Residents of the Fergana Valley learned how to solve disputes caused by the lack of natural resources with the help of mediation

October 5, 2023
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

The world is already facing challenges related to natural resources scarcity, which is seriously worsening due to climate change. As a result, disputes often occur between people regarding the use of natural resources. Most often they are resolved with the help of local authorities or with the participation of relevant specialists.

The term alternative dispute resolution includes a wide range of processes and one of the most effective of them is mediation. Mediation is a process where the parties meet in the presence of a mutually selected impartial and neutral person (mediator) who assists them in the negotiation of their differences. At the same time, the mediator does not impose his opinion on the parties, does not make a decision, he creates conditions for the parties to come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

This method is also actively used in resolving disputes regarding the use of natural resources. Mediation in such cases helps to protect the interests of all parties and find a way to a mutual coexistence.

Mediation is not a new method for Uzbekistan. For years representatives of mahallas used to help parties to resolve the dispute by creating the necessary conditions. Now, in modern Uzbekistan mediations are regulated by the Law ‘On Mediation’ (03.07.2018).

As a result of studying the needs for mediation and relevant specialists, on September 27-28 in Fergana a practical training was organized within the ‘Climate Change and Resilience in Central Asia’ UNDP project, funded by the EU.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

The training was attended by activists from the pilot mahallas of Andijan, Fergana and Namangan regions, where research is being conducted as part of the project – a total of 49 women and men.

The purpose of this event is to acquaint participants with the principles and possibilities of mediation in resolving disputes caused by the lack of natural resources, as well as to identify specialists, who will be able to become professional mediators and contribute to the resolution of disputes in the regions of the Fergana Valley.

‘Mediation – a universal method that helps the parties of disputes to find a solution. Today, when natural resource scarcity level increases over the years, it is essential for people to have the particular skills of resolving disagreements. On that point mediation creates the best conditions for settlement of disputes’ 

– said Rano Ismailova, a professional mediator.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

The training included the use of interactive materials, educational multimedia and games, as well as dialogue with participants. In particular, participants were able to try a new technique – to identify emotions and true needs that bring about certain emotions. Helping the parties identify their true needs can often serve as one of the factors in resolving the dispute.

‘Problems related to climate change and the lack of natural resources are coming to the fore, especially in the Fergana Valley. As a result, disputes occur. Our population has to be ready for it. We organized a practical training in Fergana that aims to raise awareness about the mediation that helps to resolve disagreements. During the training participants learned more about the international experience of resolving disputes regarding the lack of natural resources, main principles, conditions and requirements of mediation and documents that regulate the process’,

– said Sevara Maripova, a professional mediator, head of the department of the Centre for the further training of legal specialists.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan
«We were able to consolidate the acquired knowledge in the form of practical exercises and team games. There is no doubt that each of us will be able to implement the new method in our own mahallas, particularly in the resolving of disputes»,

– said one of the participants Gavhar Mirzahamdamova, Honored worker of public education of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The 30 most active participants were selected to get advanced certified training at the Centre for the further training of legal specialists under the Ministry of Justice and will become professional mediators.

The event became not only a platform for sharing knowledge about mediation, but also for active networking among specialists of three regions of the Fergana Valley.