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17 May 2019

Policy Practice and Legal Environment For the Development of Enabling Civil Society in Central Asia

The purpose of this report is:

  • to analyse the policy and legislative environment for Civil Society development in Central Asia;
  • to consider institutional mechanisms that have been put in place by governments to enable cross-sectoral dialogue, and;
  • to consider the prospects for the development of civil society given public perceptions and the structures that have been put in place since independence.

The report examines a number of factors which characterize the current state of Central Asian civil society including legislation framework, government policy decisions and structures affecting civil society development, plus the impact of public opinion. These factors are laid out as a set of main findings for Central Asia region, followed by more detail in the three country studies for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In this report, the analysis of policies, practices and legal frameworks for the development of civil society is mainly focused on registered non-profit organizations, often defined in legislation as “public associations” or “public foundations”. Each country study includes a set of short conclusions. The report will culminate with a series of recommendations for expanding the scope, visibility, and impact of the civil society sector, via a programme of activities that a future Civil Society Institute could undertake, subject to the consultation process presented in Appendix A of the report.


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The Civil Society Initiative (CSI) was established in 2017 to foster an enabling policy and administrative environment for civil society in Central Asia and assist the development of a broad spectrum of civil society actors. CSI promotes the building of domestic institutional and leadership capacity, under three over-arching pillars of skills, knowledge and resources. The Civil Society Initiative is part of the Graduate School of Development of the University of Central Asia. The Civil Society Discussion Papers series is intended as a dynamic avenue for authors to share ideas with audiences concerned with current and emerging issues facing civil society development in Central Asia. ‘Discussion Papers’ may be cited without seeking prior permission.