UNDP chief concludes tour of Central Asia

May 25, 2011

Tashkent – UNDP Administrator Helen Clark concluded a three day visit to Uzbekistan today.  She met yesterday with Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov, who expressed his support for the role played by UNDP in Uzbekistan’s development.

While in Uzbekistan, Helen Clark also met with Mr. Rustam Azimov, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr. Elyor Ganiev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Galina Saidova, Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments, and Trade, the UN Country Team, development partners, and women in NGOs, culture, and the arts in Uzbekistan.

UNDP works across poverty reduction, environment and energy,and democratic governance issues in Uzbekistan. This visit was an opportunity for Helen Clark to discuss UNDP’s work with the President and leading ministers, and to see a number of initiatives in which UNDP is involved.

Today Helen Clark visited UNDP’s “One Stop Shop,” a centerfor online public services in the Sergeli district of Tashkent. The center uses online processing, which replaces time-consuming paper systems, to provide access to and information about services ranging from enrolling in kindergartens to applications for pensions and unemployment allowances and registering new businesses.

The Government has decided that it should now be introduced across Uzbekistan.

“Previously I had to get all of my papers together. Now this center makes getting services more convenient”, one woman told Helen Clark at the center.  “I took a UNDP computer training course and I am certified.  Can you imagine? I am 68 years old and I took a computer course! Now I tell my grandchildren that I am your grandma and I know how to use the computer!”

In Samarkand Helen Clark saw a UNDP-supported “social enterprise” where young people with disabilities were learning shoemaking skills in partnership with a local company.  The initiative includes a public awareness campaign on persons with disabilities.  UNDP has worked with 9 social enterprise projects in four regions of Uzbekistan.

Helen Clark also called on a rural health clinic where UNDP had  developed  back-up electricity-systems to ensure that the clinic could function fully during power outages.  Without such systems, vaccines and diagnostic test results can be ruined.

The visit to Uzbekistan completed the Administrator’s official tour of Central Asia which has also included Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.

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