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					             Statistics, Development and Human Rights




                Session I-Pa 8a




  The Role of Official Statistics within the
Institutional Building of a Democratic State


           Zarylbek KUDABAEV




                       Montreux, 4. – 8. 9. 2000
                               Statistics, Development and Human Rights




The Role of Official Statistics within the Institutional Building
of a Democratic State
Zarylbek KUDABAEV
Chairman, National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic
374, Frunze Str.
720033, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
T. + 996 312 22 50 35 F. + 996 312 66 01 38
311@nsc.bishkek.su

ABSTRACT

     The Role of Official Statistics within the Institutional Building of a Democratic State

      Kyrgyzstan is on the way of democracy and humanism and the decision to follow this way was
taken voluntarily by Kyrgyzstan. Constitution of Kyrgyzstan is a convincing proof of democratic
way of development and the basis of which is General Declaration of Human Rights.
      Economy of our country experienced essential institutional changes.
      Statistical system makes contribution to concrete efforts of the Government and non-
governmental organizations actively participating in implementation of different programs and
projects.
      In all levels of State statistics observation of situation is conducted which enables to take a
decision on state level for implementation of social oriented programs targeted to improve
employment of population, reduce poverty, improve women situation etc.
      Democratic changes in any State need to be supported on the basis of effective informational
provision that presupposes openness and accessibility of statistical information, its international
comparability and reliability. Without these essential components statistics can not be an effective
tool in realization of effective social and economic policy of State main priority of which is
guarantee human rights and freedom.

RESUME

    Le rôle de la statistique publique dans le renforcement institutionnel d’un Etat
démocratique

      Le Kirghizstan est sur la voie de la démocratie et de l’humanisme et la décision de suivre
cette voie a été prise de manière volontaire par le Kirghizstan. La Constitution du Kirghizstan est
une preuve convaincante de la manière démocratique du développement dont la base est la
Déclaration générale des droits de l’homme.
      L’économie de notre pays a connu des changements institutionnels essentiels.
      Le système statistique contribue aux efforts concrets du gouvernement et des organisations
non gouvernementales dans leur participation active à la mise en œuvre de différents programmes
et projets.
      A tous les niveaux de la statistique d’Etat, l’observation de la situation est conduite, ce qui
permet de prendre une décision au niveau de l’Etat pour la mise en œuvre de programmes axés sur


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le social, visant à améliorer le niveau de l’emploi de la population, réduire la pauvreté et améliorer
la condition de la femme etc.
       Dans tout Etat, les changements démocratiques doivent être soutenus sur la base d’une
quantité d’informations efficaces qui présuppose l’ouverture et l’accessibilité de l’information
statistique, sa comparabilité sur le plan international et sa fiabilité. En l’absence de ces
composants essentiels, les statistiques ne peuvent être un outil efficace dans la réalisation d’une
politique sociale et économique efficace d’un Etat dont la première priorité est de garantir les
droits de l’homme et la liberté.



Ladies and Gentlemen, Colleagues!


      Before presenting the theme of my paper I would like to express my gratitude to organizers of
the Conference for inviting me to participate in its work and for giving me an opportunity to address
a speech to you.

       I represent the Kyrgyz Republic, one of the Republics of former Soviet Union, which is in
transition period like other countries of CIS.

      Transition from administrative and commanding system to the system based on democratic
principles in political and social spheres – on market relationship in economy, requires to
understand deeply the level and scale of tasks to be solved in these conditions. I will try to explain
to you how these activities are being put into practice and the role of statistics in this process.

      In accordance with our Constitution Kyrgyzstan is sovereign, unitary, democratic Republic,
established on principles of legal and social State.

      Being a part of the World community Kyrgyzstan is on the way of democracy and humanism
and the decision to follow this way was taken voluntarily by Kyrgyzstan because we understand the
achievement of human civilization and aim to make a contribution to these achievements.
Recognizing the Charter of the UN and General Declaration on Human Rights, the Kyrgyz
Republic has ratified and is adhering steadily to International Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Racial Discrimination, Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Convention relating to the Status of
Refugees.

     As our reality shows it is not possible to ensure human rights and freedom without basic
changes in principles of economic relations and ownership relations. Only free economic activity of
economic subjects based on ownership is an outstanding feature of a true democratic society.

      After introduction of private ownership economy of our country from 1991 experienced
essential institutional changes.

      As a result of conduction of economic subjects mass privatization, type of ownership and
organizational-productive structure of enterprises were changed. New economic relationships were
established. Sector of private enterprise was formed.




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      In production sphere number of State owned enterprises reduced 6 times, their share in GDP
reduced more than 13 times. At the same time number of private owned enterprises increased 20
times and their share in GDP increased 11 times.

