Uzbekistan’s new leadership from the very first days in office launched an aggressive anti-corruption campaign to ensure the smooth implementation of comprehensive reforms in all spheres of public and social life. It changed the focus from state bodies and began to attract civil institutions as the main subjects in this endeavor. Additionally, the transparency of the state bodies was recognized as another essential part of public control.
The Action Strategy on five priority directions for development in the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2017 to 2021 helped kick off an active campaign on fighting corruption. The adoption of this document was organized in an open and transparent manner with every article scrutinized by society and experts. This precedent for public discussion of the draft regulations made the participation of citizens in drafting laws and other legal acts a norm. So far more than 25,000 proposals on more than 8,500 draft laws have been submitted by the people.
At the same time, the government created conditions to ensure the people’s right to appeal to the leadership, including the president of Uzbekistan. People’s liaison offices, virtual reception centers and citizen’s offices were established to bring people and government agencies closer.
The presidential decree on measures to create an environment of intolerance towards corruption, radical reduction of corruption factors in the state and public administration, as well as broad public involvement in this process, provided the conditions needed to provide efficient societal control over state organizations, as well as accountability for officials. The adoption of the law on public control was a logical continuation of governmental efforts in this avenue.
This was made in accordance with international law. In particular, Article 13 of the U.N. Convention against Corruption notes that each state party shall, within its means and in accordance with the fundamental principles of its domestic law, take appropriate measures to promote active public participation in decision-making processes and enhance transparency and access to information.
In addition, a domestic legal basis was also developed, namely the resolution on measures to organize the activities of public councils under government agencies, signed in 2018, and the decree on the establishment of the public chamber under the president of the Republic of Uzbekistan, adopted in 2020. These documents prescribed that public councils be established under each state body, including law enforcement agencies, the Anti-Corruption Agency and regional and city authorities. Such councils are believed to be an important link in the establishment of effective public monitoring over government agencies.
Authorities also undertook several important steps to ensure people’s access to information on the activity of state organizations, as well as society’s participation in decision-making. In particular, they initiated the open posting of relevant data on data.gov.uz, my.gov.uz, regulation.gov.uz, d.xarid.uz and other online platforms to increase the accountability of government agencies. Each ministry and agency started the practice of regularly posting and updating information about their activities, expenditures, tenders and vacancies on their websites and social networks.
The government also decided to increase the role of the media in identifying and detecting corruption, as well as creating an environment of intolerance toward corruption among the people. In this respect, a club of journalists and bloggers was reportedly set up under the Anti-Corruption Agency. Its main purpose is to establish close communication with the media when covering the processes of preventing and combating corruption, to promote the validity, completeness and quality of published materials, and to further the transparency of government bodies.
President Shavkat Mirziyoyev in his 2021 parliamentary address mentioned the issue of fighting corruption as one of the most crucial problems our nation is still facing. The president emphasized the necessity to continue the fight against corruption by invigorating the campaign and introducing new avenues for public control, such as recruitment systems in state bodies. The ultimate goal of all these measures is to ensure the liberalization of the political system, the modernization of the economy, and the cardinal improvement of the well-being of every member of Uzbek society.