Final evaluation: Rule of Law partnership project

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2016-2020, Uzbekistan
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
10/2017
Completion Date:
11/2017
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
30,000

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Title Final evaluation: Rule of Law partnership project
Atlas Project Number: 00081933
Evaluation Plan: 2016-2020, Uzbekistan
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 11/2017
Planned End Date: 10/2017
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Democratic Governance
  • 2. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 2.2. Institutions and systems enabled to address awareness, prevention and enforcement of anti-corruption measures across sectors and stakeholders
SDG Goal
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
SDG Target
  • 16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all
  • 16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms
  • 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
Evaluation Budget(US $): 30,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 14,616
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Sean Lees International consultant seanlees@gmail.com
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Supreme Court and other national partners, USAID
Countries: UZBEKISTAN
Lessons
1.

The Rule of Law Partnership project was extremely effective in meeting its objectives, however the following recommendations/lessons learned are important to consider for future programming interventions. Among the most important of these, UNDP should complement its heavy focus on supply-side interventions, with more demand-side related activities to ensure greater project impact.

 


Findings
1.

Project Relevance
Relevance involves the extent to which the Project and its intended outputs or outcomes are consistent with national policies and priorities of government and the needs of intended beneficiaries. Relevance is also measure by the extent to which the initiative corresponds to UNDP corporate plans and human development priorities of empowerment and gender equality issues.
The Rule of Law Partnership project was highly relevant to the development needs of Uzbekistan, especially as that was articulated by President Miriyoyev’s new reform agenda. However, it is arguable that the project did not focus its efforts on interventions prescribed in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Uzbekistan in 2010-2015. The project was not specifically designed to strengthen human rights nor was it focused on the development needs of vulnerable groups, though these objectives may have been indirectly met. Instead, the project aimed to increase transparent, efficient and effective justice services in the broadest terms through policy making and institutional capacity building, including the installation of an e-justice system.


Tag: Relevance Gender Equality e-Governance Election Human rights Justice system

2.

Uzbekistan’s national priorities should be reflected in significant part in the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2010-2015, informed as it by national development goals and Uzbekistan’s global commitments made under the Millennium Declaration. Though the UNDP Rule of Law Partnership project overlapped between two UNDAF periods (2010-2015 and 2016-2020), the project was launched in 2014 and is thus its fidelity to Uzbekistan’s development goals are understood under the terms of the first of these UNDAFs.


Tag: Impact Country Government UNDP Management

3.

UNDAF 2010-2015 states that it is guided by Uzbekistan’s Welfare Improvement Strategy (WIS) 2008-2010, among other key documents. Notably, the WIS corresponds closely to the Millennium Development Goals, which did not include goals related to the rule of law. However, the WIS contains some direction in this area under section 5.8.3, Development of Institutions Promoting Economic Growth. As stated under this heading:
The implementation of judicial and legal reforms will continue with the aim of strengthening the independence of the judicial system, increasing its effectiveness and accessibility, completing the establishment of the judicial system as the main institution for the protection of property rights.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Civic Engagement Justice system Public administration reform Rule of law Country Government UN Agencies UN Country Team

4.

The more specific objectives in this area are mostly confined to ensuring smooth functioning of public-private partnerships in pursuit of continued economic growth and increased foreign direct investment. In some regards, and as explored earlier in the evaluation in the background section, the Rule of Law Partnership project was highly relevant to Uzbekistan’s economic liberalization and growth objectives.


Tag: Impact Relevance Private Sector Financing Civic Engagement Bilateral partners UN Agencies

5.

On the other hand, UNDAF’s human rights led objectives are focused on the implementation gaps in Uzbekistan’s human rights laws. The UNDAF states that:
"Despite the passage of national human rights legislation, there are challenges regarding its implementation. While the country has made progress in addressing gender equality and the advancement of women and girls, challenges remain with regard to socioeconomic issues. There are also issues such as rights of prisoners and persons in the justice system, children, numerous civil society groups and refugees, amongst others. Strengthening of human rights in Uzbekistan thus requires the building of long-term, sustainable dialogue with a wide range of Government institutions as well as non-Government and civil society organizations."


Recognizing this, the UNDAF commits the UN to work towards, “enhanced equitable accessibility, transparency, fairness and efficiency of justice system to promote the rule of law.” And to this end:
"UNDP will contribute towards establishing a framework for pro bono legal aid and mainstreaming legal clinics in the regions in order to address the rights of all vulnerable group . . . Finally UNDP, UNICEF and UNESCO will enhance the capacities of national human rights institutions and other relevant bodies to better fulfil their mandates and thus promote and effectively protect human rights."
The Project may have wanted to focus efforts to strengthen legal aid, enhance the capacity of national human rights institutions, or otherwise engage with CSOs to support these objectives. However, it did not put significant resources towards reaching these ends and it was ultimately unsuccessful in all three areas.


Tag: Challenges Impact Civic Engagement Justice system Rule of law Bilateral partners Country Government UN Agencies Civil Societies and NGOs Elderly Refugees Vulnerable Women and gilrs Youth

6.

The Rule of Law Project did not specifically focus or measure their impact on vulnerable groups during the project period, though clearly women and residents of rural areas benefited.
Regardless of these gaps, the Project was important in “building long-term, sustainable dialogue with a wide range of Government institutions,” and did much to enhance equitable, accessible, transparent, and efficient justice systems as outlined in more detail later in the evaluation.


Tag: Impact Relevance Rule of law Vulnerable

7.

Furthermore, the Project is aligned with the UNDAF 2016-2020 which under Outcome 8 states that the UN in cooperation with the government will pursue “policies, institutional and procedural mechanisms to further strengthen judicial independence, enhancing court administration and increasing public trust in courts.”28 To this end, the project succeeds, especially in the area of court administration. It is less clear, but not unreasonable, to suggest that the project has also been helpful in enhancing judicial independence and increasing public trust in the civil courts.


Tag: Impact Civic Engagement Justice system Rule of law

8.

Importantly the project is closely aligned with the government’s new reform agenda, calling for a more effective, efficient, and independent judiciary, as provided for by Presidential Decree in February 2017, "On Uzbekistan’s Development Strategy." The Action Strategy as it is known, includes five priorities, of which Priority 2 is most relevant.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Relevance

9.

To reiterate, the Project might have been relevant to the economic development objectives found in the WIS, but did not in turn align strongly with the terms of UNDAF 2010-2015. The Project did not prioritize vulnerable groups or focus on human rights considerations, and therefore it was less relevant than it should have been to both UN and UNDP normative and corporate goals.


Tag: Challenges Impact Relevance Vulnerable

10.

Project Effectiveness.
Effectiveness is a measure of the extent to which the initiative’s intended results (outputs or outcomes) have been achieved or the extent to which progress toward outputs or outcomes has been achieved.


