UNDP Chief lauds Kyrgyzstan’s Democratic Transition and MDG Progress
Bishkek — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark concluded a two-day visit to Kyrgyzstan today which highlighted the country’s recent democratic transition and the progress it has made on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Helen Clark met today with Kyrgyzstan President, Ms. Rosa Otunbayeva, and praised her leadership during the country’s transition to democracy following the popular uprisings in April 2010 which overthrew then President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. Later in the day President Otunbayeva and the Administrator launched Kyrgyzstan’s MDG report.
“At UNDP, we are strong advocates for support to Kyrgyzstan as it strives to meet the aspirations of its people for a better life, including through its democratic transition and achieving the MDGs,” said Helen Clark. “I have been impressed by the commitment of the Kyrgyz authorities to achieving the MDGs, and the enthusiasm with which they seek to engage with the international community to advance global and regional goals.”
Kyrgyzstan has made significant gains in achieving the MDGs, reducing extreme poverty from 32.9 percent in 2000 to 3.1 percent in 2009 and achieving near universal access to safe drinking water. Kyrgyzstan has also achieved universal primary education and eliminated gender inequalities in educational attainment.
Despite this progress, challenges remain –especially in reducing child and maternal mortality and the spread HIV/AIDS. The under-five child mortality rate here was 37 per 1,000 live births in 2009. Maternal mortality stood at 51.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010. The average annual increase in newly detected HIV cases in Kyrgyzstan was 42.9 percent between 2006 and 2009.
“While the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is under one percent in Central Asia countries as a whole, the region is experiencing the fastest growth rate of new cases in the world,” said Helen Clark. “National progress reports like the one we are launching today help keep the MDGs high on the agenda and focus us all on what needs to be done.”
While in Kyrgyzstan, Helen Clark traveled to Osh where she met with students of the UNDP-supported vocational training school created as part of a rapid employment effort in the wake of the interethnic violence that erupted in June 2010 in the cities of Osh and Jalalabad. This incident resulted in 420 deaths, over 2000 injuries, the destruction of thousands of houses and buildings, and the displacement of over 750,000 people. This vocational school has trained and found employment for close to one thousand people.
In Osh, she also met with civil society leaders and women’s organizations involved in peacebuilding and reconstruction, and with Jantaro Satybaldiev, Minister and Director General of State Directorate for Reconstruction of Osh and Jalalabad.
In Kyrgyzstan, she met with Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev, the Donor Partners Coordination Council, women leaders, and the UN Country Team.
Kyrgyzstan is the first stop for Helen Clark on a four country visit to Central Asia. She will travel next to Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.