ASAR 2018: The European Union Project “Inclusive Planning for Local Development” Attracted Great Interest by Regional Leaders and CSO Representatives


From June 21-22, 2018, The Ministry of Religious Affairs and Civil Society led the 2nd Republican Forum on trilateral cooperation «Asar» in Taldykorgan. The forum theme this year was «Contribution of local communities to sustainable development of the regions».’

During the opening plenary session the Minister of Religious Affairs and Civil Society Darkhan Kaletayev expressed confidence that the forum would become an effective and creative space for dialogue and cooperation between government, the CSO sphere and business to address pressing issues for the benefit of society.

The ASAR platform is one of the instruments to realize the subprogram  “Atameken” under the “Ruhani Zhangiry” program. ASAR represents a communication tool that broadcasts best practices of joint activities in the sphere of CSO, business and government, strengthens efforts, and attracts additional resources and developments,” noted Minister Kalatayev.

Дархан Калетаев на АСАР

The forum is run under the principle ‘every year – new region,’ which allows for new opportunities for trilateral cooperation both in the country on the whole, as well as in the regions. For example, the first ASAR forum was held in 2017 in Atyrau; this year, the forum location that was chosen was Taldykorgan.

This is as of yet the only region where a project to create a local community foundation has been successfully carried out and approved by an СSO”, – noted Kalatayev.

This year 300 local and international CSOs and companies and 33 speakers are taking part in the ASAR Forum, and there are 13 platforms for dialogue. For the Civil Society Development Association «ARGO» was the most active participant, as it was last year.

During the “Inclusive Planning for Local Development” Forum under the financial support of the European Union, two master classes were held. Aleksandr Mikhailov from the Foundation for the Reform of Local Self Governance (project partner), Sofia spoke about how local self-governance and inclusive planning are developing in Europe and Bulgaria. The theme garnered a lot of interest and participants asked many questions to the speaker about the approach to inclusive planning, and if such an approach could be implemented in Kazakhstan.

The second master class was led by the Project Director Abay Myrkhyn. He spoke about the how the approach to inclusive planning within the project is being implemented in 10 pilot villages. Participants even voiced their recommendations about perfecting the approach.

Aitpai Seitkaliyev, the mayor of Akmeshit village in the Nurin region of Karaganda Oblast and Svetlana Bolshakova, Director of the Economic and Budgeting Planning Department of Glubokovsky Region of East Kazakhstan Region, both took part in the debates “Smart Zhetysu”, on the legal framework of local self-governance. They discussed the question “Is Kazakhstan ready for development of local self-governance?”

Over 50 people took part in two master classes. The goal of forum participation was to widely distribute information about the “Inclusive Planning for Local Development” project, under the financial support of the European Union.

In summary, various perspectives on collaboration between government, business and CSOs at the regional level were studied and discussed via the Forum. Presentations delivered highlighted best practices in trilateral partnerships at the local level, including successful projects that had been launched under the first Republic Forum “ASAR”. In addition, legal agreements to implement join projects were developed. A memorandum of trilateral partnership was signed as well in the framework of the Forum. Minister Kaletayev suggested that the next Forum be held in Pavlodar.