Tag: Effectiveness

11.

Overall Observations
The Project was highly effective, having largely realized the intended results of their outputs and outcomes defined in the project document. Furthermore, the project team reached expected outcomes in a timely manner. There is also anecdotal evidence that the Project made progress towards its twin goals of providing greater access to civil courts and increasing citizen confidence in the courts. However, the Project arguably could have been even more effective had activities been more tightly integrated, better sequenced and more rigorously prioritized. Further, the limited partnership base of the Project seemingly limited the spread and scope of implementation.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Efficiency Impact Rule of law Integration

12.

UNDP’s main implementing partner, the Supreme Court was critical to the success of the Project but could have done much more in terms of financial support and strategic guidance. Lastly, and as mentioned in the section on relevance above, the Project’s commitment to certain activity lines were not prioritized under the project, leading to lost opportunities in support of access to justice and women’s equality, among other UN global priorities.
Integration of activities was especially important for the Project given the relatively small size of the team and the huge scale of Project ambitions. In furtherance of this, the project document’s theory of change could have been articulated in a more precise manner, demonstrating exactingly how activity inputs supported outcomes and impact. Some activities tangential to the core goals of the Project—for example, trainings linked to ensuring international conventions were cited in judicial decisions—should have been de-prioritized. In fact, there were an extensive number of different activities contemplated by the project document, and indeed, there may have been opportunity costs and trade-offs in pursuing such a wide range of activities.


Tag: Challenges Efficiency Impact Rule of law Theory of Change Bilateral partners Country Government Vulnerable Women and gilrs

13.

Effectiveness might also have been increased had a strong partnership strategy been agreed at the beginning of project roll out. The Project obviously benefited from a close relationship with the Supreme Court, but the Project might have been unnecessarily held back from partnering more closely with other organizations. Engagement with a wider number of partners might have led to greater impact.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Impact Rule of law Bilateral partners

14.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) were not engaged in the project in a meaningful way. According to respondents, CSOs were invited to public events where they were allowed to voice their perspectives on the judiciary and its strengths and shortcomings. However, no programming involving awareness raising, public outreach, legal aid service delivery or policy development, was conducted with CSOs. That said, many CSOs in Uzbekistan reportedly suffer from credibility concerns.Effectiveness might also have been increased had a strong partnership strategy been agreed at the beginning of project roll out. The Project obviously benefited from a close relationship with the Supreme Court, but the Project might have been unnecessarily held back from partnering more closely with other organizations. Engagement with a wider number of partners might have led to greater impact.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Civic Engagement Advocacy Coordination

15.

Effectiveness might also have been increased had the Supreme Court Collegium leveraged its offices in pursuit of strategic goals. The Supreme Court in this regard might have advocated for greater financial contributions to the project through budgetary processes, including for computer equipment and software, advancing the use of ESUD more widely. The Supreme Court might have made more active use of its convening power to draw in disparate organizations to raise public awareness and solicit feedback on issues related to access to justice.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Relevance Rule of law Capacity Building Technical Support

16.

Institutional feedback mechanisms for citizens on the issues of court administration developed and incorporated into strategic planning of judicial activities.

Under this activity result area, the project was successful in opening up the courts to media coverage, and more generally in laying the ground work for a citizen feedback mechanism. However, progress towards a feedback mechanism was delayed until the end of the project period, representing a lost opportunity to inform other programming efforts including advocacy. At least one key stakeholder noted that “citizen feedback was the weakest activity result area.” However, the same respondent was also quick to note that, “it may have had less to do with project implementation effort than with government readiness.”


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact

17.

Shortcomings:

Though the citizen survey cited above is leading to important findings. The survey should have been conducted at the beginning of the project, to help refine, prioritize and sequence project implementation, policy advocacy, and capacity building activities. The survey would have also been an opportunity to create a baseline from which to measure project impact.


Tag: Challenges Impact Civic Engagement Capacity Building

18.

A second significant shortcoming includes efforts to strengthen enforcement of judicial decisions. This effort did not pass the project’s conceptualization, research and dialogue phase. It is unclear what impact the workshop on international best practices on enforcement had on the targeted actors or the BOE. UNDP efforts to measure court performance, including developing a well-researched methodology, also did not seemingly lead to impactful results at the inter-district court level.


Tag: Challenges

19.

The Project was ineffective in its efforts to promote the development of free legal aid. Project staff explained that the government had poor experiences with international-supported legal aid provision in the past, which reportedly overemphasized the pertinence of international human rights law, over national law, in litigation before Uzbekistan’s courts. Still, it does not explain a near absence of project activity in this area. Given the body of international learning on the importance of legal aid to access to justice, it is difficult to see how citizen access to civil courts for vulnerable groups would be achieved without some programme activity in this area. This area arguably could have been the focus of more intense advocacy efforts, enlisting the support of the Resident Coordinator’s good offices, if necessary.


Tag: Challenges Aid Coordination Civic Engagement e-Governance Justice system

20.

The Project was also charged with providing, “technical assistance to the Supreme Court in increasing of judicial transparency and engagement of the civil society in the justice procedures.” Unfortunately, engagement with CSOs was lacking. Whether this was due to political circumstances or project priority setting was unclear.


Tag: Challenges Impact Anti-corruption Rule of law

21.

Lastly, though the Project established a websites and other information portals for public use, it was not seemingly effective in improving, “citizen knowledge of the court system through wider public outreach” at an appropriate scale. Plans to raise awareness of the Ethics Code among lay people were seemingly not pursued. More efforts at expanding citizen knowledge of court processes and access to justice topics among vulnerable groups could have been undertaken at little cost, had this activity line prioritized. As a project officer thoughtfully admitted, “We need to raise awareness for the public. Up until now we only created manuals for the judges, but more publications for public use are needed.” Indeed, the project may have led to more impact where there was a greater balance between institutional capacity building and public awareness raising.


Tag: Challenges Civic Engagement e-Governance

22.

The continuous training and learning system is upgraded based on the international best practices to advance the professional knowledge and technical skills of judges, lawyers, and court personnel.
The Project was effective in meeting this Activity Result area, inspiring the development of new organizational forms, judicial positions, and capacity development strategies. However, efforts to strengthen the application of UN international conventions in civil court decisions may not have been an optimal use of resources.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Civic Engagement Capacity Building

23.

The Project was highly effective in meeting the objectives of Activity Result 2. The Project was largely responsible for creating new and presumably improved judicial training standards, which were adopted by the government. The Project demonstrated its catalytic role in kick-starting new and seemingly sustainable changes to training approaches. Through its judicial training needs assessment—the first of its kind in Uzbekistan’s history—the Project inspired the creation of a Judicial Training Academy, separate from the Lawyer’s Training Center under the Ministry of Justice. The new training facility, led by the (Supreme Court) and the new curriculum and standards set to train, select and promote judicial candidates will be important to increasing judicial independence. Under the new system, the Supreme Court will train and select the judges for placement, as opposed to an executive branch institution.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact Rule of law Country Government Capacity Building

24.

