April 16, 2004
In this issue:
UNITED NATIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN
- UN Journalist Club in the opinion of its members
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP)
- Social Mobilization: Making Together Life Better
- Support for Development of Parliamentarism in Kyrgyzstan
- Prevention of Conflicts: Action – Learning, Action – Research
UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF)
- Salt producers strengthen their role and commitment in prevention of iodine deficiency diseases in the Kyrgyz Republic
COUNTRY IN GENERAL
- Information on general situation in Kyrgyzstan
UNITED NATIONS IN KYRGYZSTAN
The UN Journalist Club: A Club Uniform Jacket? No! A Photo Camera and a Notebook...
By Jiapara Abdrakhmanova, UN Journalist Club Member (published in “The Internews” Newsletter on April 12, 2004)
“UN Journalist Club” has successfully functioned in Bishkek since last year. The representatives of the forth power of the Kyrgyz republic play the main role in the Media Forum launched under the blue banner of one of the most well-known organizations.
Creating of the journalist club was initiated by Mr. Jerzy Skuratowicz, UN Resident Coordinator in the Kyrgyz Republic. The novelty was very much welcomed by the local journalists. After all, the informal meetings with the journalists are presently attended by the heads of the UN agencies, government officials, parliament members, competent experts and the representatives of the non-governmental sector. Thus, the new topics for discussions are born during the officious meetings and the hottest news as well as the most burning problems of the country are discussed. Besides the democratic framework of the club allows taking the opinions and suggestions of different journalists into account.
The UN Press-club has an extraordinary prehistory. More then 5 years ago, the UNDP office started to organize press trips for the local journalists to the remote regions of the country. Every year, the mass-media troops together with the UNDP representatives travel across the distant regions of the republic studying the ways in which different programs on poverty alleviation, power decentralization, preventive development and ecology work in practice.
That is how the backbone of the brotherhood of writers and photographers, or in other words, something like creative teamwork was knit together. As the permanent participants of such trips often joke, they have gained such a deep insight into the UN programs, that each of them could be considered a prepared expert in the field of human development.
The number of the UN Journalist Club members has recently increased up to 50. According to Ms. Olga Grebennikova, UNDP Public Affairs Officer, the Journalist Club doors are open for everybody. “Some people falsely believe that the UN Journalist Club is an elite institution inaccessible for the rest of the journalists. It is totally wrong. Our journalist forum can be visited by all, who wish”, declares Olga Grebennikova.
Thanks to the UN Officers, club visitors can get any information they are interested in at first hand or broaden their knowledge at specially organized training workshops and seminars. In addition, the representatives of the fourth power can get all the necessary information at the UN Library, which is equipped with modern computer technologies and permanent internet access. For, as correctly observed by one of the forum guests, there is no influence over public opinion stronger then that of a knowledgeable journalist.
During the short history of existence, the club members have studied the problem of the HIV/AIDS infection in the republic; they have also discussed modern aspects of gender development in Kyrgyzstan and even have managed to conduct the training workshops on Functional Analysis of Public Administration and Information-Communication Technologies. And this is just the beginning.
The activists of the club are planning another press-trip to Naryn province in the nearest future. To the reporters’ opinion, this region was undeservedly deprived of the attention of government and republic mass media. After all, it is already since 1998 that the Naryn people have sowed and plowed to build a new life with the support of the UN programs. The readers will soon learn about the degree of their success through the stories told by the same untiring fellowship of journalists.
For additional information, please contact Olga Grebennikova, UNDP Public Relations Officer. Tel.: (0 996 312) 61-12-13. Fax: (0 996 312) 61-12-17. Email:
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP)
Concept of Social Mobilization
Social mobilization is a tool or an instrument, which enables people to put their efforts together for carrying out the joint activities unifying resources and building solidarity. This is a process, which enables the communities and individuals create their own democratic self-governing groups or community organizations empowering them to manage their own as well as community development. Effective social mobilization is aimed at sustainable social and economic development and the process of democratization.
1. Work Together – Have Fun Together!
Only one and a half year has passed since the day, when the most active women from the village of Konurat, Karasu area of the Osh province, decided to change their lives and established a community based organization – “Zor-Tasa-Ajim”. All of them are pensioners having 6-10 children and knowing what poverty is not through hearsay.
They started with launching a sewing workshop. It is well known that the Kyrgyz women are taught the sewing craftsmanship from the early age. They master unique techniques in embroidery as well as traditional felting, wool and textile production. Rags, blankets, decorations and all kinds of house accessories have always been used in Kyrgyz lifestyle; hence they have had success on the domestic markets. Production and realization of these goods help the members of the village community based organization improve their financial status and look into the future with much more confidence.
Being convinced that everything can be done by putting the efforts together, the women from “Zor-Tasa-Ajim” decided to design a proposal on expanding the school in the village of Konurat. They were fully supported by the home-folks. Presently, the project is already completed and additional classrooms built within the framework of the project.
“We want the villagers to have jobs and we strive to carry the youth along’ – says Orunbu Anarbaeva, Community Organization Leader. “We are sure that our achievements will set a good example for all the villagers.”
