The II International Forum on Poverty Reduction has completed its work. Within the framework of 6 thematic panel sessions, a wide range of issues were 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, instability of the world economy, etc.
Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee, speaking about the reforms aimed at combating poverty in Uzbekistan, focused on the tools used to create social programs, increase the targeting of support for the poor, develop entrepreneurship, and understand the effectiveness of various programs adopted.
May 22, 2023. The II International Forum on the topic “Implementing Best Practices in Poverty Reduction”, organized by the Center for Economic Research and Reforms (CERR) jointly with the Ministry of Employment and Poverty Reduction of the Republic of Uzbekistan, with the support of the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Children’s Fund in Uzbekistan in Uzbekistan has completed its work.
The Forum was attended by over 300 participants, including over 100 well-known experts from reputable international organizations and partner states.
Advisor to the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the development of economic sectors, implementation of investment and foreign trade policy Ravshan Gulyamov read the Message of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the participants of the Forum.
The Message emphasizes the irreversible nature of the reforms in the field of poverty reduction, which have reached a new level, based on the principle of “person – 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 were identified.
Firstly, the creation of the most favorable 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 in need of special attention.
Fourthly, an increase in the amount of funds allocated through the “open budget” system for projects chosen by the population themselves.
Fifthly, the expansion of work to ensure the rights of everyone to access quality education and medical services.
Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Jamshid Kuchkarov, Minister of Employment and Poverty Reduction of the Republic of Uzbekistan Behzod Musayev, Nobel Laureate in Economics, member of the US National Academy of Sciences Abhijit Banerjee, Director General of the French Development Agency Remy Rioux, Professor of Economics at George Washington University James Foster, Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative Sabina Alkire, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic Edil Baysalov and others addressed their parting words to the participants of the Forum.
The Forum highly appreciated 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 Rioux 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 monitoring the achievements of the country, where the fight against poverty is combined with ecology – reducing emissions into the atmosphere, improving access to clean drinking water.
Abhijit Banerjee, Alfred Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics, noted the most important areas of further research for the formation of anti-poverty policy. Speaking about Uzbekistan, the professor highlighted 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 is showing other countries by its example how to fight poverty. Standing here today, I feel the spirit of change in this country and I am proud that I can say with you: “Let’s do it,” the Nobel Laureate noted.
Deputy Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Edil Baysalov, noted that Uzbekistan today is the engine and heart of the whole of 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 also for the whole world. We are delighted with the reforms in your country and are ready to learn from your experience. In the 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, the borders are one hundred percent agreed today, this has significantly improved the tourism potential of both Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
Within the framework of the Forum, a plenary session was held to study Uzbekistan’s experience in poverty reduction, moderated by Obid Khakimov, Deputy Adviser to the President, Director of the Center for Economic Research and Reforms.
Reports were made by the Minister of Poverty Reduction and Employment of the Population of the Republic of Uzbekistan Behzod Musayev, Minister of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development Sajid Husain Turi, Professor of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University James Foster, Director of the International Center for Poverty Reduction in China Liu Junwen, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan Consuelo Vidal Bruce and other.
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 in accordance with the context of the country to reach the least affluent segments of the population, taking into account the latest data and analysis of people’s needs and capabilities. To this end, UNDP supports the development of a multidimensional poverty measurement tool for Uzbekistan. UNDP accompanies Uzbekistan on the way to solving numerous aspects of poverty through the creation of inclusive jobs, gender equality, human potential, rural development and, of course, the transition to a green economy and digitalization,” the head of UNDP in Uzbekistan noted.
Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan, noted the commitment of the UN Children’s Fund to support comprehensive national strategies to combat child poverty in Uzbekistan.
“UNICEF is fully committed to supporting comprehensive national strategies to address child poverty in Uzbekistan. It is imperative to prioritize investments in early childhood development, health, education, and social protection. By doing so, Uzbekistan can harness the demographic opportunity and position itself as a trailblazer in human capital development within the region,” noted UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan.
At the end of the plenary session, A.Banerjee while answering journalists’ questions, spoke about J-PAL’s cooperation with CERR.
“I think the biggest advantage that we have seen after working with the Center for Economic Research and Reforms is a serious approach to research and a real commitment to the cause. I see that there are many specialists here who are ready to fight poverty and, at the same time, 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 implement this task, and I think that such a combination of efforts of our organizations will eventually bring effective results,” the co–founder of the global initiative to combat poverty summed up.
Following the Forum, a number of cooperation documents were signed and new joint projects were announced, including the signing ceremony of a 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 field based on the “makhallabay” system was presented on the example of the makhalla “Madaniyat” in the Bukhara region. Based on the results of the study of work in the regions, 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 acquired experience in developing countries.