The Project also helped to implement and build awareness around the Judicial Code of Ethics, in an effort to strengthen norms and new standards of behaviour among the judicial corps. The Code of Ethics was the first of its kind in Uzbekistan and had to overcome significant objections from justice actors, who as a practice give gifts to judges on a semi-regular basis. The Lawyer’s Training Center (LTC) largely embraced UNDP’s efforts in this area and built a training module around the Ethics Code. The Code and the training around it, was held up as an example of the catalytic power and value-added of UNDP. According to one respondent, “We simply would not have created training modules on ethics unless UNDP had initiated this effort to establishing the code.”


25.

In addition to the Code of Ethics, the Project created training manuals on various points of law, and on the use of the ESUD system. The team also created over 169 templates for judicial decisions to help bring clarity and efficiency to judicial decision making. The Project produced an economic court manual that was subject to praise from multiple parties from within and without the economic courts. These manuals consolidated existing law in a highly accessible manner, with sample templates to give shape to economic court decisions.


Tag: Impact Rule of law

26.

The Project also designed and organized study tours to the United States and Austria, Estonia and Germany as a means to learn from legal professionals in other countries. Some respondents expressed doubt regarding the utility of these tours; questioning their value for money. However, most stakeholders noted the importance of study tours to imparting new values. According to a key stakeholder, study tours allowed Uzbek justice actors to better appreciate the importance of ethics, mostly through conversations with justice counterparts in other countries. Uzbek judges were apparently impressed by the strong levels of commitment to ethical behaviour expressed by foreign judges. Study tours were also reportedly instrumental in creating the judicial assistant position—the equivalent of a law clerk in the United States—in the inter-district courts. They were also definitive in building strong support for the ESUD initiative. Recognized by stakeholders as one of the most valuable UNDP interventions, study tours may also have acted as a leverage in ensuring cooperation and openness to new ideas provided by UNDP and its international experts. This is especially true in a country like Uzbekistan that requires its citizens to apply for exit visas. Exposure to the world outside Uzbekistan, for professional and other reasons, is understandably coveted.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact

27.

The Project was also effective in developing and submitting proposals to the both Supreme Court and Higher Economic Court on harmonization and improvement of existing laws and regulations as well as on simplification and optimization of trials in civil and economic processes. In fact, key UNDP proposals were adopted by Presidential Decree, such that the reform agenda, while not of UNDP’s making, was shaped in significant part by UNDP policy proposals.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact

28.

Shortcomings under this activity result were seemingly not for a lack of effort or commitment, but may be explained by human resource constraints, coupled by an ambitious project activity schedule, government hesitancy, and a lack of sequenced and integrated approaches.


Tag: Challenges

29.

Effectiveness under this Activity Results area was impacted by the delayed roll out of citizen survey on civil courts. As noted above, this citizen survey would have informed project of capacity development and policy interventions and priorities. Understanding citizen perspectives better would have justified the prioritization of soft-skills training, so critical to overcoming the intimidation many vulnerable groups face in courts, over other interventions. One stakeholder noted emphatically that, “Judges need to be taught to be more open to the public, to act as public servants. They need to provide support and leadership as members of the public.”


Tag: Challenges Impact

30.

Efforts to integrate international conventions into civil courts practice did not appear to gain traction or make a mark on the quality of decision making. Judges that were interviewed at the inter-district courts were largely unaware of this intervention. This intervention was also not clearly linked to the ultimate goal of building confidence in the courts, or providing better access to the civil courts.


Tag: Challenges

31.

Outside of efforts to facilitate media relations with the courts and the production of the Supreme Court website, there was also a lack of awareness raising activities among the public about rights or justice reforms. To be fair, awareness raising as not a key feature of the project document, and may not have been feasible given government sensitives at the time of project conceptualization. Going forward, anti-corruption training and public awareness initiatives should be prioritized in any new project document supporting citizen confidence and access to civil courts.


Tag: Challenges Impact Awareness raising

32.

Activity result 3: Improved court management system ensuring judicial integrity and easy access of citizens to dispute resolution.
The Project may have been the most effective at meeting the objectives found in Activity Result 3. However, work with the High Economic Courts did not deliver expected results.


Tag: Challenges

33.

Key success benchmarks:
The e-justice system, known as ESUD, has ensured greater efficiency and management at the inter-district pilot courts. Surprisingly, the Project implemented ESUD successfully in 12 courts, four more than as planned for in the project document.
Furthermore, the project team can be credited for their work drafting policy proposals, including proposed changes to the civil procedural code, to ensure ESUD implementation was strengthened by legal mandate. These proposals were eventually adopted and now suggest strong levels of sustainability for the e-justice initiative.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact e-Governance

34.

Prior to ESUD, case processing in the civil courts were subject to significant delays due to a lack of automated processes. Court chairpersons needed to manually distribute cases to judges and compile statistical reports at the end of each month. According to one inter-district judge, “Reporting on our statistics used to be so labour intensive – taking as much as three days, and requiring so much paper. Reporting is so much easier now.” Judges also needed to send correspondence, including summons and decisions, to parties through the postal service. Judicial assistants spent significant time filing and looking for files.
The ESUD system allows for electronic filing of petitions and supporting documents, and the issuance of judicial decisions to party claimants through email. The ESUD system also allows for computer based storage of case files. Judicial assistants are reportedly more productive, ostensibly handing more cases per day. A decrease in paper work, producing hard copies, and filing also reduced the amount of paper used, saving money and reducing environmental waste. According to several respondents, time spent on administrative tasks have been cut by approximate two-thirds with the introduction of ESUD.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact Technical Support

35.

Several respondents reported that there had been an increase in the number of civil court petitions since the start of the Project. There has also reportedly been an increase in the number of people able to access the civil courts in rural areas. This has led to increased throughput of judicial decisions in undisputed cases, notably in alimony cases brought by women. Citing an unpublished study, a respondent at the Tashkent State Law University stated that, “55% of individual petitioners are reportedly women, mostly in pursuit of alimony back-payments and other issues related to the family.”


Tag: Impact Relevance Rule of law

36.

Shortcomings:
Most of the shortcomings of project effectiveness are admittedly well outside of the scope or control of the Project. For example, the government’s refusal to expend USD 60,000 on computer purchases to support ESUD implementation, diverted project resources from other activities and sent a worrying signal about the government’s commitment to ESUD implementation. More pointedly, the Project failed to fully implement its objectives regarding the Economic Court.


