Central Asian countries discuss progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals at a high-level summit in Almaty

Posted June 28, 2022
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

16-17 June, 2022, Almaty hosted the Second Regional SDG Summit of Central Asian countries, “Beyond COVID ­– Towards Just Recovery in Central Asia". The delegation of Uzbekistan, headed by Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov, took part in the summit and shared Uzbekistan’s experience in recovery from COVID-19 and progress in achieving the SDGs.

The second regional Summit is attended by officials from governments of Central Asia, international experts, representatives of international organizations, the diplomatic community, private sector leaders and civil society representatives from Central Asia.

On behalf of the organizers, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Alikhan Smailov and United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator, Usha Rao-Monari, delivered a welcome speech to the Summit participants. In a video format, the Summit participants were also greeted by the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen.

Commissioner Urpilainen highlighted the EU’s commitment to helping Central Asia achieve the SDGs: “We stand by Central Asia in building more sustainable and inclusive future and advancing the regional dialogue. Our new Global Gateway Strategy will help connect Europe and its partners with investments in sustainable and high-quality infrastructure, inclusive skills development for young people, and more resilient healthcare systems for the region.”

Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic, Head of the Administration of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Akylbek Zhaparov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Kokhir Rasulzoda, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov and Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Mukhammetguly Mukhammedov also welcomed the Summit participants.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

In his speech, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan noted that Uzbekistan, despite the pandemic, continued to fulfill its obligations under the SDGs and achieved significant results. Recently adopted the Development Strategy of the new Uzbekistan for 2022-2026 – initiated by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Miromonovich Mirziyoyev – was developed on the basis of the principle “In the name of the honor and dignity of man” and was closely linked and harmonized with the Sustainable Development Goals .

In particular, this Strategy comprises such goals as halving the level of poverty by 2026, primarily through ensuring sustainable and inclusive economic development. The Government of Uzbekistan sets a goal aiming to ensure the growth of GDP per capita by 1.4 times and economic growth rates at an average of 7 percent over the next five years. This, in turn, will create the conditions for entering the group of Upper Middle Income Countries, by 2030.

To move forward in achieving sustainable development in the post-pandemic period, constructive dialogue, partnerships and bold actions are needed both at the national and regional levels. All actors – governments, business community, civil society, academia and international organizations – have a role to play in ensuring that the necessary steps are taken to achieve sustainable development.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

"The success of achieving the SDGs will require a fundamental shift in the development pathways. With only eight years until 2030, a broader pursuit is required to put development “back on track” and build forward better. This will require investment in people, expansion of social protection, provision of quality education, creation of decent jobs, transition to renewable energy, and ensuring digitalisation for all. Such bold action requires rethinking the system of SDG financing,” Usha Rao-Monari, UNDP Associate Administrator.

Topical presentations at the Summit were also delivered by a number of world top-notch experts, including well-known economist and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University (USA) Jeffrey Sachs; Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution (USA), Johannes F. Lynn; Professor of Columbia University (USA) in New York and Sciences Po (France), Shiv Someshwar; Director of UAE Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, Hanan Ahli; and Executive Director and Chairman of the Management Board at the Estonian e-Governance Academy, Hannes Astok; and many others.

Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

The sessions of the Summit will provide a platform for discussing regional development challenges in Central Asia and strategies for post-pandemic recovery, which will be focused on the “green” economy and the climate agenda. Within the framework of a special session - a round table of city mayors - the participants will discuss local solutions for the development of large and small cities in Central Asia and their transition to sustainable development through the localization of the SDGs. Separate sessions will also be devoted to the issues of digitalization of public services, empowerment of women and youth for sustainable development, ensuring synergy of SDG financing with the agenda on climate, and partnerships to accelerate the attainment of the SDGs.

The first regional SDG Summit was held in November 2019 in Almaty and was devoted to financing global development agenda.