Development of civil society in Uzbekistan based on the strategy “From a strong state to strong civil society”

Jan 9, 2017 | Aaron Swartz Progressive Change Scholarship

The article analyzes the historical and legal regulation of aspects of the formation and development of CSOs which have been an integral part of reforms and policies undertaken by the government since the independence of Uzbekistan. it addresses the role of CSOs in governing and structural formation of the state past 25 years.

In Uzbekistan based on the Constitution established a democratic meeting the latest requirements of international standards and the regulatory framework of NGO activities, which consists of more than 200 legislative acts.
The effectiveness of the known world, and fully justified the five principles of the “Uzbek model” of development and strategy “From a strong state to strong civil society”. They allowed systematically, gradually and consistently generate favorable organizational and legal basis for the development of independent, stable, enjoying the support of the wider NGO people, to ensure their effective participation in building a democratic state, formation of civil society, ensuring the rights, freedoms and interests of citizens, improving social-economic activity and legal culture.
As part of measures to ensure the independent development of civil society institutions, strengthening their role and place in the state construction, provision and maintenance of a balance of interests in society, protection of democratic values, rights, freedoms and legal interests of a person in Uzbekistan adopted the laws “On Public Associations in the Republic of Uzbekistan”[1, p.76], “On trade unions, rights and guarantees of their activity”[2, p.588], “On the non-state non-profit organizations”[3, p.173], “On public funds”[4, p.141], “On guarantees of activity of nongovernmental nonprofit organizations”[5, p.173] and a number of other legislative acts in this area.
A distinctive feature of the Uzbek model of development of civil society is the all-round readiness and willingness of the state to maintain public institutions initiatives aimed at strengthening the participation of citizens independently and in close cooperation with the government to solve the current issues of the country’s development. In this regard, noted the activities of the Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan, fund “Mahalla”, “For Healthy Generation”, “Ecosan” and “Nuroniy” Public Youth Movement “Kamolot”, the Independent Institute for monitoring the formation of civil society, the National Association of NGOs of Uzbekistan, the Environmental Movement Uzbekistan and other public organizations [6].
An important step in assisting civil society institutions to support the adoption of the 2008 Joint Resolution Council of the Chamber and Senate of Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan “On measures to strengthen support to NGOs and other civil society institutions”[7, p.409] According to the Resolution at the highest legislative body established Community Foundation and the Parliamentary Commission for its management of funds as part of parliamentarians, representatives of NGOs, as well as the Ministries of Justice and Finance. These measures helped to form a unique and effective democratic system, transparent, open and targeted distribution of funds allocated from the State budget to support civil society in the form of grants, subsidies and social orders.
A powerful impetus to activate NGOs scale up their activities and responsibilities in managing the affairs of state and society gave the Concept of further deepening democratic reforms and formation of civil society in the country, adopted by the Parliament in 2010. As part of the practical implementation of the Concept adopted laws “On Environmental Control”[8, p.688], “On transparency of activity of bodies of state power and governance”[9, p.209] and “On social partnership”[10, p.488].
In accordance with the Law “On social partnership”, introduced streamlined system forms, principles, mechanisms of interaction between government and civil society institutions, NGOs, as well as the rights and obligations of the parties. The law builds the relationship between the authorities and institutions of civil society to a qualitatively new level, the envisaged partnership, i.e. the recognition of the parties to such partnership as equal entities in a joint activity based on mutual interests and mutual respect for the good of the whole country.
Particular dynamics of the process of development of civil society institutions gave adopted in 2013 by the President Decree “On additional measures to assist the development of civil society institutions”[11, p.660].
According to the Resolution from 1 January 2014 rate of state fee charged for state registration of NGOs, reduced 5 times, the fee charged for the state registration of their symbols – in 2,5 times. No commission fee is carried out registration and registration of representative offices and branches of NGOs in the regions. A side benefit is established for public associations of invalids, veterans, and women and youth – the fee for registration of relevant NGOs will be charged at a rate of 50 per cent of the approved by this Regulation. According to him, in 2 times reduced term of consideration of the application for state registration of NGOs, without the right of the registration authority for its renewal, as well as a list of documents submitted by NGOs in this regard.
