed to revitalize the policy meetings at the Deputy Prime Minister’s office between the Donor Development Partners and the GoT (including relevant ministries and agencies). There is now a need to support this policy dialogue at DPM’s level to promote a coordinated and coherent approach in support of water sector reform implementation.

 Among a number of national priorities identified by the President of Tajikistan in December 2013, improving food security for the nation remains among the major priorities. Following the announcement of the President, the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) held a meeting with the Development Coordination Council (DCC) and requested the DCC to “…rethink the current policy dialogue platform from one of “Reporting” to something more productive”. He requested development partners to make serious efforts to support the sector ministries, especially agriculture, land and water to effectively reform.

 In a recent meeting of the DCC Working Group on water a number of short and medium term policy dialogue priorities were agreed upon to pursue over the next 3-4 year. These include:

  • Finalization and approval of the water sector reform strategy and its implementation, including an investment and financing plan.
  • Clear division of roles and responsibilities between irrigation and drinking water service providers and users, ALRI, Khojagii Manziliyu Kommunali (KMK - focal agency for drinking water supply and sanitation), Vodakanals (main urban operators for drinking water supply and sanitation) and Water Users Associations (WUAs), including irrigation management handover to WUAs in line with reform strategy and based on delineation of Hydraulic schemes;
  • Review and revision of a number of legal and regulatory documents in line with the water sector reforms, including the Water Code and Water User Associations (WUAs) Law;
  • Water Supply and Sanitation Policy Development, including tariff policy and regulation;
  • Issues related to irrigation fee collection, water debt and tariff setting;
  • Development of a solid and viable water data and information system;
  • In relation to Transboundary waters, the DCC sets out support for the signing of the draft Framework Agreement between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and support for its implementation;
  • Last but not least, the DCC considers systematic approaches to Capacity building and institution development central to its support in the water sector.

Challenges in the Water Sector in Tajikistan

 The water sector in Tajikistan faces several challenges, technical, institutional, managerial as well as in relation to policy and regulation. Following the initial decisions by the Government of Tajikistan and “Priority Areas for Policy Dialogue” as defined by the DCC Working Group on water the most important challenge is the implementation of the planned Water Sector Reforms. Some of the major challenges are:

  • Currently, the water resources are managed along administrative boundaries, rather than along natural river basin boundaries. As a result, much of the policy and regulation as well as management and operation responsibilities remain within the provincial and district offices, especially decision-making processes in the distribution of water resources;
  • Despite a whole range of technical assistance to help the government reform the sector, aside from recent institutional changes at national level, so far not much has changed in the water resources management;
  • There are too many agencies involved in the water sector, such as the MoEWR for overall policy and regulation, ALRI for irrigation, KMK and Vodakanal for drinking water. There is a severe lack of coordination among the different agencies, including absence of reporting and water data and information;
  • The former Ministry of Land Reclamation and Water Resources (MLRWR) was merely managing the irrigation sector and there was a severe lack of a national level policy and regulatory institution. This has now been addressed through elimination of MLRWR and creation of ALRI and MoEWR. Yet, t is not yet clear how the entire drinking water, rural and urban, might be reformed and to whom they might be reporting;
  • There is a National Water and Energy Council (WEC) at the national level, providing a coordination platform for water and energy. However, issues related to drinking water supply, industry, environment, tourism, fisheries and others are not addressed in this platform. Therefore, there is a serious lack of a national platform for the overall water resources management taking the interest of all users, irrigation, energy, industry, environment, fisheries, tourism and others;
  • There are discrepancies in the tariff setting and in most cases, drinking as well as irrigation water, tariffs are heavily subsidized by the government, making it very difficult to make the sector financially viable and its operation sustainable;
  • Since November 2013, at least in the irrigation sub-sector, roles and responsibilities for policy and regulation on one hand and management and operation on the other hand have been separated through restructuring of the MoEWR and creation ALRI. Yet translating national level institutional changes will remain a major challenge at basin and local levels, especially as current provincial and district institutions have very limited understanding or knowledge of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and River Basin Management (RBM) approaches;
  • Technical skills are available at regional and local levels but there is a severe lack of policy, regulatory and management skills both at national and local levels;
  • Similar to institutional changes, other policy platforms related to water at national level have so far failed to trickle down to provincial and district (basin and sub-basin) levels, leaving local authorities almost unaware of and to certain degree excluded from policy and strategy development;
  • With the absence of sufficient investment (aside from donor investment that covers only part of the needs), the infrastructure, especially of irrigation and drinking water supply system in much of the rural areas continues to deteriorate further reducing access to water for the users. Coupled with miss-management, users continue to have limited access to water.

