Crisis support to UNDP Kyrgyzstan

UNDP SURGE Mission helped to start up a Cash for Work initiative in Kyrgyzstan
UNDP SURGE Mission helped to start up a Cash for Work initiative in Kyrgyzstan, 2010 (Photo: UNDP)

When civil conflict arose in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan in mid-2010, the UNDP country office suddenly found itself with additional responsibilities of supporting the country’s constitutional reform process, preparations for the October 2010 parliamentary elections, strengthening new government institutions and helping affected areas move from crisis to recovery. To assist them in managing these tasks in addition to their regular programme, UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) acted swiftly in cooperation with the Regional Bureau and Bureau of Management to provide additional support and resources, such as crisis response guidance, emergency funding and expert advisors. 

Acute socio-economic stress on Kyrgyzstan’s society, coupled with perceived high levels of corruption and nepotism, led to social discontent in April 2010. A string of violent protests were sparked by rises in utility prices and the arrest of a number of opposition politicians. This led to the ousting of the country’s president and the installation of an interim government. A series of incidents seem to have provoked a rise in tensions between the ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities in southern provinces, and a wave of deadly violence began in the multi-ethnic cities of Osh and Jalalabad, instigating a renewed crisis in the country. In a space of three months, more than 450 people died and 400,000 citizens left their homes.  

Highlights

  • The Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery Emergency ensured that emergency funding was made available to UNDP Kyrgyzstan to begin coordinating its response to the crisis
  • Experts in fields ranging from fundraising, early recovery, communications and peace building were identified through internal and external emergency response rosters and sent within days to Kyrgyzstan to bolster the UNDP Country Office’s support to the government’s recovery efforts

UNDP Kyrgyzstan sought support through BCPR’s Immediate Crisis Response initiative to help them manage additional responsibilities emerging as a result of the conflict. A crisis board, led by the Director of the Regional Bureau of Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (RBEC), was set up to determine the scale and type of assistance required. 

Emergency funding was quickly made available to enable the country office to begin coordinating its response; experts in fields ranging from fundraising, early recovery, communications and peace building were identified through internal and external emergency response rosters and sent within days to the country; and “fast track” administrative procedures were enacted to speed up hiring of new staff and purchasing of necessary goods and services. Experts deployed to the country worked side by side with local staff to map out both immediate response and medium term plans to move from crisis to action, and stayed from a week up to six months to assist with the rollout of these plans. An integral part of this process was reflecting emerging priorities, such as new programmes and responsibilities, in the office’s workplan, as well as reviewing existing programmes to determine whether they were still relevant, or whether it would be possible to continue with them following the crisis. 

In addition, support was given to UNDP Kyrgyzstan to establish and lead the Early Recovery Cluster, which is part of a global humanitarian assistance coordination system that is set up in crisis situations. Under the Early Recovery Cluster, organisations work together to assist affected countries to build the foundation for sustainable long-term recovery.

With support from the Immediate Crisis Response initiative, UNDP Kyrgyzstan was able to respond swiftly to the new priorities and responsibilities that emerged during the crisis and assist the country to move into the recovery and rebuilding phase.