Ferghana-Valley Discussion List

The FERGHANA-VALLEY discussion list is meant to serve as a tool for addressing development issues in the Ferghana Valley. The discussion list is associated with the United Nations Ferghana Valley Development Programme, though it is open to all who are interested in the welfare of the Valley.

The FERGHANA-VALLEY discussion list is an innovation in participatory development. Participatory development is an approach to addressing the economic and social issues of a country or region which looks to the general population as those who are best able to assess their own needs and are in the best position to play an active role in carrying out the development initiatives which affect their own well-being. For effective participatory development, it is important to take in the views and experience of a wide population, and to maintain strong links with this population so that they can participate actively in the implementation of development initiatives. Typical approaches to participatory development include workshops, focus group discussions, and town meetings; this discussion list is meant to carry this approach into a new realm of the electronic media to reach participants in several countries, and to involve them actively in a new way. This discussion list is aimed at a) establishing a channel to receive input from the broadest possible constituency of those concerned about the Ferghana Valley, and b) fostering the network of links to those who can usefully participate in the development of the region.

The Ferghana Valley is a region of promise and challenges. It holds the largest concentration of population in all of Central Asia. It has a rich environment for agriculture and has relatively well developed industry, as well as a millennia-long history of trade connecting it via the Silk Road to far-flung Europe and Asia.

At the same time, the Valley faces particular challenges. It has a population of rich ethnic diversity, that has occasionally experienced ethnic conflicts. Its territory is divided between three countries -- Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan -- and the boundaries are complexly intertwined, often cross-cutting transportation corridors, populated points, and economic resources. As much of the former Soviet Union, the region experienced difficult economic times following the break-up of the Union. A legacy of environmental problems and other difficulties remains, including crucial issues of the educational, cultural and social development of these newly independent countries.

The United Nations' Ferghana Valley Development Programme is working to address the development issues facing the Valley in a variety of sectors ranging from economic development, education and environment protection. In the period from August 1998 to July 1999 it is in the preparatory phase which will lead to the design and implementation of the full Programme during subsequent years. More information about the Programme may be obtained by writing to us at or visiting our website (available soon).

The FERGHANA-VALLEY discussion list is dedicated to all topics of discussion which can help to elucidate the problems of the region and to further their resolution. It is also intended to provide a forum for building the linkages between stake-holders, local NGOs, local governments, business, scholars, and international organizations which are crucial for effective pursuit of development initiatives.

Participants whom we would encourage to join the discussion include anyone who has knowledge of the Ferghana Valley and who is prepared to contribute to a constructive discussion. These may include students, aid workers, scholars, NGO representatives, government representatives, and so on.

The discussion on the FERGHANA-VALLEY list is moderated, meaning that your contributions will go through a "filter" before distribution to all members of the list. This is to ensure that all discussion is serious and respectful, and contributes constructively toward to the goal of bettering conditions in the Valley. The moderator will restrict postings only when it is necessary toward further these goals. As you write to the list, consider yourself to be in a public forum where all participants deserve the respect that you will show by framing your thoughts carefully and constructively.

Discussion on the FERGHANA-VALLEY list is in Russian and in English as the linguistic complexity of the region makes it impossible to expect that all participants will be able to manage in other languages of the Valley. If you write in Russian, we recommend using Latin transcription, as many list members may lack the technical capacity to read texts in Cyrillic.

New members wishing to join the FERGHANA-VALLEY discussion list may write to us , or may simply send a message to with the text "SUBSCRIBE".

Thank you for your interest!

John Schoeberlein (Chief Technical Advisor, Ferghana Valley D. P.)

Bakyt Beshimov (National Manager, Ferghana Valley D. P.)