August 22, 2002
In this issue:
In this issue:
- UN Under-Secretary-General visits Bishkek
- Media trip to Jalal-Abad and Osh oblasts
UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR)
- Campaign of distributing school kits to Chechen children
- Training in the Centre for Children’s Social Adaptation
In this issue:
The Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs, Jayantha Dhanapala has completed his two-day visit to Kyrgyzstan within his tour of Russia and the five Central Asian nations.
The key purpose of this trip authorized by the Secretary-General is to undertake consultations at a senior political level on the issue of the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zone encompassing the five republics in Central Asia, a goal supported in principle by all the respective countries. The Under-Secretary-General reviewed the prospects for establishing such a zone in the near future, in advance of a trip to the region by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in October this year.
The initiative to set up the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone was voiced by the leaders of all countries of the region in their Almaty Declaration in February 1997. Since then the UN Department for Disarmament has provided assistance in drafting a treaty and arranging expert meetings.
On 19 August, the Under-Secretary-General met with the Kyrgyz Prime Minister Nikolay Tanayev, Minister of Foreign Affairs Askar Aitmatov and Minister of Defense Esen Topoyev. As Mr. Dhanapala conveyed to his interlocutors in Bishkek, the drafting of the treaty is in its final stage. The establishment of such a zone in Central Asia would be a significant accomplishment for the states of the region and the United Nations.
Prime Minister Tanayev said that creating a nuclear-free zone "would contribute to profound positive shifts in relations between states both at the sub-regional level and at the level of bilateral relationships between countries of Central Asia." The negotiators exchanged views on issues of use of light weapons and small arms in the Kyrgyz military and on the importance of keeping the existing mode of access to information on the development of the republic's armed forces.
The government officials informed Mr. Dhanapala of a new Kyrgyzstan's initiative to proclaim the Year of Kyrgyz Statehood in 2003.
During the entire visit, the Under-Secretary-General was accompanied by James Lynch, Acting UN Resident Coordinator and Randy Rydell, Senior Political Affairs Officer from the Department. A meeting with UN Agencies and major donors was arranged on 20 August before a major news conference was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Contact: Arkady Divinsky, Assistant to UN Resident Coordinator. Phone: (996 312) 61 12 13; e-mail:
In accordance with the established tradition of holding regular mass media trips to regions, 10-14 August the four days trip to Jalal-Abad and Osh oblasts was organized for a team of local journalists and reporters representing various newspapers, two TV channels and the National radio. The objective of the trip was to demonstrate to journalists the success of UN projects in the field with visits to UNDP, UNHCR and IOM projects implementation sites. A freelance international journalist also participated in the trip. The mission headed by David Akopyan, UNDP Resident Representative a.i., and comprised of Tara Mauriello, Programme Associate from UNDP RBEC in New York, Olga Grebennikova, Public Affairs Officer and Aynur Muhamedgalieva, PSU Associate, together with journalists visited a number of villages where the above-mentioned agencies are represented.
The trip started with showing the UNDP Poverty Alleviation Programme activities in Uch Terek and Toluk villages of Jalal-Abad oblast. SHGs members in those villages told about their micro crediting system, savings they made and plans for the future. The people from community had started their first project on road construction; and plan to implement other projects on infrastructure development in the village.
Next day the group was taken to Kyzyl Beyit village in Razan Sai. To get to the village they had to cross the water reservoir system by boats and then to follow the 8 km mountainous path. The village Kyzyl Beyit has about 30 households with no electricity and bridge. Journalists called the people living in Kyzyl beyit village as “Robinsons”. At the soviet times it had been one of the richest Soviet collective farms, which was famous with its goats. In 1998 Kurpsay water reservoir system separated that village from the main road. However, despite the village’s isolation, the UNDP Poverty Alleviation Programme is active assisting to create self-help groups. Thus, people from Kyzyl Beyit managed to receive and already pay back two micro credits.
The next stop during the trip was at Nooken AO, Kyzyl Ai village where Association of SHGs organized Yr-Kese ceremony, a national traditional concert. The idea of that initiative was to raise funds from the concert organized by the local people, i.e. the singers were the members of the SHGs living in that village. There were around 200 people there including children. Though the SHGs organized “Yr-Kese” for the first time, it was successful. Also, people there were very happy to have guests from UNDP on such occasion. The funds mobilised from that concert were distributed to the poorest families.