      Sector of private, individual businessmen has been formed. At the beginning of 1999 number
of registered persons engaged in private enterprises formed 90 thousand and they have produced 9
% of GDP.

       Institutional changes also entirely covered agriculture, which was essentially reformed. In 90th
main producers were big agricultural subjects and its share in GDP formed approximately 60 % and
at the end of 90th its share reduced to 13 %.

      As a result of Land reforms a new section of agricultural producers – peasants and farmers
was formed and their share in GDP of agricultural products increased to 32 %. Number of peasants
and farmers in 1998 reached 50 thousand and their share in GDP formed more than 12 %.

      The main criteria of economy effective development is attraction of foreign investment by
creating favorable investment climate for foreign partners on the basis of abidance by common
rights and guarantees of investors.

     At the present time about 4,7 thousand of joint and foreign enterprises are registered in the
Republic. From 1995 to 1999 US $ 580,2 million. were invested in economy of our Republic, out of
them about US $ 108,6 million formed direct foreign investment in 1999.

      Democratic society is informative in its essence. The most important thing is the presence of
effective and transparent informational system that includes not only mass media but also
specialized informational agencies, including statistics.

     Lack of information, informational limitation or disparity of information elaboration methods
to existing standards in international practice unavoidably cause an inadequate opinion about
country and significance of its development.

      The main sign of effective functioning of statistical and informational system is its
independence from influence of political and state bodies. In that connection, our system probably
has no analogue in the World.

       In order to strengthen the status of statistical authorities Law of the Kyrgyz Republic “On
state statistics” and a number of legislative acts of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic have been
adopted. In accordance with the Law and acts National Statistical Committee coordinates activities
of state statistics. National Statistical Committee is not part of the Government and is accountable
only to the President of the Kyrgyz Republic. And another argument of the above mentioned is the
fact that the Chairman, his deputies are appointed and dismissed by the President of the Kyrgyz
Republic and it is the guarantee of statistical system independence.
       It is worthy to note that institutional changes require reforms in state statistics, establishment
of informational and statistical system that meet requirements of market economy and correspond to
international rules and standards.




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                               Statistics, Development and Human Rights


       On the first stage of statistical system reforming we have taken complex measures oriented to
strengthening of legislative base, development of general methodologies and organizational basis of
statistics, reduction of gap between state statistical system and the World practice.

      On the second stage we improved methodology of statistics and economic analysis;
introduced new informational technologies and General System of Data Dissemination on the basis
of international standards and rules. Statistical services of the Republic, one of the first in CIS
countries, ensure complex approach in building informational and statistical data base in accordance
with international classification of economic activities types adopted in statistical practice of the
Republic.

      The main goal of the third stage is complex reorganization of statistical informational system
on the basis of strengthening its regional units.

       Official statistics must make efforts to obtain maximally high economic effectiveness in its
activities choosing proper resources and methods in order to ensure timeliness and quality of
statistical data.

      I must say that during planned economy collection of statistical information was carried out
on the basis of obligated full coverage system. Increase of number of economic subjects, their high
dynamics, frequent demographic changes, need in quick obtaining of statistical data led to many
problems in statistics.

     At the present time limited financial and human resources unable us to continue policy of full
coverage. In that connection, using an experience of statistical offices of developed countries we
have begun to implement transition from full coverage system to sampling surveys on the basis of
optimal combination of both traditional and new methods of statistical observation.

      The main criterion of humanity of a State and its adherence to democratic ideals is social
oriented policy. Detailed and entire information on structure, qualitative and quantitative
characteristics of human resources promote successful conduction and implementation of such
policy.

      Situation in social sphere is not only an essential factor in economic development, but it also
reflects real processes of society democratization.

      Statistical system makes a contribution to concrete efforts of the Government and non-
governmental organizations actively participating in implementation of different programs and
projects oriented to establish social and economic policy.

     Thus, under the aegis of UN National Statistical Committee directly participates in
preparation of National Report on Human Development which enables to estimate processes of
human development potentials and appearing problems by objective comparison. Level of literacy
and index of human development that is determined by excepted lifetime and income level of
population, population dynamics, crime rate, situation of women – all these criteria somehow
characterize situation of human rights and freedom.

     Aiming to increase number of women participating in spheres connected with decision
making processes in all levels, make easier an access to educational and healthcare services, state


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statistics participates in implementation of project “gender statistics”, which foresees to widely
introduce gender divided statistical indicators in such fields like education, healthcare, labor market,
households surveys. It also makes possible to estimate situation in the field of general human rights
and freedom realization declared in the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic.

       Aiming to reduce risk factors of unfavorable influence to human health and improvement of
ecological climate, all state statistical units observe situation by main indicators of environment:
conduction of systematic monitoring of atmosphere air protection, water resources, conservation
area, forests and existence of toxic wastes.

