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Making the chance by knowledge sharing

A group of Tajik water sector professionals were in Finland last December for a study tour. The group´s enthusiastic attitude, willingness to learn was astonishing, as was the Finnish professionals’ eagerness to put effort into discussion and benchmarking. The study tour and knowledge exchange left a mark in Tajik legislation. This study tour was one of several organized by FinWater WEI II programme.

Reaching out

The FinWater WEI II programme has been active in Tajikistan’s water sector since 2015 and has gained a solid reputation of high professionality. When the Tajik national working group on the development of the drinking water law needed to reflect on their work in partnership with a European country, Finland was their natural choice of contact. The study tour was funded by OSCE and organized in cooperation with UNDP.

Clear expectations to benchmark the drinking water law

Due to the group’s profound insight into the matter, their expectations were clear from the beginning. This was not to be a sightseeing tour. The group consisted of six members from different ministries, institutions and organizations. The group was chaired by Mr. Anatoliy Kholmatov, the former Head of Science and Technology of the Ministry of Melioration and Water Management and a highly experienced water sector professional.

Elements of securing healthy drinking water

Tajik legislation differs from that in Finland as sectoral legislation is more typical in Finland. However, this did not disturb mutual learning since the essential elements relating to drinking water are the same: Protection of water sources, producing and distributing drinking water, taking measures that guarantee the water quality, managing the water services and fees, treating the water used and monitoring the entire cycle of water.

Specific points of interest like WSP

The working group was eager to ask questions and the study method was very interactive. Points of interest were for example financing and funding water services, and risk based control of water utilities. The latter is widely known as Water Safety Planning (WSP), an iterative process to identify and minimize risks to water quality. This principle has been in Finnish legislation since 1994 and extensive amount of work has been done to develop and implement it, and WSP is a tool to clarify it. Interest in WSP in Tajikistan is high due to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) promotive work. The mission was to evaluate how Finland implements WSP.

Visit at Solbacka
Photo by Heikki Nykyri

Kirkkonummi as the highlight of the tour

The highlight of the study tour was the field trip to Kirkkonummi where the group was welcomed by the water utility Solbacka. The water utility is small one, 31 houses are connected to the water and wastewater network. The Chairman of the utility presented their work – construction, financing, fees, operation, water quality monitoring and water safety planning. The study group was pleased to see a typical, rural example of well-functioning water services. Read more from local newspaper (in Finnish).


It turned out that the final proposal of the drinking water law was passed on to the Tajik parliament after the study tour in late December 2017 - with a WSP requirement. The legislative process is still in progress, but it is a significant move towards including risk assessment requirements in the law.


FinWater WEI II

  • The Water Management Programme in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, FinWaterWEI II, is implemented in 2014–2018.
  • The overall objective of FinWaterWEI II is to enhance water security in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the related region through equitable and integrated management of water resources. The Programme aims at reducing waterrelated risks by supporting the countries in managing their national and international water resources in a balanced, equitable and integrated manner. It promotes a rights-based approach to water use and water management.
  • Programme supports 13 individual projects, implemented by UNECE, UN Women, OECD, WHO, Aga Khan Foundation, Oxfam and SYKE with local partners the Committee of Environmental Protection under the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and State Agency of Environment Protection and Forestry under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (SAEPF).
  • The total budget reserved for FinWaterWEI II is 7,75 M€. The financing for the Programme comes from the Finnish Development Assistance budget / the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. FinWaterWEI II is administered by the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE .
Published 2018-06-12 at 14:33, updated 2019-02-15 at 13:19

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