Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan)

Switzerland supports water resource management in all Central Asian states. In Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland also focuses on the priority areas health, public sector reforms and private sector development. Its efforts in Tajikistan target health, the rule of law, access to drinking water and private-sector development. In Uzbekistan, Swiss support focuses on access to drinking water and vocational education and training.

Map of the region Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan)

In Central Asia, a heterogeneous region with substantial income inequalities, poverty is widespread.  Important issues requiring regional solutions, such as water resource management, remain unresolved.

Labour migration, especially to Russia, is high. Many families rely on remittances as a source of income. Migration is further fuelled by the lack of investment in infrastructure, education and health services and the slow progress in reducing corruption and ensuring the rule of law and human rights are respected.

Switzerland’s cooperation with Central Asia promotes peaceful social and economic transition, through projects that support public and private institutions to deliver better services equitably and effectively. Gender equality, conflict-sensitive program management, and governance are themes that cut across all of Switzerland’s activities in Central Asia.

Regional water resource management programme

The management of water and its various uses (irrigation, electricity production, drinking water, etc.) has led to tensions between Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The disputes centre on the Ferghana valley in particular, which all three countries share.  The valley accounts for one third of all Central Asia’s agricultural production.

Switzerland's programme in the region aims to reduce water-related conflicts and disasters by assisting an integrated, transparent and needs-based management of water resources.  Switzerland promotes dialogue among all affected parties, institutional water management reforms, increased water-management efficiency and productivity, strategic data management and disaster risk reduction.

Water – A vital resource under threat

Kyrgyzstan programme

Good governance and improved efficiency in the public sector and the implementation of reforms to promote the private sector remain challenges in Kyrgyzstan.  Switzerland therefore supports health sector reforms to ensure equitable access and to improve the quality of health services to rural communities. It supports public sector reforms to improve service delivery and the efficient use of public resources, in particular by encouraging targeted infrastructure investments in water and energy.

Switzerland's programme also helps strengthen the private sector by promoting a business-friendly environment and supporting business development. In rural areas, the focus is on creating job opportunities for young people and on vocational education and training.

Advocacy and Good Governance

Private Sector Development and financial services

Tajikistan programme

Tajikistan is one of the poorest countries in Central Asia, largely due to the on-going effects of the country’s civil war in the 1990s that destroyed much of the already limited social and economic infrastructure. Switzerland supports the health sector reform, which seeks to transform the costly health system inherited from the Soviet era into a more accessible and affordable family medicine-based system, with a focus on preventive medicine.

To strengthen the rule of law, Switzerland is encouraging the development of a legal system that is more accessible, in particular to vulnerable people, and more responsive to citizens’ needs. Measures focus in particular on legal aid and the implementation of the law on domestic violence.

Thanks to Switzerland, some 300,000 city dwellers and 70,000 people in rural areas will enjoy access to drinking water and sanitation by the end of 2015. Switzerland provides financial and technical assistance to water authorities and communities to build and manage decentralised drinking water systems and to conduct hygiene awareness campaigns.

In the private sector, Switzerland is helping to create a more business-friendly environment by reducing red tape, supporting the development of SMEs and helping textile companies export their products.

Health – A prerequisite for development

Uzbekistan programme

According to official statistics, only 62 % of Uzbekistan's rural population has access to drinking water. Switzerland supports the development of infrastructure for urban and rural water supply and sanitation systems benefitting some 300,000 people in the Ferghana Valley and Syrdarya province, applying a community-based management approach.  In addition, the programme targets institutional reform. Another priority is vocational education and training, seeking to reform vocational curricula for water and sanitation professions and to better equip vocational colleges.

Basic education and vocational training

Water – A vital resource under threat

Start in the early 1990s

Switzerland has been supporting the transition processes in the Central Asia region since the early 1990s. In 1992, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan joined the Swiss-led constituency in the Bretton Woods Institutions; their membership creates a strong tie between the region and Switzerland. As the countries of Central Asia are diverse, development strategies and partnerships have to be adapted to the specific country contexts and thus vary considerably from country to country.

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

The joint Swiss cooperation strategy in Central Asia builds on synergies between the technical and economic assistance provided by the SDC and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

SECO Engagement in Tajikistan

SECO Engagement in Kyrgyzstan

Human Security Divison of the FDFA

The human rights programme launched in 2010 by the Human Security Division complements the SDC programme on the rule of law.

Human rights and human security


Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 34

Maximum cooperation needed to manage glacier melt in Central Asia

Two men working with specialist equipment on a glacier.

01.05.2017 - 31.12.2020

How to meet the needs of Central Asia’s 68 million inhabitants for water while respecting the glaciers overlooking Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan? The SDC’s project is building on voluntary regional cooperation and rigorous scientific monitoring of the changes taking place in the glaciers.

Country/region Period Budget
Central Asia

01.05.2017 - 31.12.2020

CHF 1'200'000

Strengthening Voice and Accountability in Kyrgyzstan

Five young girls in yellow costumes at the opening ceremony of the new kindergarten

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2019

Decentralisation is one of the priorities of the Kyrgyz government in power since 2012. In line with this, the main goal of this project is to strengthen the ability of citizens to participate in the budget process in their municipality, and to ensure that local governments use their funds adequately for public services.

