Securing Uzbekistan’s Prosperity through Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society

The text of President Islam Karimov’s keynote address delivered at the official meeting occasioned to the 21st anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Dear friends!

I am enormously delighted to greet you in this magnificent and peerless hall, express my sincere respect to you all and congratulate on the 21st anniversary of the country’s Constitution that has laid a robust foundation for building a new state and society.

We have every reason today to assert that the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan that was adopted on the 8th of December 1992 has come to be a principal normative and legislative backbone for constructing an independent democratic nation with a socially oriented market economy and building a civil society in the country where values are centered on human interests, rights and freedoms and with a reigning rule of law.

We have every ground to claim that the principles and provisions as well as enduring goals and objectives fixed in the Constitution, along with the properly chosen and profoundly thought-out strategy of furthering the ends, have proved reliable and decisive in driving fundamental transformation and critical socio-political, socio-economic and humanitarian reforms. They have proved instrumental also in achieving the heights that we can take pride of with every reason.

The life itself makes us stress the aptness of the model we opted for to marshal reforms and modernization of the country, a paradigm that has acquired extensive renown and acknowledgement around the globe as the Uzbek Model, which derives in full from the provisions inbuilt in our Constitution.

The essence of this model is known to have focused on five principles, namely, freeing the economy of ideology, securing the rule of law, acknowledging the regulating role of the state as the key reformer, spearheading a robust social policy with an eye to specific peculiarities of the country, and adhering to the gradualness of political and economic reforms being undertaken.

I believe there is hardly a special need in trying to prove to someone that the wide-ranging democratic, socio-economic, political and judicial-normative reforms can succeed only when pursued gradually and on the basis of consistency, continuity and evolutionary development.

The life itself has been confirming – time and again – the unacceptability of forcing and speeding up the democratic processes. The path of revolutionary u-turns and coercive methods as seizure of power, as we observe, normally brings about counterproductive effects.

The remarkable heights we have achieved in the liberalization and democratization of society, in ensuring a sustainable and steadfast economic development, the growth in the people’s wellbeing and quality of life, the nation’s dignified standing in the international arena – all of this is first and foremost an outcome of well thought-out reforms that cater to contemporary democratic requirements in forming a national statehood and polity built on the principles of checks and balances, of separation of functions and powers of the legislature, executive and the judiciary, of the priority of human interests, rights and freedoms, as well as universally recognized norms of international law.

Fundamentally important have been the cardinal democratic and market reforms in the economy, the institution of unprecedentedly favorable conditions and the provision of privileges and preferences for the development of small business and entrepreneurship, as well as farming as a decisive form of economic management in rural areas, the adoption of a considerable package of legislative acts to safeguard private property and rights of property owners, the formation of exclusively reliable terms and favored regime for foreign investors, the persistent perfection of normative and legislative base and conditions essential for doing business.

I would like to underscore in particular that in fostering an exceptionally encouraging and priority environment in the country for small business and private entrepreneurship and an advanced promotion of the institution of private property, we see a critically important source not only for growth in economic development, in the incomes and employment of population, but also for the formation of a middle class that is becoming a keystone bedrock and a driving force of democratic reforms.

That said, I would like to reiterate the pretty essential truth, that is, the process of reforms, democratization and renewal of society is not a one-shot and momentary process, but a persistently continuous one that ultimately aims the kind of ends graspable and supported by the population.

I am convinced that this is the very stance where we should see the crucial conditions and guarantees for ensuring the success of intensive reforms, democratic revitalization and modernization of the country.

It is by no means a secret that, proceeding from this understanding of goals and objectives in transforming our society, such renowned slogans as “Reforms are not for the sake of reforms, but for the people” and “Do not demolish your old house unless you have erected a new one” have been growing popular and garnering support.

At the same time, we are well aware of the fact that Uzbekistan’s steadfast movement toward the implementation of principles envisioned in the Constitution, the extensive transformation and democratic reforms in government, socio-political and socio-economic building, in the humanitarian area, and primarily the cardinal revision and renewal of the education sector, the dynamic growth in the level and quality of life of the population – all this has fundamentally changed the frame of mind of the people and the appearance of our country as well as its standing in the world community.

