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How Technological Solutions Making the Uzbekistan Courts More User-Friendly

03 Aug 2017

image A local resident from Tashkent files an electronic claim

After her divorce in 2015, Tashkent city resident Gulbahor Rahimova had a difficult time claiming the alimony payments her ex-husband owed her for the support of their two children. In matters of sensitive family law (body of law regulating family relationships, including marriage and divorce, the treatment of children, and related economic matters), justice must be speedy and efficient – but in Gulbahor’s case, the costs of seeking help began to outweigh the benefits. “To contest the alimony payments, I had to physically go to the courthouse several times – to submit my documents and speak with lawyers. The time spent going to the courts and the embarrassment made me question whether the process was worth losing time from work.” Putting People First But things are changing for people like Gulbahor Rahimova. In 2016 and 2017, legislative efforts have focused on giving people better access to Uzbekistan’s legal system. This work, which is prioritizing long-term reform, has been bolstered by the government’s declaration that 2017 is the ‘Year of Dialogue with the People and Human Interests’ and the adoption of a 2017-2021 Action Strategy on five priority areas of country’s development. Improving how courts engage with the complicated legal problems of  Read More

“Single window” for public services

18 Jul 2017

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Nearly two years have passed since our first interview on establishing the system of public services provision to business entities on one-stop-shop principle. Today, it is important to review results achieved in this area and determine prospects for further development of the citizen centric service government. Implementation of pilot "Business Facilitation Centers" in the cities of Andijan, Gulistan, Fergana and Turtkul District under the Chamber of Commerce of Uzbekistan (CCI) is an example of development and provision of services to entrepreneurs on one-stop-shop principle. This initiative was implemented in 2009-2013 with the support from the "Business Forum of Uzbekistan" - joint project of UNDP with Chamber of Commerce and industry of Uzbekistan, and utilized modern ICTs (web technologies, electronic registries, online payment systems and information portal - businessinfo.uz). The successful pilot mechanism for rendering services to entrepreneurs was subsequently introduced in the operations of Inspections on State Registration of Business Entities, which were re-organized into “single window” centers that render public services to businesses on one-stop-shop principle. Over the last two years, 194 “single window” centers were established in all regions and cities of the country, and are providing public services to business entities. UNDP’s joint project with CCI  "Business Forum of  Read More

How does the Technovation Challenge motivate the girls of Uzbekistan to solve existing problems?

31 May 2017

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How can mobile applications help schoolchildren and students study better, solve the problem of employing older people, improve processing of household waste? Girls from Uzbekistan tried to solve these and other issues within 3 months under the Technovation Challenge programme. Technovation Challenge is an international programme for girls aged 10 to 18 years, which was first launched in San Francisco, USA in 2010. The mission of Technovation is to inspire and educate girls to solve the real problems of society through technology, in particular via mobile applications. In February 2017, the Technovation Programme was first launched in Uzbekistan. For 12 weeks, 95 girls (15-18 years) divided into 22 teams worked on projects focused on health, education, environment, poverty, inequality and security issues. The participants, led by 43 women mentors, have undergone trainings based on  specially developed curriculum,  and acquired new knowledge in business, programming and self-development. Developing mobile applications, carrying out market research, writing a business plan, design thinking, leadership, presentation and pitches are just a small part of the skills acquired by participants  during the programme. The UNDP project "E-Government Promoting for Improved Public Service Delivery" jointly with the Association of Support of Children and Families in Uzbekistan, the Ministry  Read More

A new boost for better regional governance

30 Jan 2017

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2017 has the potential to be a major year for developing stronger, regional-level governance – a new impetus behind the balanced growth of regional government, emboldened by key resolutions, a new government direction, and the declaration of the ‘Year of Dialogue with People and Human Interests’. The Local Governance Support Programme’s first and second phases have piloted initiatives to strengthen local-level governance, building up to the Regional Development Strategies. Previously these efforts have focused on the economic and cultural hubs of Jizzakh, Namangan and Tashkent regions – there is now the exciting prospect of making these examples the benchmark for nationwide scale-up. The foundations we’ve built Broadly speaking, enhancing the ability of local governments to decide on their own direction of growth requires three things from the partnership between the Government of Uzbekistan and UNDP Uzbekistan – a) better practical tools and infrastructure, b) the ability to be financial independent, and c) the ability to make decisions. Significant progress has been made on all three fronts. Some infrastructure development has been similar to UNDP’s broader work in Uzbekistan’s regions – the installation of green energy solutions and reliable gas, power and water. Staff can now work at a digital speed, with  Read More

Home grown energy

19 Dec 2016

image A once-wooded hillside in the Forishsky district of the Djizzakh region

Wood is a key resource around the world and in Uzbekistan. It is a source of fuel that if effectively maintained, can be carbon neutral and have a positive impact on the environment. Currently, though, far more naturally-growing wood is cut and burnt, than is replaced. In the past decade 1.2 million squares of forest, almost three times the size of Uzbekistan, has been cleared. Various estimates put the global annual deforestation rate at around 6 million hectares a year. Uzbekistan is no stranger to this phenomenon – in a country once densely packed with forest, the remaining barren deserts, steppes and hillsides have very telling names like ‘Pstalitau’ – “Mountain Covered with Pistachios” – that betray a forest’s disappearance. So, it is important to understand why cutting down a tree has a multitude of negative impacts. It is true that a barren valley is less attractive than a forested one. But beyond this superficial aesthetic reason, trees are important because they form part of an ecosystem – remove them and the structure will collapse with negative consequences. First and foremost, it must be understood that trees are a carbon-sink. They hold carbon that would otherwise be in the atmosphere, and  Read More

