The Jogorku Kenesh and the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians against Corruption organised the conference. Britain and the USA sponsored the conference as part of their Deepening Democracy programme.
Corruption is a major challenge. Last year Transparency International (TI) ranked the Kyrgyz Republic 150th out of 177 countries, where the countries at the bottom of the list are the most corrupt. This reflects an improvement of 14 places over the last two years. But more needs to be done. Kyrgyzstan is ambitious. The National Strategy on Sustainable Development commits Kyrgyzstan to being within the top fifty least corrupt countries by 2017. To reach that target by 2017 the pace of reform needs to accelerate.
Participants at the Conference were open about the depth of corruption in Kyrgyzstan, and the size of the challenge. The frankness with which Parliamentarians and civil society discuss corruption suggests that Kyrgyzstan is ready to develop and implement a practical and effective anti-corruption programme. Britain, through its Department for International Development (DFID) is currently working with the Kyrgyz Government and partners to support the design of such a programme.
The rewards would be substantial. An improvement of 10 points in the Tranparency International score would rank Kyrgyzstan alongside Mexico, Bolivia or Argentina. It is estimated that such an improvement would increase GDP by 4%.
DFID is already providing substantial support to the Kyrgyz Government’s anti-corruption drive. It is working with the World Bank, the European Union and Switzerland to support improved public finance management alongside. And it is helping to establish a better investment climate. DFID is also strengthening accountability by encouraging citizens and civil society groups to participate in the oversight of budget processes. Working with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development DFID is helping the Kyrgyz Republic implement their obligations under the Istanbul Action Plan. To date DFID support has totalled some £10 million over the last 4 years.
In Kyrgyzstan successfully tackling corruption will directly benefit Kyrgyz people by making more efficient the allocation of government resources to priority areas, such as health and education. It will also generate jobs and revenue by encouraging indigenous and foreign investment.