The most telling and tangible idea of the unprecedented changes our nation has been experiencing is given by some indicators of economic advancement for the past 22 years of our independent development.

Uzbekistan’s economy has grown 4.1 times within this period, and in per capita terms it multiplied at least threefold, taking into account at the same time that the population of the country increased for this period by nearly 9.7 million people to reach the current 30.5 million approximately.

Notwithstanding the grave repercussions of the still ongoing global financial and economic downturn, the annual growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) has exceeded 8 percent in 2008-2013, while this indicator is projected at 8.1 percent in the year 2014. Very few countries around the world have been able to boast similar economic growth rates.

The real aggregate per capita incomes have enlarged 8.2 times for the independent development years.

Macroeconomic indicators have been maintained in balanced terms, so has the annual surplus of the State Budget.

The public external debt of the country does not top 16 percent of the GDP, while the internal debt has a zero valuation, amid the mounting volumes of exports and gold and currency reserves.

During the independent development period, capital investments equaling more than 162 billion US dollars in dollar estimates, including in excess of 56 billion dollars of foreign investments, have been drawn in Uzbekistan’s economy.

The volume of capital investments in 2013 is to make up 14 billion dollars in dollar estimates, which is 23 percent of the GDP.

What do these facts and figures suggest?

They constitute, first and foremost, hundreds and thousands of newly commissioned modern enterprises producing competitive goods in demand in the global market; hundreds and thousands of kilometers of rail and motor roads as well as infrastructure facilities; hundreds of thousands of square meters of housing; and, finally, the cardinally transforming appearance of our urban and rural areas, the growth in the wellbeing and quality of life of the population.

All these facts are indicative of the growing confidence of the international community in the processes of reforms and modernization of the country and in the future of Uzbekistan.

Today, we can state with absolute conviction that within a historically brief span of time, Uzbekistan has turned from a land with a one-sided raw-material based economy with a destructive monopoly of cotton production into a dynamically growing country with a modern industry advancing with speedy rates.

This is backed expressively by the fact that the share of manufacturing industry in Uzbekistan’s GDP amounts currently to 24.3 percent in contrast to the 14.2 percent back in 1990. In the meanwhile, the proportion of agriculture in the GDP has reduced from 34 percent to 17 percent in 2013.

During independence years, such novel sectors have been established in Uzbekistan as automotive industry, home appliances manufacturing, hydrocarbon-chemical production, pharmaceuticals industry, while the food and light industries, chemical industry, manufacturing construction materials and other sectors have undergone complete modernization and reorientation to the production of competitive goods with higher added value.

When we speak of such grand structural moves forward in the economy and changes in our lives, we cannot ignore the extremely critical and decisive turnabouts occurring in the frame of mind and thinking modes of people, in their attitude to life and outcomes of their labor.

The human being himself has been changing, his civic and political consciousness has been growing; so has his legal culture. We have been getting rid of the communist ideology and parasitism, the belief in Soviet-style leaders who think for us.

The new generation of cadres has been confidently entering our lives to occupy leading positions, a generation of independent thought, commanding modern knowledge and contemporary vision, free of prejudices and stereotypes of the bygone times, a generation capable of assuming responsibility for the future of the nation.

In this I see, without any exaggeration, colossal opportunities and reserves, which any country can take pride in.

What can we discern from these facts?

First. These facts are suggestive by and large of the confident strides toward and establishment of a modern democratic society in the country, reforms and sustainable development of the economy that ensures high rates of growth in the level and quality of life of the population, the mounting authority of Uzbekistan in the international arena.

The efficacy and practicality of the reforms being undertaken afford us every reason to state that Uzbekistan has every chance in a historically short period of time to join the ranks of the advanced democratic nations.

Second. The past period of our independent development fully confirms the correctness of the evolutionary, gradual and successive progress towards strategic goals and objectives stipulated in the Constitution of the country with an eye to historical and national peculiarities and mentality of the people.

