The following article was provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan in Seoul for publication by The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language news publications since 1985.
At the session of the UN General Assembly, held on May 22, 2018, it was decided to declare June 30 the International Day of Parliamentarism. This is how a new date was established, annually celebrated by the world community. It was designated to emphasize the importance of parliamentarism in the life of society, to promote its role in creating decent living conditions and existence for people all over the planet.
The high status of this most important political institution can be traced through the development of the world's parliaments. More than 190 states have their own parliaments, almost 80 of them are bicameral, the rest of the supreme legislative bodies are unicameral. They are called upon to unite and consolidate the interests of all forces for the benefit of the country's development. This is also important for the world community. Parliament in developed countries plays an important communicative role in establishing links between the state and society with other institutions. Simply put, it serves as a kind of bridge between the state and the people. Therefore, the level of democracy, adherence to the ideals of democracy, observance of the rights and freedoms of citizens is judged by the degree of perfection of parliamentarism, ultimately, we are talking about the level of development of the whole society.
Based on these criteria, over the past five years, the national parliament of Uzbekistan has been intensively developing, following the path of further progress. It is gratifying that the achievements of the supreme legislative power are increasingly being recognized by authoritative international organizations.
As part of the Action Strategy, large-scale transformations began in 2017, affecting the activities of the Senate. Over the past time, the parliament has strengthened its connection with the people: senators, not limited to passing laws, travel to the regions, hold meetings with the population and find ways to solve the problems raised.
A special commission has been created under the Senate, and the powers to control the activities of the executive body have been significantly expanded.
Interaction between the parliament and the executive power has been strengthened. A system of hearing reports of the heads of government bodies during plenary sessions has been established on an ongoing basis.
Since last year, the cooperation of the Senate with local Kengashes of people's deputies has reached a new level. An important step in this direction was the introduction of appropriate amendments and additions to 13 laws and the expansion of the powers of local Kengashes. Separate secretariats are formed in them. To improve the efficiency of their activities, senators working on a permanent basis are assigned to be responsible for local Kengashes. In parallel, in cooperation with the Academy of Public Administration under the President, special training courses were organized for deputies of local Kengashes.
Together, these measures have significantly strengthened the role of the country's legislative body. The systematic renewal of its activities does not stop for a single day. The head of state pays great attention to the activities of representative bodies of power, expanding the platform of dialogue, which gives an additional impetus to transformations, aims us at new frontiers.
The annual messages of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the Oliy Majlis, which have become traditional, have brought the work of the national parliament to a new level. The implementation of state programs for socio-economic development, adopted on the basis of messages, is taken under the control of parliament, and the problems encountered are solved with the assistance of the ministries concerned. Such systematic work significantly increases the efficiency of interaction.
The new approach to organizing the activities of the national parliament is due to the demands of the times, which are raising new questions. This is the development of targeted programs and "road maps" for solving problems raised by the population, with a precise indication of the responsible executors, the establishment of parliamentary control over the implementation of documents. The accumulated practice in this direction suggests that the Senate of the Oliy Majlis with great responsibility approaches the performance of functions as a representative body of power, contributes to the solution of a wide range of issues within its competence. Senators assigned to certain regions establish joint work of Senate committees with permanent commissions of local Kengashes and their deputies.
These mechanisms, consistently introduced into practice, contribute to increasing the potential and expanding the capabilities of local Kengashes in exerting a significant impact on the socio-economic development of regions, establishing control over the activities of executive authorities and solving urgent issues affecting the interests of citizens. These steps were preceded by an increase in the knowledge and skills of local Kengashes' deputies by organizing seminars and training courses. The effectiveness of it has been seen in specific examples of their activities, showing the increased militancy of the deputy corps, their active use of their powers.
To discuss the existing problems in local Kengashes, separate offices of deputies and senators have been assigned, conditions have been created for receiving the population.
The measures taken have paid off during the pandemic. They rallied senators and deputies of local Kengashes in solving a wide range of issues related to the provision of assistance to the population within the framework of the national movement "Kindness and Support". Going into all the details, being in the midst of the people, they ensure the targetness of the allocated funds, conduct strict control over the completeness of the implementation of measures to provide assistance to low-income and needy fellow citizens.
