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EU launches new project to support social protection sector in Kyrgyzstan

A round table was held on January 19 dedicated to the start of a new EU funded project "Technical Assistance to the Implementation of the Sector Reform Contract: Social Protection Kyrgyzstan". The project is for two years and will be implemented by a consortium led by Oxford Policy Management, a British consulting company. The budget of the project is EUR 1,820,800, the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic said.

The overall objective of the project is to support the implementation of public policy and structural reforms in the areas of social protection (including child protection) and public financial management. The project will also contribute to the implementation of special conditions underpinning a Financing Agreement between the Kyrgyz Republic and the European Union which was ratified by the Kyrgyz Parliament in 2016, under which the EU provides financial assistance of EUR 30 million to the government of the Kyrgyz Republic. EUR 26 million of the total amount is provided as a budget support grant and the first installment of EUR 4.25 million was released in 2016. 

At the round table meeting the project team explained that the main objective of the two-year project is to support the government and civil society to reduce poverty, to ensure access to social services for vulnerable sectors of the population and to enhance public accountability, good governance and transparency in public spending, all of which are existing government priorities. Technical assistance - primarily in the form of capacity building and training activities delivered by a combination of international and local experts - will be provided under two key work streams. Highlights in the area of social protection include continued support to the development and strengthening of systems and procedures which can ensure that children in need of care and protection receive services in the community rather than in large residential institutions and the preparation of a social services workforce development programme to ensure that personnel working with children and families have appropriate skills to deliver services to expected standards. 

In the area of public finance management, the focus of the project's work will be on developing policies, regulations and guidance for the government to carry out internal and external audit functions in the public sector and on providing high-quality training for government personnel responsible for this work. In both areas of the project's work, government representatives and their local partners will be provided with exposure to international good practices, including through study visits to selected European countries.