Statement by Helena Fraser on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the Independence Day of the Republic of Uzbekistan
On behalf of the UN Country Team in Uzbekistan, I congratulate Uzbekistan on this occasion of celebrating its 29th anniversary of independence.
Dear Ambassador Ibragimov, Dear Excellencies,
In just one week, we will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. So today it’s timely to reflect on Uzbekistan’s recent achievements and contributions as a member of the multilateral family.
Indeed, as Minister Kamilov has stated, Uzbekistan is clearly committed to enhancing its active engagement as a UN member state and a champion of multilateralism.
This is evidenced by the Government’s increasing engagement and constructive dialogue over the last three years with the UN system at all levels. It’s been cemented in a roadmap on strengthening and deepening cooperation with the United Nations System and its specialised institutions, adopted this summer.
Of course, Uzbekistan’s engagement with the UN cuts across all aspects of the mandates entrusted to the organisation. My colleague Miroslav Jenca has eloquently touched on the peace and security angle, and the positive effects of Uzbekistan’s foreign policy reset. I will complement by speaking briefly on the other two key pillars of our work:
On sustainable development:
- The government has made remarkable progress in adopting, monitoring and moving to implement National SDGs and targets for Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan’s first Voluntary National Review on SDGs presented to the High-Level Political Forum in July this year provided strong evidence of progress to date, and of the participatory and consultative approach that has characterised the country’s engagement on Agenda 2030. The establishment of a bicameral parliamentary commission on SDGs this spring was a further signal of such commitment.
- The Government’s close partnership with the UN on the COVID-19 health and socio-economic response and recovery has created a positive environment for our cooperation to ensure a more proactive, people-centred response and a more resilient, green, inclusive recovery, drawing on the expertise and capacities of the whole UN system. Our partnership on human security and sustainable development in the Aral Sea region, referenced by Minister Kamilov, is another testament to the country commitment to working with the UN in an integrated, joined-up way.
In the area of human rights:
- In the past three years an ambitious raft of legislation and decrees has been adopted toward achieving gender equality, attending to the issues of sexual and reproductive health, combating gender-based violence, tackling child marriage and trafficking in persons. Legislation on the rights of people with disabilities has been approved by the Senate and is currently before the President for signature. And earlier this year the President approved the National Human Rights Strategy of Uzbekistan and a Roadmap to its implementation.
- Uzbekistan has made significant progress on fundamental labour rights, has criminalized forced labour in the cotton fields and has eradicated the systematic and systemic use of child labour and forced labour in its cotton industry.
- Youth rights have been a particular focus of the Government, which is fitting in light of the demographic window of opportunity that the country faces. The resolution on “Youth 2030: global solidarity, sustainable development and human rights” adopted at the Samarkand Human Rights Web Forum last month is a further demonstration of this.
These flagship initiatives have been complemented by very concrete action in specific areas, for example in resolving and preventing statelessness. The Government estimates that with the new Citizenship Law, some 50,000 stateless people will have their citizenship recognized in Uzbekistan. Universal birth registration will also prevent the risk of childhood statelessness.
Of course, across all these areas, while great progress has been made, much remains to be done. To fully implement all commitments, to realise the national SDGs, to enhance compliance with human rights obligations, will require a sustained and focused effort.
And so I return to where I opened my remarks.
I am grateful for the enabling environment in which to achieve our shared objectives of peace, sustainable development and human rights. I am grateful that multilateralism matters, in Uzbekistan – as we have seen not just from the actions I’ve just outlined, but also from the tens of thousands of people who have filled out the UN75 survey and the hundreds who have joined our UN75 dialogues.
And as Resident Coordinator, and head of the UN Country Team, I can certainly close by saying that Uzbekistan is keeping the UN family very busy these days! We are grateful for the partnership and look forward to further accelerating our results!
So, once again,
Sizni O’zbekiston davlat mustaqilligi bayrmai bilan chin dildan tabriklayman!