Tashkent has held the national phase of the National Forum of NGOs of Uzbekistan

“Investment portal of Uzbekistan”

Citizens of 76 countries will be able to get an electronic visa to Uzbekistan (List)

Uzbekistan announces visa waiver for citizens of 45 countries (List)

Important Visa Information for Indian Citizens Travelling to Uzbekistan

November 21, 2015

Tashkent has held the national phase of the National Forum of NGOs of Uzbekistan


The country’s achievements in the formation and development of civil society, the role and importance of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the implementation of major socio-economic development, architecting proposals for improving informational and legal frameworks for NGOs effective operation in health, education, social and environmental protection and some other issues were discussed during regional and national stages of the second National Forum of NGOs. The forum summed up its results during the last meeting in the capital.

These forums turned into dialogue platforms for constructive exchange of views on further cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organizations regarding regions’ socio-economic development. According to participants, this communication allows them to analyze this year’s projects and to identify areas of work in 2014 year. The focus was placed primarily on areas where the government needs support and active participation of the ‘third sector’.

Analyzing the path traversed by Uzbekistan, it is possible to divide the process of civil society development and the development of civil institutions in the country in several phases. Principles of NGO activities were constitutionally declared from the first days of independence, as well as their rights to participate in managing state affairs. The state fixed regulations for NGOs’ activities and guaranteed the protection of their rights and legitimate interests. This has greatly contributed to NGOs’ dynamic development. NGOs became an important factor in protecting democratic values, human rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the people. Taking into account the constitutional guarantees, Uzbekistan’s lawmakers adopted several laws regarding NGO such as: laws on public associations, on public funds, on NGOs, on guarantees of non-profit organizations’ activity, on charity. These laws shaped necessary legislative ground for the appearance of various forms of NGOs: associations, foundations, institutions, unions.

A new stage in the development of civil institutions started in 2005. There were already more than 5,000 NGOs in Uzbekistan during that time. This fact made it a necessity to adopt new organizational and legal measures to strengthen NGOs’ economic stability, material and technical base. President of Uzbekistan signed a decree on measures to assist the development of civil society in Uzbekistan. Public authorities, ministries and agencies have begun to provide all possible assistance and support to civil society institutions. This decree confirmed, on the highest level, NGO’s key role in country’s modernization and democratization process.

This process gained momentum with the adoption in 2008 of the joint resolution of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate of Uzbekistan on measures to increase support for NGOs and other civil society institutions. This document established the Public Support Fund for NGOs and other Civil Society Institutions under the auspices of the highest legislative body of the country. The resolution also created a parliamentary committee to manage Public Support Fund’s means.

In 2007, Uzbekistan’s Parliament approved the law on guarantees of non-profit organizations.  This document significantly strengthened NGO’s status. It recognized their right to appeal to public authorities with a request to obtain information necessary to exercise their statutory activities, and right to seek protection from unlawful decisions of state bodies and from acts or omissions of public officials.

The Concept of further deepening democratic reforms and formation of civil society in the country was a logical continuation of the measures on the development of civil society in Uzbekistan. The Concept has recognized NGO to be the decisive factor in democratization and modernization of the country.

The leading NGO organizers – the National Association of NGOs of Uzbekistan, the Independent Institute for Monitoring the Formation of Civil Society, the Public Fund for Support of NGOs and other civil society institutions working under auspices of the country’s parliament revitalized the process and contributed to NGOs’ further evolution. These organizations considerably strengthened their work and spurred civil institutions activities to address urgent issues of socio-economic development of the country. So, this year, the Public Fund supported 273 projects, which is 8.8 per cent more than it did in 2008. The amount of allocated funds increased by 16.6 per cent compared the previous year. NGOs activity in addressing social problems on the ground is rising.  More than 300 national and regional NGOs participated in the implementation of government programs for socio-economic development in 2012, which is twice the amount of NGOs who participated in 2011.

It must be emphasized that the main point to create the National Association of NGOs of Uzbekistan was to establish a platform for a constructive exchange of ideas and better presence of the representatives of the “third sector” from across the country in social control and in social and economic development of regions. Along with this, the association has become a kind of a bridge between the government and NGOs that elaborates joint forms of cooperation. It directs nongovernmental organizations to address the state and society’s urgent problems. Through this tandem, the government learns from NGOs about the needs of local people and develops joint solutions to these issues.