Country/region Period Budget

01.04.2015 - 31.03.2019

CHF 4'720'000

Maximum cooperation needed to manage glacier melt in Central Asia

Two men working with specialist equipment on a glacier.

01.09.2014 - 31.12.2020

How to meet the needs of Central Asia’s 68 million inhabitants for water while respecting the glaciers overlooking Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan? The SDC’s project is building on voluntary regional cooperation and rigorous scientific monitoring of the changes taking place in the glaciers.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Central Asia
Water diplomacy and security
Integrated water resource management (watershed)
Water economics (governance, finance, private sector)

01.09.2014 - 31.12.2020

CHF 4'800'000

Rural Water Supply and Sanitation in the Ferghana Valley

boys washing their hands

01.01.2013 - 30.06.2018

Rural areas in Uzbekistan lack an adequate supply of clean water.  A large proportion of Uzbekistan's rural population of 10 million people suffer from diseases caused by unclean water. A project funded by the SDC is helping people in rural areas help themselves. Villagers are learning how to organise their water supply themselves.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Drinking water and basic sanitation (WASH - Water for people)
Water resources policy and advocacy
Water economics (governance, finance, private sector)

01.01.2013 - 30.06.2018

CHF 6'157'000

Medical Education Reforms in Kyrgyzstan

01.05.2017 - 30.04.2021

Although health sector reforms have prioritised family medicine, the medical education system continues to prepare narrow specialists, leading to a shortage of family doctors mainly in rural areas. The Ministry of Health initiated the medical education reforms with focus on family doctors specialty at pregraduate level and compulsory postgraduate clinical practice in the regions. Phase II of the project will finalize the medical education reform implementation process with focus on postgraduate and continuous medical education.

Enhancing Primary Health Care Services in Tajikistan

01.04.2017 - 31.03.2021

Health indicators in Tajikistan are among the poorest in Central Asia. The health system suffers from poor quality of health care services, chronic underfunding, and the implementation of the ongoing reforms is slow. The SDC project supports these reforms by increasing the planning and management capacities of health institutions at all levels, investing in basic rehabilitation of infrastructure, and by empowering the population to take responsibility for their own health and to hold the state accountable.

Health Care Waste Management in Kyrgyz Hospitals

01.04.2017 - 31.05.2019

Hospital acquired infections are a serious burden affecting the quality and safety of medical care in Kyrgyzstan. In spite of the Ministry of Health showing a strong support to infection prevention control, the hospital acquired infections‘ prevalence is still high due to bw capacities and limited resources. The project aims at improving the quality of care based on pibots‘ experience (since 2008) through institutionalisation, standardization and full integration of all infection control interventions into the medical system.

Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation Management in Tajikistan

01.03.2017 - 28.02.2021

Tajikistan is rich in water resources. However, drinking water is hardly accessible for the rural population or is of inadequate quality. Waterborne diseases are widespread and negatively influence population‘s health. Since a decade Switzerland is assisting the country to improve water governance both at community and policy levels. This project will improve access to and quality of drinking water and sanitation for 70000 people, living in isolated mountainous areas of Eastern Tajikistan.

Central Asia : Water Accountability in Transboundary Chu and Talas River Basins

15.12.2016 - 31.12.2020

Effective water resources management requires data management capacities for proper decision-making at different scales. In this context, a modern, Multi-Level Distributed Water Information Systems is a management instrument that provides stakeholders’ gateways for judicious and sustainable water resources management. The project is aiming at introducing such a modern management information system in transboundary Chu and Talas river basins to improve water accountability and transparency.

Access to Justice in Tajikistan

01.12.2016 - 30.11.2020

Through this project, Switzerland will accompany the Government in realizing a state system providing free legal aid, which will allow the vulnerable (poor) individuals in Tajikistan to better protect their rights and in particular to claim various benefits (e.g. pensions, child allowances). This system will replace the current NGO provided legal aid services. A space for dialogue between civil society and state authorities will also be preserved and will contribute to addressing further legal challenges faced by the population.

Prevention of Domestic Violence in Tajikistan

01.10.2016 - 30.09.2019

Domestic violence is widespread in Tajik society (70% of women experience domestic violence in their life). Despite the adoption of the law on domestic violence in 2013, the Government lacks coordinated mechanisms for its implementation. In the exit phase the project will shift from NGO based service provision towards supporting the state coordination mechanisms, the establishment of an effective public referral system providing services to the victims, and public awareness activities with a focus on contributing to behavioural changes.

UNDP - Strengthening Disaster Risk Governance in Tajikistan (SDRGT)

01.08.2016 - 31.07.2019

Due to frequent occurrence of natural disasters the Government has endorsed number of laws and regulations, and developed relevant structure for DRM. However, the disaster risk governance requires further improvement. The project will assist the Government to expand approaches to risk governance at the national level involving the Government, civil society and the international community and improving local risk governance using risk assessments and risk informed land use planning targeting land owners and users.

Object 1 – 12 of 34