Over half of the population in Kyrgyzstan is under the age of 25, and almost a third of the population is between 15 and 25 years old. Youth in Kyrgyzstan live in an environment where poverty and unemployment are widespread - affecting over 40 per cent of youth - economic opportunities are limited, access to public services is poor, corruption is pervasive and opportunities to make their voices heard in public or private are scarce. Moreover, tensions between ethnic groups and other sensitive issues lead to conflict and harmful behaviour among marginalized and disengaged youth.
This makes 31 per cent of youth “afraid of the future or uncertain about tomorrow."
Conflicts affect the well-being of children in many ways, especially among adolescents and youth. The Kyrgyzstan is prone to various conflicts, especially interethnic tensions and border disputes. Much progress has been made to stabilize the situation since the interethnic conflict of 2010, with considerable support from the international community.
However, there are still peacebuilding challenges linked to root causes of conflict that must be addressed to prevent a relapse into violence. Youth and adolescents have been seen both as victims and as perpetrators in those conflicts, and yet, their unique capacity to contribute to the country’s development and unity has been often overlooked.