On January 25-29, Tashkent (Uzbekistan) hosted a winter school on "Capacity Building of NGOs, Development of Cooperation and Partnerships with Government Agencies, Advocacy and Assessment of Local Community Needs" for representatives of NGOs in Uzbekistan.
The workshop brought together different stakeholders, and generated intense dialogue between representatives of business, civil society, state and the Eco political party of Uzbekistan. This dialogue is a starting-point for potential co-operation, and a range of areas of co-operation were pursued, including civil society monitoring of the implementation of environmental projects, co-operation in expert working groups on policy areas ranging from power generation to waste management and cross-border water management.
Participants formed mixed groups (CSOs and state representatives together) where they agreed on policy issues, directions and priorities. During the three days of training, they built on the initial goals for their group by drawing up plans for public consultations and citizens engagement (from the perspective of the states as a convenor, from civil society as both a participant and convenor, and also looked at areas for joint organisation of outreach to stakeholders and the wider public).
They mapped decision-making processes and stages, entry-points for citizens to engage, and also explored civil society’s role, capacity and resources to engage in the decision-making process.
On the final day, they conducted stakeholder mapping and a SWOT analysis before charting indicators for activities and results of the plans they developed over the three days.
The participants came away with not only strengthened mutual contacts, but also with concrete plans and the basis for advocacy activities towards their realisation. These included a pilot project in organic farming, combining business and NGOs, even a social entrepreneurial opportunity now under consideration. Other initiatives included advanced plans to launch local projects in improving waste management, working with mahalla and hakims, and initiatives to alleviate cross-border tension over water resources, and to improve water management both in the Aral Sea and on a cross-border basis. Coalition plans were developed, including working with scientific institutes and international partners.
The training provided an introductory basis that will be developed in greater depth in the project’s online training modules when the participants will both individually and collectively further develop their coalitions, policy goals, advocacy plans, and their engagement in policymaking.
We hope that on the final two days of the training, the working groups formed will be able to go deeper into the topic and identify the key priorities for seven regions. The following is to be done for each location: an information analysis of the problems, informing members of the local community, planning based on the assessment and working out the practical aspects of participatory assessment.
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This material has been prepared within the framework of the project "Innovative Uzbekistan" implemented by ODB Brussels (Belgium) in partnership with Eco Forum of Uzbekistan (Uzbekistan), the New Diplomacy (Czech Republic) funded by the European Union.