As the chairman of the National Association of NGOs of Uzbekistan Abdumajid Karimov has noted, the country created the necessary legal and institutional environment for NGOs’ work and their further development. This fact evidenced by the qualitative and quantitative growth of NGOs; their number increased by 22% over the past 3 years, and now there are more than 6,000 NGOs in Uzbekistan. That figure is 70 times bigger than it was in 1991. The government has allocated from the state budget over 28.8 billion soums to support socially important projects for the years 2008-2013. Activists of civil institutions are being involved at all stages of socio-economic development of the country. They prepare projects; many of them were included in government programs. NGOs are implementing the programs and are monitoring the quality of public authorities’ execution of their duties. Objectives for the future are being defined today. The current meeting is a great opportunity for NGOs to learn from governmental organizations about exact issues where they need help.

In this context, it is worth noting that the quantitative measure is not an end in itself. It is important not to forget about the quality of civil institutions, their active and effective participation in the implementation of major governmental programs. An example of this is the participation of civil society institutions in social partnership with government agencies to improve the legislation. Thousands of representatives of various civil society institutions attended public discussions of draft laws, including on social partnership, on public control in the Republic of Uzbekistan, on environmental protection, on the openness of public authorities and administration, and others discussions in 2013. NGO representatives showed unprecedented high activity during the drafting of the aforementioned legal acts. This fact indicates that principles and forms of social partnership are extensively used by NGOs on practice.

International experts also note great attention given to the development of civil society institutions in Uzbekistan. A good example of that is the authority given to non-state non-profit organizations. Thus, the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan, that comprises today more than 200 NGOs, has been provided with a quota in parliament. Thus, environmental NGOs are directly involved in legislative initiatives. Its latest proposal is the draft law “On Environmental Protection”, which now passes the third reading in the lower house of parliament. Such active participation of the “third sector” in lawmaking demonstrates the increased legal literacy and political culture of NGOs. People are showing their desire to participate directly in the creation of the democratic state with rule of law and strong civil society. The Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan makes large contribution to the improvement of the socio-political and socio-economic activity of women in the country. It acts for women’s greater presence in elective official positions and in state institutions. In accordance with the presidential decree, the chairman of the Women’s Committee at the same time is appointed to the position of the Deputy Prime Minister; and Chairwomen of the territorial committees act as a Deputy Mayors (hokim) on the ground. There is a 30 per cent women quota for political parties nominating candidates for seats in the Legislative Chamber of Oliy Majlis (the lower house of the parliament). All this shows that civil initiatives turned into independent, stable and popular institution that protect democratic values, human rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the people.

“Today, the country does great work to implement the directives outlined in the Concept of further deepening democratic reforms and formation of civil society,” said Umid Shadiev, head of sector at the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan. “The Ministry of Justice is actively cooperating with non-profit organizations in the country. The Interdepartmental Coordinating Council in the field of legal advocacy has been created under the auspices of the Justice Ministry. We broadly involve NGOs to take part in this Council. We have signed more than 10 MoUs with NGOs, aimed at improving the legal culture and justice. At the forum, we have heard from a number of NGO representatives many useful proposals, which will be taken into consideration during the development of legislation, governmental development programs and in other legal acts. Such joint work between the Justice Ministry and NGOs contributes to the development of social partnership between government and civil society organizations. I am sure that other governmental institutions also had the opportunity to enter into similar agreement with representative of nongovernmental sector during the forum.

The forum consisted of a series of events: a photo exhibition, an exhibition of NGOs achievements, breakout sessions, presentations of proposals for “Program of additional measures to support NGOs, strengthening their participation in solving urgent problems of socio-economic development of the country”. During the forum there were a “round table” and a series of trainings “From peace in the house to peace on the planet”, relating to the question of NGOs’ participation in strengthening the spiritual and moral foundations and interfaith harmony.

“The main objective of our NGO is to improve the socio-economic activity of women in the region,” said one of the participants of the forum Gulnara Khojaniyazova, director of the center “Woman and Time”, from Surkhondaryo region. “Today, NGOs act as an consolidating element that implements governmental programs and social development objectives. The novelty of this forum is that this time there are public hearings during the forum. During the hearings we learn about the situation in implementation of socially significant projects of NGOs, and see the results of government agencies’ work. By connecting to this important work, NGOs can effectively use these opportunities for further development of social partnership with governmental agencies, and for fruitful execution of tasks on the ground pointed out by the government.

The forum made a substantial contribution to further consolidation of NGOs’ efforts to strengthen social partnership with public authorities.  About 300 memoranda and agreements between NGOs and state agencies were concluded at the end.  NGOs made suggestions to the draft laws mentioned in the Concept. According to international participants, NGOs in Uzbekistan demonstrate great potential; they increase their level of interaction, responsibility and readiness to act as equal partners to the state in solving problems facing society. Such major event indicates NGOs’ high level of consolidation; their increased legal literacy, and participation of the civic institutions to the ongoing reforms in the country.