April 04, 2003
In this issue:
UNITED NATIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN
- UN Resident Coordinator Visited Osh
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP)
- Initiative of the Preventive Development Programme: volleyball matches and “Friendship Festival”
- Training seminar on Gender Mainstreaming into State Governance
- UNDP Poverty Alleviation and Decentralization Programmes continue their joint activities on strengthening of the civil society organizations
UN OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME (UNODC)
- Training for Customs Officers held in Almaty
- The press conference organized by the UNODC jointly with the State Commission on Drug Control
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION
- Premier of the social drama staged within the framework of Public Information Campaign against trafficking
COUNTRY IN GENERAL
UNITED NATIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN
24 to 26 March Mr. Jerzy Skuratowicz, the UN Resident Coordinator had a three days’ visit to Osh. On 24 March he met with the UN and UNDP personnel operating in the South of Kyrgyzstan. At the meeting they discussed the ways of optimization of the UNDP programmes further implementation in accordance with the recommendations of the recent UNDP evaluation mission held in February 2003.
During his meetings with UNDP Preventive Development, Poverty Alleviation and Decentralization programmes’ field staff, Mr. Skuratowicz was briefed on the UNDP activities in the South of Kyrgyzstan. Later he had a field trip to project sites at Mady and Tajikabad villages. In Uch – Korgon Aiyl Okmotu (Kadamjai rayon) he met with Aiyl Okmotu head, visited Kara- Kyshtak –Boz Canal, and in Kadamjai rayon met with Preventive Development project staff. He also visited the cross border village in Kadamjai rayon, where local people after solving their problems with drinking water renamed their village to “UNDP village”.
On 25 March Mr. Skuratowicz together with 30 representatives of community driven grass roots projects, operating in the South of Kyrgyzstan participated at the workshop "Community Driven Projects. Grass – Roots Approach" initiated by the USAID representative in Osh M. Alymkulova and UN Liaison Officer A. Khanzhin. Opening the workshop, the UN Resident Coordinator highlighted in his speech that every programme had its own mandate, policy, and budget but this all did not exclude collaboration and it was significant to facilitate partnerships and collaboration between different organizations. He noted that it was also important to exchange information at different levels.
Recognizing the significant contribution each of the programmes make to the conflict prevention mitigation, initiating social mobilization for problems solving and improving the quality of life of local citizens, it was important to meet and discuss challenges met and define strategy for future mutual collaboration. This major organizational meeting was expected to boost cooperation between different organizations and determine areas where our joint intervention is mostly needed.
It is very important that at the meeting there were representatives of organisations not only from Kyrgyzstan, but also some of the international agencies from other countries, for instance, the Swiss Agency For Development Cooperation representatives based in Uzbekistan.
As the result of the meeting it was decided to create a database for sharing information and having internal coordination and Counterpart Consortium would be responsible for this task. Also, it was proposed to have a contact person among local authorities for coordination of activities.
Contact: Andrei Khanzhin, UN Liaison Officer in South of Kyrgyzstan. Phone: (996 3222) 5 58 66, mobile: (0517) 75 08 67. Email:
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP)
On the initiative of UNDP Preventive Development Programme and with local administrations’ support, Nooruz, the traditional spring holiday celebrated in Central Asia turned into Friendship Festival in the South of Kyrgyzstan this year.
On March 18 - 21, in several Osh oblast districts a number of volleyball games and the “Friendship among Nations” Tournament were held. 48 teams, including 10 women teams, participated in volleyball games. More then 2 thousand fans, arriving from numerous villages, supported their teams. Tournament winners got diplomas, money prizes and consolation prizes.
The Tournament’s Grand Prix for participants, as well as for grateful audience was the fact that the event itself demonstrated once again how important it was to maintain peace and social harmony in this vulnerable region of Kyrgyzstan, bringing people together. In this part of the country, along with high level of population density, the quility of life is extremely low as it had always been before. Everyday problems are being deteriorated with lack of drinking water, unemployment, and border conflicts, which are common for the region.
