December 17, 2013
Civil Society Advancement: Expertise of Uzbekistan and Belgium
‘Enhancing the role and importance of civil society in the process of modernization and democratization of the state: experience of Uzbekistan and Belgium’ was a theme that united Uzbek and Belgian experts at a roundtable under the framework of the working visit of experts of the Independent Institute of Monitoring Formation of Civil Society (IIMFCS) in Belgium.

The visit of the Uzbek delegation, on the one hand, can be seen as another step in the study of international practices improving institutional framework of social control and social partnership, monitoring the formation of civil society, and on the other, as a good opportunity to bring to the European side, objective information on activities in Uzbekistan work in the development of civil society.

Thus, in the roundtable was attended by representatives of EU institutions, the European Parliament, the Senate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, as well as scientific and academic circles and the media in Europe.

In the event of the roundtable were discussed the processes of modernization and democratization of the state and development of civil society institutions in the examples of Uzbekistan and Belgium. The participants were briefed on the ongoing in our country large-scale socio-political, socio-economic reforms. It was noted that in Uzbekistan civic institutions, non-profit organizations and governments are becoming an important factor in the protection of democratic values, human rights and freedoms, legitimate interests, enhance their socio-political and socio-economic activity.

As noted by an expert on geopolitical studies of the European Institute of International Relations P.-E.Thomann, Uzbekistan was on track of the gradual transition from a strong state to strong civil society, in which the state is the main reformer. In his report, the expert highlighted the different models of civil society in Europe and noted the uniqueness of the Uzbek culture, mentality and national traditions, which had a positive impact on the peculiarities of non-governmental actors in the country.

Professor of European School of Communications H.Buyse said that for approval of civil institutions in Belgium took centuries, and today they represent “third sector”, adding to the social sphere, along with political and economic. According to him, strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation can promote the development of non-governmental organizations in the two countries.

According to representative of the External Cooperation Service of the EU Commission H.Bulte, in Uzbekistan, the country’s leadership has developed a unique concept on the importance of further deepening democratic reforms and formation of civil society in the country, where clearly defined targets and milestones for future development of the state.

Professor VUB, Director of the Institute for Peace and Security of Global Governance H.Yurgenlemk in his report highlighted the key role of Uzbekistan in ensuring stability and security in Central Asia. According to him, non-governmental organizations in Uzbekistan will continue to contribute to the enrichment of society.

Deputy Dean of the College of Vesalius D.Terkovich appreciated the level of the event and suggested that civil society based on mutual aid people - an important component of building democracy.

“Uzbekistan has a wonderful example of the interaction, Mahalla, involving citizens in implementation of various social initiatives to the benefit of all people. Tolerance and interethnic harmony is the most valuable asset of your country,” she said.

During their stay in Belgium the IIMFCS delegation also held a number of bilateral meetings with representatives of the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Senate, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Labor of Belgium, Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Antwerp, centers “European Geopolitical Forum”, “European Partnership for Democracy” and other public organizations.

In general one can say that during the visit there was a fruitful exchange of experience in the development and strengthening of civil society institutions, discussed plans to establish mutually beneficial cooperation in the future.

(Source: “Uzbekistan Today” newspaper)


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