Central Asian Law project researchers participated at another international conference, presenting their work carried out within the framework of the project. The 5th annual conference of the Law and Development Network named “Beyond the Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities for Law and Development” took place on the 24-26th of November, 2022 and was hosted by Nelson Mandela University (South Africa). Our researchers presented their papers at a panel of the conference titled “Central Asian Law: Legal Cultures and Business Environments in Central Asia”, which took place virtually on the 26th of November.
The following papers from project participants were presented during the conference:
- “Nexus between teleworking and economic development of the country: the case of Uzbekistan” by Ulugbek Abdurakhmanov (independent researcher);
- “Social Resilience during pandemic times: civil society and community mobilization in authoritarian regimes. Case of adaptive capacity in the era of COVID-19” by Tolibjon Mustafoev (Lund University);
- “Can Liberalization be Measured in Terms of Worldwide Governance Indicators? Insights from Central Asian Countries” by Berdymyrat Ovezmyradov (Lund University)
The discussant of the panel was the Principal Investigator of the Central Asian Law project Rustamjon Urinboyev.
Ulugbek Abdurakhmanov’s presentation provided a review extant literature and the phenomenon of teleworking from different angles. His paper also presented the results of the online survey carried out for the first time in Uzbekistan with 133 employers that experienced the remote working of their employees during the pandemic. The survey helped to examine the perceptions and attitudes of employers towards this model of work and thereby identified the features and problems causing its slow adoption in the country. Hence, Ulugbek’s research and presentation aimed to understand the patterns of development of teleworking in Uzbekistan and provided policy recommendations on its further development to assist the private sector.
Second presentation by Tolibjon Mustafoev tried to answer the questions of how civic engagement and political representation of civil society is organized in authoritarian regimes. He also tries to identify its drivers and mechanisms of participation, as well as how everyday forms of social resilience is produced and manifested in authoritarian contexts. During his presentation, Tolibjon concludes that some countries can be viewed as a case example where more political repression led to the shortening of civic space, less space caused people to be less active in the state political agenda, and at the same time, the weak political representation of civil society in politics strengthened the “warning signs” of authoritarian regime in the country. But crisis, such as Covid changes the whole picture by enhancing the social resilience and by creating new opportunities for civil society for more flexible, better and free engagement in socio-political agenda.
The final presentation of the conference panel was delivered by Berdymyrat Ovezmyradov. During his presentation, Berdymyrat talked about The Worldwide Governance Indicators by World Bank, and their application in Central Asia. His presentation concludes that 70 years of excessive government control had major negative impacts even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Poorly implemented policies of hastened economic liberalization might harm sustainable development and catching-up in growth. Quantified indicators such as WGI are imperfect and often criticized because they cannot capture every aspect of liberalization. Despite shortcomings, WGI can be valuable in the country-level comparisons within regions such as Central Asia in the absence of alternative objective measures. WGI and other indicators of governance should be considered in evaluation of still slow and inadequate progress made by Central Asia within post-Soviet area in essential aspects of socio-political liberalization as of 2021.