Development Dialogue Addresses Migration Policy in Kyrgyzstan: Labour remittances 30% of GDP
Government representatives, development partners, and experts gathered in Bishkek on Friday, March 1st, 2019 to share inputs on the development of a comprehensive long-term, evidence-based migration policy for the Kyrgyz Republic. The half-day Development Dialogue on “Comprehensive Long-Term Evidence-Based Migration Policy for the Kyrgyz Republic” was co-organised by the United Nations (UN) in Kyrgyzstan, and the University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA). This was the second in a series of six such development dialogues.
Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, UCA Rector, addressing the gathering. Also included L to R: Roza Otunbayeva, Former President of Kyrgyzstan, Saparbaevich Ibraimzhanov, Chairman of the State Migration Service, Ozonnia Ojielo, United Nations Resident Coordinator.
The event served as a platform for discussion among stakeholders, including experts, high-level government representatives, parliamentarians, development partners, researchers, and civil society representatives. The objective was to share inputs on current migration issues, challenges, and opportunities, as well as develop a list of recommendations for a comprehensive, long-term and evidence-based national migration policy.
“Effective use of the positive aspects of migration processes in the Kyrgyz Republic can only be achieved by combining the joint efforts of all state bodies and civil society,” said Bolotbek Saparbaevich Ibraimzhanov, the Chairman of the State Migration Service under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.
“The University of Central Asia aims to play a key and integral role as an anchor for regional development in Kyrgyzstan”, said Dr. Sohail Naqvi, Rector of UCA, at the opening session. “Evidence based policy research on development issues specific to mountain communities is reflected in the work of UCA’s Institute of Public Policy and Administration, and I am very pleased that today we are tackling the issue of migration, and its social and economic impact.”
At a recent board meeting of the State Migration Service, Altynai Omurbekova, Vice Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic, noted that there are more than 700,000 fellow citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic outside the country. “Despite the work done, there are a number of problems in this area that need to be addressed. First of all, it is necessary to develop a Concept of Migration Policy and approve a programme for support of compatriots abroad.”
Participants at the Development Dialogue on migration.
“It is extremely important that multiple stakeholders work together on developing and implementing a migration policy. This is a cross-cutting issue with positive and negative impacts on social, economic and environmental aspects of development. Through the Development Dialogue initiative, we, UN agencies, as One UN will continue to provide policy support to the national partners in developing a comprehensive, long-term national migration policy for Kyrgyzstan,” stated Ozonnia Ojielo, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Kyrgyz Republic.
In his presentation, Dr. Roman Mogilevskii, Associate Director of IPPA at UCA, highlighted the challenges and said that “Labour migration provides employment to 20% of the working-age population of the country, and generates remittances to Kyrgyzstan amounting to more than 30% of GDP, making migration the main employment sector and the main source of foreign exchange.”
The UN-UCA Development Dialogues series will comprise six dialogues, organised over the course of one year, to initiate consultation among government, development partners, civil society, private sector and academia on critical sustainable development subjects. The goal of the Dialogues is to help break down traditional sector silos and enhance horizontal and vertical policy coherence, integration, and partnerships to inform policy formulation in Kyrgyzstan. Each dialogue is designed to include presentations of thematic issues by key stakeholders, a Q&A session, and an open substantive discussion that will be published as a thematic policy brief.