EU development cooperation to Kazakhstan has played an important role since its independence in 1991. More than 300 projects amounting to € 140 million have been funded in support of Kazakhstan's development, implementation of radical socio-economic reforms and in support of EU-Kazakhstan relations and people to people contacts. Although Kazakhstan is endowed with significant resources and is increasingly able to finance its own development, it still needs technical expertise. Therefore, the biggest share of the EU funds has been and continues to be allocated to policy advice and technical assistance to various state bodies based on European experience and best international practices.
The first Central Asia Multi-annual Indicative Programme (2007-10) under the Development and Cooperation Instrument allocated € 45.6 million for bilateral programmes with Kazakhstan. Priority areas for cooperation included public sector modernisation and local development, judicial reform, economic diversification and promotion of the private sector. The second Multi-annual Indicative Programme allocated €30 million for 2011-13.
Thematic programmes are also available to provide grant support to relevant organisations in Kazakhstan. Cooperation is now beginning to include the use of new modes of partnership such as pilot activities, preparatory actions, and twinning with EU Member States’ institutions.
Priority areas of the bilateral programmes for the period between 2011-13 are the following:
- Regional development
- Rule of law and judicial reform
- Administrative capacity building
- Socio-economic reform
The reform of the judiciary has been identified by the Government of Kazakhstan as a top priority in its modernisation programme for state administration. A fully functioning judicial system guarantees transparent procedures, makes the fight against corruption more efficient and can help to improve the country’s investment climate. Since the 1990s, the EU has provided support for curriculum and capacity development at the Judicial Academy, the ombudsman institution, and towards reform of the notary system. The Support to Strengthen the Judiciary programme (€ 3.5 million) provides technical assistance for the development of a sector strategy for judicial reform, with a specific focus on capacity building and developing the legal framework to improve the investment climate for local and foreign investors. The programme’s stakeholders include the Supreme Court, the Union of Advocates, the Ministry of Justice and the General Prosecutor’s office. Kazakhstan’s Strategy 2020 requires a comprehensive modernisation of civil service management structures. The EU is sharing its own experience of modernising public administration and, building on previous EU programmes, implementing the Public Sector Reform and Modernisation programme (€10 million). It is helping to build a modern and efficient public sector to facilitate and promote the achievement of Kazakhstan’s long-term development objectives in four pilot sectors: environment, education, agriculture and industry. The programme is also improving public service standards and promoting the professionalisation of the public service. Asymmetrical economic development in Kazakhstan has left some regions significantly behind in terms of investment, employment and social development. The government initiated a reform of the legal and institutional framework for local government to promote regional convergence and increase the responsibility of provincial (oblast) administrations in an effort to improve the situation. The Support to Kazakhstan’s Local Development Policies programme (€ 15 million) launched in 2010 aims to transfer EU know-how and experience in territorial development, local governance and development policies. The programme builds on achievements of the former policy development and advice programme, and is establishing synergies with the economic diversification and public sector reform programmes, thus providing a coherent assistance framework for public sector reform and development.
The Vocational Education and Training programme (€ 5 million) helps Kazakhstan strengthen its policy-making and move towards a more modern system for education and training. This programme aims to develop a coherent education reform strategy, and assist in the establishment of a national qualifications framework which links education institutions to the labour market. The programme provides European best practice and specific experience for the organisation and implementation of vocational education and training policy in institutions related to the industrial sector.
Support to Capacity Development of the Ministry of Health (€ 4.5 million) is a Kazakhstan and the EU capacity building programme, working with the Ministry of Health on its national Health Sector Reform and Development Programme for 2005-10. The priority intervention areas are maternal and child health services, and prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. It is being implemented through technical assistance and partnerships between Kazakhstan’s institutions and those of the EU Member States.
The EU supports building up the international competitiveness of businesses in Kazakhstan by improving the institutional conditions and promoting economic diversification. The Support to Economic Diversification and Competitiveness programme, with a budget of e 6 million, promotes international trade by assisting the government as it adopts and implements policies and regulations compliant with World Trade Organization standards. It is creating a favourable business climate for the private sector and is promoting public-private partnerships to leverage public sector investment. The programme is being implemented in cooperation with the OECD.
Details of other funded projects and programmes can be found on the website of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Kazakhstan: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/kazakhstan/eu_kazakhstan/tech_financial_cooperation/index_en.htm.