Opening remarks of Helena Fraser, UN Resident Coordinator at the University of World Economy and Diplomacy on Priority Areas of Uzbekistan-UN Partnership
Cooperation between the Government and the United Nations has reached a new level in recent years.
I congratulate Uzbekistan on its 29th anniversary of joining the UN!
Importantly, our partnership with the Government has been shaped by the ambitious priorities articulated in the national Action Strategy. These cover key elements of sustainable development, human rights and, peace and security – the three pillars of the United Nations work, all central to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The reforms have created a positive set of conditions for sustainable development and an enabling environment for the UN. The UN Country Team – which now comprises a record 24 UN agencies - has scaled up its support in various areas, including through sharing best practice and expertise for legislative changes and policy shifts in the field of governance and the social sector, that have taken place at a fast pace. We are also pleased to note that human rights are more prominent on the national agenda and Uzbekistan engages more actively with treaty bodies and procedures, now as a member of the UN Human Rights Council for the first time.
The cooperation between the Government and the UN in establishing the Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea region has also been one of the flagship achievements of our cooperation in the past few years, and we are expecting similarly important results from our joint work in the field of social protection and poverty reduction, as well as in the area of integrated financing for national development priorities, including in health financing and addressing illicit financial flows. We also look forward to supporting Uzbekistan’s connectivity agenda, and the effort to re-establish Uzbekistan as a global hub for, as it was for many centuries.
The newly developed UN Sustainable Cooperation Framework 2021-2025, which will guide the UN’s work over the coming five years, is fully in line with the Government’s priorities and the national Sustainable Development Goals. It defines three strategic priority areas for the UN’s work in Uzbekistan with the overarching goal of a more just, equal and resilient society.
The Cooperation Framework represents a joint commitment by the Government and the UN system to work in close partnership, and with the full participation of civil society and young people, for the achievement of the national sustainable development goals.
The three priority areas include:
- Effective governance and justice for all
For effective governance and justice systems that fulfil obligations on human rights, the UN Country Team will strive to empower state institutions at all levels to effectively design, finance and implement gender-sensitive, human rights and evidence-based public legislation and policies. We will promote effective participation of the most vulnerable in an inclusive, transparent and accountable manner. In addition, we aim to ensure all people in Uzbekistan, especially the most vulnerable, benefit from increased and more equitable access to effective justice and human rights protection mechanisms.
- Inclusive human capital development, leading to health, well-being, and resilient prosperity
Our cooperation in this area focuses on promoting improved livelihoods, decent work and expanding enabling opportunities generated by inclusive economic growth. This includes enhancing access to inclusive, equitable and gender-sensitive quality health, education and social services for women, youth, children, persons with disabilities and other most vulnerable and at-risk groups of population as well as reducing regional inequalities. These elements are particularly key to a people-centred recovery from the socioeconomic shock caused by the pandemic.
- Sustainable, climate responsible, and resilient development
Climate change and scarce natural resources have a cascading effect on the livelihoods and well-being of the population. We will cooperate with the Government and all relevant stakeholders towards increased resilience of the most at-risk regions and communities to climate change and disasters, supporting effective climate action and more efficient use and management of natural resources and infrastructure, enhanced environmental governance and protection to ensure a greener post-pandemic recovery.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Looking ahead, the UN Country Team stands ready to support the government in ensuring the next national development Strategy is in full alignment and explicitly linked to the national SDGs and targets as well as to international human rights norms and standards.
Through the task forces that have been formed to implement the cooperation framework, the UN is aims to support efforts to ensure no one is left behind, for example women, young people, people living with disabilities, migrants, stateless persons, people living with HIV and others.
An immediate priority for the country is inclusive, equitable and sustainable recovery from COVID-19. To this end, we encourage that the next national Action Strategy be underpinned by a consultative process involving wide public participation, incorporate measurable indicators linked to national SDGs, and be based on Building Back Better principles, including by Giving prominence to environmental protection and climate change issues.
The amazing participation of over 35,000 people in Uzbekistan in the UN75 anniversary last year testifies to the profound belief here in Uzbekistan in joint solutions to common problems. And this challenging past year has demonstrated more than ever, the relevance of working across borders, and in partnership with multilateral institutions, to access global good practice, technical expertise and capacity-building in order to realise ambitious national reform agenda. The cooperation between MoH, WHO and UNICEF in supporting and fast-tracking readiness for the Covid Vaccine roll-out in the last few weeks is just one recent example of this.
The UNCT is privileged to work in such an environment. And we look forward to seeing the partnership between the Government, the UN and civil society going forward from strength to strength,
I am confident that this fruitful cooperation will continue to achieve results for the people of Uzbekistan striving towards a more just, equal and resilient society by 2030.