: / Analytics / Local Governance Assessment in Kyrgyzstan (2005)

Kyrgyzstan Review, 10 years ago

Indicator 2. Citizens participate in budget decision-making process and have a voice in the decision-making process

The level of citizen participation is always a dark theme to assess. There are many cases when people are not very active or are not interested in spending their time doing public and, often, unpaid work. Therefore, in the present assessment, different views were carefully studied. The qualitative information raised from the FGDs with the citizens indicate that most of the public and budget hearings were classified as effective and useful.
There were no budget hearings conducted before, but in 2004 we participated in such an event after our AO was chosen as a pilot. We received the information about the budget in the hardcopy format. We (citizens) and AK deputies are trying to influence the decisions whenever it is necessary Tologonova Janyl, public activist. AO Uzunkyr, Chui province
The information about planned budgetary hearings is usually posted on the information boards or is being distributed through the street heads. We also have the claims registration book Tamara, leader of the local community group, AO Lenin, Jalalabad.
Some of the respondents which had represented AOs were quite objective.
The meetings were important and most of the budgetary decisions taken and conducted with 10-13% participation of women, but youth was not represented. They were not invited. A. Tolonova, Deputy of AK, AO Karalma, Jalalabad.
Even if the joint commissions of the AOs exist in the majority of AOs, the usually do not perform any tangible activity as the citizens express disbelief in their ability to change the situation. Nevertheless some of them had mentioned some successful work of such commissions.
5 women from the community had applied to us with a claim to learn about key land reform legislative documentation. We have convened a temprorary commission and solved this issue Ismailova Gulnara, Main Secretary, AO Ivanovka (pilot), Chui.
We also have the joint commissions where ordinary citizens are represented. For instance, the commission on pastures Sheraly Deputy of the leader of AO, Kokart, Jalalabad.
From the results of the interviews with AO leaders in piloting sites, it is noted that their attitude in increasing the role of citizens in budget decision making had changed in a positive way. For instance, the respondents had noted that they are now giving more consultations to the citizens and staff on local budget issues. The same dynamics can be seen in the Diagram 4 where the respondents from pilot AOs indicate an increase in the number of budget consultations provided to the citizens.
The report cards were also useful in analyzing the various perceptions on how the participatory approaches were used and, if used, to what extent they were successful. Scores made bye AO staff and AK members in report cards indicate a high level of citizens participation in budgetary decisions. If we compare the data between pilots and non pilots,citizens had evaluated their participation a bit higher in the piloting AOs 2.33 against 2.24 in non pilots. The facilitators, which were allowed to reflect their views, also supported this difference by indicating higher scores to the pilot AOs - 2.43 for pilots against 1.47 for non pilot ones.
An important finding here is that 20% of the respondents from Jalalabad gave scores of zero. This meant that the information was not available to them or that they think they cant control the budget implementation. Either explanation is possible because of a lack of information (weak publicity) or disbelief in their own ability. Thus, the information could be useful to plan more information sharing activities as well as public events within the present pilot project.
In general, we can say that citizens participation in the local budget decision making process is increasing. At least this was clearly seen from the FGDs with the AO staff and AK deputies. However, the citizens still have low motivation to devote more efforts to voice their own views and influence decisions over the budgets. This might be explained by the recent changes in the political scene and unstable economy, which had changed citizens priorities toward first solving basic needs. The analyses of the satiation indicate that this might be reflected in a decrease in citizens participation in various public events, and create, as a consequence, a less informed environment.