Switzerland is involved in water management, good governance and sustainable economic development programmes in the three Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It encourages measures to mitigate the impacts of climate change and supports regional cooperation.

Central Asia covers the territory of five countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, which gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, they have been developing at different speeds, although they face similar challenges, including reduced access to public decision-making and problems in establishing a diversified economy. Climate change will also have a significant impact on water supplies within the region. Switzerland is committed to peace, prosperity and social cohesion in Central Asia and supports projects to mitigate the impacts of climate change. It is guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the UN 2030 Agenda.

Water infrastructure and climate change

Sustainable management of a precious commodity

Switzerland supports the Central Asian countries in taking joint, science-based action to advance climate-resilient, sustainable and inclusive approaches to managing scarce water resources. It is also essential that communities are protected from natural disasters and have access to drinking water and sewage systems. In order to achieve this, Switzerland supports sustainable planning, the use of river basins and national legislation that incorporates the principle of integrated water resources management (IWRM). It also promotes cross-border cooperation on water management and water diplomacy.

Water – A vital resource under threat

Good governance, human rights and public services

Inclusive good governance

The national and political contexts of the Central Asian states vary significantly. Switzerland therefore maintains a diversified good governance portfolio. In works to ensure that people in the three countries in which it is active have a stake in public decisions affecting them, are aware of their rights, and are able to express their opinions. Switzerland also helps local authorities to make their work more effective and transparent and assists ethnic minorities and other groups that are particularly vulnerable.

Advocacy and good governance

Sustainable economic development

Environmentally-friendly businesses and opportunities for all

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the Central Asian economies. Switzerland is helping the Central Asian countries to recover and build more resilient, inclusive economies. To this end, it is promoting reforms aimed at improving economic conditions, helping SMEs to create jobs, and establishing a responsible, inclusive and transparent financial sector. In addition, Switzerland supports training initiatives for workers in selected market sectors

Private Sector Development and financial services

Basic education and vocational skills development

Approach and partners

Switzerland has supported the reforms that have been under way in Central Asia since the early 1990s and is closely coordinating its activities with the project partners involved.

The Cooperation Strategy 2022–25 is being jointly implemented by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). 

Switzerland's key partners in Central Asia:

  • Local and international NGOs
  • Multilateral organisations such as the UNDP, development banks (EBRD, ADB) and the Bretton Woods institutions
  • Civil society organisations
  • National public and private sector partners


Current projects

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Climate Resilience Develoipment in Tajikistan

15.11.2023 - 13.11.2027

The  contribution  to  the HELVETAS project  aims  at building  resilience  of  livelihoods  of  the  rural communities  of  Khatlon  region,  vulnerable  to  climate  change.  The  population  and  particularly women  and  youth  will  engage  in  management,  regeneration  and  protection  of  their  natural resources and biodiversity while implementing disaster risk reduction measures. 

Human Rights Grants (HRG) program in Tajikistan

01.10.2023 - 30.11.2025

The Human Rights grants program will support local and international organizations working in Tajikistan on acute Human Rights issues. The program will provide cofunding opportunities to selected projects related to child rights, freedom of press, human rights in custody, prevention of gender-based violence and the rights of migrants/refugees.

Contr. to UNESCO media project

01.10.2023 - 30.09.2026

The project will strengthen citizen’s access to information, accountability and transparency of governmental institutions and enhance the quality of the media and information landscape in Uzbekistan. UNESCO as implementing partner has a solid partnership with the government and supports ongoing legislative reforms with expertise, ensuring alignment with international standards, capacity building for key government stakeholders (incl. judiciary, law enforcement bodies) and media competence of professionals.

Contribution to OHCHR capacity strenght

01.10.2023 - 31.12.2025

The project aims to strengthen the protection and promotion of human rights in Uzbekistan ensuring justice for victims of human rights abuses, enhancing civic space, integrating human rights principles into development and implementing UN Human Rights Mechanisms recommendation. Upon invitation by the President of Uzbekistan OHCHR has expanded its presence in the country. 

Central Asia Arts and Culture Programme 2.0. (CAACP 2.0.)

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2027

The objective of the Central Asia Arts and Culture Programme (CAACP) is to foster the further development of a vibrant and open art and culture scene that contributes to preserving freedom of expression and enhancing social cohesion in the region. The CAACP offers cultural institutions and artists opportunities to create a platform that enables people, including left-behind groups, to address issues affecting their lives and contribute to positive social change.

Green Economy and Sustainable Private Sector Development

01.06.2023 - 31.05.2026

Project supports transition towards green economy, in particular in tourism and agriculture sectors. With the generous financial support provided by the Swiss and German Governments as well as the European Union (joined for the first time as co-donor), international implementing agency (GIZ) will address challenges in above sectors through improved policy framework in green economy and practices. Transforming economy towards sustainability will also create new and decent jobs.

Climate-sensitive Water Resources Management in Central Asia

01.06.2023 - 31.05.2027

The Climate Sensitive Water Resources Management in Central Asia project strengthens national and regional organisations responsible for water resource management in Central Asia to implement climate-sensitive integrated water resources management in a regionally coordinated manner. Switzerland will contribute to this initiative which is designed in the frame of the German led, GIZ implemented Green Central Asia High-Level Platform. 

Rural Communities’ Disaster Risks and Climate Change Resilience (Phase 2)

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2027

In the natural disasters prone Kyrgyzstan, most vulnerable are the rural communities. Within its periodic Country Strategic Plans, the UN World Food Programme strengthens their disaster risk reduction capacities and climate change resilience. Switzerland has been successfully supporting these endeavours in 2022, supporting resilience and food security of the most vulnerable communities and extends the support to the same direction for 2023-2027.

Improving Community Resilience through Sustainable Livelihoods in the Rasht Valley, Tajikistan

01.12.2022 - 30.11.2027

The contribution to the Aga Khan Foundation project aims at improving the resilience of livelihoods of the remote rural communities of Rasht valley, vulnerable to climate change. The local population will get equitable access to water and sanitation and childcare services. The population and particularly women will get income generation opportunities and engage in management, regeneration and protection of their natural resources while adopting disaster risk reduction measures and practices.

Contribution to non-state local governance actors

15.11.2022 - 31.12.2026

The project is a contribution to and a strategic partnership with the Coalition of three major non-state actors in the promotion and strengthening of local governance in Kyrgyzstan. They will be financially and technically capacitated and empowered to play their role in advancing local democracy and local governance for the benefit of people in Kyrgyzstan. The partnership builds on over 10 years of Swiss support in local governance in Kyrgyzstan as well as on ownership by the government.

Water Use Permits in Kyrgyzstan (WUP KG)

01.09.2022 - 30.06.2028

Excessive water use leads to the depletion and pollution of this vital resource. In a significant paradigm shift, the Kyrgyz authorities are planning to enhance the protection of water resources by promoting a rational use through strong regulatory functions. Switzerland is partnering with the Kyrgyz authorities in the establishment and the institutionalization of such functions, by supporting the introduction of a water use permitting system that will enable a proper supervision of quantity and quality parameters.

Adaptive and Resilient Communities in their Habitat (ARCH)

01.09.2022 - 31.08.2026

The project aims at supporting the remote mountainous communities of Pamirs and authorities in developing resilient habitat and improving people's livelihoods in Tajikistan. This will be achieved through reducing vulnerabilities to natural hazards while strengthening participative disaster risk governance as well as joint definition and implementation of relevant risk reduction measures.

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