Since 2007 a Joint Country Support Strategy has been providing a framework as a basis upon which all the main donors, including the EU, can coordinate and cooperate as they provide assistance to Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz Government has developed a new Country Development Strategy for 2012-14, identifying priority areas for funding which would guide EU assistance.
Kyrgyzstan is one of the poorest countries in the region and, therefore, benefits from a high level of assistance compared to other countries. From 1996-2006, €91.85 million was committed to the food security programme in Kyrgyzstan. This assistance was mainly budget support related to a reform programme in agriculture and social protection.
From 2002 -2006, €41.05 million were allocated through the TACIS [498 KB] programme. The main areas covered were customs reform, education, social programmes in the Ferghana Valley, support to civil service reform, and an institutional capacity development programme.
From 2007 onwards, bilateral, regional and most thematic cooperation have been funded under the EU's Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). The bilateral geographic allocation for Kyrgyzstan for the period from 2007-2010 was €55.2 million, the priority sectors being Poverty Reduction and increasing living standards (including Social Protection and Rural Development in the South of the country) and Good Governance and Economic Reform.
The bilateral programmes worth €51 million were allocated for the period 2011-2013. The priority areas are:
- Education reform
- Social protection
- Agriculture/Rural development
Thematic programmes are also available to provide grant support to relevant organisations in Kyrgyzstan. The current thematic programmes that have ongoing projects in Kyrgyzstan are:
- European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)
- Support to Non-State Actors (DCI-NSA)
- Investing in People (DCI-HUM)
- Environment (DCI-ENV)
In Kyrgyzstan, the sector policy support programme in social protection and public finance management, a €40 million five-year programme which started in 2008, contributes to more effective social protection and social insurance systems and compensates for reductions and delays in the payment of pensions and social benefits. Specific actions have been taken to guarantee adequate childcare social protection, to improve the targeting of benefits, and to establish effective decentralised social services to support vulnerable families and children. Progress was made towards establishing the legislative and institutional framework for reforms, and in building the institutional and personnel capacity to carry them out.
In the area of the Rule of Law, a support programme totalling €13.5 million is due to be approved by the end of 2012, having as its overarching objective the fight against corruption. The programme aims to achieve this by building the capacity of oversight bodies, by supporting judiciary reform and by strengthening media and Civil Society organisations. It is planned that the programme will start in the second half of 2013 and that it will be implemented by EU Member States’ Public Bodies. This grant will make the EU one of the leading donors in this field.
The EU also provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Education in Kyrgyzstan to redesign the education system in the country, identified as an urgent priority by the government. Moreover, another specific programme is targeting vocational education, allowing students to acquire new competences according the needs of the local job market. An Education Sector Policy Support Programme is in the process of being set up, to which the EU would be the leading contributor with a proposed €20 million programme, mostly in the form of direct budget support to the Government.
Under thematic funding, 7 million EUR has been provided from the Food Facility for animal health and a further 2 million EUR has been allocated to Food Security Information Systems under the main Food Security Budget line.
The Kyrgyz Republic is an early achiever of MDG1 and MDG3 targets and it is well on track to reach MDG2. But the country needs to deploy greater efforts in fighting HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases (MDG6) and in enhancing environment sustainability (MDG7) where they are regressing in many indicators.
The EU commitment to poverty alleviation in the region will continue to focus on the two poorest countries, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In Kyrgyzstan, the cooperation priorities for 2011-13 are support to: (1) Social Protection/Poverty Reduction (including income generating activities for the rural population) and public finance management, (2) Education and (3) the Rule of Law/Good Governance.
In recent years, the EU Delegation has made further efforts to foster donor coordination and the implementation of the EU code of conduct on division of labour in Central Asia. Notable results have been achieved recently in Kyrgyzstan, where a joint cooperation strategy with other donors has been in place since 2009.
In Kyrgyzstan, in February 2012, the EU became extended its co-chairmanship of the broader donor group, the Development Partners Coordination Council (DPCC), which meets monthly and accompanied the Government during 2011, assisting it to draw up medium and long-term development plans, replacing the former Country Development Strategy. In addition, the EU is very active in thematic sub-groups under the DPCC, co-chairing two of them. EU is also one of the members of the Kyrgyz Republic Development Partners (KRDP – former Joint Country Support Strategy, JCSS), which is a process created by like-minded donors who want to go further in coordinating and aligning their aid on the Government's priorities than the DPCC platform has done. Currently the KRDP is negotiating with the Prime Minister’s office on the future form and concept of its co-operation with the country.
Details of other funded projects and programmes, both regional and thematic, can be found on the website of the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic.