From 24 to 27 May 2016, Gabriele Lösekrug-Möller, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, visited the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic to learn about democratic developments in the country and find out more about German-Kyrgyz cooperation on the ground. The fight against child labour, vocational education and training, social partnership and the setting-up of employment services were the primary focus of her attention during the visit.
The political talks began with Vice Prime Minister Gulmira Kudaiberdieva and Minister of Labour and Social Development Kudaibergen Bazarbaev welcoming the German delegation. Talks revolved around Germany’s commitment towards supporting projects in the areas of health, education and business which generate social benefits. Vice Prime Minister Kudaiberdieva underlined that Kyrgyzstan was committed to reducing poverty and that this fight was currently being put on a legal footing. Among other things, Kyrgyzstan was also working towards ratifying the international standards on the protection of persons with disabilities, she stated. State Secretary Lösekrug-Möller stressed the importance of the cooperation between Germany and Kyrgyzstan in national and international social affairs. Minister Bazarbaev highlighted many specific projects, the continuation and implementation of which, he hoped, would benefit from Germany’s ongoing support. Finally, Vice Prime Minister Kudaiberdieva reiterated that the Kyrgyz government endorses complex programme approaches with a view to enhancing social protection, social welfare, education and health, and added that, in this regard, it is cooperating closely with civil society.
During her visit, the State Secretary also held talks with the Chairman and members of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs, Education, Science, Culture and Public Health, representatives of the ILO and GIZ, the EU Ambassador and the Deputy Ambassador of the OSCE in Bishkek, as well as with representatives of civil society. The State Secretary’s itinerary included paying visits to a school for street children, the employment agency in Bishkek, a project for young people with disabilities, and a technical and vocational school. She also took part in a discussion with both employers and employees on the issue of a social partnership between labour and business.
The extensive schedule of events provided the delegation with an in-depth look at the numerous challenges and problems which the country is facing in the area of domestic and foreign policy. However, it also revealed the opportunities available to Kyrgyzstan. State Secretary Lösekrug-Möller was very impressed by the commitment of the people she talked to, and who are promoting the programme of democratic development in Kyrgyzstan.
In terms of development cooperation with Kyrgyzstan, the German government is the European Union’s largest donor. The visit by the Parliamentary State Secretary followed that of Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Bishkek in March of this year. In his role as OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for 2016, the Foreign Minister paid a visit to a number of Central Asian countries. The aim of the German government is to continue supporting democratic developments in the Kyrgyz Republic.