EU supports rule of law and rural development in Kyrgyzstan with €23 million

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The European Commission has signed new support to the Kyrgyz Republic with the focus on strengthening the rule of law (€13 million) and rural development (€10 million) in the country.

This new contribution forms part of the overall support to the Kyrgyz Republic amounting to €184 million for the period 2014-2020, the European Commission said.

The signature by EU Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, Neven Mimica, took place in the context of the high-level visit of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Almazbek Atambayev, to Brussels on February 16. This is a clear sign of the European Union’s continuous support to the Kyrgyz Republic, to the country’s ongoing reform efforts and to maintaining progress in the rule of law, which is a pre-condition for sustainable and inclusive growth.

The first program, focusing on the Rule of Law, aims at modernizing the legislative process in Kyrgyzstan and improving the work of the judiciary and prosecution. The Kyrgyz Ministry of Justice will be assisted to ensure free legal aid to the population and to help raise awareness of citizens on legal matters. It will pay particular attention to the rights of vulnerable groups. Further, it will provide assistance to review relevant legislation on independence, recruitment and regular training of judges and court staff, with the aim of strengthening the impartiality, professionalism and transparency of court decisions.

The second project will support rural income generating activities to stimulate the local economy and human development. The program aims at reducing poverty especially among women, children and the most vulnerable segments of the population in rural areas and specifically in Jalalabad region. It will particularly promote local and rural small enterprises and female entrepreneurship, access to microfinance, as well as develop production capacities and services for fruit and vegetable production and sustainable ecotourism clusters. €10 million will be made available to implement these activities. Ideally, activities will be carried out with a view to replicate successful projects in the rest of the country in the coming years.

Overall, the 2014-2020 Multiannual Indicative Programme for the Kyrgyz Republic has an indicative budget of €184 million, focusing in particular on the Rule of Law, Education and Integrated Rural Development. More than half of this assistance is delivered via Budget Support. There are currently three ongoing Sector Reform Contracts in the sectors of Education (€36 million), Social Protection (€30 million), and Electoral Reform (€13 million).

In addition to this support, the Investment Facility for Central Asia, with additional funds from the regional program, has awarded grants to blending projects in the Kyrgyz Republic with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and KfW (formerly Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau). The blending projects in the Kyrgyz Republic address regional priorities including infrastructure for waste management and water supply, and energy efficiency. Examples for this are the Kyrgyzstan Sustainable Energy Efficiency Financing Facility or the Bishkek Solid waste management.

Sergey Kwan

TCA