European Union projects in the Kyrgyz Republic focus on Rule of Law, Education and Integrated Rural Development, following the priorities set out in the 2014-2020 programming cycle. From 2021-207, EU projects will also cover digitalisation and green and climate resilient economy, in line with the new central EU priorities.
Over the period 2014-2020, the EU allocated 174 million euros to cooperate with Kyrgyzstan for all three sectors.
In addition to the projects set out under the bilateral program, the EU provides support for and manages programs for the entire Central Asia region. The regional projects cover areas such as border security, trade and tackling the problem of drug use and trafficking. Funds from the regional allocation are also used to finance projects related to environmental safety in places where uranium was earlier mined.
Blending financial instruments
The EU supports important infrastructure projects in Kyrgyzstan through 'blending', where grants come in combination with loans from international development banks. In this way, the EU can make sure that the Kyrgyz government gets access to more funds at a cheaper interest rate for very important projects.
Within the focal sectors, the EU supports:
Rule of law: the focus has been on supporting the modernization of civil procedure and administrative legislation; training judges, prosecutors and judges; introducing IT tools for registration of criminal cases and misdemeanors and the administration of justice, to increase transparency and accountability of the justice sector institutions; improving also access to justice in particular of citizens in vulnerable situations.
Human rights: Regarding protection and promotion of human rights, the EU’s support has been addressed to consolidating the efforts of the partner country to eradicate torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and support the fight against impunity in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Gender equality: Gender equality is mainstreamed in all EU-funded programs and projects. In addition, a specific initiative in partnership with UN commenced in 2020, the Spotlight Initiative. The aim is to eradicate all forms of gender-based violence, tackling the root causes of violence by questioning traditional, patriarchal values, and challenging harmful practices in a complex, multi-sectoral and inclusive response to gender-based violence, involving both authorities and civil society grass-root organizations.
Education: The main objective of the EU’s support has been to assist the government in the implementation of necessary structural reforms in education via direct budget support operations. The aim is to improve the quality of education in the Kyrgyz Republic and the management of the education system, under the wider scope of supporting regional development, poverty reduction, and improving the quality of life of people irrespective of gender, ethnicity and disability.
Integrated Rural Development: Under the Integrated Rural Development Programme, the EU support aims at improving the income opportunities of the rural population in southern Kyrgyzstan with the focus on the Jalal-Abad region by developing and strengthening local farmers groups and tourism service providers, improving rural services and providing platforms for public-private dialogues.
Water: Since 2011, the EU has been supporting investments to ensure that safe drinking water supply, including sanitation and wastewater services are available across Kyrgyzstan.
In cooperation with EBRD and EIB, these investments aim to:
- Provide the population with an economically sustainable, affordable service for safe and high-quality drinking water and sanitation.
- Upgrade operations and maintenance equipment, together with the provision of wastewater services.
- Establish proper institutional and operational reforms for effective and rational use of water resources meant to reduce water-borne diseases and increase access to water.