Public Hearings Lead to Inclusive Governance for Kyrgyz Villages

Newly elected Isanov AO Head Nurlan Asanov at the public budget hearings in Isanov Village Administration
Nurlan Asanov, head of the Isanov local government unit, speaks at the public budget hearings.
Nookat CSSC Public Union
Budget transparency builds public trust
“We will have annual open budget hearings to identify community needs, and I call for you all to be active in the search for additional investments into our villages.”

Sept. 2014—Hearings on the local government budget were held earlier this year for the first time in three local government units, or aiyl okmotus, in the Nookat district of Osh province in the Kyrgyz Republic. Over 200 villagers and three officially recognized “initiative groups” representing nine communities—three from each AO—actively participated in the open budget hearings, and proposed priorities, amendments and additions for the 2014 annual budget.

The three AOs taking part in the hearings were Isanov, Zulpuev and Janynookat. The open budget hearings, held Feb. 14-18, 2014, allowed residents to agree on 26—out of a proposed 52—community priorities to be addressed in the 2014 budget. About $75,000 (3,939,000 Kyrgyzstan som) was designated within the local budgets of the three AOs combined for improving access to irrigation and drinking water, primary health care centers, electricity, roads and other community needs. These funds were to be leveraged with co-funding provided by other investments and contributions made by the villagers themselves.

The hearings were the result of  intensive advocacy work conducted by the Nookat Civil Society Support Center, a local civil society organization supported by USAID’s Collaborative Governance Program. Nurlan Asanov, head of the Isanov AO, organized the hearings after he received budget transparency training from the Center.

“I’m grateful to USAID for sharing knowledge and experience in conducting public budget hearings,” said Asanov. “Though we have limited budget, we can set priorities together and use them effectively for the benefit of our villages. We will have annual open budget hearings to identify community needs, and I call for you all to be active in the search for additional investments into our villages.”

The hearings ensured that the three AOs, representing over 69,000 citizens, took into account residents’ priorities, thereby laying the groundwork for more effective, inclusive use of government resources. Local government and civil society engaged in long discussions, worked through disagreements, and listened to the initiative groups’ analyses of the local 2013 budget expenditures, culminating in recommendations for the 2014 budget.

As a result of this process, the Isanov, Zulpuev and Janynookat AOs decided to hold regular public hearings to ensure that community members continue to have their concerns and recommendations considered and to participate in setting budget priorities. Neighboring communities also expressed their willingness to have similar open budget hearings next year.

After the public hearings, Nookat Civil Society Support Center Director Abdivali Khudaiberdiev reflected that “it took months until local authorities accepted that only through transparent management of resources and joint decisions can they effectively use public funds and gain public trust.”

USAID's Collaborative Governance Program, which is implemented by the East-West Management Institute and runs from March 2013 to February 2018, is designed to strengthen partnership among government, civil society and the private sector in the Kyrgyz Republic. 


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