Tag: Challenges Government Cost-sharing

37.

A lack of support to computer and software maintenance and upkeep is a major reason why e-justice systems fail in both advanced and developing economies alike. Government ownership of computer hardware typically means an investment in the long-term success of Project objectives. It is arguable that the Supreme Court and UNDP could have advocated more strongly that government funding commitments of computer equipment be honoured. As a more general matter, respondents noted that ESUD implementation delays were largely based on a lack of ready infrastructure in the courts.


Tag: Challenges e-Governance Infrastructure

38.

The Project might have also worked with the courts to strengthen notification procedures and policies for those people without personal email addresses. It is not clear how notification will reach those without access to computers, though it was noted that SMS messaging would help. One judge admitted that, “We are adapting our practices to the segment of our society that is modern. They demand more responsiveness through electronic means. The older generation, however, may be falling behind rapidly.”


Tag: Challenges Technology

39.

The ESUD system has, by some accounts, much further to go in reaching its full potential to deliver efficient, transparent and effective justice administration. To maximize potential, many respondents noted that an integrated database is required that links all inter-district courts to prosecutorial, banking, taxation and vehicle registration offices. Furthermore, data protection and storage systems reportedly must be strengthened.


Tag: Challenges Impact

40.

Despite the successful roll-out of the ESUD system, more could have been done to raise awareness among vulnerable groups of the availability, utility and effectiveness of ESUD. At this time, utility companies are among the biggest beneficiaries of ESUD as they seek back payment from customers. Ideally, there would have been a stronger tilt towards individuals over government utilities.


Tag: Challenges

41.

Some respondents wonder whether the inter-district courts and enforcement bodies have the absorptive capacity to implement and manage the ESUD system in all regions over the long term. Though there is a new ICT department in the Supreme Court as of 1 June 2017, ICT support technicians will be required in each of the 14 regions.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact

42.

Perhaps the greatest shortcoming in project effectiveness under this activity result area was its inability to provide adequate support to the High Economic Court. UNDP efforts were either not robust or convincing enough for the economic courts to wholeheartedly embrace. This was particularly clear with regards to the provision of audio-visual recording equipment and in the support to the publication of economic court cases on the High Economic Court website, both efforts which were considered critical to bringing greater transparency to decision making processes at the economic court.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness

43.

Economic court cases were not published on a consistent basis on the court website as planned. Furthermore, A/V equipment was installed in only three Economic Courts. In any case, interviewees may have misunderstood the purpose of the A/V equipment. Respondents at the economic courts believed that the purpose of the A/V equipment was primarily put in place to protect judges. “Before we had to do the minutes manually, and parties would dispute the contents,” one respondent explained. “The main things is this,” the same respondent noted, “the A/V system protects judges from charges of bias.”


Tag: Challenges Technical Support

44.

Respondents interviewed at the economic courts also failed to mention UNDP’s publication of a manual on the procedural acts of the economic courts, until prompted, though a former economic court judge in a separate interview praised its usefulness for new judges. This manual consolidated laws and other tools concerning specific disputes, providing sample court decisions.


Tag: Challenges

45.

An official of the economic courts suggested during the validation exercise in Tashkent that due to the rapid roll out of the Presidential Decrees on legal reform, including the merger of the Supreme Court with the High Economic Court, the courts were simply not equipped to facilitate Project initiatives.


Tag: Challenges

46.

Project “impact” measures changes in human development and people’s well-being that are brought about by Project initiatives, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended. Impact represents the underlying goal of development work.
Under the Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan Project, impact is to be measured by the progress made against the twin goals of achieving greater citizen access to justice and increasing citizen confidence in the civil courts. Admittedly, there is much overlap between these goals. As articulated by an inter-district court judge, “If there is a lack of access to justice, there will be no respect of the courts and confidence and trust will decrease. And the Courts are representative of the state for most people.” Alternatively, if there is no confidence in the courts, people will be unlikely to seek greater access. Thus, the Rule of Law Partnership Project needs to pursue confidence and access goals simultaneously, as one cannot be achieved without the other.


Tag: Challenges Impact Rule of law

47.

Citizen Access to Civil Courts.
As noted above, the lack of substantial progress in supporting legal aid undercuts the Project’s impact in the area of citizen access to civil courts. Vulnerable individuals were not represented or otherwise assisted in bringing meaningful cases to the courts attention for adjudication.


Tag: Challenges Rule of law

48.

However, the implementation of the ESUD system has greatly facilitated access to justice in several important ways. First, the ESUD system helped to reduce the time and energy needed for a beneficiary to file a civil court petition. Beneficiaries, including lawyers, can now file from their homes or offices assuming they have a computer and internet connection. As noted by a judge, “[Before], if citizens wanted to petition the court, they think it will take too long, require too many bureaucratic procedures, and in the end what will it matter anyways? But now, citizens can petition the court from home.” The ability to file from home is particularly important in rural areas where transportation assets are more scarce and financially more prohibitive. Compounding geographic barriers are the social constraints and customs that limit rural women’s interactions with the outside world. Indeed, rural women may be among the biggest beneficiaries of the ESUD system. According to some inter-district court judges, single mothers filing for alimony are also significant beneficiaries of the ESUD system.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact e-Governance Technical Support

49.

Confidence
The Project’s impact on increasing citizen confidence in the civil courts is difficult to discern, especially in the absence of a baseline survey. A key stakeholder stated unequivocally, “there is no evidence of increased confidence yet.” However, in the light of government mandated reforms, and the increasing levels of efficiency and accessibility of the courts due to ESUD, it is not unreasonable to assume that confidence is growing.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Impact

50.

According to one inter-district judge, women have increased trust and confidence in the courts since the introduction of ESUD. Evidencing this, some courts there has been a geometric increase in the number of women petitioners. At an inter-district court outside of Tashkent, there were 637 women petitioners in 2015. One year later, there were 994 women petitioners. Women are also big benefactors of ESUD as they can now petition for alimony much easier. Furthermore, they can file complaints and then use this as leverage in any reconciliation or negotiation that might be covered. However, only 4-5% of total cases involved alimony payments in one court under analysis. The enforcement of alimony decisions is also considered deficient. Nevertheless, it is not unreasonable to suggest that women have greater confidence in inter-district courts that have implemented ESUD.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Gender Equality e-Governance Justice system

51.

Project activities may also be credited for mitigating corruption in the civil courts, increasing confidence in the integrity of the civil courts. These include activities linked to the system of appointment for judges, and the automated distribution of cases through the ESUD system. For example, prior to ESUD, the inter-district chairperson was given wide discretion to forward new case assignments towards a colleague who might act favourably towards one party over another.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact

52.

