14 November 2018
The one-day Forum was attended by over 300 persons from Government, Parliament, Business, the Scientific Community, and Civil Society. The meeting was organized to discuss strategic areas of development of civil society institutions, their role in the socio-economic development of the country, recommendations and proposals on the national programs and plans, including those in Almaty. This event included a discussion on the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the regional level.The format of the Civic Forum was an interactive platform focused on the development and strengthening of interaction between government bodies and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and further building the partnership.
The representatives of Government, Parliament, NGOs, mass media, researchers and activists made statements and propositions on future development of relations and cooperation between Government and NGOs.
Ms. Aliya Galimova – head of Committee of Civil Society of Ministry of Social Development of Kazakhstan, noted in particular:
“ … the Government of Kazakhstan provided ample support to civil society by funding NGOs, providing facilities, and administrative support. These efforts made it possible for civil society to participate in policy-making, implementing projects, and evaluation. However, she added that there were challenges confronting the Government, which mainly derived from costs and benefits, and which left gaps in its social development programmes, like sustaining the dependency of groups with special needs.
Different types of actors were involved in social work, said Ms. Galimova. The Ministry of Social Development relied on Public Social Councils, for example, which were staffed by an experienced and well-trained personnel, acting as the mechanism of aligning and synergizing activities with civil society and business sectors.
The interaction between the development sector and science and research was also strong but confronted some challenges. The challenges stemmed from the interaction between micro-motivations and the macro-level vision of development.
While there was growth in the partnerships between the Social Councils and public institutions, continued Government financial support was needed to increase the alliance of NGOs, business, and Government. In 2017, the tri-partite alliance received 100,000,000 KZT.
The Ministry also encouraged volunteerism by the corporate sector, which would participate in the upcoming high-level Astana National Civil Society Forum to be held from 27 to 28 November 2018, which is expected to be attended by the Head of the State.
The Government considered the role of civil society important, which is signaled by the state’s by not only support to civil society but also involving its main actors in legislation reforms, like giving the Civil alliance of Kazakhstan the responsibility for leading the reform process to improve the democratic quality of local governance and decision-making (more than 5,000 NGOs are registered in Almaty).
UNESCO Almaty Office
Ms. Krista Pikkat, Director of UNESCO Almaty Office speaking on behalf of UN in Kazakhstan ©UN in Kazakhstan
Ms. Krista Pikkat, the Head of UNESCO in Almaty, represented the UNCT at the Forum. In her speech, she underlined the key advantages of non-governmental organizations in terms of national activism, such as their cooperation with the Government of Kazakhstan, cooperation with the United Nations, flexibility and dynamism, quick response and action, and ultimately independence. She also said the Public Councils played an important role in supervising government performance in Parliament debate.
For example, to meet step 99 of the National Strategy of Kazakhstan to bring about systemic reforms to the entire society, a civil society working group in Parliament prepared a draft law on public councils with a view to increase their numbers to promote the discussions on regional development plans, budgets, evaluation, and achievement targets, all of which will have a positive impact on the right and freedoms of citizens in the country.
Some of the conclusions of the discussions:
• There was a clear understanding that Civil Society services are key and complementary to (but not a substitute) for government responsibilities.
• It is important for Civil Society groups to stay independent but integral to Government to grow confidence in their ability to attract support from the Government and private sector.
• Civil Society can be more effective with public recognition, financial support, and Government commitment to their many causes.
• Civil Society actors must also remain connected to the global community of governance, like the United Nations, and the international system in general.
• The Government of Kazakhstan can advance it development objectives and activities with the support of Civil Society.
The organizing group of the Forum is to finalize the outcomes of the discussions and recommendations for further development of cooperation, which will be sent to the Astana National Civil Society Forum.
Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/xi-almaty-civil-society-forum