Our Blog

      • Bicycles keep TB prevention on track

        27 Nov 2015

        With a bicycle on hand, health volunteer Juzimgul Matirzaeva can share valuable information about Tuberculosis with isolated households

        "There was a TB patient who suspected that he might have had lung-related health issues, but because of limited information about the need for timely visits to the Rural Health Point and stigma-related issues, he preferred to hide the disease,” health volunteer Juzimgul Matirzaeva shared with UNDP staff, during a break in her busy schedule spreading news about the illness among vulnerable families in her local ‘Krantau’ village of 1,620 households. In her field, a majority of the work focuses on limiting the impacts of misinformation. “Most people think that TB is incurable, and they try to keep themselves away from TB patients, but our awareness campaign has made a change in people’s perceptions of the disease.” The spread of Tuberculosis (TB) in Uzbekistan’s far northwestern Karakalpakstan region has been one of the more intangible but nevertheless concerning impacts of the Aral Sea disaster, one bourgeoned by poor air quality and nutritional concerns. Fear of the illness, multiplied by a lack of knowledge of how it is spread and the effective treatments that are available, creates an atmosphere of stigma.  To counter this rising concern, within the Aral Sea joint programme operating in western Uzbekistan, 1,730 community volunteers have been trained  Read More

      • Coding for Change

        24 Nov 2015

        Alisher Mukhtarov presents the 'Fixit' app to the innovative programmers at UNDP Uzbekistan's 'Hackathon' event

        C++, JavaScript, Python and PHP – while these languages can’t be spoken out loud, they help inform and connect people around the world. Today’s celebrated inventors are those who have used programming languages to create tools like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, or those who design the hardware that make these tools ever easier to access and utilize.  The fruits of these minds are helping address the remaining challenges faced in achieving equal human prosperity and development. From the 10th to the 12th of September, UNDP and the Ministry for Development of Information Technologies and Communications of the Republic of Uzbekistan organised Uzbekistan’s first ever ‘Hackathon’ – an event at which programmers used the competitive spirit to create astounding products. The results have been many astounding and practical apps, which among others have included an interactive social map of Uzbekistan, a 3D presentation of bus routes, and a transformation of economic data into a virtual reality setting. The event’s winning team ‘Intense Group’ travelled over 500 km from the city of Bukhara to take part in the event. Their winning application ‘Fixit’, currently in the stage of ongoing development, intends to bridge gaps between citizens and their government in addressing urban issues  Read More

      • ICT Bridge between Uzbekistan’s government and citizenry

        20 Nov 2015


        In April this year, Uzbekistan’s first Open Data Portal was established, as a result of UNDP’s support for the implementation of the ‘Programme on the Development of a National Information and Communication System of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2013-2020’. The actual launch of the website itself was a momentous occasion, but the real tangible impact of the website, is that for the first time in national history a direct channel of information has been formed between the ministries and departments of the Government of Uzbekistan, and the greater public. It’s true that the website is ground-breaking in its size and breadth – 600 datasets have so far been posted, with a slow but steady trend towards a prominence of gender-segregated data (demographic information distinguishing between genders). The website already has 60,000 visits and more than twice that many downloads, while more and more departments and agencies have uploaded information on to the website. However that’s not the most exciting part aspect of the portal. What is most exciting, is that the information and communication channel the portal provides is two-way. ICT development in Uzbekistan The Open Data Portal is an outcome of a collaborative and dedicated effort to make sure  Read More