As it turned out, working and solving everyday problems are not the only things that can be done together. “Konurat Baybicheleri” – that is how the members of the community based organization have named their folk ensemble. Having won the regional festival of folk songs, the ensemble is now getting ready to participate in the republic-wide contest.
2. Consolidation will Help to Solve the Urgent Problems Successfully
“If we manage to develop the village, we’ll manage to develop the country as well” – this quote taken from the address of Askar Akaev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic, sounded more then once at the village meetings (called “Kurultay”) in Issykkul province organized recently in the framework of the Year of Social Mobilization and Good Governance.
As expected, the most active were the members of the Community Based Organizations and Self-Help Groups created in the villages within the framework of the UNDP programs on Local Self-Governance and Poverty Reduction.
People talked not only of improving the infrastructure in the villages (repairs of school, hospital and roads, water and communication pipeline installations), but first of all, about development of economic potential of the villagers, business support and the need to study the ways of functioning in the context of market economy.
The heads of the local government administrations, deputies of the village and regional committees (Keneshes) as well as the UN volunteers working for the UNDP programs being implemented in the Isik-kul Province, actively participated in the conferences. The meeting participants emphasized the important role of the local population in the issues of development of the area.
“Transition to the stage of effective public administration as well as sustainable development can only be accomplished by means of active involvement of the local population, in close cooperation with the “community based organizations” said Daniar Aytkozhoev, local volunteer of Mikhalovka village municipality. Social mobilization contributes to higher economic activity of the population. Therefore, it is important to establish an environment, where the villagers can work effectively, earn more and live better”.
The village inhabitants not only discussed the current problems, but also, sought the ways to solve these problems employing the mechanisms of social mobilization, involving wider layers of population in the process of changing the life for better. Village development projects designed by the local self governsnce in close collaboration with the population and the community based organization leaders were also discussed at the meetings.
“It is time to act”, - said Bolot Toktosunov, Head of Mikhalovka village municipality. “Now, everything depends only on us. We have to think and act together for the welfare of our children and in the name of future of our country. “
3. Forum on Social Mobilization in Talas: When the Dreams Come True
“Development through Social Mobilization and Social Partnership” – that’s the slogan under which the forum of the Manas region community based organizations took place on March 29, 2004. Leaders of more then 120 community based organizations and representatives of all the international organizations as well as the heads of village municipalities and regional state administrations took active part in the forum.
This action initiated by the local state administrations aimed at analyzing the activities carried out by the community based organizations, identifying their role in development of the villages and outlining the ways of their further development as well as improving the effectiveness of their work.
It is already long ago that the local autonomous bodies have come to the conclusion that it is difficult to set the development goals without active participation of the community based organizations in solving the problems.
“We would like 80% of the grown-up population to be the members of the community based organizations”, - said Mr. Akbaraly Karabaev, Head of Manas Regional Administration, in his interview to the Kyrgyz journalists. “When people are well-organized and well-trained knowing what to do and how, then the work of state administrations is also more effective”.
As the leaders of the community based organizations admitted, it is important to maintain close contacts not only with the local government but also the other community based organizations in order to have substantial success in the field of village development. For instance, those community-based organizations, which already have considerable financial capital, can give micro credits to the their members, especially in the season of intensive farm works. Besides, joint development projects could be designed and implemented. As a result of all the above mentioned, the decision was taken at the forum to create the community based organization associations in every municipality. These organs will play an important role in coordinating village development activities.
“It was with great pleasure that we participated in this forum “, - said Mr. Ruslan Baratov, UN Volunteer working for the UNDP program of local self-governance. “The positive results will certainly be achieved when the initiatives come from the communities themselves, which proves maturity of the community based organizations once again. We are very happy that the volunteers played significant role in this important process”.
For additional information, please contact Aikan Mukanbetova, UNDP Programme Officer. Tel.: (0 996 312) 61-12-13. Fax: (0 996 312) 61-12-17. Email: or Alexander Kashkarev, UNDP Programme Officer at the same phones. Email:
You are welcome to visit UNDP website at http://www.undp.kg/ where you can find a detailed information on UNDP programme activities in Kyrgyzstan.
Support for Development of Parliamentarism in Kyrgyzstan
The British Government, in partnership with UNDP Kyrgyzstan, funded a study visit to Hungary for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff from Kyrgyzstan. According to the constitutional changes of February 2003, the functions of the parliament and its structure should be changed in 2005, after the parliament’s elections. The parliament will be transformed from bicameral to unicameral, with decreasing number of MPs and committees and strengthening of the oversight function.
In order to help the parliament to plan an appropriate internal structure and procedures for the coming unicameral form, and introduce mechanisms to implement effectively its oversight function, the British Embassy and UNDP Kyrgyzstan have agreed to assist Kyrgyz Parliament in organization of the study visit of Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff to the Hungarian Parliament, which is known in the region as a parliament with well organized organizational structure and procedures, committees structure, strong authority of the professional staff, and effective internal management.
