“First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the EU office in Uzbekistan and UNDP for the recognition of that small piece covered by me and secondly I would like to notice that huge reforms are underway in Uzbekistan. We have such a beautiful country. Not all journalists, not all people engaged in this sphere do the best to cover these reforms so the global community has to be aware of what is happening in Uzbekistan: on business climate, about the reforms, about how beautiful country we have. Our goal as journalists is to fill this gap”, said Muzaffar Ismailov, UzReport World Editor, winner in the “Best Article” nomination.
The digitalization of information serves to enhance citizen’s awareness of their rights, obligations, options and alternatives and strengthens demands for greater accountability from the public sector. However, the power of accountability is significantly reduced if citizens are unable to measure their government’s performance in a meaningful way. With this in mind, it is important to give a lead to nationals contributing to the promotion of public service centers among the population and mass media across the country.
“The importance of public services comes from the fact that when you have a society that is growing a lot, you also need to continue to ensure that in fact, people have the access to public services. The risk is always there that is a divide between the cities and then the remote areas. I think what we see here is that there’s been a lot of attention given to the remote areas as well. We had the opportunity to visit Kashkadarya and go to a remote area and see the public service agency open and this is extremely important that everybody has access to public services, including education, health and all the public services that you can have access to, access to diploma, access to cadastral, this is really important for people. Speaking about challenges I would like to note that digitization is something that you need to be sure that everybody has access to, that there is no digital divide. And that can be a challenge but I also see in fact that this is something that is being looked at. Not only within a program but there is also a will from the government to also make sure that there is no divide and that in fact, everybody gets access. Another challenge is that you need to have everybody on board so the public service would fit women, men, children and often we are forgetting to ask the clients. But I see this is also something that is being looked at now. People need to be aware. Some people don’t know what their rights are. Some people don’t know what a legal framework is. This is where the very important media’s role is”, noted Charlotte Adriaen, EU Ambassador to Uzbekistan.
“As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, it is important to reflect on this ambitious reform and transformation that is taking place in Uzbekistan and what is at its core reform that has the ambition to serve better the citizens to improve their livelihoods. public service delivery is at the core of that. And it's important for any country that wants to serve better its population. And therefore, United Nations Development Programme has been working very closely with the European Union, and the public service agencies on improving the public service in Uzbekistan. Commendable is the progress that has been made over the recent years in terms of increasing the number of public services, setting up a network of public service centers throughout the country, improving the access pattern, improving the quality and improving the way how the services are provided. And, of course, it's the public service agency that was leading this effort, but also many other institutions that contributed to it. And many individuals that were behind that, as well as the media that was spreading the voice around the importance of the availability of public services, but also advising the public, what can be done even better. So we took part in this event with great greater honor, and gratitude to all of those that contributed to improved service delivery in Uzbekistan for all people throughout the country” said Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative to Uzbekistan.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev upon his designation as Uzbekistan’s president in 2016 ordered to digitalize the public services system and create the Public Service Agency that would serve the needs of citizens. In May this year, the head of state noted that although the number of public services has increased in 2021, the state of affairs remains unsatisfactory, stressing the need to improve the work with electronic digital signatures, upgrade the mobile application of the single portal for interactive state services, and introduce discounts for persons with disabilities.