By Lee Kyung-sik, Publisher-Chairman of The Korea Post media
The last four years in the history of Uzbekistan have become a period of fundamental reforms, large-scale changes and renewal. The process of changes that has begun in the country has been noted by the world community as a “phenomenon of new Uzbekistan”. There are reasons for this. Indeed, during this period, the country has demonstrated to the world its unlimited potential and opportunities in all areas. All this is the result of a pragmatic foreign and domestic policy pursued under the leadership of Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
People’s interests above all:
The supremacy of the interests of the people, full protection of human rights and freedom of speech are identified as the main priorities of the national development strategy. The country became a member of the UN Human Rights Council. The issues of eradicating forced and child labor, creating a fair competitive environment for business, uncompromising combating corruption and ensuring gender equality have also been raised in practice to the level of state policy.
These days special attention is paid to the gradual solution of the problems accumulated over the years in all areas. In particular, about 4.5 million appeals were considered in the people's and virtual reception rooms of the President. Most of the more than 40 thousand appeals received by the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan over the past four years have also been positively resolved, due to which the confidence of the peoples in the government bodies has significantly increased.
Empowering the Parliament:
The role of parliament, which plays an important role in public life, has also increased. Now the legislative body of the country has the practical powers to hear information and reports of state bodies at all levels, to study the truthfulness of the information provided on site.
Most importantly, it has become a tradition that the head of state annually addresses the Oliy Majlis, which is the embodiment of the key principle of democracy - the accountability of the supreme power to the people. By introducing annual messages to parliament, the leader of Uzbekistan will demonstrate that he has a full-fledged concept of a long-term strategy for his country.
This format of presenting reports through parliament, firstly, purposefully emphasizes the role of people's representatives in society, secondly, it creates a model of direct communication between the head of state, and hence the entire state apparatus, with a general civil institution - a legislative body elected by the people, and thirdly, brings simultaneously for all assessments the results of the past year and tasks for the future.
2021--Year of Supporting Youth and Strengthening the Health of the Population:
The message of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the parliament on December 29, 2020 has become one of the main political events of the outgoing year. The President of Uzbekistan, addressing the parliament, and in the person of the MPs to the people, presented to the public a report on the work carried out in 2020 to implement the strategic development goals of the country, and also identified the most important tasks, key priorities for further reforming and modernizing Uzbekistan for the coming period.
At the same time, the main message that ran as a "red thread" in the Message of the President of Uzbekistan is that democratic reforms have become irreversible, sustainable and the state intends to steadily continue their implementation.
The Address is the result of a broad dialogue with the people, it is comprehensive in nature, covers all spheres and problems of the life of society and the state, which today are of concern to the general population and require their first decision.
This once again proved the firm commitment of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the principle of open dialogue with the people, his readiness to listen and hear the problems and proposals of every citizen on further steps of the democratic transformation of the country.
Having proclaimed 2021 the Year of Supporting Youth and Strengthening the Health of the Population, the President of Uzbekistan once again demonstrated the consistency of the reforms carried out in the republic under his leadership, the indissolubility of emphasis on protecting the interests of the people of the country. The new motto harmoniously fits into the framework of the principle that has become the leading one in the transformation of the state system - the principle "not the people should serve the state, but the state should satisfy the interests of the population."
The consistency is also reflected in the fact that the action program voiced in the Address fully fits into the Action Strategy for five priority areas of development of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2017-2021 and is logically clearly linked to the provisions of last year's program "Year of Support for Active Entrepreneurship, Innovative Ideas and Technologies".
Moreover, the tasks set in the Address for the coming period speak of the unchanging will of the President of Uzbekistan to deepen and expand the dialogue with the people, take into account in every possible way the aspirations, needs and interests of the general population in the decision-making process, the desire to fully use public resources to achieve the strategic goals of reform and modernization of the country.
This is, in particular, the specific proposals of the President of Uzbekistan to strengthen the role of democratic institutions, primarily self-government bodies of citizens, NGOs, the media and the public in solving urgent problems of the socio-economic, socio-political, cultural and humanitarian development of the country.
