Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, some Central Asian countries have been highly protective of their sovereignties. With their newly-found independence, they want to reconstruct their identities and reinterpret their histories. In this regard, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan consider Art and Culture a powerful tool for conveying these values.
Switzerland recognizes Art and Culture as an important component of good governance. It actually considers supporting cultural activities as an integral and indispensable part of development. The Regional Art and Culture Programme covering both regional and national projects is implemented by the Swiss Cooperation Offices in Dushanbe, Bishkek and Tashkent.
Switzerland has successfully supported cultural projects in Central Asia since 1998. This assistance was formalised in 2007, when the SCO offices in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan launched the Central Asia Art and Culture programme (CAACP). Building on the vision of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, it has been an innovative, effective and context-adapted tool to promote universal values such as democratic principles, openness and diversity. The programme has also strengthened the social and cultural dynamics and connections in the communities it involved.
The CAACP reflects the principles of Switzerland’s Cultural Strategic Orientation, which views cultural support to a partner country as an essential and fundamental element for developing capacities and sustainable development.
Being an integral part of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Central Asia (2017 – 2020), the CAACP supports the overall objectives and approaches of the strategy, in particular by reducing fragility and conflict potential in the region.