      Transfer of land to private owners, its allotment among peasants and farmers into small shares
led to such problems like degradation of cultivated land and natural environment, soil erosion and
control of water resources.

     National plan on environment protection was elaborated for solution of these problems and
National Statistical Committee is engaged in informational provision of this plan.

      Cardinal changes in labor market during transition period required to improve labor statistics,
make labor statistics correspond to international standards for providing users with reliable
information on economic activity, employment and unemployment.

      During planning economy system working age population was observed as employed in
public production sector and as not working ones. In Soviet times it was considered that there is no
unemployment.

      Crisis events in economy, total decline of industry during recent years caused abrupt decrease
of demand for labor, but in terms of formed peculiarities of society to keep labor collectives we
have accumulation of hidden unemployment.

      In that connection, special importance in statistics reforming program of the Kyrgyz Republic
was given to measurement of employment scale and its level between population of different age
and sex. Conducted surveys of population became a main resource of information on labor force
composition, distribution of employed population by economy sectors, types of economic activities,
size and structure of factual unemployment, reasons of unemployment, ways of job search and its
duration. Results of surveys served as the main resource for elaboration of State program “Emgek”
(“Labor”) oriented to reduce problems concerning unemployment and mainly to create jobs.

      Considerable decrease of economic development level of Kyrgyzstan after the break up of
USSR led to wider distribution of such a negative social phenomena like population poverty. It one
of the most critical and considerable problem and for the solution of which we need reliable
information on level and character of poverty distribution in the Republic that enable us to deeply
understand the problem and determine main directions of poverty reduction policy.

       For elaboration of national strategy on poverty reduction we have an important tool –
monitoring of population living standard in the Kyrgyz Republic which is annually conducted by
National Statistical Committee and it provides reliable information on poverty line, level, depth and
distribution both for the whole Republic and it regions.




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                                Statistics, Development and Human Rights


      During observation of poverty level based on households surveys we confront again with the
problem of interference into personal life of citizens. In order to ensure participation of households
in survey and to attract interest of households to provide reliable information on issues included in
questionnaires National Statistical Committee applies material stimulus, guarantees confidentiality
of received data. At the same time, National Statistical Committee conducts an explanatory work
with respondents informing them about aims and importance of such works conduction.

      Data of surveys makes possible to objectively estimate the situation of current economic and
social living conditions of population and serves as a basis of social programs elaboration oriented
to reduce poverty level, create sustainable environment of harmonized and stable development of
society. Thus, conduction of regular poverty monitoring is one of the main components of National
program of poverty reduction “Araket”.

       Moreover, on the initiative of the World Bank Kyrgyzstan is chosen as one of pilot countries
for elaboration and introduction of Comprehensive Development Framework conception. In
accordance with that conception one of the main directions of our country development for next 10
years is reduction of population poverty in three times. And the fact that this conception of
development, oriented to reduce extreme level of poverty, increase level and quality of population
life, based on results of poverty monitoring, serves as additional stimulus for citizens to conduct
such activities.

     One of the features of a democratic society built on principles of equal rights is protection and
development of representatives interests regardless of nationality. For these purposes necessary
measures oriented to create equal conditions for citizens of all nationalities are taken. En extremely
urgent problem is connected with emigration of Russian speaking population from the Republic.
From 1990 to 1999 more than 360 thousand of Russian speaking population left the Republic.
Aiming to eliminate reasons of further Russian speaking population emigration the Parliament of
the Kyrgyz Republic has adopted the Law on granting Russian language a status of official one.

       Furthermore, I would like to note that the Kyrgyz Republic is the only Central Asian State
that accepted 17 thousand refugees registered in migration offices of refugees of neighboring
Tajikistan from 1994 to 1999. Refugees were provided with places for resettlement, land for hire,
minimal allowances, humanitarian aid. Regardless of status registration refugees equally with
citizens of Kyrgyzstan have the right to work, education and medical care. At the beginning stage of
transition period it was completely impossible to provide refugees with all rights mentioned above
due to existence of residence permit system that would deprive of their minimal rights and freedom.

      During democratization the system of citizens registration lost its initial significance. At the
present time, registration system of population by place of residence and leave is existing for
purposes of receiving necessary data to cover population movement and conduct query works.

      Today each citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic, regardless of his registration, has right to start
own business or work for hire, send children to pre school and general education institution, to be
treated in any hospital e.t.c.

      On the one hand it guarantees reception of social services complex regardless of registration
system, on the other hand it creates certain difficulties for statistics during population count both by
place of residence and place of stay. In that connection, we pay considerable attention to conduction
of regular censuses, social and demographic sampling surveys and monitoring.