Third. We are well aware also of the fact that one can have a modern constitution, a perfect strategy for furthering the ends envisaged in that basic law. However, tell me, my dear friends,would we be able, wielding all this, to achieve the results that we have, had our people not backed us?

Only its courage and patience, perseverance and persistence, only the heroic labor of our people have allowed us to make the accomplishments we can all be proud of with every reason.

Allow me to bow to the end from this high rostrum to you all for that, and to our entire people in your person.

Esteemed friends!

Summing up the efforts undertaken for the past period, it is critically important to refrain from euphoria and complacency, to avoid detachment from the reality, to assess soberly and with self-criticism one’s own place in the contemporary world and go hand in hand with the persistently growing requirements of the times and be vigilant of one’s own path forward.

Adopted by the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan in November 2010, the Concept for the Intensification of Democratic Reforms and Formation of Civil Society in the Country has become an appropriate and logical extension of the democratic transformation and modernization marshaled by us.

In essence, it is a longer-term program of mutually connected political and economic reforms, of democratization and liberalization of the system of government and management, of securing the independence and autonomy of the judiciary, the freedom of speech and information, the freedom of choice and the development of electoral system, formation of civil society in the conditions of globalization and the rapidly changing contemporary world.

Sufficiently remarkable efforts have been undertaken for the past period of time in each of these priority aspects of the enhancement of reforms. This can be judged on issues under discussion on the pages of the press and broadcast on television as well as the laws being passed by our parliament.

Critically instrumental role in this is being attached to the growingly potent job of the legislative branch of power in the system of government and polity, the enlargement of its controlling functions and consolidation of the judicial and normative system.

A range of amendments has been introduced to the Basic Law to further improve the activities of the parliament. Reinforced has been the role of parliamentarian groups and factions of political parties at each stage in the deliberation and adoption of laws and normative acts.

No legislative act is being passed without taking into account the views and proposals of deputy factions (parliamentarian groups).

In accordance with the Concept, consistent endeavors have been spearheaded to further reform the judicial-normative system; reinforce the independence and autonomy of courts as the critical integral part in the formation and democratization of society, in securing the rule of law and the reliable protection of human rights and freedoms.

First and foremost, controlling powers of the prosecutor’s office over the judiciary have been abolished to a full extent, and the right to suspend the execution of court verdicts has been removed from the list of prosecutors’ powers.

Legislative acts have been underway to expand the use of the habeas corpus institution in the consolidation of judicial oversight in the criminal proceedings and in the perfection of the system and mechanisms for securing the principle of competition between defense and prosecution.

The powers of the court to open a criminal case and proclaim sentence on it have been eliminated from the criminal procedural legislation. The judicial oversight of investigation during pre-trial process has been reinforced. The application of such measures of procedural coercion as dismissal from office and placement in a medical institution has been passed on to courts.

The adopted legislative acts stipulate clear-cut grounds for operative investigation, real legal guarantees have been created for adherence to the law, provision for citizen rights and freedoms and ruling out the administrative arbitrary rule.

The elevation in the effectiveness of the system of training and retraining juridical specialists has been addressed by the adoption of a resolution by President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on measures to further perfect the system of training jurisprudence cadres signed in June 2013, in accordance with which the Tashkent State Institute of Law has been reinstituted as Tashkent State University of Law, along with the establishment of foundations for the cardinal transformation and improvement of the fundamental base of the system of jurisprudence education.

It is especially imperative to expound on the execution of extensive programs designed to promote the institutions of civil society, that is, nongovernmental nonprofit organizations, free and independent mass media.

The nongovernmental nonprofit organizations (NNOs) are turning into an important factor in the protection of democratic values, rights, liberties and legitimate interests of people, in the realization of potential by citizens, in raising their public, socio-economic activity and law culture. The NNOs have been facilitating the maintenance of balance of interests in the society.