It should be especially mentioned that the activities of the national parliament embodies the international aspect as well. Uzbekistan's national development goals are in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This, as well as the achievements of the republic in the implementation of the SDGs, is well known to both Uzbeks and foreign experts. Participants of the international forum, recently held in Bukhara, highly appreciated the efforts of the republic towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our parliament takes an active part in the processes of strengthening the supremacy of law, improving the well-being of the people, protecting human rights and interests, and strengthening international relations. The SDGs are implemented through the constitutional powers of parliament, in particular through the adoption of national laws, the budget and parliamentary oversight. Members of Parliament attach great importance to a responsible approach and transparency in the process of fulfilling all the tasks of the Global Agenda 2030.
An important factor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is the effective use of parliamentary control functions, for it is parliamentary control that provides an objective assessment of the progress of measures to achieve these goals. Based on this, the Parliamentary Commission was established last year to monitor the implementation of the National Goals and Objectives in the field of sustainable development of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the period up to 2030. Using their powers in the field of lawmaking and control, the chambers of parliament are actively involved in the implementation of the goals and objectives of sustainable development.
To briefly describe it, let us dwell on the individual tasks of the commission. This structure monitors the implementation of the tasks assigned to the Coordination Council, helping it in this. He hears its reports on a quarterly basis, prepares proposals for the development of new laws and other normative legal acts. In addition, it monitors the implementation of laws and other normative legal acts in this direction, conducts a critical analysis of the development of areas included in the national goals and objectives, determines the actual state of affairs in the field of the Sustainable Development Goals, studies advanced foreign experience, actively participates in international cooperation.
At the same time, it considers the sufficiency of the budget parameters presented by the government, their compliance with the plan for the implementation of the National SDGs in Uzbekistan, prepares proposals for amendments to the law on the State Budget for the next year, if necessary, strengthens public relations for broad coverage of the achievements in the field of SDGs.
To ensure the fulfillment of these tasks, the Parliamentary Commission is carrying out large-scale work. In particular, in the past year, the state of implementation by the regions of the tasks included in the National Sustainable Development Goals, such as poverty reduction, food security, protection of mothers and children, ensuring gender equality, and protecting the rights of women, was studied. The study covered 37 national targets and over 50 indicators; reports from the heads of 19 state bodies were heard. On the basis of the National SDGs, the Oliy Majlis sent 27 parliamentary, 388 senatorial and 338 deputy requests to the government.
Through the broad involvement of the national parliament in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, ties with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the UN have been further strengthened. This is evidenced by the achievements of recent years.
It would be fair to emphasize the contribution of local Kengashes, whose potential is also used in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Under the leadership of the senators, the Kengashes study on the site the implementation of the documents adopted for each of the goals. Practical measures are taken on emerging problems. Issues that cannot be resolved at the local or regional level are submitted to the Senate. Such a vertical structure helps to increase the prestige of the upper house of parliament and strengthen the people's confidence in it.
Parliamentary and public hearings have also become the most important areas of work for the national parliament. For the implementation of each of the issues raised, specific targeted measures are being developed, on the basis of the relevant resolutions of the Senate, a number of tasks are set before the government to solve the raised problems. As a result, the shortcomings that have been waiting for their decisions for years are consistently eliminated.
The activities of the national parliament are developing at an accelerated pace in all areas of importance for the state and society. This is clearly seen in a significant increase in the activity of a number of structures and institutions in the parliament. Among them is the National Commission to Combat Human Trafficking and Forced Labor. Thanks to the effective cooperation of the commission with the International Labor Organization and other international organizations, the republic has put an end to child labor and systemic forced labor, and the number of crimes related to human trafficking has been reduced.
We are pleased that achievements in this direction are being recognized on a global scale. In particular, former US Secretary of State M. Pompeo's annual report on countering human trafficking and forced labor states the following: “Some Central Asian countries have a long history of forcing people to work in the cotton industry and other industries. Uzbekistan's efforts to combat this problem demonstrate new standards for the states of the region. " Such recognition is a great success of the consistent policy of the head of our state and parliament, acting as a conduit for renewal in this area of activity.
