November 12, 2004
In this issue:
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP)
- Cross-border Cooperation Expanded in South
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP)
Cross-border Cooperation Expanded in South
The cross border village of Esenbay, Aravan region, hosted a meeting attended by the personnel of the Osh Project Management Unit of UNDP Preventive Development Programme and the representatives of the Information Resource Centre for Democratic Education from Uzbekistan on November 3, 2004.
During the meeting, the two parties thoroughly reviewed the problems existing in the cross border areas and discussed the possible solutions including the way/method of providing joint support to the projects aimed to establish good-neighbor relations.
Increase of the population access to different resources including irrigation and drinkable water, improvement of social infrastructure and the possibilities of carrying out joint actions aimed to contribute to strengthening friendship and understanding in this problematic zone - were the main issues of discussion.
In late June of 2004, the group of journalists supported by UNDP visited the villages of Osh and Batken provinces, where the UNDP Preventive Development Program is being implemented and Esenbay was one of the villages on the trip itinerary. The journalists were shocked to see this village, three sides of which were fenced by barbwire. The customs officers marched along the fence.
There has never been any potable water in the village and irrigation water has always been in short supply. Hence the majority of the villagers live below the poverty line.
“Just imagine how annoying it is", the Esenbay inhabitants told the journalists, "We have hectares and hectares of soil, and we are all set to work on it, but we cannot cultivate even a half of the waste land because of the lack of the most important – the water. All this trouble, just because the irrigation water comes from Uzbekistan and our neighbors are willing to share it only when they don’t need it any more. That‘s why our crops wither despite our hard work”.
Too Moyun rural council is one of the pilot places, where the UNDP Preventive Development programme has been implemented. It borders on Ferghana province of the republic of Uzbekistan and three frontier posts with the settlements of Markhamat, Kubasay and Kuva.
Up until recent time, Esenbay had no school, and its children had to go on foot to the school in the neighboring village, located five kilometers away from Esenbay. The parents' concern for life and well-being of their children was at a breaking point threatening to develop into a serious conflict, when UNDP colleagues came to the village. No one doubted the need for a school building in the village, since it was a way to ease the social tension which often resulted in serious clashes with the neighbors. UNDP helped the villagers to unite, establish a community organization and to begin construction.
Today the school has already been built, but the problems of the Esenbay villagers did not end with this. As it was explained in the course of the meeting between the UNDP program staff and the Uzbek Information Resource Centre, the problems of the trans-boundary territories of the two states are very similar.
This includes information vacuum, complications concerning crossing the border, dissatisfaction with the quality of the soil, water disputes, as well as legalization of citizenship as a result of the mixed marriages.
The first step to implement the joint activities will be a forthcoming round-table discussion with participation of the government agencies from both of the bordering territories as well as the representatives of international and community based organizations. The discussion will focus on identifying the priority objectives and development of a joint strategic plan.
UNDP Program on Preventive Development has already had an experience of implementing similar trans-border projects in cooperation with the Uzbek Information Resource Centre in Jalalabat (Kyrgyzstan) and Namangan (Uzbekistan) provinces.
For more information, please contact Ms. Mia Rimby, UNDP Programme Office. Tel: 0 (996 312) 61-12-13. Fax: 0 (996 312) 61-12-17. Email: , or Mr. Abdiraim Jorokulov, Manager of the UNDP Preventive Development Programme. Tel: (996 3222) 5-78-37, Fax: (996 3222) 5-57-13, e-mail: