Gulzana Kurmanalieva
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Gulzana Kurmanalieva is a PhD student at Naryn State University, Kyrgyzstan named after S.Naamatova. She studied Economics and Management at Kyrgyz National University named after J.Balasagyn. Before, Gulzana was working for the Kyrgyz National University named after J.Balasagyn Education Centre, the University of Central Asia, as well as for Naryn State University named after S.Naamatova. Her research interests are: pastoralism, institutional analysis of pasture resource management in Central Asia, and material challenges to use and access pasture lands in Central Asia. Her research topic is: “Pasture Resource Conflict and Cooperation: Explaining the Coexistence of Conflict and Cooperation in Pastoral South Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.”  

Curriculum vitae can be found here.

Doctoral thesis

Topic: “Pasture Resource Conflict and Cooperation: Explaining the Coexistence of Conflict and Cooperation in Pastoral Border South Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan”

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Damira Omuralieva


The boundary regions of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are known for regional instability impacted by a lack of delineation and demarcation of border territories, which has induced inter-ethnic tensions. A growing scarcity of the pasture resources located in the border regions plays an important role for this conflict and has motivated violent outbreaks between Tajik and Kyrgyz ethnic groups.

Despite policies that aim on the improvement of the pasture management, such as the introduction of pasture fees and establishment of a local Pasture Committee, multiple conflicts among ethnic communities over pasture still exist.

Firstly, this study examines the conflictive interactions between bordering Kyrgyz and Tajik pastoral communities as well as various forms of cooperation among groups and individual households and associated factors. Secondly, it explores governance structures, institutions (i.e. sets of rules or property rights) and determinants of institutional design that impact the emerging rules in-use for transboundary pasture use in the Kyrgyz-Tajik border regions. The research consequently seeks to explore ways to achieve sustainable and locally accepted regional pasture management in transboundary Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The work employs an institutional perspective and explores the impact of the given institutional setup. It was noted that a lack of institutional arrangements for transboundary pasture use hinders Tajik herders’ legal access to the region’s sole summer pastures. The Kyrgyz “Pasture Committee” has pragmatically designed local rules on transboundary pasture use in the Kyrgyz–Tajik border region, thereby assuring Tajik herders at least semi-official access to the summer pastures. Yet while these rules limit conflict, they fail to limit overstocking. Locally designed rules also open up business opportunities to Tajik herders, which some of the Kyrgyz herders consider unfair and illegal. In order to achieve sustainable and locally accepted regional pasture management, despite the lack of legislative amendments and international agreements, we propose local-level institutional innovations. The work also emphasizes that pasture use regulation is paramount for maintaining regional stability and peaceful cooperation.

The analysis relied on both qualitative and quantitative data collections in order to obtain in-depth information from involved actors and governance structures. Additionally, the ‘Snow Ball System Method’ was used as well.



Peer-reviewed articles

Kurmanalieva, Gulzana and Crewett, Wibke - Pastoralism: Research, Policy and Practice (2019) Institutional design, informal practices and international conflict: The case of community-based pasture management in the Kyrgyz-Tajik border region

Policy papers

Kurmanalieva Gulzana, « Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: Endless Border Conflicts », L'Europe en Formation, 2018/1 (n° 385), p. 121-130. DOI : 10.3917/eufor.385.0121. URL:

Local journal articles

Bekirova, Dinara/Kurmanalieva, Gulzana (2014): Adaptation of Foreign Experiences and Experiences of Other Regions of Kyrgyzstan to Use and Management of Pastures in Naryn Oblast, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. 25-27.

Kurmanalieva, Gulzana (2014): The Role of Pastoralism in the Development of the Rural Economy in Naryn Oblast, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp 63-64.

Conference papers

Kurmanalieva, Gulzana (2016): Pasture Resource Conflicts in Transboundary South Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan:  Institutional Analysis of Pasture Management.  Paper presented at the  Central Asian Workshop: Persistence and Change of Institutions in Natural Resources Management in Central Asian context, Humboldt University ,Berlin, 26-28 Jan.



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