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Uzbek-British Dialogue on Civil Society

 

A high-level delegation of parliamentarians and researchers from Uzbekistan has visited the United Kingdom on 24-26 November 2010. They met with British official, academic and civil society organisations, as well as participated in the Round Table event hosted by the Embassy of Uzbekistan in London. The visit was organized with support of the OSCE Projects Coordinator Office and British Embassy in Tashkent.

Main aim of the visit was to exchange experience and views on issues of the civil society development, as well as explore possibilities for cooperation in this field. In the focus of discussions was “The Concept of the further deepening of the democratic reforms and the formation of the civil society in the country”, presented by the President of Uzbekistan HE Mr Islam Karimov at the joint session of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan on 12 November 2010 in Tashkent.

During the meeting in Westminster Palace with Lord Waverley, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Britain-Uzbekistan, visible intensification of bilateral political dialogue was gladly noted. Only in 2010 there was exchange already of six delegations of representatives from British and Uzbek Parliaments. Guests from Tashkent described current dynamics and prospects of the civil society and political parties’ development in Uzbekistan. Regional environmental problems, including trans-boundary water management and air pollution, were also discussed.

The Uzbek delegation had very productive meetings in the London headquarters of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, as well as the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). There was detailed information and material exchange on how civil society regulated and develops, both in the United Kingdom and Uzbekistan. Uzbek MPs and researchers are going to use this when preparing new legislation and assessing possible cons and pros in the mentioned field.

During a trip to Cambridge, the delegation members held a round table with experts from the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, as well as meeting with academics in the Jesus College. It was noted that Cambridge University has historic links with Uzbek academic circles and conducts multifaceted regional studies for a long time. Special attention was paid to experience and prospects of cooperation in such areas, as environmental conservation and biodiversity, practical implementation of alternative and renewable energy projects, educational development.

On November 25, 2010 the Embassy of Uzbekistan hosted the Round Table “Uzbekistan’s Experience on Strengthening a Role of the Public Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations in Developing of Strong Civil Society” (with presentation of the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan). Among more then 35 participants, there were representatives of parliaments, official bodies, academic and civil society institutions from the UK and Uzbekistan. Keynote presentations were delivered by:         

- HE Mr Otabek Akbarov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan in the United Kingdom;

- Lord Fred Ponsonby, Member of the House of Lords and President of the British-Uzbek Society

- Mr Sadirjon Jakbarov, Member of the Oliy Majlis (Parliament), Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan

- Mr Mukhamadjon Tursunov, Member of the Oliy Majlis, Liberal-Democratic Party of Uzbekistan

- Mr Galib Abdukarimov, Deputy Director, Institute of Civil Society Studies

- Prof. Montu Saxena, Cambridge University

- Dr. Shirin Akiner, Cambridge Central Asia Forum   

 

Round Table participants came to the following conclusions:

  1. Uzbekistan has successfully fulfilled two stages of state development, and features of the third stage are defined by the above mentioned Concept recently announced by President Islam Karimov. The Concept includes number of proposals in six main areas and serves as basis for further discussions and work of all strata of society in Uzbekistan. Implementation of the Concept will allow to significantly renew and raise effectiveness of executive power and representative bodies, civil society and media, judicial system, deepen market reforms and economic development of Uzbekistan.  
  2. Development of civil society should be considered in the wider context, including via promotion of democracy, cultural ties, business relations and role of the state in international stage. It should take into account such important aspects, as education, traditional values and economic motivation.
  3. Civil society is organic part of historic and cultural heritage of Uzbekistan people. It is especially reflected in the form of makhalla (traditional neighbourhood community) and other institutions. They should be further supported and can be studied abroad as a successful model.
  4. On the international level and particularly when developing Uzbek-British relations, more mutual understanding and constructive cooperation should be encouraged and promoted in all directions, including civil society development.

 

Lord Fred Ponsonby welcomes participants

 

Mr Abdukarimov making presentation

 

Prof. Saxena

 

Representative of the Ecologic Movement of Uzbekistan
 

Round Table in Cambridge

 

Mr Abdukarimov and Prof. Saxena

 

 



London, 29 November 2010

 

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