Tashkent hosted an international conference "Development of social partnership between the government and NGOs: the experience of Uzbekistan and international practice". Forum was organized by the Independent Institute for Monitoring the Formation of Civil Society, the National Association of NGOs, the Federation Council of Trade Unions, the Ministry of Justice with the assistance of the Office of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator, the Foundation named after Friedrich Ebert and the NGO "Regional Dialogue", as well as the French Embassy in Uzbekistan.
As participants of the meeting noted the theme of an international conference today is consonant with many countries of the world conducting the search for optimal and effective methods of cooperation between public authorities and civil society representatives. Uzbekistan which established the supreme goal of all reforms of human happiness, protection of rights and freedoms, in the development of social partnership sees one of the main terms of the process of building the rule of law and a strong civil society. Over a relatively short historical period our country has accumulated positive experience arousing the genuine interest of foreign experts.
By creating an extensive legal framework of civil society institutions, initially our state guided by a clear understanding of the need to establish good cooperation with the third sector while not limiting it to any particular area. More than 200 laws in 2014 complemented the Law "On social partnership" developed in accordance with the Concept of Further Deepening Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country. During the preparation of the document it was studied the experience of more than twenty foreign countries. It legally consolidates the ability of civil society to participate in the development and implementation of programs for socio-economic development, legal acts and other decisions touching the rights and legitimate interests of citizens, as well as working groups, commissions and public advisory bodies at state agencies.
One important innovation was the organization of public commissions for social partnership under Jokargi Kenes of Karakalpakstan, deputies' councils of regions and Tashkent city according to the law in the past year. Members of the regional councils of people's deputies, specialists of executive bodies and public organizations are included in them. These new structures which represent all participants who interested in the development of such cooperation, are created to identify priorities and monitor the status of the social partnership in the relevant territory, to develop measures to improve the work, to conduct consultations and negotiations between its actors to harmonize their interests, to facilitate the conclusion agreements and contracts between them.
Promotion of social partnership between the state and civil society provides guidance not only for the further improvement of the legal framework, but also the system of financing projects of representatives of the third sector. Competitions of the Public Fund for Support of NGOs and other civil society institutions calling to finance socially significant initiatives actively involve civil society in the process of reforming and modernizing the country, implementation of state and national programs for employment, health, education and upbringing of the younger generation, environmental protection and so on. This year alone, 352 NGOs and other civil society institutions became co-executors of the State program "Year of a healthy mother and child" and the relevant regional programs.
Recent studies of the Independent Institute for Monitoring the Formation of Civil Society fixed that 72 percent of surveyed NGOs over the past four years took part in public discussions of normative-legal acts. The activists are members of the 50 permanent republican interdepartmental commissions, councils and working groups. The organization of joint activities of NGOs and government agencies, the initiators of which are often expressed by representatives of the third sector, become widespread.
At the conference, national and foreign experts also examined the experience of social partnership in Germany, France, the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, India and Canada. Foreign experts told about the political, legal and legislative mechanisms and practical experience of cooperation between public authorities and the third sector during natural disasters, solving problems of social and economic development, improving citizens' social activity. In particular, colleagues from France and Germany focused on the sources of funding for non-governmental organizations, volunteer work. While discussing the experience of India it was spoken on the development of civil society in the context of national traditions.
Drawing parallels between the national models of social partnership the participants noted that the urgent tasks for them are the further expansion of peoples’ participation in the activities of the institutions of civil society, professional development and the formation of NGO workers stimulation mechanisms, the development of their social protection systems. They were unanimous in saying that, without a constructive dialogue of public authorities and the third sector it is impossible to consider socially economic and socio-political development of the country.