According to some respondents, the impact of these reforms is already having both a significant impact in increasing confidence in the courts, but also in raising expectations. Speaking of the reform’s impact on the civil courts, one respondent noted that, “Decision makers must now explain their decisions. But this increases workload, so awareness raising is needed [among members of the public], to explain how the courts work and why every case is not winnable.”


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact

53.

Unintended Impacts
Based on visits to various inter-district courts, it is also apparent that the Project is responsible for cultivating and strengthening a data-driven culture among court officers and judges. Pride is evident as they demonstrate growing numbers of petitioner-users of court services, through computer generated statistical charts. The creation of an ICT team within the Supreme Court was highlighted as a measure of interest and commitment in ensuring data was managed carefully.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact

54.

There is also significant pride expressed in the development of ESUD software itself, especially because it was created by national software developers. Users noted that the advanced quality of the software, including its algorithms and language, was on par with the software found in more developed countries. On account of this the Project may have had the unintended impact of lifting national pride among users, software designers and government authorities alike.
Finally, the project may have also increased interest more widely in technological developments and in other areas of progress in the world outside of Uzbekistan.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact

55.

Project officers agreed that their efforts advanced the country’s exposure to technology and expanded their capacity to use it towards positive ends. This picture is further enhanced by UNDP’s intervention under Activity Result 2. As noted by a respondent at Tashkent State Law University, “UNDP offered new stimulus. They brought in international best practice and stimulated our research, and raised standards. UNDP challenged us and changed us.”


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Relevance

56.

Project Efficiency.
Efficiency measures how well resources or inputs were converted into results. An initiative is efficient when it uses resources appropriately and economically to produce the desired outputs. UNDP Handbook, 169.


Tag: Efficiency Impact

57.

Project Implementation.
As reflected in project documents, and in interviews with key stakeholders, there has been excellent delivery against project outputs and outcomes and at a “good” or “acceptable” pace. According to a key stakeholder, the project officers have, “hit all of their benchmarks.” The project has mostly stayed within budget. Costs did not exceed expectations, and budgeting was planned with a 10 % deviation, “so there were no surprises over the last three years.”


Tag: Efficiency Impact Project and Programme management

58.

The smooth integration and sequencing of activities allowed for the efficient roll out of the ESUD system, and logical pacing to judicial training, as demonstrated by a project officer, and later confirmed by an external partner:
In terms of training of judges, we got the sequencing right. We carried out an assessment of the judges, and then an assessment of the Lawyer’s Training Center, and then the following year, we were ready to bring in international experts. And then, this year, we have produced a final document on judicial training mechanisms to be used by the newly planned Judicial Academy.
Similar methods of assessment, training, drafting policy, and implementing ICT hardware and ESUD software were employed under Activity Result 3.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact

59.

Admittedly, however, sequenced integrated approaches were not followed under other activity areas, as noted by a respondent, “[the Project] did not follow sequenced approaches as a formal matter or pursuant to an Annual Work Plan.” As a consequence, some policy development activities were “a bit removed,” from core activities.


Tag: Challenges

60.

The Project would have more impact and thus, gained more value-for-money, had they integrated capacity building activities. For example, efforts to strengthen the enforcement of court decisions might have aligned better to activities around ESUD implementation and training. Enforcement officers might have gained insights into judicial constraints and capacities, and more importantly been able to input into software and process development. Instead, international consultants were hired to produce papers and workshops were organized with dubious impact. One respondent noted that with regards to enforcement, “We shared a consultant’s study, we invited many government officials to a workshop, we handed out materials to them and requested their feedback on improving a policy paper.” This might have been a worthwhile activity line to pursue were the project team bigger and resources less scarce. The lack of integration in training between judges and enforcement officers is one example of how greater project integration and sequencing, might have led to greater coordination between their offices and stronger output.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Relevance

61.

Despite these observations, there is admittedly an opportunity costs of greater integration, sequencing, and priority setting. Namely, highly integrated approaches can result in inflexibility, and restrict the project’s ability to capitalize on new opportunities when they arise. And in reform-era Uzbekistan, new opportunities and directives seemingly popped up on a weekly if not daily basis.


Tag: Impact Relevance

62.

As mentioned earlier, study tours are highly prized learning opportunities among Uzbekistan stakeholders, though some question whether the costs outweigh the benefits. The Tashkent State Law University Deputy Rector claimed that she and her colleagues learned of the benefits of legal aid clinics after their visit to the United States. A respondent at the LTC claimed that they applied what they learned in Germany to the development of the Judicial Training Academy curriculum design. The Chairman of the Supreme Court Collegium claimed that he and other colleagues better appreciated the e-justice system on a study tour to Estonia. A key stakeholder was emphatic that these study tours were critical to changing values, particularly around ethics.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Relevance e-Governance

63.

Still some respondents noted that justice actors take a passive learning approach on these tours, and the learning outcomes are not tangible. One respondent suggested that judges should be called to present their work and share experiences on the study tours, to encourage stronger engagement with international colleagues. Another respondent believes that given the expense and time required to manage study tours, they should be better integrated with other project activities, and designed to produce outcomes, or otherwise be aligned with specific outcome indicators.


Tag: Challenges

64.

While the costs of conducting trainings on international human rights and international treaty work were arguable not high, the relationship between these efforts and strengthening citizen access and confidence is tenuous at best. It is also not clear, why this line of work, mostly academic in nature, cannot be undertaken by the experts at the Tashkent State Law School or the Lawyer’s Training Center. This activity line may have born very little money for value for the project.


Tag: Challenges Effectiveness Impact

65.

More controversial perhaps, and certainly more expensive, was the employment of international consultants to produce international best practice studies. Though project officers clearly appreciated the work conducted, usually fulfilling the aims of the TORs as drafted and in a timely manner, but national stakeholders were less generous. In fact, as noted by project officers and confirmed by national stakeholders, “Delivery was not appreciated. [National partners] thought a lot of the work was irrelevant.” On other occasions, the work was simply rejected upon receipt, as on court performance, and related recommendations. One stakeholder believed that more national consultants should be hired to increase relevance and utility.


Tag: Challenges Impact

66.

Still, resources spent on e-justice consultants helped the Project team to select the right platform, and was considered “critical.” And court performance recommendations made by the consultant that were once rejected are now being reconsidered. A project officer suggested that in the future TORs could be formulated more clearly after initial research by project staff in the subject area.


Tag: Effectiveness Impact e-Governance

67.

Given these mixed reactions, it is difficult to assess the efficiency of the use of international consultants. As a more general matter, resources expended on international experts and consultants help to maintain UNDP’s value-added, leverage cooperation and strengthen collegiality in the justice sector. As noted by on partner, and voiced by others, “The most valuable part of our relationship with UNDP is the sharing of best practices, bringing in foreign experts and sending us on study tours – we simply cannot afford these.”