The organized tournaments demonstrated for local administrations and population that sport is the most effective way for public diplomacy when all discrepancies were forgotten and the teams’ athletic shape, as well as ability to play volleyball was moved to the first place.
Volleyball was always popular in Kyrgyzstan, particularly in rural areas. It is interesting that in the framework of other UNDP programs in Kyrgyzstan that are poverty alleviation and decentralization programmes, when people identify priorities in the development of rural areas they advance an idea of building sport halls. The villagers say that young generation in villages should go in for sport; it always brings people together and helps to prevent drug and alcohol consumption. But in the South it is also an effective way for preventing conflicts.
«I am an ardent volleyball fan, but have not enjoyed a game so much for a long time. I am sure now that we have to pay much more attention for sport development in the region. Not just for the sake of population’s health, but mainly for strengthening of friendship, mutual understanding, and mutual esteem between different nations» -- Kara-Kulja region administration head Rashid Tajibaev said.
“The next tournament we will conduct in the middle of April, and the winners will participate in the regional tournament, which we are planning to organize jointly with UNDP Preventive Development Program in May” -- Rashid Tajibaev said.
Representatives of 34 rural administrations took part in Friendship among Nations tournament, which was organized on March 21 on the open playground in Aravan region, Osh oblast. The jury composed of representatives of different nationalities, local administrations and international organizations representatives, as well as of audience, mainly young people, evaluated the plays and selected the best costume, the best performance of Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Tajik, Turkish, and Azerbaijan songs and dances.
“We are different and we have to respect other nations’ culture, customs, traditions, and values. In order to keep peace and harmony we also should know each other as better as possible” – Friendship among Nations tournament’s participant Irsalat Zikirova says.
Note: UNDP Preventive Development Programme’s implementation in the South of Kyrgyzstan started in 2000 in Batken oblast. Besides an effectively working system of conflict prevention at the early stage, the programme helps people to join public organizations and supports them in implementing various infrastructure projects aimed at the social tension reduction and conflict prevention during their social tasks implementation. Conducting sports and cultural activities is one of the new ways of the programme’s activity, which since the mid-2002 is covering the entire South of Kyrgyzstan. The first volleyball competition was organized in Batken on May 2002. 12 teams, including teams from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, participated in it.
Contact: Abdraim Jorokulov, Regional Coordinator of the UNDP Preventive Development Programme under Local Governance Programme. Tel.: (996 312) 5 78 37, 5 57 13; e-mail:
On 27 March more than forty representatives of Chuy oblast government structures took part at the training seminar on Gender Mainstreaming into State Governance. The seminar was organized and held by the representatives of the Secretariat of the National Council on Women, Family and Gender Development and of the UNDP Social Governance Programme Gender Component.
The seminar was aimed at increasing awareness of the participants about the gender planning methods and the ways of gender mainstreaming into each specific sphere of the state governance as per the National Action Plan for Gender Equality of the Kyrgyz Republic for 2002-2006. The training programme included the development of the concrete recommendations for gender planning and reporting for all sectors of Chuy oblast government structures: state administration, education department, vocational training center, and finance department. Within the nearest future similar training seminars will be held for the representatives of the government structures of the other oblasts.
Contact: Ainura Kypchakbaeva, Cluster Task Manager; UNDP Social Governance Programme. Phone: (996 312) 66 38 85, 66 04 18; e-mail:
UNDP Poverty Alleviation and Decentralization Programmes continue their joint activities on strengthening civil society organizations. In March there were actions held to direct all civil society’s, population’s and local administrations’ efforts to effectively solve social problems and to together search for the ways how to alleviate poverty.
On the initiative of Aibek NGO in mid-March the round table was held where NGO activists agreed together with UNVs to visit remote villages and tell local people about the advantages of the joint actions inspiring them to unite into the local community associations. It was decided also to arrange and design stands with visual materials to provide villagers with information about various NGOs’ and local authorities activities as well as about international organizations’ projects.
With the support of UNDP programmes, Aksy village administration and Aibek NGO civil society organizations, community based organizations and self-help groups made a presentation on their activities and their accumulated experience. Many NGOs showed the results of their work – products and stands with pictures.
