Enhanced Enabling Environment

Speeches Shim

Participants of the ICNL global forum on civil society listen to Kyrgyzstan’s experience of defending civil society.
Participants of the ICNL global forum on civil society listen to Kyrgyzstan’s experience of defending civil society.
ICNL

The USAID-funded Enhanced Enabling Environment program promotes an enabling legal framework for civil society in Central Asia to support a more vibrant and sustainable democratic culture in the region.

A strong civil society is a pre-requisite to national stability and citizens’ prosperity. Laws and regulations facilitating and protecting the functioning of civil society organizations (CSOs) are essential to building a strong civil society. The Enhanced Enabling Environment program is an important resource for enabling reforms and efforts to protect the rights of CSOs.

Duration: October 2014 - September 2021

Budget: $6 million (Central Asia)

Implementing Partner: International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

Key Partners: Civic Participation Fund, Smart Zharan Association

Activity Locations: Nationwide

MAJOR FOCUS AREAS

The Enhanced Enabling Environment program works with partners in the Central Asia region from civil society, governments, and the international community in their efforts to improve the legal framework affecting civil society, philanthropy, and public participation. The program builds long-term relationships with key stakeholders and addresses their direct needs by sharing unique global expertise in CSO-related legislation. Through its assistance, the Enhanced Enabling Environment program also promotes broader public understanding of the role of civil society in democracy and the importance of local ownership in all decision making related to law reforms and public participation.

IMPACT AND RESULTS

Since 2014, the Enhanced Enabling Environment program assisted local partners with the adoption and implementation of laws and regulations that improve the CSO enabling environment while helping to prevent the adoption of restrictive initiatives.

The program rendered over 3,000 consultations to CSOs, including assistance to help CSOs navigate the legal environment after public health emergency measures were imposed throughout the country as part of COVID-19 response, and provided 36 internal compliance assessments to civil society actors, helping them defend their legal rights and improve legal knowledge. The program distributed over 67,000 materials, including copies of laws, regulations, analyses, comparative reviews, and other materials that strengthen local partners’ legal knowledge and promote their engagement in law reforms.

Over 150 lawyers specializing in assistance to CSOs received professional support from the program, improving the quality of assistance to CSOs. Over 900 civil society leaders and lawyers participated in training courses on international standards on regulating civil society activities, preparing draft laws, and online procedures.

The program has worked with five universities of Kyrgyzstan to support teaching CSO law courses and published a new CSO law textbook, which strengthens CSO law courses in Kyrgyzstan and serves as a useful guide on the legal regulation of CSOs.

The Enhanced Enabling Environment program directly supported local partners with:

  • Preventing the adoption of five restrictive legislative initiatives towards civil society, including a draft law on “foreign agents” that would have restricted CSOs’ access to foreign funding.
  • Improving implementation of legal mechanisms of state support to CSOs, such as state social contracting, contributing to improved CSO sustainability in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Establishing and supporting implementation of public councils, which enhance citizen oversight of state bodies’ activities and improve public participation in state decision making.
  • Establishing a new mechanism for online public consultations on draft normative legal acts through cooperation with the Ministry of Justice on the creation of the public discussion portal.

Last updated: July 12, 2021

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