Championing Business Sustainability in Uzbekistan
05 September 2023
United Nations in Uzbekistan and Westminster International University Collaborate to Spotlight Uzbekistan's Private Sector Contributions to Sustainable Development Goals.
The United Nations in Uzbekistan, in collaboration with Westminster International University in Tashkent, hosted the "Championing Business Sustainability in Uzbekistan” event, which had its inaugural ceremony in 2022. This year’s event, held on 5th September 2023, at Westminster International University in Tashkent, focused on a “Conversation Unveiling Uzbekistan’s Private Sector Contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals." As in its inaugural forum, the Conversation provided a platform for key stakeholders to engage in discussions on the private sector's role in advancing sustainable development in Uzbekistan.
The Government of Uzbekistan has long been dedicated to sustainable development principles and the 2030 Agenda. Throughout the years, the nation has implemented forward-looking policies aimed at fostering sustainable economic and social growth. In this journey, the private sector has emerged as one of the drivers of reform and progress.
Ms. Consuelo Vidal, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Uzbekistan, noted, "Uzbekistan's commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The government's policies, coupled with the private sector's engagement, have set the stage for advancing the concept of sustainability. Gone are the days when profit and sustainability were viewed as opposing forces. The private sector is demonstrating that economic growth, social progress, and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand. And Uzbekistan's business community has joined this paradigm shift."
The event sought to amplify the contributions of the private sector to Uzbekistan's journey towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It recognized the private sector's significance beyond economic growth, acknowledging its role as a catalyst for social progress and environmental sustainability. The private sector plays a crucial role in generating employment opportunities, producing, and distributing goods and services, and driving innovation to address development challenges.
Mr. Bakhrom Mirkasimov, Rector of Westminster International University in Tashkent, stated, "The academic sector, in general, and, in particular, Westminster International University, plays a pivotal role in this ecosystem. Our research, expertise, and commitment to education contribute to evidence-based solutions that drive progress."
As part of the event, the United Nations in Uzbekistan highlighted the findings of a survey that explored the private sector's understanding of sustainable development and its efforts in support of the SDGs. Compiled after a survey involving 12 diverse business entities, the business-focused SDG report illuminated the multifaceted ways in which private sector activities align with the guiding principles of the SDGs. Dr. Rusyan Jill Mamiit, Development Coordination Officer for Partnerships and Development Finance at the United Nations in Uzbekistan, presented key findings from the report, revealing that participating companies have significantly advanced all 16 SDGs adopted by Uzbekistan, covering an impressive 49 national SDG targets. Among these goals, SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals), SDG 3 (Good Health and Wellbeing), and SDG 5 (Gender Equality) received the most support.
During the conversation between and among the private sector stakeholders, Mr. Zafar Kashimov, Founder and Chairman of Supervisory Board of Korzinka, shared insights into responsible supply chains, noting, "Sustainability is a journey that requires collaboration across the supply chain, from sourcing to delivery." Further, Mr. Benoit Lemonne, General Director of Nurlikum Mining, emphasized the significance of responsible resource management, stating, "We must adopt responsible mining practices to safeguard the environment and support local communities."
Mr. Bekhzod Khojiakhmedov, Head of Strategic Transformation Department of Artel discussed the importance of corporate strategies for sustainability, stating, "Sustainability is not just about doing good but also about ensuring long-term business viability." In the textile and garment industry, Mr. Mirmukhsin Sultanov, First-Deputy Chairman of Uzbekistan Textile and Garment Industry Association emphasized the private sector's role, stating, "Private sector leadership is vital to advance sustainable development and the promotion of decent work as well as labor rights." Mr. Nurbek Ilkhomiy, General Manager of Takro-Osiyo provided a complementary statement, highlighting, "Our presence here reflects the private sector's pivotal role as a driving force for positive change, an advocate for sustainable practices, and a catalyst for transformative impact on employment."
Mr. Alisher Khaitmetov, Chief Executive Officer of Veolia Energy Tashkent, concluded the event by reaffirming the private sector's commitment, stating, "Let us recognize that the private sector’s legacy is not defined by the present moment alone, but rather by the collective future we are shaping." He highlighted Veolia Energy Tashkent's commitment to multiple SDGs, including clean energy, job creation, and responsible consumption and production.
The event served as a call to action for the private sector to continue its journey towards sustainability, innovate, and invest in sustainable practices that benefit society and the environment. It also highlighted the importance of collaboration between the private sector, academia, and the United Nations in advancing sustainable development objectives.
As a result of this event, the private sector's contributions to sustainable development in Uzbekistan are more widely recognized and celebrated. Partnerships have been strengthened, and a shared commitment to sustainability and the SDGs has been reaffirmed.
About Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT)
Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT) is the first international university in Uzbekistan to offer higher education with UK qualifications. WIUT offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses, promotes research in several areas, and organizes conferences with the participation of government and international institutions. WIUT consistently helps local and international students to unlock their full potential. Since its establishment in 2002, WIUT has been at the forefront of academic excellence, offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Business Administration, Computer Science, Economics, International Relations, and more. WIUT is committed to nurturing innovation, empowering future leaders, and contributing to the sustainable development of Uzbekistan.
About the United Nations Office in Uzbekistan (UN in Uzbekistan)
Uzbekistan joined the United Nations on 2 March 1992 as a new sovereign and independent state. The United Nations Office opened in Tashkent the following year. The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Uzbekistan currently comprises 25 UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes working together to advance national development priorities in line with Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In September 2020, the UN Country Team finalized the next generation UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (2021-2025), which was endorsed and signed by the Government of Uzbekistan. The Cooperation Framework articulates the UN’s collective response to supporting Uzbekistan to achieve the national SDGs with an emphasis on leaving no one behind. The Cooperation Framework is the primary instrument for planning and implementation of all UN development activities in the country, in support of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. It was developed in close consultation with the Government, the Parliament and civil society in Uzbekistan and has three strategic objectives: (i) effective governance and justice for all; (ii) inclusive human capital development leading to health, well-being and resilient prosperity; and (iii) sustainable, climate responsible and resilient development.