Statement by Ms. Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan at the Presentation of the brochure "New Uzbekistan: Seizing Opportunities"

September 9, 2022
Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan

Assalomu alaykum, hurmatli honimlar va janoblar (Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen),

Muhtaram janob Norov (dear Mr. Norov),

Hurmatli elchilar (dear Ambassadors),

Aziz mehmonlar va hamkasblar (distinguished guests and colleagues).

Let me use this opportunity to again congratulate Uzbekistan on its 31-st anniversary of independence and wish the people of this beautiful country peace, prosperity and happiness.

Usually, such significant events are times to reflect on the past, and the future, and particularly as Uzbekistan is embarking on its second-generation reforms with the citizens’ wellbeing as the central objective. It is therefore good timing to present this brochure.

Speaking from UNDP perspective, it is also good to have this event immediately after the launch of the 2021/2022 Human Development Report. Because the insights of this Report about the future of development and the state of human development are relevant for any country, Uzbekistan included.

I will therefore start with few key messages of the HDR.

HDR Key messages

The report opens with “We live in a world of worry”, world in uncertain times and with unsettled lives.

Uncertainty is not new; the world has seen pandemics and wars before. But the uncertainties people have always faced are now happening against a backdrop of dangerous planetary change that requires societal transformation at par with the Industrial Revolution.

Feelings of insecurity are on the rise almost everywhere, a trend at least a decade in the making, exacerbated by the COVID-pandemic. 

Uncertainty, inequality and insecurity go hand in hand with polarization and lack of trust, which diminishes the scope for cooperation just when the common challenges that we confront today require it the most.

In sum, the report argues that we live in a new uncertainty complex – never seen in human history and at a speed and scale beyond what humans have ever experienced.

With this background and against the incredible global progress over the longer run on conventional measures of wellbeing, Human Development is reversing for a second consecutive year, setting us back to 2016 levels. One of the frustrating ironies is that while we have more power to influence our future, we do not necessarily have any more control over it.

A few countries every year face declines in their HDI. But a massive 90% of countries saw their HDI drop in either 2020 or 2021.

Uzbekistan, however, resisted this decline and last year continued its HDI steady upward trend. Uzbekistan remains in the high human development category, with almost 20% increase of HDI value during the past 20 years.

The report also looks into what should be done in the face of these increasing and complex uncertainties. The uncertain times that we confront require that we go beyond the conventional ways of understanding and doing things. To focus on tackling social deficits, including deficits in human development. Uncertainties and insecurity are unequal, often hitting women, minority groups and many other groups first and hardest.

To navigate uncertainties, we need to create policies that focus on the Three I’s – investment, insurance and innovation, and social contexts that allow institutions and decision-making to respond creatively and nimbly.

  • Investments in capabilities required to thrive under uncertainty range from public goods to nature-based human development and investing in people. 
  • Insurance helps to protect everyone from contingencies in an uncertain world – social and human rights related insurance.
  • Innovation in its many forms – much more thank technological, but economic, social and cultural as well

Relevance to Uzbekistan

To come back to our key interest, Uzbekistan.  The country is no exception when it comes to global uncertainties, including climate and biodiversity challenges, deepening inequalities, and polarization.

Therefore, to keep the positive trend of its human development, it will be essential for Uzbekistan to introduce and implement appropriate policies that address these emerging trends.

These trends/uncertainties also lead to increased competition between countries for limited resources and share in global markets.

It is therefore indeed an opportune moment for Uzbekistan to further capitalize on its strengths and leverage emerging opportunities to expand its economic competitiveness and continue its reform momentum.

With that in mind, UNDP has supported drafting of the Concept on Economic Diplomacy aimed to help advance Uzbekistan’s interests and strengthen its position on the regional and global markets, particularly with economic and digital diplomacy.

The book we are presenting today is part of that effort to advance economic diplomacy.  It provides good snapshot of the progress achieved by Uzbekistan in its internal transformation so far and outlines the key challenges, opportunities and plans for the next iteration of its development.

We hope it will serve as a guide to existing and potential partners of the country and help building a new Uzbekistan.

I congratulate Uzbekistan for its continued solid performance with human development in the HDI 2022 and thank you for your attention.