Kyrgyzstan experiences both immigration and emigration though the latter has been more prioritized and so migration and development efforts focus on labour migration and protecting migrant workers’ rights. The Government of Kyrgyzstan’s mainstreaming efforts have therefore also been at the sectoral level. Overall, the Programme managed to bring migration issues to the top of the political agenda and significantly contributed to capacity building and understanding of migration at an advanced level. Although there is still room for further interventions in terms of mainstreaming migration and promoting the migration and development nexus at national and local levels, key governmental agencies have significantly advanced their role in migration governance.
Capacity building activities and continuous consultations with project partners, along with the work of the inter-agency working groups has resulted in better understanding of the government partners of the cross-cutting nature of migration and the importance of migration and development nexus. The government initiated and established inter-agency coordination mechanisms on migration and development such as an Inter-Agency Coordination Council on Migration and Diaspora Engagement Council. Moreover, a number of inter-agency working groups were created at a technical level to work on various aspects of migration and development nexus such as a working group on migration data. The role of migration in development was recognized at a very high level, which was reflected in the resolution of the Defense Council under the President’s Office. The Kyrgyz President addressed migrants and their families for the first time on International Migrants’ Day on December 18, 2017 acknowledging their contribution to development.
The evidence base on M&D was strengthened for enhanced planning, policy development and M&E at national level through:
- A new Inter-Agency Working Group on migration and development was created, and its members trained to better understand the migration and development (M&D) nexus and apply a migration-mainstreaming approach to evidence-based policymaking. The Working Group is constituted of representatives of key governmental agencies collecting migration-related data.
- Two Migration Profiles were produced; reflecting the migration and development dynamics in Kyrgyzstan. They have been used to develop policy recommendations, including the adoption of a comprehensive approach to managing human resources in Kyrgyzstan, recommendations on mainstreaming migration into national strategic documents and to develop a concept for a new migration policy.
- The terms of reference for a Unified System on registering Migratory Flows have been finalized. The first stage of the automated system has been launched in 2017 and the second stage was launched in January 2018. The system is expected to run at its full capacity in 2019.
Progress made in mainstreaming of migration into policy planning as per the following:
- Rather than mainstreaming migration into the existing National Development Strategy which was due to end by 2016, the Government decided to mainstream migration into the new National Sustainable Development Strategy to be developed in 2017-2018. The Sustainable Development Strategy 2040 was adopted in August 2018 and includes various the following migration and development priorities e.g. in diaspora engagement, skills development, simplifying procedures for highly skills immigrants, regulating internal migration, adaptation to climate and protecting Kyrgyz migrants abroad.
- A National Demographics Policy was developed to inform the new development planning, which also includes migration aspects such as the populations statistics and forecast.
- A Concept for a new Migration Policy was developed with the support of the programme, however it will be approved only upon the prior approval of the Sustainable Development Strategy 2040 is adopted.
- The Programme supported the development of the new governmental Five-Year Development Plan of Action “40 Kadam” (40 steps) initiated by the Government in 2017. It includes 40 development steps in different sectors of the country’s social, economic, cultural and political life with migration having been mainstreamed into 19. Following the change of the Cabinet, the Plan was replaced with another governmental programme for 2018-22, which includes migration as a development factor and has a specific section for migration policy.
- The Programme also provided expert support for the development of the National Sustainable Development Action Plan 2018-22 as well as for the development of the Action Plan 2017 -2019 for Mekendsehter Diaspora project, which includes a M&E framework.
- Finally, the Programme supported the mainstreaming of migration into United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) covering the period of 2018 – 2022. Four key outcomes were considered in the document: Socio-economic development; Human rights issues; Environmental issues; Social protection. Migration was mainstreamed into three out of four outcomes.
In order to achieve greater institutional coherence and sustained coordination by government and other stakeholders, the following actions were carried out:
- The Inter-Agency Coordination Council on migration was established to ensure coherent implementation of the policies by relevant agencies. It was created by the Decree of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. It is a consultative body that includes key ministries and agencies chaired by one of the Vice-Prime Ministers.
- The Diaspora Engagement Council was established under the Prime Minister’s Office after the consultations with the Kyrgyz Diaspora members at one of the Diaspora Engagement fora supported by the programme. The council was established by a Decree of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to facilitate diaspora contribution into development as well as to support members of diaspora abroad.
- A Working Group has been initiated by the Kyrgyz Parliament to conduct a post-legislative monitoring of the Law on Compatriots. The creation of the working group results from the support provided to the Diaspora Engagement within the project, in coordination with the Diaspora Engagement Council. The WG produced recommendations to amend the law e..g. to give an enhances role to the Diaspora Engagement Council in political decision-making which are pending being presented to Parliament for approval.
The following actions were carried out in order to enhance the capacities of the relevant actors involved:
- The Programme carried out a capacity needs assessment of the governmental entities on M&D, which led to the organization of several capacity-building activities.
- The Programme also supported the development and institutionalization of the migration and development courses within the Presidential Academy on Public Governance of the Kyrgyz Republic. The institution is responsible for training public servants at all levels. As many as 126 (62M and 64W) public servants from both central and local levels were trained on various M&D topics during the project implementation period. The course has been assessed, as were the training sessions provided by the Academy prior to the development of the M&D course.
Challenges, solutions and lessons learned
During implementation, the Programme faced a number of challenges that were beyond the control of IOM and project partners. In particular, the structure of the Kyrgyz Government was changed several times from 2014 to 2018, which slowed down the work of inter-agency working groups established within the project and affected the adoption of the project deliverables by the Kyrgyz Government. Considering the Kyrgyz President’s Office was the most stable governmental institution during the project implementation period, the action was taken to promote project initiatives through the President’s Office. This proved to be an effective strategy as it secured support for the Programme at the highest political level and minimized the risks associated with the changes in the governmental structure.
Another significant challenge was the change in governmental priorities in the interim. Initially, the Programme supported mainstreaming migration into the Sustainable Development Strategy 2012 – 2017. However, the National Development Council dropped this recommendation since its implementation was already under way when the project was launched in Kyrgyzstan in 2014. Thus, the decision was made to continue building the capacities of national partners and prepare them to mainstream migration into national development strategies and subsequent programmes once the new development-planning period starts. The Programme also managed to support changing priorities of the government and deliver recommendations on how to mainstream migration into the Kyrgyz National Development Strategy until 2040 and into the Governments’ 5-year development plan were made