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“By working together - NGOs, business, philanthropic groups, the United Nations and other international agencies - we can leverage our efforts and resources. Together, in close coordination and cooperation, we can achieve outsized results on virtually every aspect of our shared agenda.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Supporting civil society’s empowerment and engagement in decision-making is a major commitment of UNDP in Uzbekistan, and is clearly reflected in its five year Country Programme Action Plan for 2010-2015. Across the globe, civil society is working ceaselessly to promote the principles of fair and equitable economic development, gender equality and human rights. The development of civil society is also a cross-cutting subject integrated into several areas of UNDP’s work in any country.
UNDP in Uzbekistan is collaborating with a wide range of national partners in engaging civil society organisations (CSO) in local development plans. A major focus has been to promote partnership between civil society institutions, government and the private sector in providing employment opportunities and social services to vulnerable groups, including people living with disabilities and women in difficult situations. UNDP has assisted in introducing products made by these target groups into the marketplace.
A strong partner of UNDP in the area of civil society is Uzbekistan's Independent Institute for Monitoring the Formation of Civil Society (NIMFOGO). NIMFOGO was created in 2003, with the main goal of systematically monitoring the processes of the formation and development of civil society in Uzbekistan, the strengthening of the role of CSOs within democratic renewal and national modernisation, the enhancement of political culture, and the raising of the legal awareness and social and political activeness of citizens.
Civil society representatives possess significant experience and expertise, particularly at a grassroots level, that can help international organisations formulate policies and strategies effectively. Accordingly, UNDP has created a partnership with NIMFOGO in 2012 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding aimed to increase the role of CSOs in the process of democratic transformation within society, and in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
This year, within the 2013 annual plan of activities, UNDP and NIMFOGO have widened their cooperation and have expanded their work beyond social partnership priorities. Their initiatives have included engaging CSOs in the monitoring of legislation implementation, in parliamentary development, in strengthening the capacities of kengashes (local councils), in developing public speaking skills, in promoting volunteerism, and in improving access to information about government agencies.
Among the first upcoming joint events of partners in 2013 will be a conference on ‘The role of CSOs in Achieving MDG in Uzbekistan’ which is being organised and will be conducted jointly by NIMFOGO, UNDP and the National Association of NGOs of Uzbekistan at the end of June.