Wednesday, 14 August 2002

NGO FAIR HELD IN OSH AS GERMAN DELEGATION VISITS KYRGYZSTAN

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By Konstantin Sudakov (8/14/2002 issue of the CACI Analyst)

The first two-day National Information Fair of NGOs on the "Role of NGOs in socio-economic development of Kyrgyzstan and implementation of Complex Development Program as well as National Strategy on Poverty Reduction" finished its work in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, on July 19th.  The Association of NGOs and NCOs, the executive administration of the Osh region, and the Coalition of NGOs "For Democracy and Civil Society" were the organizers of this fair. 

The fair was originally going to be held in June, but it was postponed until July 18-19 because of the riots and its consequences in the south of Kyrgyzstan.

The first two-day National Information Fair of NGOs on the "Role of NGOs in socio-economic development of Kyrgyzstan and implementation of Complex Development Program as well as National Strategy on Poverty Reduction" finished its work in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan, on July 19th.  The Association of NGOs and NCOs, the executive administration of the Osh region, and the Coalition of NGOs "For Democracy and Civil Society" were the organizers of this fair. 

The fair was originally going to be held in June, but it was postponed until July 18-19 because of the riots and its consequences in the south of Kyrgyzstan.  The organizational committee selected participants from a pool of applications received.

Participants were the following:  320 representatives of the leading and most successful public unions from all over Kyrgyzstan, 170 representatives from regional and district state administrations and local self-governance institutes, Advisor of the Kyrgyz President on public relations Dzhanuzakov, delegates from the Government, the head of the OSCE center in Bishkek Aidyn Idil, director of the National Democratic Institute office in Kyrgyzstan Terry Horton, other representatives of 12 international organizations and leading mass media of Kyrgyzstan.

During the fair NGOs had a chance to share their experiences, to discuss formation of nongovernmental sector of the country, development problems and further cooperation with state structures, and building partnerships.  Along with that, there were 2 plenary sessions held, and 4 sections worked.  On the second day of the fair roundtables were conducted on a variety of topics such as "Participation of NGOs in implementation of the Complex Development Program and National Strategy for Poverty Reduction," "Social partnership within the framework of 'New Generation' state program," "Problems of tribalism and regionalism in civil society development," and "Human rights organizations of Kyrgyzstan."

A lot of attention was paid to discourse on intersectional interaction, involvement of business structures in social projects, and openness and transparency in work of government institutes and NGOs.  As a result of the fair, agreements on social partnership were signed at the fair by leaders of NGOs.  

The Information Fair of NGOs does indicate that NGO sector and government structures have moved from dialogue to social partnership in a common effort to work on certain issues and implement state development programs.

Meanwhile, in the beginning of July, a German delegation headed by the State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economy Aksel Gerlah visited Kyrgyzstan.  For the first time such a representative visit was made - among delegates, there were about 60 heads of large businesses, including Daimler-Chrysler, Siemens, Deutsche Bank, and Lufthansa among others.

The Germans met with the Kyrgyz President and with the Prime Minister. The purpose of the visit was to initiate new projects in Kyrgyzstan and discuss the current state of cooperation between the two countries.  For the period from 1992 to 2002, the German government rendered total aid worth E130 millions to Kyrgyzstan. Investments stemming from Germany comprise 25% of overall incoming capital to the country.

The forum was conducted on two levels, and that made it quite unique.  Guests were not offered broad general reports. The Kyrgyz First Deputy Prime Minister opened the official part of the forum.  Meanwhile, other participants split up into interest groups and held informal discussions on topics that were of importance to them.

The president of the Kyrgyz Trade Industrial Chamber Boris Perfiliev said, "Today there are more and more areas that German business circles are interested in.  Before, they were more focused on light and food industries - now German businessmen already look into the mining industry in Kyrgyzstan, information technologies and energy resources areas."

Anton Fogt, his college from Germany, agreed, "We have worked on reconstruction of the international airport 'Manas.'  Now we want to participate in international construction of highways to Osh and Almaty. There are projects on the processing of agricultural products.  Almost 95% of German businesses are small and medium enterprises.   They look for partners themselves.  And I'm in power to hold talks on governmental level."  

The forum yielded several new ideas for joint projects, and a general atmosphere of active collaboration was achieved.  Among them, the building of a new hydroelectric power station is planned to begin in the close future.   The closing of the forum was done with participation of the German Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Klaus Achenbauch.

Konstantin Sudakov

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