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05 February 2024

Discover the second interview of 2024 featuring people that have collaborated with PAGE at a given time. The purpose is to voice experiences, opinions, and insights on how the green economy is evolving and how the green economic transformation is being implemented around the world.

In this interview, meet Mr. Ermek Ashirov, head of strategic planning department, Ministry of economy and commerce of the Kyrgyz Republic, chair of the Inter-agency working group for Green economy development (IGE). He has been involved with PAGE since 2017 and has actively engaged into all the projects and activities implemented by 5 PAGE UN agencies in Kyrgyzstan.

Unlocking the green economy in Kyrgyzstan

Landlocked, mountainous and rich in natural resources, the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic is mainly driven by agriculture (approx. 40 percent of employment), extractive industries, hydropower energy, and service and construction sectors. However, over time, this dependency on natural resources has resulted in land degradation and desertification, posing threats to the population, environment and ultimately, the sustainability of the economy.

PAGE has been supporting the Kyrgyz Republic since 2016, namely assisting the government in its efforts to integrate Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) goals into national planning processes. With evidence-based analysis, PAGE also worked with the government on sectoral reforms in green industry, sustainable agriculture and jobs and strengthening institutional capacities around IGE diagnostics, coordination, finance and public procurement. Additionally, Kyrgyzstan has  strengthened regional collaboration to promote he Green Economy in Central Asia through major events such as the Bishkek Investment Forum (BIF) and the Green Economy Forum (GEF). The country is now a Graduating Country.

Q1. When was your first contact with the PAGE team?

Started working with PAGE team and has been chairing the Inter-agency working group for Green  economy development since 2017.

Q2. What was the IGE perception at that time?

In 2017 the population, as well as government officials did not fully understand the terminology and concept of an inclusive green economy. The Green Economy concept received its main impetus during the implementation of the Green Energy Development Program until 2023.

Q3. How has IGE evolved in the country since then?

It is difficult to answer regarding the stages of green economy development in the Kyrgyz Republic. Changes are being made progressively. So far, we have National policy and planning for a green economy, Sectoral and thematic green economy actions, we conduct a series of capacity building and raising awareness on the green economy among key partners and stakeholders.

Under the PAGE lifespan between 2016 and 2023, the Kyrgyz Republic has made considerable progress in mainstreaming the green economic into national development strategies and policies. The green economy transition has already demonstrated key aspects of its durability through a change in government and the shifting of senior public green economy champions across offices.

Under the PAGE lifespan between 2016 and 2023, the Kyrgyz Republic has made considerable progress in mainstreaming the green economic into national development strategies and policies. The green economy transition has already demonstrated key aspects of its durability through a change in government and the shifting of senior public green economy champions across offices.

Q4. What are the challenges and opportunities for Kyrgyzstan and why?

The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic is committed to advancing inclusive, sustainable growth and has adopted the long-term National Development Strategy 2040 that recognizes the importance of integrated policies that balance the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development. To realize this strategy, the government has prepared a five-year development programme (2021-2026), that provides a medium-term framework for all national, sectoral and sub-national strategies, including those linked to the environment and climate change. The Kyrgyz Republic joined PAGE in 2016 and it is within the broader national policy context that PAGE and other bilateral and multilateral partners have been collaborating on the transition to a more inclusive, greener economy in the Kyrgyz Republic. Among the challenges we would like to highlight the insufficient level of funding for green interventions and green initiatives, including attracting long-term financial resources for the implementation of green projects.

It should be noted that without the availability of financial resources, the transition to the principles of the Green Economy is practically impossible, since the population does not have sufficiently high incomes to purchase green technologies (by economic sectors). Thus, one of the most important elements and focus of the Green Economy Development Program in the Kyrgyz Republic until 2028 will be attracting sustainable financing to the private sector, since the private sector (small and medium-sized businesses) are the drivers in promoting green initiatives in the country.

With PAGE’s support, national expertise is also being drawn on to mainstream inclusive green economy principles into the Strategy 2040. In this way, green economy reforms and innovations are not developed by different departments independently, but rather, they are directly influencing the country’s strategic plans and related policy processes.

Q5. How do you see your engagement?

As head of the strategic planning department, I coordinated the process of implementing measures laid down in the Green Economy Development Program in the Kyrgyz Republic until 2023, introducing amendments and additions to existing regulations, developing policies and measures for economic sectors.

 

With PAGE’s support, national expertise is also being drawn on to mainstream inclusive green economy principles into the Strategy 2040. In this way, green economy reforms and innovations are not developed by different departments independently, but rather, they are directly influencing the country’s strategic plans and related policy processes.

What is the strength of a programme like PAGE?

The PAGE program has been a traditional partner of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce of the Kyrgyz Republic in promoting and implementing green initiatives. PAGE program still supports the development process of the draft Green Economy Development Program in the Kyrgyz Republic until 2028 as the second phase/stage of concept development in the Kyrgyz Republic. PAGE support in the Kyrgyz Republic was implemented in the following areas:

With PAGE support, the government has been advancing several sectoral and thematic initiatives designed to further strengthen and implement guiding policy frameworks. These include: (i) design of national green economy and green jobs modelling systems, policy planning and a green jobs assessment; (ii) pilot on resource efficiency in the metal industry building on a green industry assessment; (iii) Review of legislation for sustainable public procurement. These initiatives contributed to the national objectives of pursuing inclusive economic growth while safeguarding the environment and natural resources.

To build national capacity for an inclusive green economy (IGE), PAGE has worked with the National Statistics Committee (NSC) of the Kyrgyz Republic to develop a Green jobs assessment model (GJAM) and the American University in Central Asia to carry out a Green Economy Learning Assessment (GELA). The GJAM is a data system and analytical tool to assess the green jobs effects of alternative policies. The GELA aimed to identify the needs, priorities and entry points for integrating the principles of the green economy into various training and learning activities, as well as the curricula of national learning institutions in the Kyrgyz Republic.

To maintain and accelerate green economy progress, the Government, under the leadership of the Ministry of Economy, will ensure that the enabling policy environment it has established is matched by equally strong results reflected in inclusive green economy policy and programme implementation. An inter-ministerial working group, formally established by the Ministry of Economy, will continue playing a key role in this. More activities on the just transition will also be arranged at the grass-root level of enterprises.

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