Tag: Effectiveness Impact Relevance UNDP Management

68.

Internal Coordination.
Internal coordination was largely efficient and effective. The Project held regular meetings and met at least every two weeks with members of the UNDP Governance Cluster. The project team was seemingly tightly knit, and supportive of one another. The project team also appeared to be well-integrated with the rest of the Governance team. The Cluster provided inputs into project documents presented to the public to assure quality and reportedly leveraged its position to assist with resolving issues at a higher level. For example, when a UNDP work plan was not approved by the Supreme Court for over a month delaying project implementation, the Cluster got involved and resolved the issue.


Tag: Effectiveness Efficiency Impact UNDP Independent Offices Policy Advisory

69.

Project Sustainability.
Sustainability measures the extent to which benefits of initiatives continue after external development assistance has come to an end. Assessing sustainability involves evaluating the extent to which relevant social, economic, political, institutional and other conditions are present and, based on that assessment, making projections about the national capacity to maintain, manage and ensure the development results in the future.


Tag: Sustainability

70.

External support.
The relevant measures of external support enjoyed by the project is undoubtedly strong. The President’s reform measures, coupled with economic imperatives, and the seemingly insatiable appetite for exposure to new ideas by leadership and working level justice actors augurs well for the sustainability of project initiatives. Though unlikely, presidential reform initiatives could be reversed or halted, owing to an unexpected political event. The top-down push for openness and transparency should be complemented by greater awareness raising of rights and of the availability of ESUD. Initiatives in support of judicial independence should be accelerated.


Tag: Challenges Impact Bilateral partners

71.

Donor support.
Donor diversification is an important element of ensuring the sustainability of project initiatives, including training curriculums and ESUD. Given the relatively low priority assigned Central Asia at this time, and the lower level of enthusiasm for development aid in some countries securing new funding for programming going forward is critical.
Furthermore, the failure of the Uzbekistan government to pay for computer hardware, as noted above, was a big disappointment for project stakeholders and donor partners. The Uzbekistan government needs to budget for upkeep of equipment and repair.


Tag: Challenges Government Cost-sharing Donor

72.

Creation of new mechanisms or institutions.
The promotion of a data-driven management culture in the courts would seemingly support sustainability. That the Supreme Court created an ICT unit during the project period at the recommendation of UNDP, is an important marker of commitment and sustainability. However, new ICT teams will need to be further strengthened and expanded if the ESUD system is to reach all courts in all regions, and at the 2nd instance level.
The project should also use its leverage as a key partner of the government to encourage the release of official statistics that are disaggregated and independently verifiable in regularized reports. The availability of such reports may galvanize public interest and support for government reform efforts, and ensure the sustainability of Project initiatives.


Tag: Impact Sustainability Bilateral partners Country Government

73.

National Ownership and Partnerships.
UNDP’s relationship with the government has been both longstanding and fruitful, and seemingly based on strong levels of trust. This bond has been based in part on account of the partnership approach employed; the government assists and drives implementation at a speed that matches its comfort level and absorptive capacity. The ESUD system for example did not involve the implementation of UNDP impose project software, but a government owned product created by national software designers, and implemented alongside national partners and over several years. Training curriculum and policy advice provision was also done in close consultation with national justice actors, ensuring national ownership.


Tag: Impact Country Government UN Country Team

74.

Donor coordination and relations
Relations with UNDP’s donor partners were very strong and mostly free of controversy, as attested to by several respondents, including UNDP’s core donor partner, USAID. UNDP was able to leverage the important role of the Resident Representative/ Resident Coordinator in discussions with the government. UNDP might have done more to communicate with its donor partner, keeping them aware of events, negotiations with government, and other measures of progress large and small alike. UNDP might also have followed USIAD guidelines on branding more closely despite costs to ensure proper levels of visibility.


Tag: Donor UNDP Regional Bureaux Capacity Building Coordination

Recommendations
1

- UNDP should align future programming and support towards the realization of human rights in Uzbekistan, through criminal justice reform and enhanced access to justice. And indeed, there is growing recognition of increased space within which to strengthen fair trial standards and the right to petition.

- Building on UNDP’s work of the civil courts, greater awareness raising efforts may encourage claimants to bring local government entities to court for violations of their economic and social rights. Presently, these requests involve a petition for the courts to abolish the decision of the local government or a local official, often around housing, education and health. Legal aid assistance would be critical to strengthen the outcomes in this area, particularly around property use or confiscation.

2

- Reportedly, there are new laws relating to women’s equality and domestic violence under consideration. UNDP Uzbekistan should be engaged with appropriate partners in ensuring these laws meet international standards, for example. Following the adoption of legislation, partners are identified to conduct awareness raising and provide legal aid assistance.

- Capacity building efforts must achieve a better balance between institutional support on the one side, and support to credible CSO and providers of legal aid, including the Tashkent State Law University, on the other. Awareness raising activities are also key going forward. The top-down push by the President for openness and transparency should be complemented by the increased understanding by rights holders in their rights, the President’s reform agenda, and the availability and functionality of ESUD.

- Among the most important partners to cultivate in any new programming efforts is the Tashkent State Law University, given its aim to ensure law students provide legal assistance to disadvantaged groups. Based on Presidential Decree 2932, 28 April 2017, the school must create legal clinics in 2 locations. One will open in “Student City” and be affiliated with both the MOJ and the Governor of Tashkent. The other will open at Tashkent TSU. Under supervision of the law school, the law students will focus on assisting the local populations with their justice needs. They will deploy 1000 student lawyers from 3rd and 4th years to provide legal aid. Legal aid provision, coupled with ESUD functionality and rights awareness campaigns may lead to significant and measurable gains in access to justice, helping Uzbekistan meet its pledges under Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

3

UNDP might now pursue the previously planned establishment of human rights call centers with renewed vigour. Efforts to increase transparency in the courts, is being furthered through the government’s Open Court initiative also provide opportunities. The accepted recommendations for the Universal Periodic Review for Uzbekistan are also a well-spring of new programming ideas in this new era.

4

A new anti-corruption law has been passed, and a comprehensive workplan has been created by the government to address corruption. UNDP rule of law efforts in Uzbekistan could partner with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and work with national partners, to develop new programming initiatives, leveraging the effectiveness and trust earned with the implementation of the Rule of Law Partnership project, among others.

5

Given the relatively low donor priority assigned to the Central Asian region at this time, and the new, even lower level of enthusiasm for development aid from some countries, including the United States, diversifying the donor base of the project is crucial going forward. The Uzbekistan government also needs to be pressured to provide ongoing budget support for the project. In particular upkeep of equipment and repair, as well as to ensure new ICT teams are strengthened and expanded is required if the ESUD system is to reach all courts in all regions, and at the 2nd instance level.

