Public Councils under Government Agencies: National and International Experience
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- 56 percent of the respondents to surveys conducted in March 2020 among civil servants and the active population in a number of regions of Uzbekistan believe that “representatives of the public are not sufficiently involved in the management process”. It was expected that from 2018, public councils, which are created under all government structures, will play an important role in this area.
On 27 October 2020, the Senate of the Oliy Majlis, the National Movement Yuksalish, the Ministry of Justice and a joint project of the Public Services Agency under the Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Development Program in Uzbekistan "Improving the provision of public services and improving governance in rural areas of Uzbekistan", funded by the EU, organized webinar "Public councils at local government bodies: national and international experience."
Representatives of the parliament, public organizations, government agencies, including local government bodies, research institutes, UNDP, delegations of the European Union and a number of other organizations, independent experts exchanged views and experiences, discussed problems and ways to solve them in this area.
Tolibjon Madumarov, head of the Senate Commission on Assistance in Enhancing the Activities of Local Representative Bodies of Power, stressed that comprehensive and consistent work is underway in the republic to establish effective public control over the activities of state bodies, develop and strengthen independent civil institutions, ensure guarantees of their free activity, and establish close interaction state bodies with citizens, ensuring their openness, publicity and transparency.
During the webinar, the participants made reports and presentations. In particular, the UNDP project consultant Mirzokhid Karshiev analyzed the mechanisms of ensuring the participation of citizens in the activities of public councils and establishing public control over state authorities using the example of foreign countries. According to surveys and interviews conducted in five regions of Uzbekistan, the demand for such mechanisms is high. But at the same time, some shortcomings in the legislation and the administrative and managerial culture that has formed over the years cause certain difficulties.
The study also identifies areas where public participation and public scrutiny need to be strengthened (for example, construction of public facilities and rational use of local budget funds). At the same time, the regulations governing the participation of the population in the decision-making process have not yet been developed and implemented. A number of proposals and recommendations on amendments to various acts of legislation were also presented for discussion.
According to Doina Munteanu, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Uzbekistan, public control is a key factor in ensuring a balance of equality, equality, mutual responsibility and accountability in relations between individuals, society and the state to establish social justice in society.
During the webinar, Elena Kudinova, Chief Coordinator of the Yuksalish National Movement, Country Director of the Partnership for Innovation Program in Uzbekistan, spoke about the measures and preliminary results of activities to support the activities of public councils within the framework of the Partnership for Innovation program in Uzbekistan.
Experts and webinar participants supported the initiative of a joint project of the Public Services Agency, UNDP and the EU to create public councils under the Kengashes of People’s Deputies of Bakhmal, Khavast, Dekhkanabad and Sariasi districts and the city of Nurafshan. They noted that technical and methodological support for this process would help build national expertise.