      • A future on two wheels

        20 Nov 2015

        Cycling enthusiast Zoya Mayorova on the road

        The humble bicycle has been a symbol of social equality and empowerment from its earliest days. Anyone familiar with the story of the Penny Farthing will know that its invention was followed immediately by the social drive to ensure both women and men could benefit from the newly-fangled device. Students of history will recall photographs of endless rows of bikes at Tiananmen Square. Today bicycles are recognised as a low-tech means of transportation with endless applications in the development field, while also being a healthy form of exercise and greatly positive for the environment. In 2015 UNDP Uzbekistan and its partners have embraced the two wheels as a tool for empowerment and education. Importantly bikes have been provided to health volunteers distributing information about Tuberculosis in Uzbekistan’s western Karakalpakstan region, efforts which will be discussed in an upcoming blog. The GEF SGP project has hosted this year’s Velokvest-2015 (Cycle Quest) event in Tashkent, a game that brought together biking and intellectual challenges, and we spoke to a member of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ squad Zoya Mayorova about what it is like to be a biker in Uzbekistan’s capital city. More than a popular trend “Biking brings together people of different genders and ages,  Read More

      • How to reduce administrative burden on businesses?

        29 Oct 2015


        Despite the effective measures taken by the government on consistent reduction of the financial burden on businesses (by decreasing taxes and other obligatory payments), and simplification of permission and licensing procedures, the administrative burden still remains significant in the form of numerous formalities and obligations imposed by requirements of regulatory acts. One of the important factors influencing the situation is the unrelenting stream of the drafting and adopting regulatory acts. Thus, the analysis of the data of the National Database of the Legislation of  Uzbekistan (www.lex.uz) shows that on average 0.7 to 1.2 thousand legal acts are being adopted annually, 30 - 40 % of which affect the businesses directly. From 2005 to 2014 the total number of the annually adopted legal acts increased by 2 times, the number of departmental acts - also by 2 times and the government's decisions -by 1.4 times. Figure 1. Annual growth in total number of legal acts adopted in Uzbekistan (2005-2014)  Source: calculations based on the data of www.lex.uz, “Support to the Enhancement of Lawmaking, Rulemaking and Regulatory Impact Assessment” UNDP Project This, in turn, may result in additional costs of businesses to meet the requirements of a large number of regulatory documents (so-called  Read More

      • Bolds steps in business to protect the ozone

        28 Oct 2015


        By International Blogging Consultant James Brindley, and HCFC project manager Abror Khodjaev ‘Change’ is simple to do, but it is by no means easy. This is especially the case when the change involves a shift from a simple and economically-advantageous practice, to one that challenges accepted business practices, but has a broad and important impact on the environment. The need to protect the Ozone Layer is a fundamental challenge that has been faced since the 1970s. Scientists around the globe have proven that without humans taking due care and re-evaluating their actions, they could very well cause a range of destructive impacts. For key stakeholders including companies within the food industry, changing traditional and lucrative practices to those that will protect the earth requires much more courage and responsibility. In collaboration with the ‘Initial Implementation of Accelerated HCFC Phase-out in the CEIT Region’ project, operated by UNDP, the State Committee for Nature Protection of Uzbekistan and the Global Environmental Facility, several companies in Uzbekistan have made bold but rewarding decisions to actively reduce their use of Ozone Depleting Substances. Below we present two of their stories. A change in approach “Introducing new industrial practices involves investments of time and money, for  Read More

      • Re-thinking social care for vulnerable citizens

        23 Oct 2015


        To know what the saying ‘Family First’ really means, follow up on a dinner invite to an Uzbek household. You’ll find that the notion of the ‘immediate family’ expands out from children and their parents, to uncles and aunts, parents-in-law, grandparents, sometimes great-grandparents, and friends of the family who are close enough to be honorary brothers and sisters. You’ll also discover that elders receive a great deal of respect. Family takes supreme importance in Uzbekistan, and that means that vulnerable people including the elderly will most often receive support from their families, regardless of their financial situation. However if elderly people do not have family living close by, often because relatives are working and living abroad, a minimal level of social support means they can have difficulty making ends meet and retiring in dignity. People living with disabilities may have a lack of family support, not necessarily because of the absence of relatives, but rather due to the unfortunate social stigma against disability. Thankfully though, things are changing. Where have we come from? On the 18th of August, the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers ‘On enhancing targeted social protection of older people and persons with disabilities’ was approved, jointly developed  Read More

