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Central Asian Awakening

Central Asian Awakening[1]

The panel's objective was to sum up 20 years of independence of Central Asian countries and to reflect on achievements and challenges in the field of economic and democratic development. The panellists agreed that Kyrgyzstan has been the region's leader in terms of positive political changes. They also noted that the country is still facing economic difficulties.

Speaking about the role of donors, the participants underscored that NGOs can effectively cooperate with local communities and that local governments need to be supported. Moreover, the key role of local values was emphasized and it was agreed that investing in people and education helps develop civil society and avoid conflicts.  Another topic was the way Central Asia has been affected by events in North Africa. Despite differences between the two regions[2], the Arab Spring is likely to impact future developments in Central Asia[3].

The panellists emphasized the need to continue democratization and to unlock the potential of local communities. European donors have a key role to play in this process.

 

[1] Organized by: Polish Presidency of the Council, Lech Wałęsa Institute Foundation. Panellists: Shamsidin Karimov (Head of the National NGO Association, Tajikistan), Abdumomun Mamaraimov (Chairman of the Board, Public Foundation Voice of Freedom, Kyrgyzstan), Erica Marat (Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program), Dirk Meganck (DG, DEVCO, EC), Krzysztof Stanowski (MFA Undersecretary of State). Moderated by: Nazgul Yergalieva (Legal Policy Research Centre).

[2] Given the inadequate access to electricity in many Central Asian regions and the resulting poor Internet coverage, social networks (such as Facebook) can hardly be used by people to rally together.

[3] According to E. Marat, Kazakhstan could be especially affected.

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