“After the collapse of the Soviet Union poverty and many other problems alienated villagers from each other, we even stopped to greet each other, - says G. Dobulbekova, a member of the self-help group from the Zhuzumzhan village of Karasu village council. – But with the UNDP presence in the village everything has changed. This happened because they helped us to unite, and having united we realized that together we could do much more. Our pessimism has disappeared and we got confidence in our strength. We started to believe in future.”
The Programme on Decentralization and Poverty Alleviation operate in Aksy rayon since 1998. For instance, since then the Decentralization Programme has covered 15 villages with 25 social infrastructure projects implemented by 46 CBOs. The total costs of the projects are $35,558. As for the economic projects, the Local Development Fund established and successfully runs 7 economic projects implemented by 15 CBOs. Since 2002 the Preventive Development Programme is present in Jalal-Abad oblast, as well as in Aksy rayon.
Contact: Ainura Kypchakbaeva, Cluster Task Manager; UNDP Social Governance Programme. Phone: (996 312) 66 38 85, 66 04 18; e-mail: or Anara Salamatova, Cluster Task Manager; UNDP local governance Programme. Phone: (996 312) 66 11 76, 66 48 64; e-mail:
UN OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME (UNODC)
On March 24 – 28, 2003, the UN ODC conducted training in Almaty for the Customs officers. The “Train the Trainer” course was aimed at selection and training of customs officers, who would be able to train their fellow officers at check points and drug combat units. Among 46 officers from all over the Central Asia, total of nine officers from the Kyrgyz Republic were trained in theory and practices of the precursor chemical control, drug search technique, profiling, controlled deliveries and training methods.
Instructors were represented by the Deputy Secretary of the INCB (International Narcotics Control Board), Mr. Akiro Fudjino, Senior Customs Officers from the U.K. and India, “Precursor Control in Central Asia“ Regional Project Coordinator Mr. Ian Bain and Ms. Iphigenia Naidis, officer of the UNDCP Scientific and Research Section in Vienna. Training Program also included presentations made by the UNODC’s National Programme Officers from the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan and the Representative of the Russian Customs.
It has been stated by the participants of the training, that due to the lack of the adequate knowledge, expertise and equipment, precursor control measures in Central Asia are not as strict as they should be. This training is a part of the overall UNODC’s strategy: “No chemicals, No drugs”, and is the first in series of such trainings for drug and precursor law enforcement officers of Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia.
On 3 of April the press conference organized by the UNODC jointly with the State Commission on Drug Control under the government of the Kyrgyz Republic was held in conference hall of the UN House.
UNODC’s National Coordinator in Kyrgyzstan Mr. Baktiar Mambetov briefed on overall activities of the UNODC in Kyrgyzstan, illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse trends in Kyrgyzstan, and presented to the attention of mass media findings of the 2002 INCB (International Narcotics Control Board) report. He noted “drug situation in Kyrgyzstan is very much up to the situation in Afghanistan, main supplier of opium in the world, and according to the findings of 2002 INCB report the countries of the Central Asia, as well as Kyrgyzstan, continue to be used as transit countries, forming one of the primary routes for transporting illicit drugs from Afghanistan to the Russian Federation and then to the countries in Eastern and Western Europe.” The report marked the Central Asian country with the highest rate of drug abuse is Kyrgyzstan (1644 drug addicts per 100, 000 inhabitants). For comparison, in Kazakhstan there are 1,110 drug addicts per 100, 000 inhabitants. Moreover, approximately 80% of those who have contracted HIV are drug-injecting users. Mr. Kubatbekov, Chair of the SCDC, informed on results of the State Programme on countering illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse for the 2001-2003. He stressed the need of joint efforts with international community in the field of combating illicit drug trafficking and drug abuse in the country. At the moment main donors of drug control activities in the country are the UNODC, EU, US Embassy, and Soros Foundation. He also provided data and statistics on HIV/AIDS spread among injecting drug users, number of drug addicts, and drug-related crime.
UNODC and SCDC both representatives informed about the establishment of the Drug Control Agency in Kyrgyzstan in the near future.
