NEW UZBEKISTAN: FROM A STRONG STATE TO A STRONG CIVIL SOCIETY
Liberal reforms of the new formation, launched in our country in September 2016, have impressed not only our people, but also the international community. They have triggered the renovations and changes that seemed unfeasible yesterday. The head of state, firmly demonstrating his position and political will, boldly embarked on the implementation of reforms aimed at the active development and modernization of Uzbekistan. Both domestic and foreign policies raised hopes for solving social problems of the population that had been accumulating in the country for years.
Built on such life principles as “People are not supposed to serve the state bodies, but it is the state bodies that should serve the people”, “Caring about people’s concerns is the key factor of humanity”, “People want to see positive changes in life not tomorrow, not in the distant future, but today”, the first changes began with the improvement of the legislative framework to fully ensure human rights and freedoms in Uzbekistan.
It should be especially noted that the National Action Strategy on Five Priority Development Areas 2017-2021, developed at the initiative of the President and adopted on February 7, 2017, is the main guideline of development for the near future with an eye to people’s needs and wishes.
The historic document pays priority attention to fundamental reformation of state and public construction by full implementation of the concept "From a strong state to a strong civil society." Meanwhile, the reforms in public administration began with profound transformations in the parliament activities.
Concurrently, the role of the national parliament and political parties was further strengthened as well. The fact that members of parliament and senate have stopped limiting themselves with considering the proposed bills, and started visiting problem places to keep abreast of the living standards of the people, participating in analysis and solution of people’s problems, ranks among serious changes.
To ensure the effectiveness of these efforts, special commissions were created under the Senate of the Oliy Majlis and territorial councils, whose members monthly go to the field, study problems and take practical measures to address them. Along with that, a number of reforms have been carried out to strengthen the role and place of parliament in public life. Specifically, its powers to exercise control over the activities of the executive branch have been expanded.
The system of provision of public services is being consistently improved and upgraded, thereby contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of the population, the investment climate, the business environment and business development. For instance, the launch of an automated system of state registration of business entities, which allows reducing registration procedures to 30 minutes, makes it possible to increase the position of Uzbekistan in the global Doing Business rating in terms of Business Registration year by year.
The elimination of some systematic problems of the transition of the national system of providing public services to a qualitatively new level that fully meets the needs of the population and business entities, allowed implementing the important principle “It is not citizens who move, but documents”. This has become an important factor in ensuring the balance and consistency of the ongoing reforms, as well as in increasing the responsibility of authorized bodies and organizations for the high-quality performance of public services.
Ensuring smooth operation of the Virtual and People's Receptions of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to ensure human interests, open dialogue with people, take care of them, reveal and solve pressing problems ranks among the priority reforms at the new stage.
It has to be admitted that these structures are becoming criteria for the effectiveness of performance of public authorities and administration, as well as a mechanism for in-depth analysis of local problems and increasing the responsibility of state bodies and officials to society, assessing their activities. People's receptions in all regions of the republic provide direct dialogue with the population, prompt solution of problems arising in the field, elimination of shortcomings, protection of the rights and interests of individuals and legal entities. People’s Reception Offices of the President have switched to an active system of identifying and solving problems through household visits. They are also empowered to study the activities of state bodies, submit proposals for bringing officials who have violated the law to disciplinary responsibility, up to dismissal. The system ‘makhalla - sector - People's Reception – makhalla’ was introduced to solve the problems of the population.
Meanwhile, within the framework of the Mehr-1 and Mehr-2 humanitarian actions, more than 200 citizens, mainly women and children, were returned to their homeland from armed conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and their civil rights were restored. These people have been provided with medical, psychological, financial and moral support from the state.
The closure of the specialized penal colony No. 19 in the Jaslyk village, the introduction of a procedure for payment of pensions and social insurance to prisoners, and granting Uzbek citizenship to 5,868 people are also a viable expression of a tolerant humanitarian policy.
In general, as part of implementation of the tasks defined by the Strategy of Actions to ensure the rights and freedoms of citizens, Uzbekistan has been increasingly strengthening its role and place as a full-fledged party of international relations. Security and stability is consistently ensured, good-neighborliness is developing.
Today, our state manifests itself as a country capable of protecting the rights and interests of its citizens, wherever they are.
Uzbekistan has been effectively working in foreign policy area based on mutual interests. Year by year, the republic develop and expands partnerships with Central Asian, CIS and other countries, various international organizations. Having mended relations with the neighboring states, Uzbekistan has opened way for thousands of people to freely cross borders, move around the region, and communicate with relatives. Uzbekistan initiated a consistent continuation of foreign policy relations in a new constructive political environment and favorable conditions to find solutions to such problems as the rational use of water resources in Central Asia, delimitation and demarcation of borders, the passage of border points and the development of trade in border areas.
The ongoing large-scale reforms in our country have paved a broad way to the entrepreneurial movement, the investment environment has been updated, and investment guarantees have been strengthened. The attracted investments that are primarily aimed at upgrading the economy, implementing structural transformations and diversifying goods, have helped changing their technological composition, and increasing their efficiency.
Also, Uzbekistan created an enabling environment for the development of private property, entrepreneurship and small business, strengthened legal mechanisms to protect their rights and interests. As a result, today about 57% of the country's gross domestic product falls on small and medium-sized businesses, which employ 82% of the working-age population.
Basically, a number of reputable international organizations and experts working in our country recognize and support the ongoing reforms aimed at realizing human rights and interests. This proves the effectiveness of the ongoing policies in Uzbekistan to increase the attention of the state, society and citizens to the principles and values of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ensuring reliable protection of their rights and freedoms.
In this context, the UN General Assembly resolution ‘Enlightenment and Religious Tolerance’, adopted on December 12, 2018 at the initiative of Uzbekistan, became a striking example of the recognition of our reforms. The adoption of the resolution ‘Strengthening Regional and International Cooperation to Ensure Peace, Stability and Sustainable Development in the Central Asian region’ has also demonstrated the recognition of the ongoing changes in Uzbekistan by the international community.
The ongoing reforms in Uzbekistan, the adopted programs and regulatory legal acts have been contributing to the consistent development of the state as the basis for the well-balanced and far-sighted policy, strengthening the national legal system, and introducing generally recognized principles, norms and rules of international law into national legislation.
Along with achievements, we obviously face problems and shortcomings. They will also be addressed consequently in line with today's renovations. The whole world sees that the democratic processes in the new Uzbekistan have turned irreversible.
Development Strategy Center