FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: Kyrgyz Republic

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs

Performance Report Highlights: Kyrgyz Republic

FY 2010 Foreign Assistance Goals

During the first six months of FY 2010, U.S. Government (USG) assistance to the Kyrgyz Republic continued to support long-term development goals: improving the environment for economic growth, promoting democratic reform by providing support for civil society, and cooperating with the Kyrgyz Government to combat international threats. However, following the events of April 7 and the toppling of the Bakiyev regime, the goals of the USG’s assistance program shifted to reflect the coming to power of a reformist provisional government and to help solidify a country that suddenly found itself on the brink of chaos or even civil war. Nonetheless, the underlying development challenges in the Kyrgyz Republic remained, and USG assistance continued to support basic reforms in education, agriculture, energy, and other ongoing priorities. In addition, USG assistance addressed unanticipated challenges, such as holding a referendum in June to adopt a new constitution, providing humanitarian aid in the wake of horrific violence in Osh and Jalalabad in June, and holding parliamentary elections in October.

Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $53.61 million*

Date: 2011 Description: Kyrgyz Republic -- Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance:  $53.61 million. - State Dept Image

(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2010, not including Peace Corps funding and centrally managed, regional Foreign Operations funding that is not budgeted for specific countries. Humanitarian Assistance total does not include the value of donated humanitarian commodities transported by the Department of State, estimated at $10.31 million in FY 2010.)

Highlights of FY 2010 Performance by Area of Focus

Peace and Security

-- The USG procured equipment for Kyrgyz border security agencies to enhance their ability to detect, interdict, and investigate illicit transfers of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), WMD-related items, and conventional arms. The donated equipment included a self-contained mobile screening facility, and several modular one-story shelter complexes. Two additional two-story complexes will also be provided to assist the border guards in manning “green” sections of the border that were previously unmanned and sparsely patrolled.

-- In October 2009, former President Bakiyev abolished the USG-supported Drug Control Agency (DCA) and a month later, he ordered the DCA to hand over all its assets, including personnel, to two ministries. Just prior to its dissolution, the DCA had begun to increase seizures of illegal drugs: overall in 2009, Kyrgyz law enforcement agencies seized nearly 8,000 kg of drugs and precursors, including 341 kg of heroin (up 14% compared to 2008) and 376 kg of opium (up 167%), 718 kg of hashish (up 57%) and 2,029 kg of marijuana (down by 41%). In the six months following dissolution of the DCA, law enforcement agencies seized only 637 kg of drugs and precursors, including 100 kg of heroin (down 58%); 33 kg of opium (down 76%); 341 kg of hashish (down 36%); and 1,336 kg of marijuana (down 34%). In August 2010, President Otunbayeva re-established an independent State Service on Drug Control (SDC) as a specialized anti-narcotics law enforcement body and ordered the return of all relevant DCA assets. In late September, a second presidential decree confirmed the SDC as the legal successor to the DCA.

-- The USG trained 500 Ministry of Internal Affairs (MOIA) police officers in internationally recognized methods for crowd control and abatement of violence, and provided relevant equipment (full-body protective gear, shields, helmets, batons and radios) to help prepare for potential unrest in advance of the October elections. The USG also donated two ambulances to the MOIA Medical Department to replace two ambulances destroyed during the April events. The USG donated 27 vehicles and 275 portable radios for the Traffic Safety Police to replace damaged/destroyed vehicles and radios, and to expand the fleet. There was no significant violence during the October elections, and the police played a positive role, helping to ensure order while maintaining an appropriate distance from the polls.

-- USG funded groups of 50 young people from throughout Kyrgyzstan to meet in neutral camp facilities for an intensive experience of tolerance and bridge-building. Over 90 percent of the youth participants reported an increase in their ability to positively affect conflict situations.

Governing Justly and Democratically

-- In May and June, the USG helped the newly appointed Central Election Commission (CEC) to plan and execute the successful constitutional referendum on June 27, overcoming limited electoral experience of the CEC’s members and a tumultuous situation in the country. USG assistance helped to re-organize lower-level commissions. Pre-referendum training was provided to 528 CEC and regional election commission members and 14,555 poll-workers. In anticipation of parliamentary elections, 132 trainers and 14,341 poll workers were trained at the precinct level.