In particular, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed expanding the forms and improving the existing mechanisms of public control, strengthening the role of civil society institutions, the media, citizens in monitoring and organizing the implementation of legislative acts and state development programs of the country. To this end, the task has been set to introduce on a systematic basis such institutions of public control as public monitoring and public hearings.
It is planned to widely involve NGOs on the basis of providing a social order in the implementation of public control in such socially significant areas as education, culture, health care, ecology, construction, utilities, and transport. More than 60 billion soums are allocated from the state budget for these purposes.
The institution of a permanent representative of NGOs in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis with the right to participate in meetings of the lower house of parliament is being introduced. At the same time, the representative of the NGO is empowered to make proposals for the inclusion of effective mechanisms of public control and social partnership into legislative acts.
Another important issue is the attention to youth, which the President of Uzbekistan pays in his policy, says that he is very concerned about the future of the country. He strives to give young people the best opportunities for education, formation and upbringing, hoping that they will continue to lead their homeland to progress and prosperity.
At the same time, the President of Uzbekistan assigns a special role to youth, emphasizing the need for their involvement and active participation in the development and prosperity of the country. Another evidence of the increased attention to youth is the fact that 2021 has been declared the Year of Supporting Youth and Strengthening the Health of the Population.
This initiative is of particular relevance in the context of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world's young population of over 2 billion is among the most vulnerable. Young people are particularly affected by the pandemic, according to UN figures. This not only exacerbates existing inequalities, but also threatens to reduce the productive capacity of an entire generation.
One of the negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic has been an increase in unemployment, especially among young people. According to the International Labor Organization, 295 million jobs are expected to be cut worldwide, of which more than 70 million are young people under the age of 24. At the same time, about 40% of working youth live in conditions of extreme poverty.
Young people under the age of 30 make up over 60% of the population of Uzbekistan. In this regard, the country's leadership is actively involved in developing mechanisms and taking measures to ensure the rights of youth.
In recent years, the country has strengthened the legal and institutional foundations of the state youth policy. So, to date, the country's parliament has adopted over 40 legislative acts and ratified more than 30 international legal documents concerning youth.
Under the Oliy Majlis, a Youth Parliament was formed, an Agency for Youth Affairs, an Interdepartmental Council on Youth Issues, a Youth Union, uniting more than 7 million young people, were created. Under the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Institute for the Study of Youth Problems and the Training of Promising Personnel was established
For the young people to master modern science and high technologies, fundamental reforms are being carried out in the education system. Presidential and creative schools, specialized schools in mathematics, chemistry, and biology are being created. The number of educational institutions with a focus on IT technologies is growing. These transformations are bearing their first fruits. Over the past 3 years, the youth of Uzbekistan has won about 5.5 thousand prizes at prestigious international competitions and competitions.
A historic event was the holding, at the initiative of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, of the Youth Forum of Uzbekistan, in December 2020. During the event, the head of state emphasized: "Youth is the main wealth, priceless treasure of Uzbekistan." According to him, in all the reforms carried out in the country, first of all, one must rely on the youth. The basis for the country's future development is based on supporting young people, ensuring their fundamental rights such as access to education, health care, social protection, moral and spiritual development.
All these transformations and achievements indicate that ensuring the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of the young generation is the main priority of the state policy of Uzbekistan. Since intellectually and spiritually developed, proactive youth are an invaluable asset, a driving force, an active participant in dynamic and large-scale reforms to modernize Uzbekistan.
At the same time, realizing that in modern conditions, state youth policy should be based not only on the current international system of human rights, but also on the principles and norms enshrined in a special international document on the rights of youth, the leadership of Uzbekistan is initiating the World Youth Conference on Youth Rights, at which it is planned, on the basis of a comprehensive discussion, to develop proposals for improving the draft UN Concept on the Rights of Youth.
