The fight against corruption has also become a priority area of state policy m Uzbekistan. This can be seen in the conceptual regulatory acts adopted m recent years in this area, on the example of administrative reforms aimed at preventing corruption.
The fact that the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed the Law “On combating corruption” in the first days of taking office became the first important step in the formation of the state policy in combating corruption in Uzbekistan.
I. During the past 5 years, more than 80 normative legal documents aimed at putting an end to corruption in all spheres of state and society construction, including more than 10 normative legal documents regulating the field of combating corruption, were adopted.
The Decree of the President “On measures to create an environment of intolerant attitude against corruption, to reduce corruption factors in state and community management, and to expand public participation” became another important conceptual document aimed at early prevention of corruption. The laws “On the openness of activities of the state power and the state governing bodies” and “On public control”, as well as the Resolution “On additional measures to ensure active participation of citizens in the budget process” made it possible to assess ever action of all categories of officials among the general public and the people.
The Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On additional measures to ensure the transparency of the activities of state bodies and organizations, as well as effective implementation of public control”, was adopted as a logical continuation of the reforms implemented in the sphere. The Decree approved the list of information that every state body and organization should publicly announce.
The Resolution of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On measures to introduce a system for rating the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts” serves to introduce openness to public administration, further strengthen systematic work in information openness for general use, transparency and quality of the information by international requirements. A system for rating the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts was introduced following this Resolution.
It should be noted that the recently adopted Decree of the President “On measures to increase the level of openness of the activities of state bodies and organizations and introduce the evaluation system” is starting a new era in the improvement of the openness policy in the country.
By the decree, the Anti-Corruption Agency will create an annual transparency index of state bodies and organizations and publicly announce it through the electronic platform “eanticor.uz” and media.
II. The activity of newly established Institutional structures in the system is also of great importance in the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts. In 2019, the Resolution of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the establishment of the Committee on Combating Corruption, Judicial and Legal Issues” was adopted. A Committee on Combating Corruption and Judicial Affairs was established in the Senate of the Oliy Majlis in the same year.
The Anti-Corruption Agency of the Republic of Uzbekistan was established by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan of June 29, 2020 “On additional measures on improvement of the anti-corruption in the Republic of Uzbekistan”. The Republican Inter-Departmental Commission for Combating Corruption and its regional inter-departmental commissions were reorganized into the National Anti-Corruption Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan and its regional councils.
Among the key tasks entrusted in them are the implementation of a systemic parliamentary control over the execution of anti-corruption legislation and state programs, hearing reports from officials of government agencies engaged in anticorruption activities. The key tasks also include the development of measures for eliminating legal loopholes that allow and create conditions for corruption in the current legislation, studying the generally recognized principles and norms of international law in the field of combating corruption and, based on it, the development of proposals for further improvement of the current legislation.
Public Service Development Agency was established under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan by the Decree of the Head of the state “On measures to radically improve the personnel policy and civil service system in the Republic of Uzbekistan” and the Resolution “On measures to organize the activities of the State Public Service Development Agency under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan”.
According to the Decree, it was determined that recruitment to public service shall be carried out based on open independent competition, fair evaluation of candidates in the activities related to recruitment to the civil service and career advancement of personnel, application of the principle of meritocracy aimed at choosing the most worthy among them.
Training of potential personnel in the fight against corruption has become one of the priority tasks of the Academy of the General Prosecutor’s Office. In 2019, the Academy of the General Prosecutor’s Office opened a special master’s course in “Combating Corruption”. The Academy has established close cooperation with about 60 prestigious organizations in the world, and carries out training based on a completely new system, combining theory and practice.
The Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan of December 7, 2020 “On measures to ensure the genuine independence of judges and increase the effectiveness of preventing corruption in the judiciary” provided for the establishment of the Judicial Inspectorate for Ensuring Immunity of Judges and Preventing Corruption at the Judicial Inspectorate for Ensure Immunity of Judges, which contributes to the prevention and elimination of corruption in the most crucial areas, as well as the timely identification of corruption factors.