-- A significant achievement of USG assistance during the pre-referendum period was to help provide for the involvement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in drafting Kyrgyzstan’s new constitution and reforming the country’s electoral processes. The USG supported the participation of local NGOs in expert working groups that provided recommendations for amendments to the constitution and electoral regulations. One group drafted the entire article on human rights and personal freedoms, which was ultimately incorporated into the draft Constitution adopted by the referendum. Other groups contributed to articles on the judiciary, executive powers, and freedom of the press.

-- USG assistance helped to create a more professional, fair, and legitimate electoral processes in the Kyrgyz Republic prior to the October election, a prerequisite for the Interim Government to establish its legitimacy. USG assistance provided training for approximately 20,000 election workers and several thousand civil society and political party observers. Five thousand political party poll watcher manuals were distributed, and 137 long-term and 1,000 domestic short-term election observers were trained on how to impartially monitor and report on election-day balloting. Interactive internet portals allowed Kyrgyz citizens to post questions and comments for the political parties. A USG-funded nationwide dispute-resolution program trained judges, defense lawyers and others in how to register election complaints and how to handle them appropriately. This work contributed to the success of the October 10 parliamentary elections.

-- USG support increased NGOs’ access to legal services, supporting 507 consultations for various NGOs and citizens’ groups on issues ranging from rules regulating the formation of NGOs to NGO registration requirements and taxation.

-- Despite disruptions to media programming due to the April and June events, USG-supported media programs still managed to achieve some significant successes, including ensuring that the national state broadcaster KTR remained on the air after the overthrow of the Bakiyev regime, thereby keeping the public informed during that crucial time of transition. USG assistance also provided post-traumatic rehabilitation training for 49 local journalists from Osh, Jalalabad, and Batken in order to support their recovery from trauma, rebuild mutual trust, and re-start communication among journalists of different ethnic backgrounds. In addition, two press centers in Osh and Jalalabad were opened to provide resources and safe environments for journalists to gather and work.

Investing in People

-- The USG provided timely support to respond to the polio outbreak in the region in April 2010, and partnered with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Kyrgyz Ministry of Health to implement a national polio immunization campaign. Nearly 80% of all children were immunized, and as a result, no cases of polio were reported in Kyrgyzstan.

-- In April 2010, political violence erupted in Kyrgyzstan, leaving hundreds wounded and the health-care system overwhelmed by demand. The USG provided grants to procure emergency medical supplies to hospitals throughout Kyrgyzstan to properly rehabilitate victims of the violence. In June 2010, ethnic violence broke out in southern Kyrgyzstan, leaving hundreds dead, thousands wounded, and about 375,000 displaced. The USG responded with an emergency medical relief program for internally displaced persons (IDPs) that provided access to essential health services; established sanitary and hygiene controls; contributed emergency shelters (as well as repairs to damaged homes prior to the onset of winter weather); and provided reproductive health and psychological counseling services.

-- The USG provided direct outreach to populations at risk for contracting tuberculosis (TB), including drug users, prisoners, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Outreach workers from local NGOs were trained to provide target populations with critical information about TB, referrals to selected TB facilities for social and medical services and assistance in follow up during home-based treatment. USG programs reached an estimated 3,650 individuals through direct outreach, and 141 received TB testing services as a result of program interventions.

-- The USG’s basic education programs responded quickly to the events of April and June 2010 in southern Kyrgyzstan. A youth aid for education initiative was launched, which provided 1,042 pre-school children with a 100-hour school preparation program and an additional 723 children with school supplies and support to enroll in school. To prepare schools for the new academic year, the USG trained 2,091 school administrators from 386 secondary schools to meet the developmental and emotional needs of children, teachers and parents affected by the civil unrest.

-- In the area of higher education, the USG continued its support of the Kyrgyz National Scholarship Test, awarding government merit scholarships which are especially important for students from rural and other under-served populations. In FY 2010, 33,579 secondary-school graduates took the test and 4,929 received government scholarships to continue their education. Of those receiving scholarships, 70 percent were from rural schools. The USG also continued to support the American University of Central Asia (AUCA), which provides a higher-education alternative to students from the Central Asian region.

-- USG assistance funded a private study that assessed which higher educational institutions best prepare students for the workplace. A total of 37 educational institutions were surveyed, including 4,838 respondents. The data was used by two Kyrgyz financial institutions to assess student loan risks, and resulted in increased lending and decreased interest rates. Based on this data, the financial institutions provided 54 loans totaling more than $84,000 and cut interest rates by as much as 50%.