Currently, the number of NNOs operating in the country has exceeded 6 thousand, the volumes of funds provided by the Public Fund for the Support of NNOs and Other Civil Society Institutions under the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the form of fellowships have increased twofold in the last three years.

Today, NNOs are widely active in the implementation of programs to address pressing issues in healthcare, environmental protection, in securing employment and social support of vulnerable strata of the population. They have been also engaged into the process of lawmaking. Public discussions are held of bills being elaborated as part of the Concept, and other acts of legislation with vast social significance.

Owing to measures taken within the framework of the Concept, the domestic mass media are growingly becoming active participants of the reforms being undertaken in the country.

Bright evidence to this is manifest by the extensive involvement of civil society institutions and mass media in the law experiment designed for the trial of the draft law of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On the Openness of the Activities of Government and Management Bodies”, which has been in progress in Bukhara and Samarkand regions for nearly a year.

Summing up the aforesaid, I would like to stress particularly that currently, the establishment of an integrated system has been acquiring an important significance in securing the parliamentary and public oversight of the executive branch of power, in consolidating its normative and legal base, as well as the speedup of the legislative acts necessary for it.

In this regard, it is essential to ensure the soonest adoption of draft laws currently under discussion – “On Social Partnership” and “On Public Scrutiny in the Republic of Uzbekistan.”

To this end, it is increasingly vital also to accelerate the adoption of such bills as those “On Economic Foundations of Mass Media” and “On Guarantees of State Support for Mass Media” and other draft laws under deliberation today.

Let me take this opportunity to speak also on one more issue.

The further intensification of reforms with cashing in the expertise of advanced democracies, the logic of political and constitutional development of Uzbekistan dictates the necessity in uplifting the role and significance of representative deputy bodies. In a word, it requires the consolidation of their real capacities in the life of our society.

In this respect, it is pressing to further expand the role of the Legislative Chamber and Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan in the system of government, to reinforce their functions of scrutiny over the activities of the Cabinet of Ministers and executive bodies, along with their entitlements and powers in addressing strategic objectives of internal and foreign policies, with the introduction of due amendments and addenda to the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Along with this, our realities urge us to include in the agenda also the issue in raising the responsibility of the Cabinet of Ministers, of local hokimiyats (administrations) first and foremost, in arranging systematic hearings of their reports before local Kengashes (Councils).

All these amendments and addenda pursue in the end a critical goal of ours, namely, the further democratization of the system of government and management in the country, provision for a gradual realization of the principle “From a Strong State to a Robust Civil Society”.

Dear compatriots!

The cardinal consolidation of the role of political parties in the definition of concrete priorities in the socio-political and economic development, and their involvement in addressing strategic challenges in the transformation and modernization of the country should become the most crucial factor in the steadfast democratic reforms.

The experience of advanced democracies in the contemporary world suggests that primarily the consolidation of a multiparty system and inter-party competition constitutes one of the most critical conditions where the parliamentarianism is built on, when principal political forces and social strata of the population of the country are represented inside the walls of the parliament as a result of free and equal elections.

I do not believe there is a necessity to tell what we mean by political parties, who have their own charter and action plan built on their own vision of addressing the issues standing before the society.

In other words, it is primarily about a political party having an electorate of its own, a party which has won its reputation among voters with its clear and firm position on key issues of state and social building as well as domestic and foreign policies of the country, with its ability to resolutely defend the interests of those who vote in elections for this party.

All of these issues are particularly relevant in the light of the December 2014 national elections to the Oliy Majlis and local representative bodies.

Summarizing, I think it is appropriate today to revisit the preamble of our Constitution, which states: “The people of Uzbekistan, solemnly declaring their commitment to human rights and the principles of state sovereignty, recognizing the ultimate responsibility to the present and future generations, affirming their commitment to the ideals of democracy and social justice, seeking to ensure a decent life for the citizens of the Republic, assuming the task of creating a humane and democratic state with a rule of law, represented by their authorized representatives, present this Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.”

