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25/11/11 - Achieving MDGs: experience of Uzbekistan

posted 15 Jan 2012, 06:02 by Ambasciata Uzbekistan
Tashkent hosted an international seminar on “The participation of civil society institutes in implementing the tasks of achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals: experience of Uzbekistan”. The event was organized by the Independent institute for monitoring the formation of the civil society, the Institute of strategic and interregional studies under the President of Uzbekistan and the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan jointly with the UN Development Programme, UNESCO and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Germany).

The seminar brought together leading experts from Germany, Slovenia, Ukraine, South Korea, the OSCE, UN and other international organizations, members of the Senate and the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of Uzbekistan, representatives of government and public organizations, UzA informs.

Uzbekistan is an active participant in the global process to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, set in 2000 at the UN Millennium Summit, and in many respects is one of the leaders in their implementation. The basis of this successful development is the fact that Uzbekistan since the early years of independence on the initiative of President Islam Karimov has gradually and consistently implemented large-scale reforms in all spheres to ensure the political, economic and social rights and interests of the citizens, and raise the level and quality of life.

The foreign experts emphasized the high efficiency of the “Uzbek model” and the five principles of development, developed by the head of the state, which formed the basis of all democratic reforms, including liberalization of public administration, economic modernization, development of social institutions and civil society. The priorities of the new stage of comprehensive reforms, defined by President Islam Karimov in his Concept of further deepening of democratic reforms and formation of civil society in the country, are a clear indication of the consistency of the state policy in Uzbekistan, which fully corresponds to the objectives of the MDGs.

Not in all countries the achievement of the MDGs has been raised to the level of state priorities. In Uzbekistan, the Cabinet of Ministers in January 2011 issued a resolution, which set out additional measures to implement the UN Millennium Development Goals in the country until 2015. These system measures cover 88 priority areas in all eight targets set by the Millennium Declaration.

During the period of independent development, Uzbekistan’s GDP increased more than 3.5 times. In the recent years, despite the global financial and economic crisis, Uzbekistan has shown one of the world’s highest rates of economic growth. Rapid growth has been observed in the small business and entrepreneurship, and this sector’s contribution to GDP is almost close to the European average. Clear investment policy, comprehensive programs of industrial development, according to experts participating in the seminar, create the necessary prerequisites for further growth of the GDP and increasing its volume 1.5 times by 2015.

The advances in the economy allow for effective implementation of the social policy in health, education and support of various layers of the population. This year, 60% of all expenditures of the state budget were directed for social purposes, including 48% for development of education and healthcare.

As Eve Mary Henkel (Germany), member of board of directors of the ABU Consult Berlin GmbH project, noted, “Uzbekistan under the direction of President Islam Karimov has achieved outstanding results. Large investments in the economy and social sphere contribute to the welfare of the population. The achievements of your country in education and healthcare can be compared to those in the leading countries. Uzbekistan has achieved universal free 12-year education and basic medical care for the population – in the modern world this is an extremely rare social obligation of the state. The expert community of the European Union has a particular attention to the transformation process carried out under the Concept of further deepening of democratic reforms and the formation of civil society, as well as other state programs. Their implementation will help achieve the MDGs and ensure the subsequent development of Uzbekistan.”

The foreign experts gave a high evaluation to the unique National personnel training program, aimed at cardinal and systemic improvement of the quality of education. The Constitution guarantees complete secondary education to all citizens. In accordance with the objectives of the socioeconomic development and international standards, training programs and directions of vocational education have been improved.

Major reforms have been carried out in healthcare. The system of free emergency medical care, an extensive network of rural medical stations, perinatal and screening centers have been created, a completely different approach is now taken to the protection of the maternal and child health, as well as medical training. As a result, the maternal and child mortality rates have declined 3 times over the years of independence. The overall level of morbidity among the population has significantly decreased, thanks to widely available quality medical care, including rural areas. The average life expectancy – the most important indicator of the MDGs – increased from 67 to 73 years, and to 75 years among women. This is the highest figure in the CIS countries, the experts noted.

The seminar participants emphasized the particular importance of the environmental stability in Central Asia in achieving the MDGs, the rational use of water and energy resources to benefit all people living there. In this regard, the firm position of Uzbekistan on these critical issues was underlined. Uzbekistan pays great attention to environmental protection. A number of state programs and national action plans are being implemented.

One of the key factors in Uzbekistan’s achieving significant results in socio-political and socio-economic development is the active involvement of civil society – political parties, social organizations, movements and NGOs in these processes, the seminar participants said. Their role in addressing many issues related to achieving national development goals has been growing. The civil society institutions operating in the country create conditions for increasing the social activeness of the population, contribute to maintaining the balance of interests in the society, becoming one of the most important elements to ensure effective feedback between the society and the state.

In this regard, the foreign experts noted the importance of the legislative initiatives of President Islam Karimov to develop the civil society institutions as set out in the Concept of the further deepening of democratic reforms and the formation of civil society in the country. The adoption of a package of new laws will create a legal framework for increased participation of civil society in the implementation of government programs in healthcare, education, environment, employment and other areas.