From year to year the NGO contribution to the realization of the most important state of socio-economic programs in their program to create jobs and employment, a program to further strengthen reproductive health, maternal health, child and adolescent in Uzbekistan for 2014-2018 years, Program for Environmental action of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2013-2017 and others.
Leaders and activists of NGOs are members of more than 40 permanent republican interdepartmental commissions, councils, working groups established in accordance with the acts of the Head of State and Government of the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan.
Since 2013, on an annual basis by the Cabinet of Ministers with the active participation of NGOs developed and implemented joint plans and programs for the development of civil society institutions. In 2013, under the joint measures taken to improve the information and organizational activities of the NGO, in 2014 activities were aimed at improving their social, socio-economic activity in 2015 Comprehensive Plan of the Cabinet of Ministers of the measures aimed at strengthening social partnership between the government and NGOs.
In general, implemented in the country by improving the organizational and legal framework of civil society measures reflected both quantitative and qualitative indicators of development.
If in 1991 the country functioned only 95 NGOs, by 2000 the number had increased to 2,585 units from 2000 to 2010, the number of NGOs has increased more than 2 times and reached the level of 5431 units. Over the past five years, marked by a similar growth and on July 1, 2016 the number of NGOs in Uzbekistan has reached 8639 [12].
Reforms in the field of formation and development of civil society in Uzbekistan meet modern trends noted in developed democratic countries of the world. The level of development of national statehood, consistently developing the processes of democratization and liberalization of society, there is a growing level of socio-political and socio-economic activity of citizens, and content aimed at strengthening the legal mechanisms for human rights and interests, as well as democracy in the society.
At all stages of democratic reforms and Uzbekistan rulemaking proceeding from the interests of society and the citizen, national traditions and mentality of the people, paying particular attention to a deep study of the proven international experience.
Nevertheless, I consider that it is necessary for more improvement of NGO activities, to develop a practical concept for further improve the mechanisms for cooperation between government bodies and NGOs. Activating public participation in addressing the socio-economic development of territories, the possible introduction of incentives and promotion of public and social activities arrangements citizens and NGOs, NGO business organization. The formation of the complex infrastructure of training and skills development for the NGO sector, special attention is paid to the development of education and educational NGOs and the use of universal criteria to determine the ranking of public organizations.
1. Ведомости Верховного Совета Республики Узбекистан, 1991 г., № 4, ст. 76; 1992 г., № 9, ст. 363; Ведомости Олий Мажлиса Республики Узбекистан, 1997 г., № 4-5, ст. 126; 1998 г., № 3, ст. 38; 2004 г., № 1-2, ст. 18; Собрание законодательства Республики Узбекистан, 2004 г., № 25, ст. 287, № 51, ст. 514; 2008 г., № 52, ст. 513; 2014 г., № 50, ст. 588.
2. Ведомости Верховного Совета Республики Узбекистан, 1992 г., № 9, ст. 344; Ведомости Олий Мажлиса Республики Узбекистан, 2002 г., № 1, ст. 20. Ведомости Олий Мажлиса Республики Узбекистан, 1999 г., № 5, ст. 115;
3. Собрание законодательства Республики Узбекистан, 2004 г., № 25, ст. 287; 2007 г., № 52, ст. 533; 2008 г., № 52, ст. 513; 2012 г., № 15, ст. 164; 2014 г., № 50, ст. 588; 2016 г., № 17, ст. 173.
4. Ведомости Олий Мажлиса Республики Узбекистан, 2003 г., № 9-10, ст. 141; Собрание законодательства Республики Узбекистан, 2007 г., № 50-51, ст. 500; 2008 г., № 52, ст. 513; 2012 г., № 15, ст. 164; 2016 г., № 17, ст. 173
5. Собрание законодательства Республики Узбекистан, 2007 г., № 1-2, ст. 2; 2008 г., № 51, ст. 500
6. The report of International expert center for Electoral Systems
7. Ведомости палат Олий Мажлиса Республики Узбекистан, 2008 г., № 7, ст. 409.
8. Собрание законодательства Республики Узбекистан, 2013 г., № 52, ст. 688.
9. Собрание законодательства Республики Узбекистан, 2014 г., № 12, ст. 209.
10. Собрание законодательства Республики Узбекистан, 2014 г., № 39, ст. 488.
11. Собрание законодательства Республики Узбекистан, 2013 г., № 51, ст. 660.
12. Ўзбекистон Республикаси Адлия вазирлиги.Вазирлик фаолияти. Бажарилган ишлар бўйича маълумот.

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