Delegation of the Oliy Majlis and research institutes of Uzbekistan conducted a “round table” and meetings in the UK
Delegation of Uzbekistan consisting of Mr. S.Safaev – Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate, Mrs. S.Artikova – Chair of the Committee on Legislation, Judicial and Legal Affairs of the Senate, Mr. A.Jurabaev – Chair of the Committee on Information and Communication Technologies of Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis and heads of the Institute for Monitoring of Current Legislation (IMCL) and the Independent Institute for Monitoring the Formation of Civil Society (IIMFCS) visited London on November 22-25, 2011.
During the visit, the delegation was welcomed by the Rt. Hon. David Lidington MP, Minister of State for Europe, and Mr. Lindsay Hoyle MP, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons of the Parliament. More than ten other meetings were held with the chairs and members of various committees and structures of the UK Parliament. There was a frank and constructive exchange of views on bilateral relations, Uzbekistan-EU ties, regional security and situation in Afghanistan, social development and economic cooperation, human rights and democratic reforms, environment and water management issues in Central Asia.
A “round table” was organized at the Embassy of Uzbekistan on “The role of civil institutions and the parliament in providing public control over the execution of legislative acts by government authorities and administration: experience of Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom”, which was attended by about 40 representatives of political, social and business circles and experts.
Members of the Uzbek delegation in their presentations talked about the main achievements of Uzbekistan since Independence and the ongoing reforms in the context of the “Concept of further deepening of democratic reforms and the development of civil society in Uzbekistan”. Particular attention was given to steps aimed at strengthening of the role and authority of the Parliament in controlling over the executive branch, the process of liberalization of the judicial system, measures for the technological modernization of all aspects of life, the growth of civil society activity.
From the British side presentations were made by Lord Fred Ponsonby, member of the House of Lords and President of the British-Uzbek Society, Prof. Siddharth Saxena, Chairman of the Cambridge Central Asia Forum and Mrs. Kath Rees, Chief Executive of the British NGO “The Haven Wolverhampton”. They shared their experience and evaluations on the above subjects with regard to Britain and Uzbekistan. They emphasized the historical experience of our country in interaction between civil society and government institutions, pointlessness of attempts to impose external forms of democratic development without taking into account local traditions and specificity. The achievements of Uzbekistan in promoting its own model of national development were highlighted. At the same time, they pointed to the potential for the study of historically rich British experience of parliamentary democracy and civil society development, both for using the positive aspects and avoiding mistakes.
Participants of the “round table” made their comments and asked questions during a lively discussion. In the end of the event they made the following conclusions:
1) Over 20 years of Independence, Uzbekistan has made significant steps and achieved many important successes, including in socio-economic development, and democratic reforms. At the same time, Uzbekistan has openly admits that much more still remains to be done. The “Concept of further deepening democratic reforms and the development of civil society in the country”, initiated by the President Islam Karimov, envisages concrete steps in this direction during the next phase of national development in Uzbekistan.
2) For effective implementation of these steps, the Uzbek side seeks to explore and learn from foreign experience. Britain, with its 700-year-old history of parliamentary democracy, provides good opportunity for learning both for positive examples, and avoiding mistakes. It is worth noting, however, that parliamentary practice and scope of activity of civil society in the UK continues to develop and undergone several major changes in recent years. In this regard, deepening and delivering a qualitative content of inter-parliamentary dialogue and exchange should play a key role in this aspect of the Uzbek-British relations.
3) There is no absolute model of civil society, and each national parliament works in accordance with its own realities. In fact, Uzbekistan has always had its own traditional forms of civil society (eg. mahalla), but at the same time rapidly developing modern models of civil society institutions, absorbing western and oriental features. Important role in this process plays modernization of all aspects of social and political life in the country.
4) The interaction between the civil society, parliament and executive bodies should be permanent and constructive. At the same time, efforts should be aimed at strengthening the role of the first two elements. Moreover, judicial and legal reforms and socio-economic transformations by government agencies should not only be under the control and monitoring, but also initiated by the civil society and parliament. This is particularly related to the measures to protect the environment, preserve the gene pool and ensure the conditions for women, children and socially vulnerable people.
In this context, Uzbekistan and the United Kingdom have considerable potential to increase exchanges and cooperation on the official, academic and business levels.
Ambassador Akbarov opened the “round table”
Senator Safaev as a key-note speaker
Lord Ponsonby makes his speech
Senator Artikova presents
the judicial reform in Uzbekistan
Professor Saxena talks
about traditional forms of civil society
Mrs. Rees speaks about cooperation with Uzbekistan
Press-service of the Embassy of Uzbekistan
London, 23 January 2012