Finland allocates 1.5 million EUR to UNDP for strengthening Rule of Law in Uzbekistan

September 9, 2022
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

9 September 2022, Tashkent. Today, H.E. Mr. Ilkka Räisänen, Roving Ambassador of Finland to Central Asia and Ms. Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan, signed a cooperation agreement in support of the joint work of UNDP and the Government of Uzbekistan on strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights Protection.

Assistance to Uzbekistan in ensuring the sustainability of the rule of law and effective governance as a top priority for UNDP, since it is a strategic prerequisite for the implementation of SDGs and the Agenda 2030.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Now at the start of the transformation into “New Uzbekistan”, it is time to accelerate efforts in ensuring the rights of vulnerable groups in the country, who are most at risk, since they often face barriers to their implementation due to various reasons, among which there might be weak legal awareness, remoteness of the areas, high cost of legal services and others.

As Matilda Dimovska highlighted during the signing ceremony, “We at UNDP remain committed to support the efforts of the Government of Uzbekistan on their pathway to further strengthening the rule of law as well as effective and inclusive governance, because it lies at the core of any development”.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

For the 29 years that UNDP has been present in Uzbekistan, we continuously prioritized advancing rule of law in the country through more than 10 projects. As national partners acknowledge, these projects undoubtedly played a role in Uzbekistan’s improved standing in international rankings. For example, in World Justice Project's Rule of law Index, Uzbekistan rose from 93rd to 85th place in five years and is recognized as country with strongest improvement in the rule of law in 2021.

H.E. Mr. Ilkka Räisänen noted during the signing ceremony, “For us it is important to expand our network and scope of partnership with UNDP in various areas for the sustainability of development across Uzbekistan with focus on the regions”.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

The support of the Government of Finland will be channeled to improve access to justice with the focus on the most vulnerable. The new project, which is to be developed jointly with national partners, will be implemented for three years, with broad and active participation of both state bodies and representatives of civil society, lawyer associations, legal academia and other stakeholders with focus on three key priorities:

  • expanding access to justice for vulnerable citizens by expanding free legal aid, both primary and secondary, through support to Free Legal Aid Centers and execution of the new edition of the Law on Free Legal Aid;
  • strengthening central and regional capacity of the Ombudsman's Office to promote and protect human rights of vulnerable groups;
  • strengthening civil society capacity in promoting access to justice and respect for human rights.