The leader of Uzbekistan first proposed to develop and adopt a Convention on the Rights of Youth at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in September 2017. This initiative was reiterated by the President of Uzbekistan at the 75th jubilee session of the UN General Assembly. The purpose of the Convention is to strengthen efforts at the international, regional and national levels to meet the needs, build capacities and guarantee the rights, freedoms and interests of young people in all their diversity around the world.
Uzbekistan, which has a high intellectual potential, is known in the world as the cradle of civilization, where many outstanding scientists and thinkers were born and lived, such as Al-Fargoniy, Al-Khwarizmi, Al-Beruni, Al-Farobi, Ibn Sino, Mirzo Ulugbek and others. Reforms initiated by President Sh. Mirziyoyev to radically improve the quality of education, ensure the compliance of curricula with advanced international standards, develop the skills of analytical and creative thinking among young people, will help identify new scientists who will contribute to the development of science and education, like their great ancestors.
Strengthening Defense Capabilities:
Moreover, in the Address, Shavkat Mirziyoyev identified increasing the country's defense capability and strengthening the potential of the Armed Forces as one of the most important priorities of state building. Today, in the context of global instability and continuing geopolitical competition, the range of challenges and threats to international and regional security is significantly expanding.
A forceful approach prevails in resolving crisis situations, unresolved interstate and interethnic conflicts develop into open armed confrontation. The challenges and threats of terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, cross-border crime, and arms smuggling are growing. The confrontation in the information and cyberspace has significantly increased.
Modern military operations are of a fundamentally different nature, conducted using the latest remote robotic weapons of destruction, from the impact of which civilians often suffer.
The desire of the head of Uzbekistan to actively promote the policy of good-neighborliness with the states of Central Asia demonstrates Tashkent's commitment to further strengthening open, mutually beneficial and diverse cooperation with neighboring countries. In the future, this factor will play an important role in ensuring regional stability and security, as well as assist the Central Asian states in jointly confronting global challenges and threats, including countering the global coronavirus pandemic.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev's call for good-neighborliness, mutual trust and strategic partnership between the countries of Central Asia is more relevant than ever. Its concept of strategic partnership is an important tool for promoting sovereignty, self-government and development throughout the region. Such a relationship is beneficial to everyone and is not directed against anyone.
Putting the principles into practice, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev creates the International Institute of Central Asia. It is easy to foresee how such a body, relying on the wisdom of the entire region, could put forward concrete measures to further activate and institutionalize these intraregional ties.
To this end, the President of Uzbekistan thoughtfully calls for serious efforts to open direct and inexpensive transport corridors between Central Asia through Afghanistan to South Asia. This is not only a promising project to stimulate the economy of Uzbekistan, but also a factor contributing to peace and development in Afghanistan.
Careful implementation of the proposals of the President of Uzbekistan will solve the centuries-old problem of Central Asia's lack of access to the sea, as well as provide an opportunity for Uzbekistan and its Central Asian neighbors to once again become vital nodes of world production and trade.
Reforms are irreversible:
According to expert opinion, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in an extremely short time managed to establish himself as a statesman with democratic views. He carries out cardinal reforms competently, energetically, decisively, but conceptually thought out, according to a specific strategy. A clear evidence of this is the Message to the Oliy Majlis, the new initiatives, priorities and tasks voiced in it.
The message of President Sh. Mirziyoyev is a very ambitious program of democratic reforms in the creation of a new Uzbekistan. With his speech, he is a new impulse to the large-scale measures being taken in the country, including in the field of further reforming education, strengthening the healthcare system, developing science and introducing non-standard solutions in the economic sector. The President of Uzbekistan is very purposefully moving in the direction of reforms, and now the most important thing is to adhere to this course of reforms, not to stop, to go further.
Most importantly, the essence of the Address is consonant with the modern image of "New Uzbekistan" and reflects the country's leader's commitment to the goals of further reforming and modernizing the republic, taking into account the rights and interests of society. The content of the Address once again confirms the irreversibility of reforms, the decisive disposition of the head of state for further innovative transformations, practical measures aimed at forming the true mechanisms of a democratic state and a market economy.