      • Knowledge on two wheels – Volunteers on the Aral Steppes fight Tuberculosis

        20 Oct 2015


        Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan – In my school books the Aral Sea was still the world's fourth largest lake, providing stocks of fish to the then Soviet Union. Now what remains of the salt lake is only a memory, since ninety per cent of the lake that belongs partly to Kazakhstan and partly to Uzbekistan, has since evaporated into the air. The area of Karakalpakstan that bears the greatest brunt of drought lies downstream on the Amudarya River. One-third of the population lives below the poverty line, making it the poorest area in Uzbekistan. On the barren Aral steppes, many communities are struggling to survive because the lake’s evaporation has slowly withered away the two most important industries - agriculture and fisheries. For one and a half years I followed one of the world’s largest ecological catastrophes up close, and learned to respect the value of clean water. The consequences of the water’s disappearance have been unpredictable and dangerous. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of dried and fruitless lake bed have become the source of raging sandstorms. Climatic conditions change radically during the year, with summer temperatures soaring to 50 degrees Celsius, and the winter freezing dropping down to -30 degrees Celsius. Pesticides  Read More

      • How a fruit drying tunnel transformed a community

        08 Oct 2015

        UNDP in Uzbekistan: Sodikzhon Tursunov is one of many Zarkent village farmers who has set up his own fruit drying tunnel, following the example of the ‘Gold Zarkent Max’ social initiative.

        By ‘Aid for Trade’ project manager Dilshod Akbarov, and international blogging consultant James Brindley The structure itself combines only sheet metal, bricks, some cast Iron rails and wheels, an engine and power connection, and a healthy combination of machine and elbow grease. It’s a simple piece of machinery, but one that can potentially transform a community. This is a story about Zarkent village of the Namangan region’s Yangikurgan district. For astute followers of UNDP Uzbekistan’s work, ‘Zarkent’ is a name that will ring a few bells - it is the ‘MDG Village’ where UNDP presented how the goals can be achieved by introducing green energy, improving infrastructure and encouraging small business. The village was chosen for this role because, while it is located in one of Uzbekistan’s most fertile regions, it also still faces a number of constraints in regards to applying marketable approaches and modern technologies to boost its agricultural potential.    The construction of the fruit-drying machine in 2013 by the ‘Gold Zarkent Max’ farmer’s initiative is the latest in a set of initiatives undertaken to improve the development of alternative income generation in Zarkent, and enhance its well-being. Why dried fruit is important Visit any Uzbek ‘Bazaar’ and you  Read More

      • Improving court assessment, as a step towards introducing better practices

        30 Sep 2015

        UNDP UZBEKISTAN - Less frequent and more thorough side visits, improved data entry and public services have been proposed as means of improving the monitoring of Uzbekistan's courts.

        By ‘Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan' project manager Erkin Abdurizaev, and blogging consultant James Brindley Speedy and efficient legal processes are vital to preserving the human rights of citizens in Uzbekistan and any other nation, as they ensure that justice is available for all, while maintaining the rule of law. Making sure that courts operate in an optimized way requires a strong approach to monitoring and maintenance. In July 2015, international consultant on the Strategic Planning and Management of Court Systems Kathryn Harrison reviewed existing mechanisms for evaluating court performance in Uzbekistan, in cooperation with UNDP’s ‘Rule of Law Partnership in Uzbekistan’ project. Her visit involving meetings with high-ranking legal professionals, combined with an overview of best foreign practices related to court performance assessment, helped establish a nationally-applicable list of recommendations. “Currently, there is a certain evaluation framework, and specific criteria, for court performance evaluation, developed by the Supreme Court together with the Higher Qualification Commission on Selection and Appointment of Judges under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Supreme Economic Court,” Ms. Harrison said. “At the current stage we need to develop specific mechanisms for carrying out such a framework, involving answering such questions as how the  Read More