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Aga Khan Foundation and UNDP Meeting in Naryn

Friday 10 August 2012

NARY (UNDP press service) – Aga Khan Foundation CEO Shahid Punjani, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative in Kyrgyzstan Alexander Avanessov and UCA Chief Operations Officer Robert Wheeler met with the First Deputy Governor of Naryn province Emil Alymkulov to discuss development issues in the region. They discussed issues of poverty reduction, infrastructure development, agriculture, education, civic engagement, local self-governance and ways to overcome challenges through cooperation between the two organizations and province administration.

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Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is a private, international, non-denominational, not-for-profit organization established in 1967 in Switzerland by Aga Khan. Its activities are mainly concentrated on the needs of rural communities in mountainous, coastal and resource-poor areas. The Foundation seeks to develop and promote creative solutions to long-standing global challenges like poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease. AKF is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of development agencies with mandates that include the environment, health, education, architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities.
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The University of Central Asia (UCA) was founded in 2000. The Presidents of Tajikistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan signed the International Treaty and Charter establishing this secular and private University; ratified by the respective parliaments, and registered with the United Nations. UCA brings with it the commitment and partnership of the broader Aga Khan Development Network.

Partners briefed the Deputy Governor on progress of current projects and programmes as well as their project and resource mobilization plans. Alexander Avanessov noted that Naryn province is a high priority for the area based development approach that is being rolled out by UNDP. This approach will tightly link all efforts within various aspects of UNDP’s work in Naryn province to maximize the positive impact of assistance.

A similar approach is also employed by Aga Khan Foundation as noted by Mr. Punjani. He mentioned that AKF provides assistance in development of agriculture, local self-governance, disaster risk reduction, education and others. All projects are designed so that they are closely inter-related and support each other.

Since 2002, AKDN has been supporting the establishment of institutions and programmes that help develop an economically dynamic, politically stable and intellectually and culturally vibrant Kyrgyz Republic. Its programmes range from financial institutions that are helping build the nation’s economic infrastructure to support in several districts for the tradition-bearers of Kyrgyz music and oral recitation. Its rural development, health and education projects in Alai and Chon Alai districts of the Osh Oblast are implemented through the Mountain Societies Development Support Programme (MSDSP).

Mr. Wheeler provided updates on University of Central Asia’s construction. He noted that preparatory works are in its final stage and the construction is planned to begin by the end of 2013. The University will be able to accept students beginning from 2016. Constructions of a football field and tennis courts that will be part of the campus are under way.

Deputy Governor Alymkulov thanked representatives of the development agencies for their assistance. He expressed readiness of his administration to cooperate further within currently implemented projects and programmes. The administration also requested to expand geographic scope of projects to include distant areas of Naryn province that need special attention in all aspects.

The meeting was part of a joint field trip between Aga Khan Foundation, University of Central Asia and UNDP. As part of the trip they visited several project sites, including the kindergarten in Min Bulak village which was a joint project between UNDP, AKF and local government. The delegation also visited the territory of the future university campus. The trip helped identify possible areas of cooperation between the two organizations in order to increase efficiency of provided assistance.

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