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                               Statistics, Development and Human Rights



    As it is known, main directions of state social policy are elaborated on the basis of
demographic prognosis designed on population information.

      In that connection, population censuses are the most important and it is practically the only
source of information on social and demographic situation of population obtained on national level
by individual interviewing each citizen of the country.

      Nature of questions included in census questionnaire imply interference to personal life of
citizens to a certain degree. And that is why conduction of the First National population census of
the Kyrgyz Republic of 1999 would be a violation of democratic society principles without reliable
legal basis.

       In these purposes National Statistical Committee has elaborated special Law “On Population
Census” in 1998 which was adopted by the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic and it regulated legal
relations occurred during preparation, conduction, collection and filing of personal data on
interviewed persons.

      This Law guarantees confidentiality of personal information obtained during conduction of
the census. Publication of results only in general protects citizens from invasion of their
constitutional rights and freedom.

      Detailed and good organized preparatory work implemented on the basis of democratic
society principles was done before census conduction. The main task of National Statistical
Committee during preparation and conduction of census was not only to oblige citizen to provide
required data on themselves, but also to interest them in successful conduction of population census.

      Instead of traditional methods used in administrative and command system National
Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic has adopted tactics of active informational campaign
using posters, advertising on TV both in Kyrgyz and Russian which was broadcasted through all
channels of Republican TV and Radio broadcasting. One of reasons of successful population census
conduction was a huge population oriented preparatory work on purposes and significance of
population census in the life of our country through mass media, including direct dialogue of the
Chairman of National Statistical Committee with citizens via Republican television. Citizens could
ask questions concerning census and obtain detailed answers.

      It is worthy to note that for successful conduction of population census National Statistical
Committee, with financial support of the Government of Swiss Federation, has taken a decision to
hold a lottery and with valuable prizes on the basis of census questionnaires. Thanks to this idea we
have obtained excellent results. Those people who were not timely counted because of certain
circumstances voluntarily visited enumeration units to have a chance to participate in a lottery.

       This initiative has been supported by municipal administration of Bishkek city which offered
a flat in the downtown of Bishkek city as a main prize of the lottery. Such a valuable prize served as
a good incentive for not only lower-income and homeless population, but also for all section of
population to actively participate in population census.

      Reliable information on society is an important criteria of true democracy ensure that foresees
direct participation of society.


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                                 Statistics, Development and Human Rights



      We can not be absolutely sure that different ranges of the public know what is statistics
namely engaged with. That is why heads of National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic
quarterly conduct press conferences with mass media which lead to heated discussions on problem
issues that require detailed explanations also comments are given in connection with incorrect
interpretation and use of statistical data. Publishing information on economic and social changes in
society on the basis of reliable statistical data mass media can be a main factor of democracy. We
suppose that with the help of mass me dia we can convince heads of state and private sectors of
great possibilities of National Statistical Office and effectiveness of statistical indicators use. It also
would offer possibility to assure citizens that they have an access to statistical information and they
can make their own conclusions based on these data.

      Web-site of National Statistical Committee was introduced in Internet in order to ensure
accessibility of statistical information and expansion of informational exchange between internal
and external users.

       In order to improve effectiveness of statistical activities results dissemination National
Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic uses experiences of foreign and CIS countries
statistical offices in a maximally possible way. One of the examples is that National Statistical
Committee adopts and implements policy of data publication and dissemination based on principles
of transparency and special international standard of data dissemination of IMF. It makes possible
to have an access not only to official statistical data but also to information on data i.e.
methodology, coverage, periodicity and timeliness.

     The Kyrgyz Republic expressed its willingness to participate in the General Data
Dissemination System designed by IMF for member states and to use the General Data
Dissemination Standard as a basis of elaboration of National system of design and dissemination of
economic, financial and social-demographic data.

       In order to establish common informational and statistical environment in the Republic and
strengthen trust in official statistics National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic took the
initiative in establishing Statistical Society in the Republic. Members of Statistical Society can be
representatives of state establishments, non-governmental, national and international organizations,
research institutes, commercial organizations and individuals. We hope that maintenance of
dialogue and mutual cooperation among producers of official statistics and users of information will
make possible to improve common knowledge, develop preparation and dissemination of statistical
information and use of users professional potential in organization and conduction of statistical
surveys, censuses and monitoring – to ensure quality of statistical data.

      In conclusion, I would like to stress again that democratic changes in any State need to be
supported on the basis of effective informational provision that presupposes openness and
accessibility of statistical information, its international comparability and reliability. Without these
essential components statistics can not be an effective tool in realization of effective social and
economic policy of State main priority of which is guarantee human rights and freedom.

    Thank you for your kind attention.




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