Decisions made by the National Anti-Corruption Council intensifies the process of conducting surveys among various segments of the population. In 2021, several more social surveys were conducted. In particular, UNICEF conducted a survey on the topic “Are young people involved in the fight against corruption?”. The survey involved 16189 young people and 81 percent of them expressed their readiness to report on acts of corruption, while 39 percent do not consider bribery to be corruption.
In December 2021, the “Ijtimoiy Fikr” (Public Opinion) Center conducted a survey on the state policy in the field of combating corruption and the activities of the Anti-Corruption Agency. The results demonstrated that 82 percent of our population perceive corruption as an urgent problem, while 43 percent of respondents said that the fight against corruption m Uzbekistan is implementing quite successfully.
The Anti-Corruption Agency together with relevant agencies and departments conducted a study within the framework of the project “Creating the first anti-corruption laboratories in Uzbekistan to study corruption risks at the stage of enrolling children in schools”:
The survey covered 114 schools in Uzbekistan, involving parents of primary school students, primary school teachers and school directors. Following the results, a number of recommendations were developed. Those include the development of urgent measures to ensure transparency in school admission with the engagement of parents, the general public and specialists (psychologists, pediatricians, speech pathologists).
In addition, it was recommended to implement an Open Data electronic system to ensure maximum transparency of activities of the Ministry of Public Education, its structural divisions, and even the processes in each preschool institution (admission, educational process, assessment (examination, reporting).
Another example, the Anti-Corruption Agency conducted an anonymous survey- on the activities of law enforcement agencies in regions with a difficult crime situation from February 16 to April 6. 2021. The survey identified the presence of corruption risks in law enforcement agencies. The Agency developed proposals and recommendations to eliminate them. It is important that the analysis of this kind of sociological studies serves to improve the activities of the Agency and the anti-corruption policy in general. Particular attention is paid to improving the legal awareness and legal culture of the population in combating corruption.
Thus, in December 2021, as part of the Anti-Corruption Week timed to the International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, about 500 events of various levels and formats were organized, including forums and conferences, competitions, promotions and flash mobs, round tables, trainings and talks shows with the active involvement of representatives of the general public, especially young people.
The Ministry of Public Education of the Republic of Uzbekistan in cooperation with the UNODC Office in Central Asia organized trainings on the topic “Prevention of corruption in the public education system” and anti-corruption classes for schoolchildren. In 2020, anti-corruption classes were organized in schools in three districts of three regions, and in 2021 in the whole country.
Open Data Challenge 2021 Hackathon included a special category – The Fight Against Corruption. The Ministry of Higher and Secondary Specialized Education held the republican contests “The Best Anti-Corruption Textbook” and “The Best Anti-Corruption Teaching and Methodological Manual” among the academic staff of higher educational institutions. Moreover, in order to systematically inform the general public on the ongoing reforms in the field of combating corruption, Uzbekistan Anti-Corruption Digest online magazine has been created and published monthly in Uzbek, Russian and English.
For to actively involve and support NGOs in cultivating in society intolerant attitude towards corruption, as well as raising their awareness, 11 (25 percent) representatives of NGOs have been included in the composition of the National Anti-Corruption Council of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
In 2021, the “Openness and Transparency in Uzbekistan” Analytical Center started operating. It is the first independent public organization studying corruption and transparency. The Center focuses on supporting the formation of an intolerant attitude towards corruption in society and the improvement of mechanisms for openness, transparency and accountability in government.
This year, the Anti-Corruption Agency with other government agencies in cooperation with UNDP announced a Joint Contest “Involving Civil Society Institutions in the Development and Implementation of Innovations in Preventing and Combating Corruption”. Similar projects aimed at increasing the social activity and legal culture of the population are important because they are an excellent incentive to be indifferent to such vices as fraud, bribery and extortion in society. In fact, the most effective and rational measure to effectively combat all forms of corruption is the intolerance.