Addressing those present in this hall today, and to all our people in your person, I would stress that everything done over the years, everything projected to be carried out in the future, gives us every reason to say that we will not retreat from the path chosen by us, and that everything envisaged by our Constitution will be executed for certain.

Dear fellow country men and women!

Declaring the year 2013 in our country as the one of wellbeing and prosperity, we decided to raise the large-scale works on the comprehensive development and betterment of our native Uzbekistan to a new, higher level, which was enthusiastically received by our entire people.

During the year, in order to implement a set of targeted mobilization of resources and opportunities, greater involvement of government, nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations in the implementation of tasks to improve the level and quality of life of people, we have furthered tremendous efforts and been able to implement many important undertakings.

We continued to work to ensure a consistent, steady growth in welfare and real incomes, higher employment rates, further development of small business and private entrepreneurship, farming, in tackling social problems.

It is known that the adoption of the State Budget in our country every year is accompanied by the focus on the promotion of the social sector. In 2013, the funds allocated for this sphere amounted to 60 percent of total budget expenditures, or by 1 trillion soums as much as those in 2012.

Talking about the growth in living standards of our people, I would like to cite some specific indicators.

Today, every third family in Uzbekistan has its own car. Every 100 families on average possess 80 refrigerators and 146 television sets, suggesting that there are some families who have two or three TVs. The possession of washing machines, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, personal computers and other necessary home appliances has been increasing, too.

Currently, 19 million people in the country enjoy mobile communications, and each family has an average of 3 cell phones. The number of internet users compared to last year increased by 18.3 percent and now amounts to 7.1 million people.

Indisputably, these figures show a steady increase not only in the level, but also in the quality of life of our citizens.

In 2013 alone, for the purchase of household appliances, rural residents have been allocated with consumer loans totaling nearly 68 billion soums, and young families have been provided with mortgage loans for more than 346 billion soums, or 10 percent as much as those provided last year as a financial support for the construction and purchase of housing.

To secure employment, what is important for us, over 970,000 jobs have been created this year, of which 60 percent in the countryside, and crucially, employed have been more than 500,000 boys and girls – graduates of professional colleges, and these can be referred to as our greatest achievements.

Especially I would like to expound on the implementation of another priority challenge, that is, public healthcare, improving the healthcare system, raising its effectiveness, and boosting preventive works.

7 million women of reproductive age and 7.3 million children have undergone medical examination, while qualified medical care has been provided to 195 thousands of lonely elderly people, the disabled and retired people.

During the year, 146 modern medical facilities have been commissioned in the country for budget funds equaling 311 billion soums. In particular, a new treatment building and a diagnostic department as well as a children’s sanatorium have been erected in the Andijan regional diversified medical center. The medical association in Chirakchi district of Kashkadarya region has undergone complete reconstruction, so have diversified medical centers for children and adults in Surkhandarya region, medical associations in the Uzbekistan and Kushtepa districts of Fergana region, and dozens of other hospitals.

New surgery buildings have been commissioned at the clinic of Tashkent Pediatric Medical Institute and the Republican Specialized Scientific and Practical Medical Center of Pediatrics.

I would take this opportunity to express my special thanks to all the medical professionals who work selflessly in this area, successfully developing new, advanced diagnostic and treatment methods.

This year we have undertaken a lot of efforts to raise the level of development of a new system of education and upbringing.

756 educational institutions, children’s music and art schools, children’s sports facilities have been constructed, reconstructed and repaired. Organized were modern computer classes, educational laboratories and workshops outfitted with the necessary equipment.

It is known that as part of a program aimed at further improving the system of teaching foreign languages ​​in secondary schools, their in-depth study has been established this year starting from the 1st grade. It certainly is important, as it creates new opportunities for familiarizing our children with the achievements of world science and culture, the formation of their personalities as mature and highly qualified specialists.

This year, recreation in summer camps was organized for about 300,000 children, including on privileged terms for 4,500 students from the Aral Sea region and 75,000 boys and girls from low-income families.

Dear friends!

We all understand that a detailed analysis of the enormous works undertaken in the course of implementation of the State Program “The Year of Wellbeing and Prosperity”, would take a rather long time. I just want to draw your attention to one indicator.