Speaking about the achievements of the national parliament, it is appropriate to note the issue of ensuring gender equality and full support for women. We have come a long way in this direction in recent years. Protection of the rights and interests of women, ensuring gender equality have become a priority area of state policy. The Senate of the Oliy Majlis has established a Commission on Gender Equality and a Committee on Women and Gender Equality. Parliament adopted two important laws - "On guarantees of equal rights and opportunities for women and men" and "On the protection of women from oppression and violence", and also developed a national Strategy for achieving gender equality until 2030.
As a result of the steps taken, the participation of women in the process of making important decisions at the national level has increased. Election and appointment of women to such important positions as deputy, senator, minister, khokim, ambassador is becoming customary. As a result of the ongoing work in the field of ensuring gender equality, Uzbekistan took 45th place among the world's parliaments.
Similar achievements can be seen in the increasingly active participation of the Oliy Majlis in foreign policy activities based on the protection and promotion of national interests. In recent years, the Oliy Majlis has become a member of such authoritative organizations as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the CIS Parliamentary Assembly, and the OSCE Inter-Parliamentary Assembly. Preparations are underway to enter the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-speaking countries.
Our parliamentarians took an active part in a number of important events. For example, at the opening of the 142nd session of the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, held on May 26, 2021 and dedicated to the theme "Overcoming the pandemic today and ensuring a better life tomorrow: the role of parliaments." The participation of IPU Chairman D. Pacheco, Union Secretary General M. Chungong, Heads of Bureau of the Forum of Women Parliamentarians R. Al-Mansuri and Council of the Forum of Young Parliamentarians S. Al-Bazar, as well as heads of national parliaments speaks about the level of this event.
The conference deeply analyzed the state of the fight against coronavirus, ways to overcome socio-economic problems associated with the pandemic, as well as cooperation of the parliaments of the countries of the world. Detailed information is provided on measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, social protection of the population, economic support for entrepreneurs, and vaccination of the population.
The forum “The Role of Parliament in the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights: Strengthening the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Countering Torture,” which took place on June 2-3 this year in the capital of the country should also be mentioned.
During the forum, a number of important issues were considered, including the participation of parliament in the UN systemic activities in the field of human rights, the importance of ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, preventing torture by ratifying the additional protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and punishment. The best practices were studied in the field of cooperation with the Human Rights Council and UN agencies in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as in strengthening the capacity of the national preventive mechanism.
Such representative international forums give an additional impetus to the further strengthening of the activities of the national parliament.
The establishment of cooperation with parliaments of other states has the same effect.
In particular, this year the official visit of the delegation of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis to Russia took place. And our country was visited by a parliamentary delegation headed by the Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan Maulen Ashimbayev.
These visits were the practical result of measures aimed at further expanding bilateral cooperation between Uzbekistan, the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan. Indeed, over the past four years, political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian ties have risen to a high level.
The inter-parliamentary dialogue between Uzbekistan, the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan has also reached a completely new level, corresponding to the pace of relations in the political, trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian spheres that meet the interests of our countries. In particular, in order to exchange experience in parliamentary activities, the parties regularly organize visits of delegations, regularly participate in international conferences and the work of parliamentary organizations.
In the process of dialogue with colleagues, issues of developing and expanding mutual cooperation, strengthening the partnership of specialized committees, promoting common initiatives within the framework of international parliamentary structures (IPU, OSCE PA, CIS PA) and a number of other international organizations, establishing interregional cooperation of deputies, the early formation of legal base, ensuring the adoption of practical measures aimed at mitigating the consequences of the pandemic, as a result of which certain agreements have been reached. Such interaction is of great importance in the further development of the parliaments of the countries of the world.
This is the path of development that our national parliament has gone through in recent years. This process continues. Summing up the results of the activity, we can say that in order to ensure high speed of reforms, the formation and development of the legislative basis for transformations, laws are adopted that meet the interests of the regions. By introducing the practice of reporting by the heads of ministries, departments and organizations, khokims and sector leaders to the Senate, the rule of democracy is ensured. A logical continuation of affairs in this direction was the hearing of reports of the ambassadors of Uzbekistan in foreign countries, which was put into practice.
The mechanism of work with citizens' appeals has also been worked out, which is consonant with the general spirit of reforms. Based on the humanistic principle that every appeal is the fate of a person, we strive for a positive solution to problems.