Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities
The Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities (AGOCA) was founded in 2003 taking the model of the "Alliance in the Alps" the network of municipalities in Alpine states. Like its sister organisation in the Alps, this Central Asian community network is active in the field of sustainable development in mountain communities and knowledge-sharing at the community level. With a programme of mutual visits, excursions and information-sharing, the organisation has become a platform for good practice and successful projects.
In the International Year of Mountains in 2002, CIPRA initiated collaboration with the "Alliance in the Alps" and the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC) to create a community network in Central Asia. Today the Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities has fourty one members -Territorial Public Self Governments- from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
To promote co-operation between the Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities and the "Alliance in the Alps", a foundation was established and sponsorship agreements signed between municipalities in the Alps and mountain communities in Central Asia. Two organizations had successful joint project on energy efficiency which is still on going in Central Asia and exchange of experience visits.
As a forum for the exchange of information and knowledge sharing, annual international conferences are held with a rotation of places among three countries of Central Asia. The results are used to prepare a resolution to address to the governments of all mountainous countries, the United Nations, the contracting parties to the Alpine Convention, and other interested groups.
The Alliance of Central Asian Mountain Communities is the network of mountain rural communities from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan joint together with the aim of bringing the change for the next generation and to contribute to the sustainable development of the Central Asian mountain regions.
The activities of AGOCA are always addressed to the issues facing the mountain inhabitants as it is recognized by the international community that they are the most marginalized and vulnerable to the effects caused in a rapidly changing world. AGOCA is administrated by the team consisting of president, vice president and a board of management member representing each country and managed by the general meeting of members. The Head office of AGOCA is located in Bishkek the capital of Kyrgyzstan where the first president was elected and has branch office in Tajikistan at the partner organization of CAMP Kuhiston. Sustainable development through networking, collaboration and co-implementation is the main principle of AGOCA. The association realizes projects aimed at contributing to the sustainable development of Central Asian mountain population through:
1. Trainings and workshops on:
" sustainable resource management
" Sustainable tourism
" Institutional development of Territorial Public Self-Governments TPSs
" democracy and transparency ways of the process of decision making
" project management and cooperation
2. Implementation of small scale projects on:
" Infrastructure improvement,
" Biodiversity conservation
" Alternative income generating projects
3. Exchange of information and knowledge sharing through:
" The AGOCA monthly newspaper of Ayil Demi (Rural Life)
" Organizing annual conferences and forums on a different theme
" Exchange of experience visits in the community level between the members
"Ayil Demi" is a monthly published newspaper providing the important information for the rural mountain population of Kyrgyzstan and is used as a forum for the exchange of ideas and good practices between the population and decision-makers. www.presskg.com/ai_d/index.htm
Conference of AGOCA is the main decision making body of the Alliance and is carried out once in year with a rotation of the place between three participated countries: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. During the Conference/General Assembly of AGOCA members discuss different issues regarding institutional development of AGOCA as a network, election of members of Board of Management, make new cooperation as well as share experiences and knowledge their projects on sustainable development.
Forum for Sustainable Development - is the annual thematic forum organized by the Central Asian Mountain Partnership (CAMP) Network consisting of AGOCA working in three countries, CAMP Alatoo working in Kyrgyzstan and CAMP Kuhiston working in Tajikistan and CAMP Kuhiston working in Kazakhstan aimed at fostering the discussion and implementation of new projects as well as resolution to the consideration of decision makers about different important themes like sustainable management of natural resources etc.
Alternative income generating projects were demanded by the communities of the member villages as a way to cope with the unemployment and poor living standards existing especially in mountain areas of Central Asia. Countries of Central Asia are mostly engaged in agriculture and livestock breeding and have lot of meat, milk and wool which are not processed on a proper way due to the lack of skills and natural know-how technologies. The project on Leather processing in organically way was implemented in Kyrgyzstan with participants from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and ten days practical workshop was organized using the South African methodology for the rural unemployed youth. 18 participants attended the workshop who were previously engaged in handcrafting and had some skills of working with leather. AGOCA plans to implement a follow up project aimed at supporting these participants in the starting up their small businesses using these practical skills obtained during the workshop.