Tajik Dialogue Reconstituted
A National Dialogue on the Future Development of Tajikistan:
How to promote the sustainability of the political, economic, and social development of Tajikistan?
A project of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue (IISD) in collaboration with the International Center for Strategic and Political Studies and the Public Committee for the Promotion of Democratic Processes (PCDP)
Project Description
This project proposes reconstitution of the Inter-Tajik Dialogue in 2006-2007 to serve as what we would call a “national dialogue on the future development of Tajikistan.” The Inter-Tajik Dialogue (ITD) was initiated in March 1993 as an unofficial dialogue intervention to deal with the ongoing Tajik civil war. ITD involved a core of ten to fourteen influential citizens of Tajikistan divided among the different political factions. A third-party team of 3 Americans and 3 Russians moderated the discussions. The meetings were alternatively chaired by the Russian and American co-chairs. In the beginning, the dialogue formed a unique channel of communication between the government and the opposition. ITD was suspended in 2003.
Using the process of Sustained Dialogue, we propose holding four meetings over the next sixteen months involving representatives of the major political and civic stakeholder groups in Tajikistan. These dialogues will create a space where these stakeholders discuss in a systematic way the problems facing Tajikistan today and design proposals for dealing with these problems, and convey to the relevant authorities the proposals from the dialogue. The group will publish its findings and recommendations in a report to be released in Tajikistan and distributed to international organizations.
Tajikistan is coming again to a crossroads in its political life. There is a need for a sustained dialogue space involving the public opinion leaders in Tajikistan to discuss where Tajikistan is in its political and socio-economic development, and to discuss suggestions for future development in order to ensure the irreversibility of the ongoing peace-building process in the country.
Of the five Central Asian states, one might forecast the future in Tajikistan in terms of three political models:
-         First is the Uzbek model in which, on its present trajectory of growing Islamic extremism and regime repression, a violent climax seems highly likely because of the strategy and tenacity of the strongman leader. Turkmenistan may ultimately be in this category along a longer timeline.
-         Second is the Kyrgyz model of relatively quick and relatively peaceful regime change but with uncertainty about whether there has been enough civil society and political development to construct a more broadly based government.
-         Third is the question mark --- whether Tajikistan, already having experienced a vicious civil war which most people do not want to repeat, having achieved a good degree of political stability and economic growth, could plot a course of enough gradual peaceful change to dilute extremism and slowly broaden political, social, and economic engagement and make the peace process irreversible.
We are exploring the possibility of working with The United Nations Tajikistan Office of Peace-Building (UNTOP) on this initiative. UNTOP will serve as the dialogue convenor while IISD and the Russian Center will be in charge of moderating and conducting the dialogue process. PCDP and UNTOP will be in charge of identifying and inviting the dialogue participants.
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