Environment in emerging and transition economies

National policy dialogue (NPD) in Kyrgyzstan



Year of NPD launch:  2008

Present NPD Chair(s) and strategic partners in the government: Department of Water Management & Melioration (Ministry of Agriculture and Melioration), Ministry of Economic Development, State Agency for Construction and Regional Development

Source of NPD funding: European Union, Government of Denmark, Government of Finland, Government of Germany, Government of Norway, Government of Switzerland

In Kyrgyzstan, the National Policy Dialogue (NPD) started in 2008. It focused on setting up a River Basin Council for the Chu river, and developing an action plan to achieve sustainable water management, safe drinking water supply and adequate sanitation in accordance with the Protocol on Water and Health. Key outcomes included two policy packages: first, on regulation (for the establishment of a River Basin Council); and second, an action plan to achieve the water-related MDGs through the implementation of the Protocol on Water and Health. The NPD also focused on developing a strategic financial plan for the water supply and sanitation (WSS) pillar. 

The NPD was interrupted in 2010 due to political instability and resumed in mid-2011 under the supervision of a joint Steering Committee for both the integrated water resources management (IWRM) project and the workstream related to water supply and sanitation (WSS) issues. The dialogue process focused on (1) implementating a river basin management approach through the development of the river basin management plan for the Chu River; (2) target-setting and timelines for the implementation of the Protocol on Water and Health at the national level (based on two pilot studies, in the Chu River Basin and the Issyk-Kul Basin); and (3) improving economic instruments for water resource management in Lake Issyk-Kul Basin.

Hence the main areas of work and achievements of the NPD in the Kyrgyz Republic are summarised as follows: 

Priority areas of work and main activities

  • Strategic financial planning for WSS to achieve MDG targets.
  • Implementation of IWRM principles, including the use of economic instruments.
  • Support for establishment of basin councils with a pilot in the Chu River basin.
  • Target-setting for the Protocol on Water and Health.

Since the launch of the NPD, the following meetings and missions have been taking place in Bishkek to assist the Kyrgyz Republic in the NPD process:

  • The 7th Steering Committee meeting was organised on 18 April 2012. It provided guidance to all stakeholders on the principles of the River Basin Management Plan for the Chu River Basin. The Steering Committee endorsed the targets and approved a set of measures pertaining to the water & health pillar. It reviewed key findings and recommendations relating to an improved use of economic instruments for water resource management.

  • The 8th Steering Committee took place on 24 October 2012. The Steering Committee discussed the report titled “Setting targets in the context of the Protocol on Water and Health in Kyrgyzstan” and decided to submit it for comments to ministries, water agencies and other local authorities. Feedback was provided also on a project proposal for the Chu River Basin Management Plan. The members of the Committee defined the priority areas of the NPD process for 2013. The conclusion and recommendations of the study concerning the use of economic instruments for water resource management in Kyrgyzstan - with a focus on Lake Issyk-Kul basin - were endorsed, and an additional project on subsidies impacting the water sector was launched.

  • The 9th Steering Committee meeting was held on 13 March 2013. Kyrgyzstan's national targets for water quality, water supply and wastewater treatment with were approved at this meeting. The main aim of these measures was improving human health and reducing the incidence of water-related diseases which had been very common thus far. Different agencies were invited to report on developments related to the drafting of river basin management plans. It was agreed that a uniform approach should ensure that similar methodologies were going to be used in the development of river basin plans in Kyrgyzstan. Results of a project on reforming harmful subsidies for water were presented and stakeholders approved further reforms to facilitate the implementation of economic instruments for water resource management.

Key achievements of the NPD to date

  • A national financing strategy for urban and rural WSS was developed, including an agreement on targets and policy recommendations to achieve the MDGs for WSS.

  • Following the recommendations of the NPD, the government added clear WSS development targets to the latest National Strategy for Sustainable Development. This move cleared the way for increased and strategic budgetary allocations for WSS. In direct accordance with the recommendations made by the NPD, the government established a single body responsible for urban and rural WSS. Furthermore, the NPD inspired the first formal State Programme for WSS development.

  • The River Basin Council for the transboundary Chu basin was set up by Ministerial Order. The first components of the river basin management plan have been drafted through the NPD. The National Water Council was established and it approved the country’s basin boundaries in February 2013.

  • Targets on water and health have been set and adopted in 2013, providing a reference for other countries in the region. Opportunities are being explored to assist Kyrgyzstan in meeting these targets.

This radar chart synthetises the level of achievements along five axes within the NPD process in Kazakhstan (0-no activity; 2-fully achieved): 

- Transboundary water management
- National strategies on water, nexus
- The development of RBMPs
- The economis and financial dimensions of WRM
- WSS and Water and Health

Plans for the future

  • Work will continue to support the Chu River Basin Council and the stepwise preparation of the basin management plan.
  • There are ample opportunities to reform water harmful subsidies in Kyrgyzstan.
Both areas of work contribute to water security in the region.


“NPDs provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to systematically coordinate and align investment priorities, technical assistance and regulatory framework reform support in the water sector. The knowledge and experience gained through the NPD facilitate the design, planning and implementation of EBRD’s assistance to improve urban water supply in the Kyrgyz Republic

Larisa Manastirli
 Head of the EBRD Office in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan