The II International Forum on Poverty Reduction has completed its work. Within the framework of 6 thematic panel sessions, a wide range of issues was discussed, problems and proposals for developing countries were voiced. The progress made in Uzbekistan in the field of poverty reduction was noted, despite such challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic, the instability of the world economy, etc.
Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, speaking about the reforms aimed at combating poverty in Uzbekistan, focused on the tools that are used to create social programs, increase the targeting of support for the poor, develop entrepreneurship, and understand the effectiveness of various programs adopted.
On May 22, 2023 in Tashkent, the II International Forum on the topic “Application of best practices in poverty reduction” took place, organised by the Centre for Economic Research and Reforms (CERR) in conjunction with the Ministry of Employment and Poverty Reduction of Uzbekistan (Ministry of Employment), with the support of United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Uzbekistan and the United Nations Children's Fund in Uzbekistan (UNICEF).
The forum was attended by over 300 participants, including over 100 well-known experts from reputable international organisations and partner states.
Adviser to the President of Uzbekistan on the development of sectors of the economy, the implementation of investment and foreign trade policy Ravshan Gulyamov read out the Message of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev to the Forum participants.
The Address emphasises the irreversible nature of the reforms in the field of poverty reduction, which have reached a new level, based on the principle of man-society-state.
In order to fully implement the social obligations of the state, as well as the development of human capital, five key areas in the fight against poverty have been identified.
First, the creation of the most favourable conditions for the private sector and entrepreneurship.
Secondly, the acceleration of the implementation of targeted support programs for poor families within the framework of the social register system based on an individual approach.
Thirdly, the provision of more than 100 social services in mahallas to persons with disabilities, women, citizens who need special attention.
Fourth, an increase in the amount of funds allocated through the open budget system for projects chosen by the population itself.
Fifth, the expansion of work to ensure the rights of everyone to access to quality education and medical services.
Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Jamshid Kuchkarov, Minister of Employment and Poverty Reduction of Uzbekistan Bekhzod Musaev, Nobel Laureate in Economics, member of the US National Academy of Sciences Abhijit Banerjee, Chief Executive Officer of the French Development Agency Remy Riou, Professor of Economics at George University Washington James Foster, Director of the Oxford Initiative to Combat Poverty and Human Capital Sabina Alkair, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan Edil Baisalov and others.
The forum praised the active actions of Uzbekistan in the fight against poverty and inequality. It was noted that more than 2 million 300 thousand needy families, women, single elderly and persons with disabilities are fully covered by the social protection system.
As Remy Riou noted, active economic and political reforms have changed the role and place of Uzbekistan at the international level. According to him, Brussels and Paris are closely following the achievements of the country, where the fight against poverty is combined with the environment reducing emissions into the atmosphere, improving access to clean drinking water.
Laureate of the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, Abhijit Banerjee, highlighted the most important areas for further research to shape anti-poverty policies. Speaking about Uzbekistan, the professor singled out the tools that are used in our country to create social programs and the targeting of reforms.
“All this is quite a difficult job, but I am glad that your country shows by its example to other countries how to fight poverty. Standing here today, I feel the spirit of change in this country and I am proud to be able to say with you: “Let's do it,” the Nobel laureate emphasised.
Vice Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Edil Baisalov noted that Uzbekistan today is the engine and heart of all Central Asia.
“The reduction of poverty in Uzbekistan in 2022, despite the difficult global situation, is sensational not only for the Central Asian region, but for the whole world. We are delighted with the reforms in your country and are ready to learn from your experience. In autumn we will have a similar event, I invite experts to take part in it. Thanks to the political will of the leaders of our two countries, today the borders have been 100% agreed upon, this has significantly improved the tourism potential of both Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan,” the Deputy Prime Minister noted.
Within the framework of the Forum, a plenary session was held to study the experience of Uzbekistan in reducing poverty, moderated by the Deputy Advisor to the President, Director of the Centre for Economic Research and Reforms Obid Khakimov.
The Minister of Employment and Poverty Reduction of Uzbekistan Bekhzod Musaev, the Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development of Pakistan Sajid Khusain Turi, Professor of the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University James Foster, Director of the International Centre for Poverty Reduction in China Liu Zhongven, UN Resident Representative in Uzbekistan Consuelo Vidal Bruce and others.
UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan Matilda Dimovska noted the determination to support the efforts of the government of Uzbekistan in further reforms to eradicate poverty.
“We are determined to support the efforts of the government of Uzbekistan to adapt its strategies according to the context of the country to reach the poorest segments of the population, taking into account the latest data and analysis of the needs and capabilities of the people. To this end, UNDP is supporting the development of a multidimensional poverty measurement tool for Uzbekistan. UNDP is accompanying Uzbekistan on the path to addressing the multiple dimensions of poverty through the creation of inclusive jobs, gender equality, human potential, rural development and, of course, the transition to a green economy and digitalisation,” said the head of UNDP in Uzbekistan.
Munir Mammadzadeh, Head of the UNICEF Office in Uzbekistan, noted the commitment of the UN Children's Fund to support comprehensive national strategies to combat child poverty in Uzbekistan.
“It is critical to prioritize investment in early childhood development, health, education and social protection. Thanks to this, Uzbekistan can use demographic opportunities and become an example of good practice in the development of human capital in the region,” said the head of the UNICEF Office in Uzbekistan.
At the end of the plenary session, Banerjee, answering journalists' questions, spoke about the cooperation between J-PAL and CERR.
“I think the biggest benefit we've seen from working with the Centre for Economic Research and Reform is a serious approach to research and real commitment. I see that there are many specialists here who are ready to fight poverty and, The country's leadership has a firm conviction that the fight against poverty is an important task. And we, for our part, offer a scientific approach to the implementation of this task, and I think that such a combination of efforts of our organisations will ultimately bring effective results,” summed up the co-founder of the global initiative to combat poverty.
As a result of the Forum, a number of documents on cooperation were signed and new joint projects were announced, including the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Cooperation between CERR and J-PAL.
Within the framework of the Forum, foreign experts and partners visited the regions of Uzbekistan, the ongoing work on the ground was presented on the basis of the mahallabay system using the example of the Madaniyat mahalla in the Bukhara region. Based on the results of the study of work in the regions, the experts noted the need to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the impact of strategies and government programs in Uzbekistan, as well as a deeper study of the Uzbek model of poverty reduction in order to further disseminate the experience gained in developing countries.
Reported by Uzbekistan Daily.