The innovative laboratory “Financial literacy: Foreign debt, how does it influence the sustainable development today and tomorrow?” will be held as part of the XII International Festival of Human Rights Films “Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan-2018” in mid-November. The topic of the laboratory is based on articles 22-27 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, which set forth economic, social and cultural rights, including human rights to equal access to resources and civilian control. Partnership between the society and the state is an important way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The key expert of this workshop is Chinara Aitbaeva, director of “Nash Vek” PF (Kyrgyzstan), coordinator of the External Aid Monitoring Committee, who speaks about the importance of citizen participation in control and monitoring of the use of funds.

Chinara, how competent are our citizens in foreign debt issues? Why do they have to know about such issues and understand them?

Aitbaeva: We have a very active civil society in Kyrgyzstan. Foreign debt issues are always relevant as they concern every citizen. Unfortunately, the efficiency of external aid is sometimes strongly criticised. Our citizens know and understand their responsibility. They know that their inactivity and non-involvement in foreign loan issues is one of the reasons of dependence and inefficiency of the use of external aid.

How can people take part in monitoring of the use of funds?

Aitbaeva: Citizens can contribute to the reduction of dependence, to the effective use of external aid only by their involvement, asking questions, feeling their responsibility and suggesting specific alternative solutions and recommendations.

How compatible are foreign debt and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals that are set forth in the National Strategy of Development of Kyrgyzstan until 2040?

Aitbaeva: The budget of Kyrgyzstan is socially oriented. A large budget deficit hinders the economic breakthrough, and foreign debt has a great impact on the sustainable development of Kyrgyzstan. Citizens will be able to make external aid promote sustainable development in the country only by closely watching, taking part in monitoring of external aid/foreign debt.

The article was prepared by the School of Peacemaking and Media Technology in Central Asia as part of the media campaign of the XII International Festival of Human Rights Films.