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Anti-Corruption Policy in Uzbekistan, Ongoing Reforms and Future Objectives

The fight against corruption has become one of the most pressing problems facing the international community today. Its catastrophic impact on states, regional economy, politics, and public life can be seen on the example of the crisis in some countries.

 

The fight against corruption has also become a priority area of state policy in Uzbekistan. This can be seen in the conceptual regulatory acts adopted in recent years in this area, on the example of administrative reforms aimed at preventing corruption. In particular, the National Action Strategy on Five Priority Development Areas 2017-2021, adopted at the initiative of the President, plays an important role in increasing the effectiveness of the fight against corruption.

 

Improving the organizational and legal mechanisms of combating corruption and increasing the effectiveness of anticorruption measures was identified as one of the important tasks in the priority area of the Action Strategy - ensuring the rule of law and further reforming the judicial and legal system.

 

On the basis of this policy document, a number of important measures have been taken to prevent corruption.

 

Firstly, the system for considering appeals of individuals and legal entities has been radically improved. The People’s Receptions of the President as well as hot lines and virtual receptions of each ministry and department have been launched.

 

Secondly, practical measures have been taken to ensure freedom of the media, journalists and bloggers, the openness of government structures to the public and the media, and the establishment of close communication and cooperation between senior officials and journalists in their daily activities. As a result, every action of the officials was made public. After all, if there is openness, it would be more difficult to engage in corruption.

 

Thirdly, the system of government services has been radically reformed and more than 150 types of government services are provided to the population using convenient, centralized and modem information and communication technologies. In this process, the reduction of the human factor, the elimination of the direct contacts between the civil servant and the citizen, and the widespread use of information technologies, undoubtedly, significantly reduced the factors of corruption.

 

Fourthly, the widespread use of digital and online technologies has increased the accountability of government agencies to the public.

 

Information on state procurement is posted on the website www.d.xarid.uz. The open data portal (data. gov.uz), the registered database of legal entities and commercial entities (my.gov.uz) and other platforms play an important role today in ensuring the principles of openness and transparency and public control, which are the most effective tools for combating and preventing corruption.

 

More than 70 regulatory acts aimed at combating corruption in all sectors of state and public construction have served as a solid basis for the implementation of these reforms.

 

The most important step in this area was the signing of the Law ‘On Combating Corruption’ as one of the first legislative acts after the President came to power. The law, adopted in 2017, defines several concepts, including “corruption”, “corruption offenses” and “conflict of interests”. The areas of state policy in the fight against corruption were also determined.

 

In 2019, the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis adopted a resolution "On the establishment of Committee on Judicial-Legal Issues and Anti-Corruption" of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan .

 

In the same year, the Senate of the Oliy Majlis also established the Committee on Judicial-Legal Issues and Anti-Corruption .

 

The year 2020 occupies a special place in the history of our country in terms of improving the institutional framework for combating corruption, because, on June 29 of that year, two important documents were adopted. Those are the Decree of the President ‘On additional measures to improve the system of combating in the Republic of Uzbekistan’ and the Resolution of the President ‘On the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Agency of the Republic of Uzbekistan’. These documents provided for the establishment of a new institution for the implementation of state policy aimed at preventing and combating corruption - the Anti-Corruption Agency.

 

The Agency is defined as a specially authorized government agency responsible for ensuring effective interaction between government bodies, the media, civil society institutions and other nongovernmental sectors, as well as for international cooperation in this area. The Decree also reorganized the Republican Interdepartmental Anti-Corruption Commission into the National Anti-Corruption Council.

 

In 2020, under the chairmanship of the President, about a dozen meetings and sessions were held addressing the issues of combating corruption. All this means that our country is determined to fight this evil at the state level. This is perceived not only by the citizens of our country, but also by the international community as a serious political will.

 

In particular, the head of state delivered a speech at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly. In his speech, he emphasized the importance of combating corruption, noting that this work in Uzbekistan has reached a new level, important laws have been adopted and an independent anti-corruption structure has been created. The Uzbek President showed the whole world how important this road is for our country. Positive transformations, along with ensuring the social and economic growth of our country, serve to increase in international ratings and indices and improve the image of our republic.

 

In the 2020 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International, Uzbekistan climbed 7 positions compared to 2019 and achieved stable growth for 4 consecutive years (from 17 points in 2013 to 26 points in 2020). Therefore, in its 2020 report, the Transparency International recognized Uzbekistan as one of the fastest growing countries in the region.

 

However, despite the results achieved, we still have a formidable challenge ahead of us. Today, the Anti-Corruption Agency is actively working on the draft National Strategy. The document includes an analysis of the current situation, positive trends, and problems, main factors causing corruption, goals and its indicators. In order to cover all issues and take into account the opinion of the government and society, it is widely discussed at national and international consultation meetings with the participation of representatives of government agencies, officials, members of NGOs, academia, and international experts.

 

The main thing is to strengthen the spirit of intolerance towards corruption in our modem society, the fighting spirit of anti-corruption in journalists and bloggers, and so that government agencies and officials look at corruption as a threat to the future of the country. Today, everyone is against corruption, from senior officials to the majority of the population, the clerisy, the media have understood that it needs to be eradicated, and the country cannot develop along with it. Now the only task is to unite all efforts and fight against evil together.

 

This will undoubtedly serve to fully implement the development strategies of our country for the years to come.

  

Akmal BURKHANOV

Director Anti-Corruption Agency

of the Republic of Uzbekistan

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