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Executive Summary


Participants at the Kyrgyzstan Co-operative Forum


The International Cooperative Alliance Asia-Pacific and the Cooperatives Union of Kyrgyzstan in collaboration with the Japanese Consumer Cooperative Union ( JCCU)   and the ICA-EU Partnership Project on Co-operatives in Development- People Centred Business, came together to organise the first Forum on Development of Cooperatives in Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.


The Forum was designed as an exploratory mission with objectives to understand the situation (issues, challenges, and opportunities) of co-operatives in Central Asia; to share information and good practices from ICA AP, it’s network of members, participating countries and international organisations; and to create a platform to assist in the promotion and development of the co-operative business model in the region. 


The Forum provided space to ICA and Kyrgyz cooperatives and Government as well as other Central Asian countries and stakeholders to interact, share and exchange information on current status and explore possible common grounds to establish relationship for adopting and developing cooperative business to achieve sustainable development. The Forum was attended by over 130 persons which included Ministers from Kyrgyz Republic, representatives of government and international in Kyrgyzstan, members of CUK, representatives from local NGOs, and staff from ICA-AP. The invited resource persons were from Afghanistan, India, Kazakhstan, Switzerland and Turkey.  


The Forum concluded with a set of recommendations which included call to improve the policy and legal environment for cooperatives, taking into account as a guide the ICA’s cooperative principles and values and best practices from the region; comprehensive cooperative development strategy to strengthen the scale and scope of cooperative business; training facilities to train cooperative board members, managers, members in addition, government civil servants in-charge of registration and cooperative development; access to credit and finance as member capital has not been sufficient to run the cooperative business; focus on youth and gender development. The immediate next steps include:


  • Opening a dialogue with CUK and nodal Ministry of Agriculture to formulate co-operative policy and create an enabling environment. The policy instrument will define role, functions and responsibility of all the actors and bring clarity in inter-relationship.
  • Strengthening capacity of cooperative members: needs assessment with the help of CUK and the concerned ministry and need based training programs.
  • Forming a group of partners in Kyrgyz Republic that will include Ministry of Agriculture, CUK, Faculty of training department of the Agriculture university, FAO and EU to create a pool of resources to work together to strengthen the cooperative movement.
  • ICA-AP  will reach out to Ambassadors of Central Asian countries based in India to generate awareness and explore possible assistance towards development of co-operatives in the region.