Speech of the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Kyrgyz Republic René Holenstein at the Conference «Consolidation and effective interaction between the Government branches, local self-government and citizens: resources, efficiency and trust”
The Conference held on March 13-14, 2015, in Bishkek.
Speech at the Conference
Speech of the Ambassador of Switzerland to the Kyrgyz Republic René Holenstein at the Conference «Consolidation and effective interaction between the Government branches, local self-government and citizens: resources, efficiency and trust” held on March 13-14, 2015, in Bishkek.
Dear Mr Prime Minister,
Dear Representatives of the Government and of the State Bodies,
Dear Members of Parliaments,
Dear representatives of civil society,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s a great honor to welcome this international conference, given its high status due to presence of the top officials – the Speaker of the Parliament and the Prime Minister, whose attention to local self-government and citizens’ participation speaks about the political course of the Kyrgyz Republic, which demonstrates a commitment to democratic values.
Switzerland is a country where freedom and rights of the citizens are highly valued. Therefore, the Government of Switzerland supports the Kyrgyz Republic in development of local self-government, believing that local self-government is one of the most important constituents of democratic reforms. Local self-governments can develop only in a democratic society, as it implies freedom and the right of the citizens to participate in decision-making, especially on issues directly related to their daily lives.
Local self-government in Kyrgyzstan has a long history, starting with nomadic self-government, it continued in the XXI century as a reform aimed at decentralization of state power. This reform was uneven, it had ups and downs, and it is pleasant today, in 2015, to realize that the local self-government in Kyrgyzstan has become an irreversible reality, a dynamic part of the whole government system.
Likewise, Switzerland has a long tradition and experience of democratic governance with strong foundations at decentralized levels. Switzerland has sound experience with balancing the distribution of powers and assigning responsibilities between central and subnational levels. Democracy is not an abstract ideology but based on Switzerland’s own history, lived experience and belief in democratic values: active citizen participation and public oversight, representative and inclusive consultations, the protection of minorities and the concept of a pluralistic society. Switzerland is a neutral and reliable agent in the field of international cooperation who does not follow a hidden political agenda, and is recognized as convener for dialog. Therefore, Switzerland is particularly well positioned to engage in democracy promotion at the grassroots-level.
The issues to be discussed at this conference go beyond the state system, since the local self-government is more than just a governing body. Local self-government is able to become an institution that provides genuine, inviolable link between the government and society, since its nature represents a merger of the state system and community.
Therefore, I encourage considering the development of local self-government as an environment and foundation for all reforms in the Kyrgyz Republic because the local self-government bodies become the institutions of government, which, on the one hand, puts into practice all the reforms of the government, on the other - represents and guards the interests of the community, the citizens.
The topicality of the event raises no doubt, since in recent years the country has undertaken a lot of steps in improving the legislation, division of powers among levels of government, the foundation for the future transformation for the coming years is laid. Now it is necessary to understand how these changes will be implemented, interpreted at the community level, what role should local self-governments play. It is important to find a balance between their authority and responsibility to ensure the ongoing development of the reform in order to avoid unrealistic expectations as well as extremely fast, unprepared innovations.
I welcome the international experts who came to tell about the challenges and achievements of local self-governments on issues relevant to the Kyrgyz Republic. I believe that comprehension of this experience will help Kyrgyzstan to choose the right scenario.
I wish success to the conference and I am confident that the cooperation of Switzerland and the Kyrgyz Republic in respect of the development of local self-government will allow Kyrgyzstan to create its own model of self-governing communities, based on the best international practices, but integrating characteristics, traditions and ideas about the future of the Kyrgyz people.
13 March 2015
The booklet was developed within the framework of the Project “Voice of Citizens and Accountability of Local Government: Budgetary Process”, funded by the Swiss Government through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by the Development Policy Institute.
- Strategic and program documents
- Constitution and codes
- Decrees of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic
- Resolution of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic
- Resolution of the Central Election Commission for Elections and Referendums of the Kyrgyz Republic
- Charter community, regulation of the village council