Contact: Mr. Bakhtiar Mambetov, National Coordinator, UN ODC’s Sub-Office for the Kyrgyz Republic. Tel. +996 (312) 66 56 82, 66 05 22, e-mail:
INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION
Premier of "Tozok" ("The Hell") social drama took place at the puppet-show theater on March 28, which is being staged within the framework of Public Information Campaign to combat smuggling of and trafficking in human beings, implemented by the Mission of International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Kyrgyz Republic with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
This is the first unique play, which tells about the destiny of an ordinary girl, who goes abroad seeking a job opportunity and becomes a victim of smuggling and trafficking as a result of treason and deceit. Ms. Ozubekova, the famous dramatist of the Kyrgyz Republic, wrote the story based on real facts. The actors of the play are from the puppet-show theater. There were three-day premiers on March 28th, 29th and 30th in Bishkek and then 10 days of these performances are furthermore planned. Admission is free of charge. In the meanwhile, the premier of the play is planned in Osh Drama Theater in April this year.
In April and May, a mobile theater will trip around the country, the South and North. The idea of the mobile theater is to deliver the counter trafficking issue to the residents of the most remote places of Kyrgyzstan. The play is believed to be an efficient tool to address people at risks and consequences of illegal departure and employment abroad. After every play audiences are invited to have discussion sessions, where everyone can share thoughts on the problem. The various pamphlets and brochures will be disseminated among vulnerable group of population:
„h The warning pamphlet, describing risks and consequences of illegal departure and employment abroad;
„h The passport of safety for travelers: legal advises on documentations and visa procedures.
The Campaign aims to increase understanding of the dangers and consequences of trafficking among young, unemployed population and relevant authorities in an effort to discourage and prevent trafficking in persons in, from and through the Kyrgyz Republic.
For additional information, please contact Kakoli Ray, IOM Chief of Mission. Tel.: 65 17 30, 65 17 31, 65 17 32; e-mail: or Bakyt Omurzakov, IOM Bishkek press secretary. Tel.: 65 17 30.
COUNTRY IN GENERAL
FROM THE ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT
OVERVIEW: The president, Askar Akayev, is expected to see out his term in office--which ends in 2005--despite persistent popular discontent. Fiscal policy will be guided by the IMF's poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF), but tempered by the need to appease the population through rising social expenditure. As a result of the inherent contradictions in this approach, broader structural reform will continue to lag. Real GDP growth in 2003 is unlikely to reach the 5% envisaged by the government, given structural constraints and a slow recovery in the gold mining sector--the mainstay of the economy. Despite tight monetary policies carried out by the National Bank of the Kyrgyz Republic (NBKR, the central bank), the government's politically motivated fiscal policies will push inflation up. Inflationary pressures will be eased by strong external deficits, although the current-account deficit will narrow over the forecast period as gold mining output recovers.
DOMESTIC POLITICS: The political situation in the Kyrgyz Republic will remain unstable over the 2003-04 forecast period, driven by discontent over the policies pursued by the president, Askar Akayev, and speculation over his intentions once his second term of office comes to an end. Constitutionally forbidden to stand for a third term, Mr Akayev has made evasive statements as to his plans, and his support for constitutional amendments that would increase parliamentary powers has led to speculation that he intends to take the office of prime minister--leaving the presidency behind as a largely ceremonial post. Political instability will be particularly evident in 2004, as opposition groups seek to strengthen their position in preparation for the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2005.
POLICY TRENDS: The Kyrgyz government's economic policy will be driven by the need to comply with multilateral conditions for continued financial assistance--in particular, a three-year poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF) signed in December 2001 with the IMF. However, the government will also need to ease the hardships of the population-- especially in the politically restive southern regions. Since the most immediate means for poverty relief at the government's disposal is a loose fiscal policy, combining economic discipline and political necessity will be the government's key problem over the forecast period, and risks jeopardising the pace of broader economic and structural reform. Progress with regard to structural reforms and privatisation is likely to be slow.
Note: The contents of this abridged article may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.