On the Day of National Mourning announced by H.E. the President Mr. Sooronbai Jeenbekov for all citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic, I hereby express on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and our staff in the Kyrgyz Republic, our deep and sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. May the souls of those who passed away rest in peace.

Our hearts go out with sincere empathy also to those who went through the ordeal of this disease and defeated it. Every recovery is a victory – the virus will not let us predict who will be spared, and who will face its most severe impact.

Kyrgyzstan like all other countries in the world is faced with a gigantic development challenge of unprecedented proportions. Our life has changed and will continue to change - scientists predict that the virus will remain in society, and even countries that have surpassed the crisis may face a rise of infection in the future. New norms and rules of behavior are emerging and by strictly following the new norms, society can fight and defeat this disease.

Today we also celebrate the vivid and selfless examples of people and organisations: women and men - doctors and medical workers, volunteers, youth, entrepreneurs, labor migrants, civil society, and civil servants, having risen to the task to combat the crisis in a massive social mobilization.

Throughout this crisis, UNDP as the UN’s leading development organisation has been working to help the country respond to the crisis and prepare for recovery. The economic crisis is global but affects Kyrgyzstan more, due to its vulnerable economy. In the early crisis, UNDP has helped by transferring medical equipment, medicines, and personal protective equipment to the Government. Looking forward, we will support the government to identify resources – in a scarce environment where people have lost their livelihoods and countries have lost their wealth – to support the most vulnerable in the crisis. This includes families who were poor already before the crisis, those who have lost their jobs in affected sectors, women, and people living in remote areas.

But the crisis also offers opportunity. In the spirit of the global Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, Kyrgyzstan can make choices to strengthen its economy and society. UNDP will be focusing our effort in four key areas: governance, social protection, green economy, and digitalisation.

We work with other agencies of the UN system as well as national and international partners to prepare and implement preventive measures to prevent the further spread of the pandemic. Measures are being developed to promote early socio-economic recovery and early return to sustainable development.

Dear Kyrgyzstanis: we have faith that the epidemic will be defeated. Kyrgyzstan shall overcome. My staff and I within the UNDP team in the Kyrgyz Republic will work side by side with you to help resurrect this country’s great strength. Ancient Kyrgyz wisdom says: «Ооруу эмгектен качат, эмгек көңүлдү ачат» " (literal translation into English: "Disease escapes from labor, and human labor embodies!"). Unity and freedom are the strengths of the Kyrgyz people and today, we celebrate this spirit, as we honor those we mourn, with the greatest respect and dignity. 

Louise Chamberlain

UNDP Resident Representative in Kyrgyzstan

July 30, 2020

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