6

The project should also use its leverage as a key partner of the government to encourage the release of official statistics that are disaggregated and independently verifiable in regularized reports. These statistics demonstrate progress and capacity to the public in straightforward terms. In turn the publication of statistics, builds confidence and respect for the efforts of government authorities.

7

To seize on the window of opportunity presented by the President’s reform agenda, the widest possible number of partners, within reason, should be engaged. The Supreme Court’s assignment to the project board and as implementing partner might be reconsidered in light of these concerns. Among these new opportunities, the High Judicial Council has requested that UNDP assist the HJC in increasing confidence in the courts through the facilitation of dialogue sessions with citizens. The HJC Research Center aims to work with UNDP on legislative reform, arbitration mechanisms, study tours for improving skills of judges, and a training course on administrative courts. UNDP should ensure that a human rights angle is applied to any partnership or support to these initiatives. UNDP should also work with the Bureau of Enforcement on ways to ensure enforcement of alimony judgements, and the enforcement of judgements in individual cases more broadly. UNDP should also partner with the Enforcement Bureau in its effort to reduce pre-trial detention rates, investigation periods, and temporary detention, especially given the link of this initiative to Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Agenda.

1. Recommendation:

- UNDP should align future programming and support towards the realization of human rights in Uzbekistan, through criminal justice reform and enhanced access to justice. And indeed, there is growing recognition of increased space within which to strengthen fair trial standards and the right to petition.

- Building on UNDP’s work of the civil courts, greater awareness raising efforts may encourage claimants to bring local government entities to court for violations of their economic and social rights. Presently, these requests involve a petition for the courts to abolish the decision of the local government or a local official, often around housing, education and health. Legal aid assistance would be critical to strengthen the outcomes in this area, particularly around property use or confiscation.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/02]

Both criminal and administrative justice, as well as further improvement of procedural and substantial legislation in accordance with the international fair trial standards should be included in the next phase of the Rule of Law partnership project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To include activities related to criminal and administrative justice reform, as well as incorporation of best international standards of delivering justice in these proceedings to our new programming on rule of law for the period of 2018-2020. Underline these areas in talking points for high-level meetings with the Supreme court of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
[Added: 2017/12/02] [Last Updated: 2019/01/08]
Cluster on Good Governance, Policy and Communication 2018/12 Completed To support criminal and administrative justice reforms, UNDP ROL project provide expert advice and the best international practices to amends 3 Codes, 3 laws and 3 decrees of the Plenum of the Supreme Court and one Procedures . 11 info-graphics, 5 manuals and 4 handbooks have been prepared and disseminated to ensure the high level policy advocacy in this field. During May and July, 2018, training were held for judges, court employees and lawyers in the Ferghana, Namangan, Andijan, Sirdarya, Jizzakh and Tashkent regions. A total of 125 specialists, including 52 women, took part in these events; A media tour to the Zangiata inter-district civil court occurred in May. On September 25 the Supreme Court’s official website was launched, featuring a number of interactive services. 7 analytical papers, 5 concepts and 4 overview of foreign experience have been prepared. 3 Codes have been worked out: Economical procedural Code, Civil procedural code, Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan on administrative court procedure http://lex.uz/ru/search/all?form_id=3964 - Draft law on free legal aid - law ‘On mediation’ http://lex.uz/docs/3805229?twolang=true - The Decree of the Plenum of the Supreme Court ‘On Amending Some Resolutions of the Supreme Economic Court of Uzbekistan in the Light of Adopting the Economic Procedure Code’ - the law ‘On amending the administrative violations code and the criminal procedure code’ - The Decree of the Plenum of the Supreme Court ‘Peculiarities of hearing the administrative disputes arising out of public relations’ - The Decree of the Plenum of the Supreme Court ‘Some question of judicial practice on hearing administrative offences’ https://oliysud.uz/ History
2. Recommendation:

- Reportedly, there are new laws relating to women’s equality and domestic violence under consideration. UNDP Uzbekistan should be engaged with appropriate partners in ensuring these laws meet international standards, for example. Following the adoption of legislation, partners are identified to conduct awareness raising and provide legal aid assistance.

- Capacity building efforts must achieve a better balance between institutional support on the one side, and support to credible CSO and providers of legal aid, including the Tashkent State Law University, on the other. Awareness raising activities are also key going forward. The top-down push by the President for openness and transparency should be complemented by the increased understanding by rights holders in their rights, the President’s reform agenda, and the availability and functionality of ESUD.

- Among the most important partners to cultivate in any new programming efforts is the Tashkent State Law University, given its aim to ensure law students provide legal assistance to disadvantaged groups. Based on Presidential Decree 2932, 28 April 2017, the school must create legal clinics in 2 locations. One will open in “Student City” and be affiliated with both the MOJ and the Governor of Tashkent. The other will open at Tashkent TSU. Under supervision of the law school, the law students will focus on assisting the local populations with their justice needs. They will deploy 1000 student lawyers from 3rd and 4th years to provide legal aid. Legal aid provision, coupled with ESUD functionality and rights awareness campaigns may lead to significant and measurable gains in access to justice, helping Uzbekistan meet its pledges under Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/02]

Good Governance Cluster and ROL project should enhance communication with interested national partners to support legal aid initiatives. Support to legal clinics should be reflected as a separate activity of next phase of the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To prepare a separate plan of actions between Supreme court, Tashkent State Law University regarding support to the legal clinics.
[Added: 2017/12/02] [Last Updated: 2019/12/31]
Cluster on Good Governance, Policy and Communication 2019/12 Completed Legal clinics were supported by the ROL project in 2018-2019. History
3. Recommendation:

UNDP might now pursue the previously planned establishment of human rights call centers with renewed vigour. Efforts to increase transparency in the courts, is being furthered through the government’s Open Court initiative also provide opportunities. The accepted recommendations for the Universal Periodic Review for Uzbekistan are also a well-spring of new programming ideas in this new era.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/02]

Ombudsman has call center to accept human rights violations. Moreover, online portal of the President of Uzbekistan has received more than 1,5 million complaints from citizens. In the next phase, transparency of courts will be supported. UNDP will discuss with Supreme Court on Open Court initiatives. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To organize a meeting with the Supreme Court and include this action in annual work plan of the project’s next phase
[Added: 2017/12/02] [Last Updated: 2019/12/31]
Cluster on Good Governance, Policy and Communication 2019/12 Completed The annual Workplan of ROL project was discussed with the Supreme court. Supreme Court with support of the ROL project has started onlive video broadcasting of trials. Transparency of courts is increased. Journalists participated in press-tours to courts, organized by the ROL project. Court decisions were published online. Citizens can apply to courts using interactive digital services of courts. ROL project annual report. https://stat.sud.uz/ https://my.sud.uz/#/#online_service https://public.sud.uz/#!/sign/view History
4. Recommendation:

