UNDP supported public councils within government bodies proved to be a sustainable institution

Nov 11, 2014

"Today Public councils started to work more actively. I appeal to you not to give up and continue to work on strengthening this institution" called on civic activists the first deputy Prime Minister Elvira Sarieva during the discussion of public councils (PC) that took place on November 11, 2014. Participants of the discussion, including former representatives of public councils, shared their experience of working with public councils, discussed the challenges and achievements of this institution.

The first pilot public councils were created in 10 government agencies in 2010. A year later the number of public councils reached 41. Four years later Kyrgyz Government adopted a law "On public councils of state bodies”, which gave sustainability to this institution. Currently the membership of councils is being renewed and the deadline for submission of applications was prolonged until December 8, 2014. Application procedure is simplified and includes the possibility of submitting documents online.

According to Elvira Sarieva, despite of all difficulties, public councils proved to be a sustainable institution and help connect the government and people. "The new team of public councils will bear even more responsibility and lead the expert and advisory role. As our state continues to build Parliamentary system government officials change frequently, while public councils are a permanent structure".

As the public councils evolved, the main factor of efficiency of the institution was the quality of members. Currently, the main task of the Commission on selection of council members is to create high quality, competent councils so that they can respond to any challenges promptly.

Chairman of the Coordination council of the public councils Nuripa Mukanova highlighted the importance of this institution as a platform for dialogue between government and citizens. According to her, the public councils can help overcoming conflicts between state and society and prevent possible social unrests.

Nuripa Mukanova cited some cases when public councils helped to make activities of some government bodies like the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Energy, State Property Management Fund, Ministry of Transport and Communication, State Registrar Service more transparent. For example, public council under the State Property Management Fund helped to resolve some corruption issues in Agroprodcorporation, which led to return of funds the state budget. Also the council helped to bring new, professional managers to the public company.

Participants of the discussion also told about the difficulties such as ignoring public councils by state agencies and lack of members. According to the  former member of the public council under the Ministry of Education Almaz Tadjibay, the council had 17 members in the beginning, but later there were only 5. Despite of all the difficulties the council remained active due to civil society activists. He also noted that the council members are potential future civil servants and invited political parties to promote their representatives to membership in such councils.

"Public councils are necessary for state bodies themselves for increasing the confidence of citizens. In order to really enhance the confidence of citizens and business structures, government bodies should be open and ready for dialogue" said Gulnara Uskenbaeva, a member of the PC under Customes Service.

Some speakers provided their recommendations on improving the work of the councils and proposed to such government bodies as State National Security Committee, Social Fund etc.

"We are pleased that UNDP stood at the cradle of the public council as an institution, together with Roza Otunbayeva. At that time it was difficult to say anything about the future of the councils. UNDP tried to provide maximum support in terms of developing the legal framework, training, creating publications and overall coordination. We thank enthusiasts who picked up the idea and work hard to promote this institute” said Alexander Kashkarev, Programme and Policy analyst at UNDP in Kyrgyzstan.

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