6 trillion and 930 billion soums and more than 471 million dollars have been spent to the execution of the program from all sources of funding. This fact confirms without any doubt the extensive scale and significance of the endeavors we have carried out.

I will use this opportunity to express my personal sincere gratitude and that from all our people to government bodies and public organizations, farmers and entrepreneurs, foreign and international institutions, ambassadors of foreign countries present in this hall, all the people who have contributed to this noble work, who have labored hard for a good cause.

Dear participants of the festive assembly!

Now, we need to consult, as the tradition goes, to name the coming year 2014.

From time immemorial, every parent wants to ensure that their children grow healthy and well-rounded. Indeed, the aspirations of each of us and all our people are centered on the dream that underlines the meaning of life, that is, to raise our children inferior to nothing and no one, to see their happiness and prosperous future.

Talking about the health of children, what we mean is not only their physical health, but also their spiritual and moral formation and development.

From the first years of independence, our country has come to define as a priority of state policy the implementation of the concept “Healthy Mother – Healthy Child”, and as part of relevant national programs we have undertaken remarkable efforts, the fine results of which are recognized worldwide.

At the same time, the current rapidly changing time and the life challenge us with new, very important and urgent tasks in this direction.

Taking all this into account, in order to progressively continue our work to foster a healthy generation and raise our endeavors to a higher level, I propose to announce the upcoming 2014 year in our country as the one of the health of the child.

Dear compatriots!

We all know that the birth of a healthy child, his and her formation as a healthy and powerful individual defines a set of factors and conditions. Yet there are most important, indeed crucial, factors among them which I consider it necessary to expound on in particular.

First, a healthy baby is born as a rule in a healthy and happy family. We regard the family as the core of upbringing, as that ensuring an uninterrupted continuation of life, having a strong impact on the fate of children, their future. It is exactly the family atmosphere that such noble qualities as respect for elders, caring for the younger ones, kindness and humaneness, compassion and generosity, devotion to the Motherland and one’s own people are shaped.

Naturally, the birth of a healthy child is primarily dependent on the health of the mother. For nine months, the expectant mother nurtures her baby – a gift from the Almighty – carefully and lovingly under her heart, and gives him/her life. All emotions and the state of mind and soul the woman experiences during this time get inevitably transmitted to the fetus.

To value women, to take care of them, to make their daily household cares much easier, to seek to protect them from various diseases is the duty of every man and our entire society. In order for this truth not to be left as just words, all of us must, feeling our own responsibility, to put it into practical action.

Consequently, the elaboration of a state program “The Year of Health of the Child” should focus on issues such as maternal and child health, boosting the healthy atmosphere in the family, its economic and spiritual and moral foundations.

Second, in the formation of a healthy child a critical role belongs to the healthcare system, which has been assigned with gigantic responsibility.

To this end, the program should reflect the tasks in cementing the economic and technical capacities of the healthcare system, outfitting it with modern equipment, supplying qualified personnel to medical institutions involved in bolstering the health of mothers and children – screening and perinatal centers, women’s health consultation facilities, maternity hospitals, gynecological and visitation services, rural medical centers.

Taking into account the recommendations of the World Health Organization, we need to continue improving the effectiveness of measures to ensure timely and quality nutrition for pregnant women and infants, to produce goods fortified with special vitamins and minerals, regular medical examination of children, prevention of various diseases among them.

Naturally, what is rather important in nurturing a healthy child is the medical culture of the population, especially that of parents. In this regard, elaboration of the program it would be appropriate to organize a large-scale outreach aimed at improving the medical culture.

As you know, mandatory premarital medical examination of the prospective spouses has been introduced in our country in order to build healthy families and foster healthy children.

But, unfortunately, sometimes there are cases of irresponsible attitude to this important issue that is directly linked with human life, the fate of the potential child; there are also cases of acquisition of false medical certificates. All this cannot fail to bother and disturb us all. I think it is time to eradicate utterly these negative phenomena, further enhance the responsibility of medical workers for carrying out their professional duties, and in general for the birth of healthy children, without any pathologies.