Beyond inclusive employment – Equal opportunities for people with disabilities

02 Dec 2016

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Creating an inclusive society for people living with disabilities is not a simple process, just as disability is not a simple matter – it takes on endless forms and impacts everyone differently. To some a disability will be a minor annoyance, ‘something extra thing to think about’, while for others disabilities can be a major hurdle. Imagine for an instant that you cannot use any washroom, apart from the one in your house – not at work, at a theatre or a cinema, nor even at a hospital. This is not easy to d. But for Natalya it’s a reality, a fact of life, something she needs to consider when planning her schedule. “The lack of bathrooms with disabled access is a delicate problem from people with disabilities,” she shared with UNDP in 2014. “I know a lot of people with disabilities who on the day that they need to leave the house, will not eat or drink. For me the biggest problem is lack of access.” Access is just one matter related to rights for people with disabilities – a multifaceted concern involving infrastructure, social attitudes, laws, education, ‘agency’ and self-expression. Education is also a major battlefield in the struggle  Read More

Placing Foreign Marketplaces within SME Reach

16 Nov 2016

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By blogging consultant James Brindley Developing the SME sector is one of Uzbekistan’s priorities for economic growth, part of this effort related to building links with international business. Since its inception in 2011 the ‘Aid for Trade’ project has assisted small and medium businesses to participate in trade fairs like the ‘World Food Moscow 2016’ exhibition held in Moscow this past September. This initial step onto the ‘international stage’ for any business can be daunting. “It’s hard to think of any other setting in which the customer practically falls right into the company’s lap, so to speak. As is well known, making the first contact is the hardest part of making business,” said Alisher Sapaev – the Head of the Marketing Department of the ‘UzAgroExport’ Foreign Trade Company. A project partner, this business was established in 2016 to facilitate agricultural exports, and has been a major partner in arranging Moscow’s event. “Out of all the marketing instruments available, trade fairs offer by far the widest range of functions. This is where exhibitors can conduct business, cultivate their image, look for business partners or examine the market,” Mr. Sapaev added. Through its collaboration with its partners – particularly the ‘Uztadbirkoreksport” and ‘Uzagroexport’  Read More

Growing the Apple Sector

17 Oct 2016

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Apples are a common fruit at Uzbek households, and this popularity is reflected in the national agriculture sector where 40% of fruit orchards are dedicated to growing them. It’s a sector with promise. By publishing a guide on growing and propagating apples, the ‘Business Forum of Uzbekistan’ (Phase III)’ project undertaken by UNDP and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry will serve to further maximize this potential – one of several initiatives aiming to boost the national success and international marketability of Uzbekistan’s small and medium businesses. “Uzbekistan has a suitable climate and location for growing apples – Central Asia is actually home for many wild apple forests,” shared Shukhrat Abrorov, the knowledge source behind the book and a lead expert in apple growth. “The main message farmers will get from this manual is that every farmer can produce more, better quality apples, by using modern knowledge and advanced techniques in apple growing.” The manual intends to be as practical as possible – identifying major hurdles farmers might face when planting orchards, and detailing best locations for certain varieties to improve product quality and storability. It also explains how to fight common pests and disease. Equally important is the advice offered about  Read More

Uzbekistan’s Media – Turning Data into News

14 Oct 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan: Open data websites like data.toshvil.uz break down the barriers between journalists and the information they need to develop stories

By Blogging Consultant James Brindley Dilfuza Ruzieva of the ‘Olmaliq Haqiqati’ (Truth of Olmaliq) - one of the Tashkent region newspapers - wrote about the refurbishment of public schools since the time of Uzbekistan’s independence. It was a fairly simple process, taking 12 lots of figures off the data.toshvil.uz open data website, with which to build the article. Just few years back things would have been different – what is now a 30-minute process would have involved waiting for most of a month. “It would have been possible to write the same article without open data, but there would have been big difficulties,” Ms. Ruzieva shared with UNDP Uzbekistan. “We would have written an official letter to government organizations for information, and have waited for several days before the answer would come.” Ms. Ruzieva was one of 20 other multi-industry journalists who learnt essential skills for simplifying and facilitating their trade at a June training event, conducted by the ‘Local Governance Support Programme/ Phase 2’. (LGSP-II has supported efforts by the Uzbekistan government in enhancing the ability of regional and district level authorities to de-centralize and de-concentrate administrative and fiscal authority. This has been an on-going, multi-partnered process - you can  Read More

Patterns of Success

12 Oct 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan: Guzal Takhirova practices with design technology at 'Istiqlol Dizayn Markazi'

By Blogging Consultant James Brindley Back at her university, making a new dress design involved a long process of trial-and-error – from sewing table to the manikin and back again. For an ambitious student like Guzal Takhirova, who isn’t content with standard designs and seeks to innovate – essential for her future success – the solution must involve technology. “In the future I plan to open my own business – a sewing enterprise,” shares the national award-winning designer and graduate of the Design and Construction College in Namangan. “That’s why for me it is important to learn how to work with innovative technologies.” Ms. Takhirova is one of 48 recent graduates who are being trained at the ‘Istiqlol Dizayn Markazi’ LLC, a clothing design centre equipped by the “Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase-III)” project, joint project of UNDP and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with financial support from Sasol. 10 will go on to be employed by the factory, while many more will set up their own independent businesses. What makes this centre ground-breaking is that it has made us of the new ‘CAD’ (computer-aided design) software, a 3D modelling tool that allows designers to easily experiment in a digital  Read More

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