A new anti-corruption law has been passed, and a comprehensive workplan has been created by the government to address corruption. UNDP rule of law efforts in Uzbekistan could partner with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime and work with national partners, to develop new programming initiatives, leveraging the effectiveness and trust earned with the implementation of the Rule of Law Partnership project, among others.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/02]

Although anti-corruption is not priority focus area of the UNDP and ROL project, Cluster and project colleagues should meet with UNODC colleagues to discuss collaboration and cooperation in this area. Main goal is to avoid overlapping activities and to successfully use and develop on achievements of our interventions in this area. UNDP Uzbekistan and UNODC Uzbekistan are partners on anti-corruption campaign with General Prosecutor Office since 2015.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To organize a meeting with the responsible staff of the UNODC to identify cooperation opportunities related to anti-corruption and criminal justice. Prepare list of joint activities between our rule of law programming and UNODC.
[Added: 2017/12/02] [Last Updated: 2019/12/31]
Cluster on Good Governance, Policy and Communication 2019/12 Completed UNDP regularly met with UNODC colleagues on rule of law, justice reform, anti-corruption, and peacebuilding issues. UNODC staff was invited to a number of ROL project events. History
5. Recommendation:

Given the relatively low donor priority assigned to the Central Asian region at this time, and the new, even lower level of enthusiasm for development aid from some countries, including the United States, diversifying the donor base of the project is crucial going forward. The Uzbekistan government also needs to be pressured to provide ongoing budget support for the project. In particular upkeep of equipment and repair, as well as to ensure new ICT teams are strengthened and expanded is required if the ESUD system is to reach all courts in all regions, and at the 2nd instance level.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/02]

Rule of law area is major area of interest of any donor organizations. Many international donor organizations represented in Uzbekistan have their own rule of law portfolios, implemented with various national stakeholders. It should be noted that UNDP and USAID had reached an agreement to extend the project activities for period of 2018-2020 with additional budget over USD 3 mln. However, given the scope of justice sector reforms, fundraising activities should be conducted on a systematic basis within next phase of the project. Regular meetings with donor organizations should be conducted to avoid overlapping of activities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
To organize a meetings with the donor organizations both on senior and technical level to agree on possible funding opportunities. Underline these areas in talking points for high-level meetings with donor organizations.
[Added: 2017/12/02] [Last Updated: 2021/03/31]
Cluster on Good Governance, Policy and Communication 2021/03 Completed In June 2020, UNDP reached an agreement with USAID on the extension of ROL project activities till October 1, 2021 with an additional budget of USD 1,1 mln (USD 1 mln USAID and 0,1 mln UNDP). Moreover, UNDP has submitted a concept of project proposal to the Government of Finland in November 2021 with an estimated budget of 1,5 mln EURO. UNDP organized several meetings with USAID and supported their expert mission in 2019. On February 1, 2021 USAID announced a bid opening for a grant upto USD 8 mln. UNDP is currently preparing applications as per USAID requirements. History
6. Recommendation:

The project should also use its leverage as a key partner of the government to encourage the release of official statistics that are disaggregated and independently verifiable in regularized reports. These statistics demonstrate progress and capacity to the public in straightforward terms. In turn the publication of statistics, builds confidence and respect for the efforts of government authorities.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/02]

Publication of statistics of civil courts should be included in project activities of next phase of the Project. Moreover, project should take necessary actions (conduct negotiations with Supreme court and other national partners) to make Dashboard module of the E-SUD system (the module that automatically generates court reporting) publically available online.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Underline need for publication of court statistics and increasing their availability for wider range of experts in talking points for high-level meetings with Supreme court and other national partners.
[Added: 2017/12/02] [Last Updated: 2019/12/31]
Cluster on Good Governance, Policy and Communication 2019/12 Completed Supreme Court, with support of the ROL project, has published its annual statistics for 2018 in 3 languages. It also published court decisions and other important documents and news. https://stat.sud.uz https://public.sud.uz/#!/sign/view History
7. Recommendation:

To seize on the window of opportunity presented by the President’s reform agenda, the widest possible number of partners, within reason, should be engaged. The Supreme Court’s assignment to the project board and as implementing partner might be reconsidered in light of these concerns. Among these new opportunities, the High Judicial Council has requested that UNDP assist the HJC in increasing confidence in the courts through the facilitation of dialogue sessions with citizens. The HJC Research Center aims to work with UNDP on legislative reform, arbitration mechanisms, study tours for improving skills of judges, and a training course on administrative courts. UNDP should ensure that a human rights angle is applied to any partnership or support to these initiatives. UNDP should also work with the Bureau of Enforcement on ways to ensure enforcement of alimony judgements, and the enforcement of judgements in individual cases more broadly. UNDP should also partner with the Enforcement Bureau in its effort to reduce pre-trial detention rates, investigation periods, and temporary detention, especially given the link of this initiative to Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Management Response: [Added: 2017/12/02]

Project should better engage with all potential stakeholders. This can be achieved by distributing appropriate project funds among national partners and reflected in annual action plans with each national partner. The separation of powers, namely, independence of Supreme Court from Supreme Judicial Council and Enforcement Bureau of General Prosecutor Office should be taken into account while designing any programmatic interventions.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Organize meetings with Supreme Judicial Council, Judicial Research Center and Enforcement Bureau of GPO and agree on mutually acceptable work plans under the next phase of ROL project and/or other joint initiatives.
[Added: 2017/12/02] [Last Updated: 2019/01/08]
Cluster on Good Governance, Policy and Communication 2018/12 Completed UNDP has organized regular meetings with Supreme Judicial Council, Judicial Research Center and Enforcement Bureau of GPO to agree on workplan for Y2018, taking into consideration the independent mandate of these agencies from each other. Joint activities were conducted in close coordination and cooperation with these agencies and other concerned stakeholders. UNDP provided policy advice on arbitration, conducted trainings for judges and organized study tour for Supreme Court representatives and other national partners to France, where they established networking and cooperation arrangements with peer institutions. UNDP has partnered with GPO on moving the agenda of SDG 16 forward and assists in elaboration of indicators on this Goal. UNDP provided policy advice and analytical expertise on criminal justice reforms to Supreme Court. In particular, online video-broadcasting of trials were piloted in selected courts. Under newly launched anti-corruption project, UNDP is supporting Enforcement Bureau of GPO to advance their ICT capacities to reduce red tape in billing system of communal utilities and ensure accurate and efficient enforcement of court decisions. Projects Board meeting minutes, annual work plan with Supreme Court http://online.sud.uz/#!/unauthorized/view History

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