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Participation of citizens in decision-making is inefficient if the budget process is closed and incomprehensible. The main municipalities of the country - the capitals of Bishkek and Osh can and should become leaders of budget transparency, involving urban residents in local self-governance and the budget process, hence “Increasing of transparency and accountability level of the budget processes of Bishkek and Osh cities” project will contribute to it. The Project is supported by the British Department for International Development (DFID) that entrusted its execution to the Development Policy Institute (www.dpi.kg). The main partner of the Project in Bishkek is the City Development Agency (meria.kg), and in Osh – the branch of the International Centre Interbilim in Osh (www.interbilim.org.kg).
Due to various circumstances positive changes associated with the reforms in local self-governance system were not fully reflected in Bishkek and Osh, the capitals of the Kyrgyz Republic. These cities were in the epicenter of turbulent political events in recent years that in spite of the various displays of these changes, ultimately resulted in lower level of democratization of the urban community, a particular centralization of governance. Especially it is necessary to note the gap between the governance system and vital needs of the citizens. Municipal authorities in both cities often formally had approaches on the accountability to the citizens and assurance of the city budget transparency. Format of the information disclosure did not allow both the citizens and the city council deputies to analyze the city budget in order to increase its efficiency. Existing procedure for public hearings on the budget has been heavily criticized by non-governmental organizations and the expert community. It should be noted that in recent years, other urban and rural municipalities of the Kyrgyz Republic, as well as the Ministry of Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic significantly improved the situation to ensure transparency and accountability of the budget process.
Despite the significant positive changes in fiscal policy of the country, the situation in Bishkek and Osh changed much slower, which greatly impacted on development perspectives of these cities. In capitals there was poor influence of the civil society over the budget process, both at the stage of budget formation, budget execution and monitoring of budget programs.
Based on the analysis of budgetary problems in the cities of Bishkek and Osh the key challenge was identified - current level of citizens participation in the budget process does not produce a stable system of government response to the requests of the citizens. Correspondingly the key objective of the “Increasing of transparency and accountability level of the budget processes of Bishkek and Osh cities” Project is to develop and test sustainable mechanisms and tools of open budgetary policy in Bishkek and Osh. It is important to understand that the mechanisms of budget transparency and citizens’ participation in LSG in major cities like Bishkek and Osh, greatly differ from the practice in rural municipalities and small towns.
To achieve this objective, the Project will perform the following tasks: