The research shows clear trends in both countries for civil society actors to have either replaced the state altogether or to have filled many of the gaps left by state failures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, civil societies in both countries have tended to adopt a cooperative attitude and the interaction between the state and CSOs has been moderately successful at the lower levels. Some respondents from newly established CSOs in Kyrgyzstan expressed their intention to run for seats in municipal or city councils or even to form their own political parties.
Based on their findings, the fellows make three recommendations:
- Civil society actors should initiate peer-to-peer trainings and exchange skills on crisis management to diversify resources and reduce dependence on donors.
- International organisations should improve policy dialogue and facilitate cooperation between state and non-state actors.
- State institutions should involve civil society organisations and other non-state actors in crisis management on a permanent basis. The registration process for new civil society organisations should be simplified.
The Eurasia Lab Fellows
The team consists of the three aspiring researchers Azizjon Berdiqulov, Muslimbek Buriev and Sergey Marinin, who work in different spheres but share a common academic background. Having run multiple research projects, they advanced both their research and project management skills. Closely cooperating with expert communities, state and non-state actors, they gained solid expertise in analysing the policies of Central Asia concerning civil society and democratisation processes, human rights and political mobilisation of minorities.
In a first step, the fellows have conducted several interviews with civil society actors and representatives of international organisations in both countries. The fellows have then analysed the findings of these interviews with regards to CSOs’ strategies and cooperation with state entities after the outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Azizjon, Muslimbek and Sergey’s research project is topic of the IEP- podcast.