Nine participants were hosted by the Hungarian Parliament, who has arranged a comprehensive study programme from March 28 – 2 April 2004. The Kyrgyz delegation comprised members of Parliament and the staff from both chambers: Legislative Chamber and the Peoples’ Representative one.
A Member of the Kyrgyz Parliament, Leader of the fraction “Ata-Meken” and former Vice-Speaker, Mr. Omurbek Tekebaev, said: “Forthcoming transforming of the parliament is the crucial task within the whole parliamentary and state development in Kyrgyzstan. Adequate and correct institutionalization of the unicameral professional parliament will increase institute of parliamentarism and speed up democratic processes in Kyrgyzstan. The study visit provided an excellent opportunity for parliamentary reform group, including MPs and parliamentary staff, to gain valuable experience. Based on the gained knowledge we intend to prepare proposals and recommendations to the parliament related to transformation to a unicameral structure. I welcome a support and encouragement of the British Government and UNDP Kyrgyzstan with organizing this study visit”.
For additional information, please contact Alexander Kashkarev, UNDP Programme Officer Tel.: (0 996 312) 61-12-13. Fax: (0 996 312) 61-12-17. Email:
Prevention of Conflicts: Action – Learning, Action – Research
From March 30 till April 3 Jalalabad city welcomed both teams of UNDP Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on workshop “Writing case studies on social conflicts” jointly elaborated by Preventive Development Programme and independent consultant Alexey Kolpakov.
The objective of the workshop was to develop the case study writing skills of both UNDP Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan employees. The staffs of both programmes not only have learned to analyze the conflict situation, to develop design of a case study and to use appropriate techniques to collect the data but also have researched cross border communities Chek and Charbak, Nooken district of Jalalabad province.
The participants tried to utilize the obtained knowledge through focus-group and expert-interviews. The result of this seminar was presentation of case studies on such cross-border issues as Border crossing procedures, Abaction and Cross-border trade. The usage of new methodology Action-Learning and Action-Research helped the participants to focus on qualitative methods of research and immediate utilization of knowledge into practice, writing and analysis of case-study and information gathering at the places. Such kinds of activities are useful in team building and development of cooperation between both UNDP Programmes of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
For additional information, please contact Mia Rimby, UNDP Programme Officer Tel.: (0 996 312) 61-12-13. Fax: (0 996 312) 61-12-17. Email:
UNITED NATIONS CHILDREN’S FUND (UNICEF)
Salt producers strengthen their role and commitment in prevention of iodine deficiency diseases in the Kyrgyz Republic
On April 7, at a regular meeting of the Kyrgyz Salt Association, the Chair of the Association Mr. Eshaliev and the UNICEF Representative Mr. Richard Young signed an agreement on supporting centralized procurement of potassium iodate necessary to iodize salt.
Mr. Richard Young thanked salt producers for their commitment in improving the situation in Kyrgyzstan where a large proportion of children suffer from iodine deficiency that causes irreversible mental retardation, lowers IQ and undermines social and economic progress of the nation. A 2003 Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health showed that, though 72% of population consume iodized salt, only 40% of that salt is adequately iodized. This puts more than 80 % of population at risk to iodine deficiency diseases.
After signing official documents, members of the Association, UNICEF and ADB representatives discussed the situation and future plans. All the participants stressed that import of technical salt that is often packed as food salt and inadequate quality of iodized salt are the main challenges. To fight smuggling and falsification requires a multisectoral approach and makes iodization of salt a public issue.
Mr. Eshaliev hailed a recent decision of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic to establish a National Fortification Alliance (NFA) that brings together Government, health, education, industry, customs sectors and international organizations. The participants shared their visions on how to improve the situation and will make recommendations to the NFA.
At the end of the meeting, UNICEF and ADB representatives expressed the commitment of their respective organizations to continue supporting efforts to improve the quality of iodized salt and to promote healthy food to ensure that children in Kyrgyzstan develop to their full potential, progress in learning and have the best start in their lives.
Contact: Richard Young, UNICEF Representative. Phone: (996 312) 61 12 24, 61 12 25; e-mail:
COUNTRY IN GENERAL
Bishkek. (Interfax) - Kyrgyzstan expanded its economy 5.7% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2004 to 15.27 billion som, the Finance Ministry told Interfax.
GDP went up 4.6% in January-March, excluding companies working at the Kumtor gold deposit, the ministry said.
Industrial production grew 8% in the first quarter to 13.64 billion som, the National Statistics Committee told Interfax. Production grew 4.4%, excluding development of the Kumtor deposit.
Production fell 11.4% in the mining industry to 160.9 million som, and rose 13.1% to 10.05 billion som in the manufacturing industry. Production and distribution of electricity, gas and water fell 5.3% to 3.42 billion som.
Kyrgyzstan posted a foreign trade deficit of $20.7 million in January-February 2004. Exports increased 23.1% to $97.5 million and imports went up 59.7% to $118.2 million.
The official exchange rate on April 12 stood at 43.3360 som/$1.