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A strong civil society is crucial to the development of healthy democracy, particularly in countries where authoritarianism persists. It, further, has a significant impact on the administration and delivery of public services in an equitable manner. Absence of strong civil society, as is the case in some Central Asian nations, can have a negative effect on political rights and democratic processes. With this in mind, the Centre for Public Administration conducts research on the civil society in Central Asia. This project aims to build civil society effectiveness in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Civil society groups in each of these countries are weak and operate under highly regulated or restricted circumstances, largely because of the political context of authoritarian governments. Our research focuses on a recent innovation, Public Councils and the role of non-governmental organisations in the region.