-- The USG sponsored a job fair that attracted 60 employers and 2,300 job seekers. In addition, the USG widely promoted student loans through Kyrgyzstan, with more than 5,800 students and their parents receiving direct consultations from the project partner. Thousands more were reached through national media coverage.

Economic Growth

-- USG assistance helped establish a Joint Tax Council to facilitate better communication between the State Tax Service (STS), businesses, and the community. Other key achievements in 2010 included the completion and handover of the Integrated Tax Information System (KITIS), which was successfully piloted in six local tax offices. In coordination with other donors, a strategy for risk-based audits was prepared and accepted by the STS. In support of this activity, a national work measurement system to record time and results by activity was developed and piloted. In close collaboration with the STS, its existing program of public outreach and education was extended to preparation and publication of brochures and leaflets covering property tax, land tax, value-added tax (VAT), registration, penalties, and other priority issues for citizens and businesses.

-- The political turmoil in April 2010 prompted neighboring countries to close their borders with Kyrgyzstan, causing loss of access and rising costs for critical imports of fertilizer, fuel, and other inputs just as spring planting was commencing. As a result, an expected 20% decline in agricultural production for the 2010 harvest season will have a negative impact on food security. As part of its response to this crisis, the USG purchased and arranged distribution of 100 metric tons of spring wheat elite seed, 100 metric tons of spring barley elite seed, 40 metric tons of corn seed, and 100 metric tons of compound fertilizers. Approximately 7,000 farmers benefitted directly from this assistance.

-- In response to shortages and the higher costs of agricultural inputs in 2009, the USG continued its work with agricultural input dealers and farm stores to improve the availability of inputs and reduce transaction costs. This resulted in increasing wheat yields by over 20% in 2010 for 70,000 farmers. Based on estimates for 2010, project-supported farmers were expected to achieve a 40% increase in wheat yields compared to the base year of 2008 (a 20% average increase nationwide).

-- With a contribution of $400,000, the USG launched a Global Development Alliance (GDA) in late 2009 with the Eurasia Group – representing Pioneer, John Deere, DuPont, and Monsanto – which invested $550,000 of its own funding in high-quality hybrid seed for corn and sunflower, crop protection chemicals, and technical expertise. Kyrgyz farmers spent an additional $512,000 of their own funds to purchase improved agricultural inputs. The focus of this activity has been on promoting corn and soybean production for feed and edible oil – both of which are import-dependent and can be competitively produced in the country. Under the GDA, a total of 995 hectares were planted with quality corn seed and 246 hectares with sunflower seed. The initial results include production of an additional 8,000 to 10,000 metric tons of corn for livestock feed and 2,000 metric tons of sunflowers as raw material for 480 metric tons of high-quality edible oil, establishment of a $2 million center to promote modern agricultural machinery and services, and increased net incomes for 15,000 farmers.

-- Several USG projects contributed to the rehabilitation of 400 hectares of stony land in the rural council district of Markaz in Batken Oblast. In 2009, the farmers produced $28,000 worth of barley and alfalfa, and in 2010, they were expected to produce 52 metric tons of alfalfa worth $20,000 on the land which was previously unproductive. The farmers now have the resources to produce similar yields in future years. The Markaz Village Council will also receive the annual income for its budget as rent from the leased farm land. The success of the pilot effort proved that formerly unused degraded and stony land can be rehabilitated and made productive and profitable with the right techniques and tools.

-- The Provisional Government, with its new Minister of Energy, seized on the initiatives begun under an ongoing USG program, including performance-based regulatory design, and adopted a USG-developed transparency initiative for the entire power sector. To support the Kyrgyz Government’s efforts to eradicate the fraud, waste, and abuse that had flourished within Kyrgyzstan’s energy sector over the past decade and increased in recent years under the ousted government, the GOK has requested USG sponsorship of a management audit of the entire power sector.

Humanitarian Assistance

-- In FY 2010, the USG provided medical and non-medical assistance valued at over $10.3 million to vulnerable populations in the Kyrgyz Republic. In particular, the program responded to the June 2010 eruption of violence in the south, airlifting in urgently needed medicines and medical supplies. The USG also funded six Small Reconstruction Projects, enabling structural repairs to recipient institutions such as clinics and orphanages.