Last but not least, absence of a viable mechanism to effectively address transboundary waters in an efficient and effective manner has resulted in regional conflicts and minor incidents between Tajikistan and neighboring countries.

Deberes y responsabilidades

The Policy Advisor, under the overall guidance of the Country Director and the direct supervision of the Deputy Country Director and in close coordination and cooperation with responsible UNDP Programme Analyst/Portfolio Manager, will assist the Government, programme team and CO to deliver on the results of the project “Support to IWRM-based water sector reform implementation in Tajikistan”. The Policy Advisor is the lead international expert in the area of Integrated Water Resources Management. S/he will maximize efforts to achieve expected project results, by providing strategic guidance for the implementation of activities in accordance with the water sector reform roadmap agreed upon between UNDP, donors, implementing partners and  as well as other relevant plans and decisions. Specifically, the Policy Advisor will carry out following duties and responsibilities:

 Policy advice. The incumbent will provide policy advice to the Government, relevant ministries and agencies, as well as to the partners of the programme, in the following areas:

  • Provide policy advice on advancing IWRM-based policy and institutional reform implementation in the water sector and on the optimal design and sequencing necessary improvements in the legal framework and institutional strengthening;
  • Prepare policy papers, discussion notes on issues arising, for consideration by government and other stakeholders.
  • Provision of strategic guidance and substantive technical inputs with regard to the IWRM policy dialogue and ensure well-functioning of the policy dialogue framework;
  • Ensure good planning and organization of the national IWRM policy dialogue;
  • Systematically ensure that relevant experiences and lessons learnt elsewhere in the region or world-wide inform the implementation IWRM policy agenda in Tajikistan and extract learning and document lessons learnt from the experiences in Tajikistan to articulate them with the regional and global body of knowledge of the UNDP.
  • Develop a communication and dissemination strategy in the area of IWRM and support the Government in its implementation.

 Technical Advice and Monitoring Support

The incumbent will provide technical advice and monitoring support in the following areas:

  • Technical support to design national policies and regulatory frameworks for advancing IWRM and dialogue on water issues;
  • Plan and carry out capacity gaps assessment and ensure the design and delivery of focused response programs (training, on-the-job training, coaching, ToT, etc) to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, Agency for Land Reclamation and Irrigation, and subordinated institutions (WUAs, Basin Organizations, sub-basin committees, etc), to implement GoT adopted water sector reform road map;
  • Advise on the development and establishment of a sustainable mechanisms for capacity development and oversight of reformed institutions in the water sector;
  • Support the establishment of monitoring frameworks and provide ongoing feedback and technical backstopping and regularly monitor progress towards the identified indicators;

 Knowledge Management

The Policy Advisor will contribute to building the corporate body of knowledge in UNDP in the area of IWRM, by:

  • Systematically communicating and sharing knowledge in the area with all stakeholders, in the form of case studies, presentations, etc;
  • Systematically ensure that relevant experiences and lessons learnt elsewhere in the region or world-wide inform the implementation of the project in Tajikistan.


Corporate Competencies:

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standard;
  • Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of the UN;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality, and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Treats all people fairly without favoritism.

 Functional Competencies:

  • Knowledge and experience of the political, social and environmental factors and issues related to water resources management in Central Asia, and particularly in Tajikistan;
  • Skills in facilitation and development of multi-stakeholder policy dialogue, workshops and broad-based consultative processes/  programmes/ project documents on water resources management based on principles of Integrated Water Resources Management;
  • An independent, reliable, responsible self-motivator able work under pressure;
  • Excellent communication, team-building and diplomatic skills to develop partnerships;
  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural, mixed nationality environment regardless of personal feelings or political ideology
  • Familiarity with UNDP and SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) programming policies, templates and requirements.

 Development and Operational Effectiveness

  • Proven problem-solving skills creative thinking to develop and implement smart business solutions on issues related to IWRM-based water resources management, policy development and implementation mechanisms.
  • Proven ability to develop high level policy briefs, strategies, including experience in conducting cost effectiveness analysis.

Habilidades y experiencia requeridas

Academic Qualifications:

  • Postgraduate or other advanced university degree in the fields of development management, preferably in water resources management, or other relevant fields.

 Years of experience:

  • At least 10 years of working experience in similar policy advisory positions, of which 5 years in Central Asia, preferably in Tajikistan;
  • At least 5 years of experience in policy dialogue and development of efficient policy dialogue platforms, including experience in national policy and strategy development;
  • Professional experience in developing programme/ project documents on development water resources management or other relevant fields.


  •  Fluent in English language; and
  • Working knowledge of Tajik and/or Russian is a significant asset.

Application Procedure:

Please follow the link to the Individual Consultant Procurement Notice: