Climate change already affecting health in Tajikistan

WHO/Tahmina Alimamedova

Improving access to safe water in rural areas of Tajikistan

This is the conclusion drawn from the latest findings of a four-year project. Conducted by WHO/Europe with funding from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany, the project was intended to protect health from climate change in the country.

Members of a working group – representing the ministries responsible for health and emergency situations, and the Committee for Environment Protection of Tajikistan, along with WHO/Europe – present the main conclusions today.

Main findings of the climate change assessment in Tajikistan

  • The average annual air temperature in Tajikistan has increased by 0.7–1.2 oC during the 20th century, and is projected to increase by 1.8–2.9 oC by 2050. The number of days with extremely hot weather has doubled since 1940, and continues to increase.
  • Over the past 45 years, the number of rainy days has decreased but the number with intense precipitation has increased. Expected loss of water resources could cause the productivity of the farming industry in central Asia to fall by 15–50%.
  • Rates of gastrointestinal infections, such as salmonellosis, are projected to increase, owing to increasing temperature and flood-related water contamination.
  • Economic losses caused by floods and mudslides are increasing.

In addition, the project implemented several water safety plans, and included an assessment of food security and nutrition in Tajikistan. The latter found that food prices are expected to rise.

WHO/Europe will work with the Government to highlight the health effects of climate change in Tajikistan and to ensure that the measures needed to protect health are taken.

About the project

Under the framework of the project to protect health from climate change, a special working group was convened to assess vulnerability to climate change and its impact on the health of the population in Tajikistan. This assessment formed part of the development of the country’s cross-cutting national climate change and health adaptation strategy and action plan, which tackles issues such as water resources; agriculture; emergencies; reproductive health; and respiratory, cardiovascular, infectious, tropical and water-borne diseases.