Regional Art and Culture Programme in Central Asia

Project completed
The "Laboratory of Young Directors of Central Asia" at the "Ilkhom" theatre.
The "Laboratory of Young Directors of Central Asia" Project within the RACP. © SCO Tashkent

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) considers Art and Culture as an important component and tool of good governance. Moreover, for SDC supporting cultural activities is an integral and indispensable part of development as “Culture is not one of life’s luxuries – it is life itself”. The Regional Art and Culture Programme, which covers both regional and national projects is implemented by the Swiss Cooperation Offices in Dushanbe, Bishkek and Tashkent.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Central Asia
Culture / development awareness
Conflict & fragility
Conflict prevention and transformation
Culture & recreation
Conflict prevention
01.03.2012 - 30.06.2016
CHF  2’497’000

SDC has been successfully supporting cultural projects in Central Asia since 1998, the Regional Art and Culture Programme (RACP) was developed and launched in 2007 by the Cooperation offices in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan building on the vision of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. Ever since it has been an innovative, effective and context-adapted vehicle to promote universal values such as democratic principles, openness and diversity as well as strengthening social and cultural dynamism and connections in the communities it involved.

The RACP approach reflects the principles of the SDC's Cultural Strategic Orientation (2010-2015) stating that the cultural support to a partner country is an essential and integral element for developing capacities and for sustainable development.

Being an integral part of the Swiss cooperation strategy for Central Asia for the years 2012-2016, the RACP is supporting the overall objectives and approaches of the strategy.


The aims of the programme is building on a vision of dynamic, open and interconnected Central Asian societies, further for inclusive and sustainable development in the region.

Art and culture help individuals to expand their life choices and adapt to changes. More generally, values and beliefs are determinant for societies’ vitality and diversity, also in terms of identity, and in relation to ethics and governance. Theatre directors, cinematographers, poets and their likes are often actors instilling new ideas. They tend to be curious, creative, and interested in exchanging with others.

Target groups

Theatres, museums, musical groups, art schools, art associations and institutions, art and culture specialists – in urban and rural areas.


In Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the RACP supports both individual artists and groups, like theatres, museums, musical groups, art schools, art associations and producer centres – in both urban and rural areas.

Various events, such as concerts, performances, exhibitions, art mediation activities, publications, master-classes are sponsored on national and regional level, but the Programme also aims at the organizational development of artistic associations. For example, a long-standing partnership has been developed with experimental theatres like “Sakhna” (Kyrgyzstan) or “Ilkhom” (Uzbekistan), and “Didor” has become a renowned international film festival (Tajikistan).

The Programme also finances original ideas of individual artists (books on specific cultural issues, production of artifacts, CDs, cartoons) to be executed in a shorter time (max. one year).     

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss cooperation with Eastern Europe
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector North
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • Swiss Cooperation Offices (SCOs) of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, Local NGOs are sub-contracted by the SCOs.

Other partners

Ministries, associations, conservatories, theatres, galleries, NGOs, art and culture specialists

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    2’497’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’408’512
Project phases Phase 4 01.01.2016 - 31.03.2020   (Completed)

Phase 3 01.03.2012 - 30.06.2016   (Completed)