Development agenda for Djizak and Namangan regions in partnership with local NGOs
UNDP “Local Governance Support Project: participation and partnership” (LG) project organized round-tables together with non-governmental and non-commercial organizations (NGOs) of Djizzak and Namangan regions to present and discuss the results of the research titled “Civil Society Partnership: Institutionalization of the mechanism of participation of citizens, private sector and civil society institutions in the process of local development and strategic planning”. Specialists from Djizak and Namangan khokimiyats, representatives from local NGOs, regional branches of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan and others took part in the event.
Despite the existing comprehensive legal framework and sevaral active NGOs in Uzbekistan, the involvement of the civil society in policy formulation and decision-making at the local level remains very low. The “Concept of further deepening democratic reforms and forming civil society”, presented by the head of state during the joint meeting of the Legislative Chamber and the Senate of Oliy Majlis (Parliament) of the Republic of Uzbekistan reiterates this.
NGOs serve as one of the main civil society institutions to ensure the existence of effective mechanism of consultation practices between the public and government, thus playing a vital role in shifting from strong government to strong civil society. The research, conducted in Djizzak and Namangan regions was based on the analysis of the current situation and capacity assessment of local NGOs. The findings which are included in the final report provide recommendations and new mechanisms for empowering NGOs to take an active part in processes of formulation, implementation and monitoring of local strategies and development programmes.
The research has revealed a need for NGOs in technical and financial assistance, as well as access to the training programmes on several key areas of their operations. The recommendations are strengthening financial and operational sustainability of NGOs, development and implementation of “social partnership” mechanisms, strengthening the capacity of NGOs in attracting highly qualified specialists and applying Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as a tool and resource. The LG project discussed with the participants the about the planned training programmes for NGOs within the framework of the project.
The participants were keen to share their own views and recommendations. Nodira Kurbanova, the representative of the NGO “Kalb Nuri” from Djizzak, has noted that the NGOs of the region are ready to take an active part in proposing and discussion of the recommendations related to the social-economic development of the region in close partnership with the local government. Therefore, she has proposed to conduct regular meetings with NGOs, governmental bodies and other parties concerned. This can be done through establishment of the voluntary consultative “Council of NGOs” at the Khokimiyat and involvement of the local NGOs. In addition, it was also proposed to consider the possibility of establishing the Information Center for NGOs by consolidating own efforts and assistance of sponsors. Implementation of these proposals will serve as the first step towards institutionalization of the mechanism of participation of citizens, private sector and civil society institutions in the process of local development and strategic planning.
As a result of further discussions, the participants have agreed to organize similar meetings of regional NGOs on regular basis.
The UNDP “Local Governance Support Project: participation and partnership” project promotes Public Administration reforms aimed at decentralized governance system through creating of enabling environment, policy advisory services and capacity building of civil servants. At the same time, the project seeks to enhance the partnership capacities of local governments with civil society and private sector through institutionalization of mechanisms of public relations and e-governance, as well as showcasing pilot initiatives on public-private partnerships in recreation resource management and community-based tourism in selected districts of Namangan and Djizzak regions. The project is implemented in partnership with the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan in participation of Namangan and Djizzak regional khokimiyats.