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Social partnership - effective mechanism for interaction of state and society

Tashkent hosted the International Conference on the theme "Development of social partnership between NGOs and public authorities: the experience of Uzbekistan and international practice".
 
Forum was organized by the Independent Institute for Monitoring the Formation of Civil Society, National Association of NGOs of Uzbekistan (NANNOUz), the Council of Federation of Trade Unions and the Ministry of Justice in partnership with the OSCE Project Coordinator in our country, representative of Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Germany), the NGO branch "Regional dialogue" (Slovenia), the French Embassy and the University of Tsukuba (Japan). 
 
The conference has brought together experts of research centers of Germany, the Netherlands, India, Canada, France, South Korea, Japan and other countries, representatives of international organizations and diplomatic missions accredited in Uzbekistan, members of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate of Oliy Majlis, executives of public authorities, experts, representatives of NGOs and the media.
 
The purpose of this event was to consider mechanisms of social partnership between government agencies and NGOs practicing in our country and abroad, strengthening their role in solving urgent problems of social, socio-economic and humanitarian development of the country. 
 
During the conference, an authoritative circle of participants discussed the state  and general trends of political and legal basis for the development of the foundations of social partnership between government agencies and NGOs, the role of this interaction in ensuring transparency and efficiency of public authorities, increasing political activity and legal culture of citizens. 
 
The attendees also focused on the issue of attracting the general public in the development and implementation of legislation and government programs of social, socio-economic and human development.
 
It should be noted that Uzbekistan is committed to building a democratic state, open civil society, an important component of which is a well-developed network of independent, sustainable civic institutions supported by broad layers of the population and is deeply rooted among the people. The country has developed and implemented the principle "From a strong state towards strong civil society", the essence of which lies in the empowerment of civil society institutions including NGOs in protection of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the people.
 
In order to provide comprehensive assistance to such structures in 2008, by joint resolution of both Houses of Parliament a Public Foundation on the support of NGOs and other civil society institutions and the parliamentary commission on the control of its funds have been established under the highest legislative body. In recent years from the state budget for these purposes over 47.7 billion Uzbek soums has been allocated through this fund in the form of government grants, social orders and subsidies. 
 
The Concept of Further Deepening Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country put forward by President Islam Karimov and adopted by the Parliament in November 2010 gave a powerful impetus to for strengthening and expanding the scope of activities of NGOs and civil institutions. On the basis of this document for the previous period there have been adopted laws "On openness of activities of state and management authorities", "On Environmental Control", "On parliamentary control", "On e-government", "On social partnership". 
 
During the international conference it was stressed that one of the urgent problems in the sphere of social partnership is to increase the quantity and quality of joint projects in areas where the state needs the active support of non-governmental organizations. In this regard, the experiences of developed democratic countries, such as Germany, Canada, Republic of Korea, France, Japan are of interest.
 
As part of the breakout sessions, national and international experts reviewed the legislation and specific programs and strategies of Uzbekistan and foreign countries regulating social partnership issues. 
 
At the same time, the experience of public organizations of the republic in improving the socio-political activity and the political and legal culture of the various segments of the population has been considered in detail, the most successful projects of cooperation between NGOs and governmental bodies has been represented. 
 
As a result of the discussions there were developed practical recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the implementation of the Law "On social partnership" and " On openness of activities of state and management authorities", as well as improving the work of public commissions on social partnership created under Jokargi Kenes of Karakalpakstan, Kengashes People's deputies of regions and Tashkent city, public bodies. 
 
In the intervals between sessions the correspondent of Jahon information agency talked with some foreign participants. 
 
Naoto Yamauchi, professor of Public Economics at Osaka University, Japan:
 
- Currently, åhere is a global trend to the accelerated development and civil society strengthening. The democratic reforms in Uzbekistan are keeping pace with the times. Legal and financial support, public organizations’ capacity building are not possible without state support today. I was pleasantly surprised by how seriously Uzbekistan concerns about these issues and strengthens the social partnership. This mechanism is being promoted and I think it has good prospects.
 
Govind Kumar Inakhiya, researcher at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Central University Jammu (India):
 
- I am very pleased to participate in this important and timely conference. Within its framework, I was able to make a presentation on improvement of NGOs’ activities and the modern trends of civil institutions’ and society development in the light of the constitutional norms in Uzbekistan and India.
 
Having studied your country’s experience in the field, I would like to emphasize that the done extensive work is undisputable fact. In particular, the rights of citizens to participate in managing society and state affairs, both directly and through their representatives, as well as the implementation of public control over the state bodies’ activity, and other extensive rights are enshrined in the Main Law of the country. In this context, these rights’ practical realization is of great importance. For example, in terms of women’s representation in public and political life, there is an order quota of seats for them in local governments and national parliaments in India and Uzbekistan. It significantly increases women’s participation in the activities of civil society institutions and the state.
 
It is gratifying that the self-government bodies are very active in solving important social and economic issues, the implementation of targeted social assistance.
 
The Law “On social partnership” adopted in Uzbekistan is a unique and effective document. It strengthens the direct dialogue between the state and society. I would like to congratulate the people of Uzbekistan with the adoption of an act of legislation, as it serves to protect citizens’ rights and interests.
 
I am sure that Uzbekistan is on the right path of development. the active participation and further development of civil society institutions and NGOs can be ensured by the implementation of significant reforms in the area.
 
Nathan Gilbert Quimpo (Netherlands), professor at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba (Japan):
 
- In preparation for this conference I was very impressed with the program of events that covers a variety of trends and topical issues of civil society development. I am very happy to participate in such an interesting and important forum.
 
As the representative of the Netherlands, who teaches in Japan, I can share the two countries’ experience in the sphere. In particular, civil society is quite developed and NGOs activity covers almost all areas and sectors of society in the Netherlands. Civil institutions of Japan, in turn, have similarities with Uzbekistan’s experience, particularly in the local governments’ functioning. In addition, I see the same solidarity of the population in the framework of such organizations. Together they help to carry out various public and ceremonial events, resurfacing and creative work. That is the civil society at the local level is very serious “social capital, and it is encouraging.
 
Patricia Lalonde, Secretary General of Muslim Educational and Welfare Association (MEWA), researcher at the Institute of perspectives and security in Europe (France):
 
- It is difficult to compare the experience of civil society development in France and Uzbekistan, because the countries have their own historical and national features, the factor of the duration of the process and other differences. But at the same time I can say that given the relatively short period of time (25 years), the level of democratic development of Uzbekistan and active civil society, provided support of the state to them deserve special attention.
 
Overall, I appreciate the level of your country’s modern development and I want to express my confidence that Uzbekistan will reach its goals and will take its rightful place among the developed democracies of the world by following the principle “from strong state to strong civil society”.
 
Jahon Information Agency 
 
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