Kyrgyzstan boasts a rich and well-documented history, its unforgiving terrain and dramatic geography offering a high level of cultural continuity broken only by intermittent periods of foreign domination. Indeed, many of the country’s challenges stem from the rigors of the environment. Progress depends on the country’s capacity to mitigate against natural disasters while finding ways to peacefully negotiate and harness its natural resources, the ownership of which is often contested with its neighbours.
Before the fall of the Soviet Union, 98% of the country’s exports went to other Soviet republics. Since the early 1990s, the state has struggled to restructure the national economy in the absence of these markets. Kyrgyzstan thus remains the second poorest ex-Soviet republic with almost a quarter of the population living under the poverty line. Remittances make up almost half of the country’s GDP. Exports are largely dependent on mineral extraction (notably gold), as well as fruits and vegetables. Due to the country’s rugged mountainous terrain, less than 8% of land is cultivable.
In late 2020, the results of disputed parliamentary elections caused popular discontent to boil over into a violent uprising with the president announcing a state of emergency. The long term repercussions of this latest political crisis remain unclear.
ACTED Kyrgyzstan is committed to the promotion of a 3Zero world with Zero Exclusion, Zero Carbon, and Zero Poverty. Specifically, its interventions are focused on green and sustainable economic development, particularly in rural areas; climate change mitigation and natural resource management; and, finally, strengthening of democratic processes. Other areas of intervention by ACTED Kyrgyzstan include advancing women’s rights and preventing gender-based violence, increasing access to finance, and private sector development.
ACTED has also been strengthening civil society in the country. To date ACTED Kyrgyzstan has built the capacity of over 150 civil society organizations. ACTED has also set up nearly 600 agricultural groups and cooperatives and rehabilitated 70 pieces of rural infrastructure. Finally, ACTED is promoting access to affordable finance through OXUS, its sister organization.
ACTED Kyrgyzstan is implementing two regional tourism projects in cooperation with ACTED Tajikistan and ACTED Uzbekistan. The EU-financed Silk-Road CBT Initiative is designed to boost investments, develop the private sector, and promote economic diversification by strengthening the Community-Based Tourism (CBT) sector in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The Set to SWITCH project will contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the CBT industry in Central Asia. The project aims to foster market linkages and promote green tourism in the region.
ACTED is also strengthening democracy and improving access to justice through the Active Communities project, which is being implemented by FHI360 and ACTED.
Finally, ACTED is improving access to finance through its sister organization OXUS.
The SET to SWITCH project will promote the adoption of sustainable consumption and production practices in the tourism sector. This will be achieved by raising awareness on sustainable practices among renewable energy and energy efficiency MSMEs as well as community-based tourism enterprises and creating an enabling environment for ther operation. Four “Zero Carbon Fairs” will be organised in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to bring MSMEs together from both the community-based tourism and renewable energy/energy efficiency sectors to showcase their work.
In addition, the Central Asia Water, Environment and Climate Change Cooperation (WECOOP III project, which is being implemented by Stantec Inc. in cooperation with ACTED, aims to promote sustainable development and circular economy in Central Asia. Specifically, the project is seeking to improve environment, climate change and water policies at the national level in Central Asian countries and to promote informed green investments in the relevant sectors with the aim of contributing to measurable reductions in man-made pollution.
Contributing to socio-economic development of remote communities in Bazar-Korgon District of Jalal-Abad Region through public-private dialogue
Promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy production in the community-based tourism sector in Central Asia
Silk Road CBT Initiative: Connecting Central Asia Community-Based Tourism and European Markets