Third, it is essential to bolster the role of education and sports in the formation of a healthy child.

The program should identify specific measures to expand the network of preschool educational institutions and their equipment in accordance with the requirements of the time, recruit their staff among highly qualified teachers and specialists, and improve the quality of children’s preparation for school.

One of the most important periods in the physical and psychological development of the child is the study in primary schools. It is no secret that during the former regime this issue, unfortunately, was by and large neglected. Teaching in these classes was mainly entrusted to teachers with specialized secondary education.

Given the role and importance of primary education in nurturing the younger generation, we have put an end to such an unacceptable state of affairs. Today, this task is performed with higher education teachers wielding high professional skills.

In working out a due program we ought to reflect the need to uplift the quality of primary education, improve educational standards, curricula, textbooks and teaching guides, the widespread introduction of advanced pedagogical and information-communication technologies.

Building on the goals and objectives of the Year of the Health of the Child, we need to identify and implement specific actions to promote healthy and active lifestyle, instill the love for physical culture and sports in our children, especially girls.

Fourth, to achieve such a lofty goal as to foster a healthy and comprehensively advanced generation, this issue should continue to be the focus of the state and society and remain a priority of our policy.

We understand well that all spheres and institutions responsible and involved in shaping a generation of new formation cannot develop and rise to a new, modern level without the help and support of the state.

In the program of the Year of the Health of the Child, we should first clearly define our priorities, namely, improvement in the effectiveness of funds earmarked for the promotion of various fields, especially social services, creation of necessary conditions in line with the requirements of contemporary times.

However, the study and implementation in our country of the best international practices related to nurturing healthy children, including the expertise of advanced nations, has been growing in importance.

Fifth, I think there is no need to dwell on the enormous role of the mahalla and other social institutions in bringing up a healthy child, and their influence on the process.

From this perspective, the responsibility of aksakals (elders) and activists of mahallas grow immeasurably, as that of consultants for religious enlightenment and moral education in augmenting peace and unity, an atmosphere of mutual respect and harmony in families and the society in general, in protecting our children from various harmful phenomena that pose a threat to their healthy development.

In dealing with such vital issues as upbringing our children, especially girls, helping them to master modern knowledge and professions, engaging schoolchildren in various hobby clubs, providing material and moral assistance to needy families, promoting entrepreneurship, preventing early marriage and family conflicts, holding family rituals and activities without pomposity and in accordance with the requirements of the present day, we rely primarily on mahalla activists having a great life experience.

We need to further expand the scope of the institution of mahalla and hence grant it with even greater powers and opportunities.

Obviously, for the implementation of all the abovementioned priorities it is necessary to further improve the relevant normative framework.

Dear compatriots!

Paying a due tribute to what we have achieved over the past 22 years of our independent development in building a democratic state and civil society, securing a sustainably developing economy, a decent place that our country has been earning in the international arena, it is impossible not to ask a simple question as to what these accomplishments are primarily built on.

In addressing this inquiry, without diminishing the role and importance of other factors, I would emphasize the following: the foundation on which all these successes stand is the physically healthy and spiritually mature modern generation with an independent thinking and advanced intelligence, with an ability to take responsibility for the fate of the Motherland and build a nation with a great future.

Of increasingly paramount importance is that the youth policy spearheaded in our country has been receiving a potent support in our society.

The attention and comprehensive care for our children and the younger generation is exactly the core where we see the manifestation of our belief in the future, a sign of tremendous and indisputable respect for our people.

I am convinced that the announcement of the year 2014 as the one of the Health of the Child and the implementation of an appropriate state program on this front constitutes another confirmation of these gracious ends and challenges we set out before ourselves.

Congratulating you, my dear ones, time and again on the marvelous holiday – the Day of our Constitution – I wish you all a sound health, happiness and the best of luck, and prosperity and affluence to your families.

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Today: 25.09.2020
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