In Astana today, Representatives of Public Councils, state bodies and NGOs from all regions of the country, as well as representatives from the countries of Central Asia and Azerbaijan came together for the first Majilis. The participants discussed a number of important issues. For example, they discussed how to improve cooperation with the state bodies, exchanged experiences, worked on recommendations and methods of cooperation.
There are 229 Public Councils operating in Kazakhstan at the national and local levels (16 at the national and 213 at the local levels). The first ones were established in 2016 under the “100 concrete steps” plan as a dialogue between the state and the civil society. Those non-governmental institutions are consultative and monitoring bodies. Their purpose is to increase the transparency of decision making by the state.
The activities of the councils improved the formation of a transparent state and allowed thousands of active citizens to take part in social life of the country,” said Minister Nurlan Ermekbayev.
During the Majilis of Pubic Councils, a number of issues were raised and discussed. Among those are keeping the status of the Public Councils in their current form, changes to the councils’ authority to avoid duplicating functions with similar ones of the maslikhats, and limiting representation from the state bodies.
Munkhtuya Altangerel, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Kazakhstan, suggested to increase the autonomy of the Public Councils while improving transparency the selection process for working group members of the Public Councils. Another important issue is the participation of women and youth.
It is important to note that effective Public Councils facilitate the achievement of many of Kazakhstan’s development priorities. For example, Public Councils are a functioning tool for transparency and reporting state bodies’ transparency, involvement of citizens in the state activities at all levels, and decreasing risks of corruption,” noted Munkhtuya Altangerel.
The Republic Majilis continued with panel discussions and training seminars to discuss best practices of Public Councils, elaboration of efficiency indices, and strengthening mutual activities with citizens and the mass media.
Over 500 people took part in the event, including representatives of public councils, NGOs, experts, and heads of state bodies and international organizations.
The event will conclude with a resolution including concrete decisions and recommendations by participants.
Within the framework of the 1st Republican Majilis of the Public Councils of the Republic of Kazakhstan, ARGO is holding the International Consultative Meeting “Interaction between the State and Civil Society Organizations: Experience and Prospects in the Countries of Central Asia and Azerbaijan”. The event is one of the projects of the USAID “Partnership for Innovations – P4I” program, implemented by the Civil Society Development Association together with key partners in the countries of Central Asia and Azerbaijan.
Representatives of state bodies, Public Councils, leading NGOs from Central Asia and Azerbaijan, and international organizations took part in the round table.