In Munduz village the journalists were demonstrated the school built by Aitoldu CBO under the UNDP Local Governance Programme. 12 women established CBO Aitoldu in 2000 and by now it has 28 women members. They produce national handicrafts creating jobs for unemployed women. Later they had AN opportunity to attend a series of UNDP trainings. Since the school in their village was in a very poor condition they mobilized funds to construct a new school. Thus, they prepared a project proposal and succeeded to receive funds from UNDP (about 30 percent), local authorities (30 percent) and local community managed to cover 40 percent of expenses. As a result, a new school with a big gym was built up. It is worth mentioning that the leader of Aitoldu CBO managed to mobilize for the village in total 8 millions soms. Now she is often involved as a trainer in other projects funded by international organizations.
On the 13 August, the UNHCR site was visited where the Mercy Corps representative provided a guided tour to Dedek-Bubu village of Nookat rayon where refugees from Tajikistan, ethnic Kyrgyz people, live. UNHCR together with Mercy Corps has joint micro grant projects in those villages where Mercy Corps has established its projects implementation mechanisms. The journalists could see the mini-mill provided by UNHCR to the leader of the refugees’ community on a micro credit basis. Other refugees also received credits for one year to buy cattle. People there mostly keep goats since they consider goats to be more profitable. When refugees had just come in 1996-98 the local authorities gave them the land that had never been cultivated before. But now they manage to cultivate tobacco, corn and other crops.
The same day IOM representatives conducted the press conference in Osh to brief the journalists on the new project on Counter-Trafficking hotline: STOP! TRAFFIC! launched 18 July 2002. Within the above mentioned project two telephone hotlines were established in Bishkek and Osh aimed to serve as a preventive mechanism for potential victims of traffickers. The hotline in Osh will provide timely and anonymous access to the necessary information on visa requirements and employment arrangements in other countries.
Contact: UNDP Public Relations and Information Management Unit. Phone: (996 312) 61 12 13; e-mail:
UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR)
As the part of the overall strategy to assist asylum seekers from Chechnya, on 16 August UNHCR together with its implementing partner, Adilet Legal Clinic, held a campaign of distributing school kits to Chechen children. In Kyrgyzstan the refugee children from war-torn Chechnya could not attend school due to lack of financial means; and now forty school age children received kits to help them to start the school year. The grant component of the project on assisting refugee children also includes purchase of clothing and shoes. For some of the children, it would be their first time at school, and they would remember that day for many years ahead.
Currently the UN Refugee Agency is in close cooperation with Government authorities in terms of refugees’ rights protection, rendering them legal support. UNHCR is assisting 448 registered Chechen asylum seekers to start to attend school, get vocational training and jobs and ease their stay in Kyrgyzstan. But most important is that UNHCR helps those left without home to feel that they are not forgotten and taken care of.
Contact: James Lynch, Head of UNHCR Liaison Office, UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Phone: (996 312) 61 12 64, 61 12 65; e-mail:
Training in the Centre for Children’s Social Adaptation. In comparison with other problems, the problem of street children is new for Kyrgyzstan. But even during the short period of time this issue has become thrilling and important for the country. Every day more and more children come to the city from different parts of the country hoping to find something to eat. Who are they? What makes them leave their homes, to spend nights in cellars and to beg and steal?
These and other problems of street children are being addressed by a UNOPS funded project, which is being implemented by EveryChild (UK), Pertinax Group (Norway) and Mayor’s Office (Bishkek).
Almost all activities of the project are in direct connection with the Centre of Children’s Social Adaptation in Jal micro-district. It has become a fully joint project, rather than outside experts coming in and distilling knowledge to the Centre. The main role of EveryChild in this project is to provide a wide-ranging training programme to the staff of the Centre and to help them obtain skills and knowledge to work with street children. Two long-term trainers and other qualified experts have worked with the staff to build know- how using a variety of methods; selected seminars and trainings, study tours and daily consultancy, supervision and support.
Partnership and cooperation is also a crucial aspect of the project to provide better services for children. The project has co-ordinated between the Centre, Bishkek Mayor’s Office, Raion Administrations, Commissions on Minor’s Affairs, NGOs and with families. To cascade the process of work, staff of the Centre have conducted a range of trainings and seminars for key partners, including teachers and parents. It is essential that there is full participation in planning, implementation and assessment of activities by Centre staff and other key stakeholders.
The Centre is intended for Temporary Care only. Strategies have been created to avoid long-term institutionalisation of children and to enable the children to be reintegrated into a family (their own or trustee) whilst the problems of families are being solved so that they can take care of their children. The project is also looking at developing fostering services. Procedures and practices must be developed which ensure that the children are supported to live in a family environment, which is in line with UN Convention of Rights of the Child.
There is a growing movement in Kyrgyzstan amongst the Government and NGOs to try and move away from an institutional model of childcare and towards community based services. The Centre’s ambition is to be the Centre of Excellence in this movement.
Contact: Evelyn Granville-Ross, EveryChild Kyrgyzstan. Phone: (996 312) 611677; e-mail: