Mountain village alliance holds annual meeting


The Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities (AGOCA) convened an annual meeting that brought together 15 members for three days of intensive exchange about the progress accomplished on projects and the remaining challenges of Territorial Public Self-Governances (TPS). The meeting was held on 15-17 June 2017 in ‘Kun-Elek’ village, located in the high Alai Mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan.

AGOCA is an association of mountain villages in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, founded in 2003 following the example of the Alpine Convention, that promotes the sustainable development of mountain regions in Central Asia and the improvement of the living conditions of local populations. Currently, the AGOCA network comprises 66 villages – seven in Kazakhstan, 27 in Kyrgyzstan and 32 in Tajikistan – and is managed by a General Assembly. As a prerequisite for joining the AGOCA, each community must establish itself as a non-governmental organization, known as a TPS. In this form, communities have a means of presenting their needs, ideas and visions to state representatives to be able to negotiate with them. Some TPSs also support local governance bodies in implementing projects.

TPS members attend the annual meeting of the Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities

The annual meeting was attended by TPS members and a number of invitees, including representatives of the local authorities as well as the HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation and the Community Development and Investment Agency of the Kyrgyz Republic (ARIS). The AGOCA management staff presented the outputs of on-going activities, such as a project on biocultural diversity funded by the Christensen Fund. The meeting participants then exchanged their views on the projects that had been presented, on local strategies and the vision for further development of rural communities.

Within the framework of the annual meeting, the workshop 'Adaptation to climate change at local level’ was organized for AGOCA members, conducted by trainer Adilet Bekboev from Mountain Partnership member organization CAMP Alatoo. The main aim of the training was to build the capacity of mountain communities and to develop skills and knowledge for the further development of adaptation programmes and strategies at community level.

The local TPS in Kun-Elek Village solved a long-term issue of water shortages with new infrastructure.On the third day of the meeting, a field trip was organized to two sites in Kun-Elek Village to showcase the practical work of the local TPS, which has successfully solved a long-term issue of drinking and irrigation water shortages. The head of the TPS, Dardak Alimkanov, told in detail how they managed to mobilize funds and community members for building an infrastructure to bring mountain spring water to the village and to construct a 5.6 kilometre-long irrigation channel to deliver water from a far-away river. The total budget mobilized by the TPS for construction works was estimated at $108 000, where the share of the local community’s contributions, both financial and in-kind, was almost 65 percent. According to field trip participants’ feedback, the project was an example of one of the best and most inspiring practices, which they believe should be widely replicated in other mountain villages of Kyrgyzstan.

News by Mountain Partnership Central Asia Mountain Hub/Alma Karsymbek Uzbekova 

Photos by AGOCA

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