Kyrgyz-Tajik Border at a Crossroads: Regional Roundtable Promotes Social Cohesion and Conflict Mitigation
“Cross-border communities have a specific set of vulnerabilities that make conflicts possible. Very often, such conflicts are seen through the prism of interethnic tensions. In today’s presentation, I want to refute this approach and demonstrate how the agrarian crisis and problems in the management of natural resources affect the conflict environment along Kyrgyz-Tajik border,” said Dr Asel Murzakulova, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Central Asia’s (UCA) Mountain Societies Research Institute (MSRI), while introducing her presentation at the regional roundtable event on 15 February 2018 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
Experts convened in Bishkek at a roundtable organised by the University of Central Asia to discuss and promote conflict mitigation on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.
The roundtable presented research on Promoting Social Cohesion and Conflict Mitigation along the Kyrgyz-Tajik Border which was conducted by UCA in the Batken and Leilek districts of Kyrgyzstan. Nearly 100 practitioners, researchers, development and peacebuilding specialists, representatives from civil society organisations and government, and local leaders from conflict zones participated in the discussions.
The dialogue covered current challenges related to conflict and social cohesion in Kyrgyz-Tajik border areas, challenges related to natural resources and their management, and using knowledge management platforms for development.
“It important not to lose sight of the fact that conflicts can have a positive impact, such as the establishment of new rules. This is an interesting dynamic that we, as researchers, need to study by exploring communities and practices that are resisting conflicts,” said Dr Alisher Khamidov, an independent expert who consults for the World Bank, ADB and UNDP.
The roundtable discussions concluded that there is a need to better coordinate project interventions, conduct research with a focus on traditional peacebuilding and mediation practices, and look at climate change and the outflow of population into labor migration, to observe important patterns that could determine the conflict dynamics for the future.
Following the roundtable, MSRI plans to publish a research report and policy brief focused on conflict and social cohesion in the region. The roundtable was supported by the United States Institute for Peace under the UCA’s Promoting Social Cohesion and Conflict Mitigation along the Kyrgyz-Tajik Border project.
The University of Central Asia was founded in 2000 as a private, not for profit, secular university through an International Treaty signed by the Presidents of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan, and His Highness the Aga Khan; ratified by their respective parliaments, and registered with the United Nations. The Presidents are the Patrons of the University, and His Highness is the Chancellor. UCA’s mission is to promote the social and economic development of Central Asia, particularly its mountain communities, by offering an internationally recognised standard of higher education, and enabling the peoples of the region to preserve their rich cultural heritage as assets for the future. UCA brings with it the broader commitment and partnership of the Aga Khan Development Network.