The Third Annual Life in Kyrgyzstan conference in Bishkek, that brought together over 110 participants from 9 countries, concluded on 13 October 2017. The presentations and research shared with the participants brought new insights on a range of social and economic developments in Kyrgyzstan and the Central Asia region.
“The Life in Kyrgyzstan (LiK) conference is a space for stimulating intellectual exchange on social and economic developments in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia. I am pleased to see increased use of the data from the LiK survey for research and teaching both locally and internationally,” said Dr. Damir Esenaliev, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) senior researcher, at the conference.
The two-day conference was organised by the University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Institute of Public Policy and Administration (IPPA), Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops (IGZ), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), International Security and Development Center (ISDC), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
“LiK offers a unique platform for current research. With this third conference, it is becoming an institution that simply must continue,” said UCA’s Dean of Graduate School of Development Dr. Bohdan Krawchenko, welcoming the participants. The two-day conference brought together national and international experts from the government and public sector, development agencies, non-governmental organisations, academia and research institutions, and media to exchange knowledge and experiences on recent socio-economic developments in Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia and to promote evidence-based policymaking.
Plenary sessions of the conference addressed a range of topics, including social cohesion, household welfare, labour markets, gender and intra-household decision-making, migration and remittances, livelihoods and agricultural market access, export markets and issues of regional integration, and climate change. Two keynote speeches were delivered by Prof Dr. Tilman Brück of ISDC and IGZ (Germany) and by Prof Charles Becker of Duke University (USA).
The conference also informed on the process of the LiK study carried out in 2016 by an international consortium of research institutions including UCA, IFPRI, IGZ, and FAO. The study is an open access, multi-topic longitudinal survey of 3,000 households and 8,000 individuals in Kyrgyzstan. The survey tracks the same households and individuals in all seven Kyrgyz regions and two cities of Bishkek and Osh, providing data over time on a range of topics, including household demographics, assets, expenditure, migration, employment, agricultural markets, shocks, social networks and subjective well-being. The survey was first conducted in 2010 and then replicated in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016. The data is representative both at the national and regional levels, and publicly available for non-profit research, policy analysis and teaching purposes.
Remarking on the success of the conference, Professor Tilman Brück of ISDC and IGZ noted, “The LiK study has tracked socio-economic development in the country since 2010. We find Kyrgyzstan has made great progress in reducing poverty, helping human development and strengthening informal institutions; however, significant challenges still remain. I look forward to continue to work with my colleagues at UCA to study economic development and provide the evidence for better policies for Kyrgyzstan.”