Our Blog

Beating corruption with prevention

20 Jun 2016

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By Blogging Consultant James Brindley Corruption is a universal problem, one faced by developing and developed nations alike, and it manifests itself in ways ranging from misappropriation of funds, to hiring nepotism, and a myriad of other incarnations. In one prevalent example, operation procedures for public services can be complicated or unclear to the point that people will turn to illegal avenues for getting things done. It’s possible to combat corruption when its impacts are felt, but prevention is more effective. A system should be created where people have faith that government services and processes are efficient, concerns are heard, applications are treated fairly, and communication channels stay open. This system would eliminate the ‘need’ for corruption. Uzbekistan is a signatory of several international protocols serving to limit the spread of corruption, particularly the United Nations Convention against Corruption that makes government bodies responsibility for fighting the scourge with the tool of innovation. To turn these agreements into action, UNDP’s ‘Support to enhancement of law-making, rulemaking and RIA’ project has collaborated with national partners in creating a policy that eliminates the gaps and ambiguity in laws and legislation that make corruption possible. What makes this policy practical “The policy helps create  Read More

Creating a Center of Earthquake Knowledge

13 Jun 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan: The Earthquake Simulation Complex is an apex of work undertaken to boost Uzbekistan's disaster preparedness and awareness

On April’s 50th anniversary of Tashkent’s 1966 earthquake, 20 visitors toured Tashkent’s Earthquake Centre. It had been operating for a year, not only as an educational centre and a cultural and historic monument, but also as a reminder of what can’t be predicted but only prepared for. While this centre has only been recently established it is a functioning symbol of a new state of natural disaster preparedness, created to prepare Tashkent and greater Uzbekistan for what may come in the future. A state of watchful readiness Waking up in Tashkent to a shaking floor isn’t an unusual occurrence, but it’s not one that should be flippantly overlooked. Not everyone who experiences these tremors knows how to react during quakes, making assets like the Earthquake Simulation Centre invaluable. Before the centre was established, UNDP recognized that isolated and vulnerable people need help preparing for quakes, and so communication channels were created through the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Particularly children have been reached through educational courses, games and films, while training has been brought to people who can’t leave home. Efforts to improve preparedness have also tapped into better national access to internet systems, through the creation and distribution of a phone  Read More

Aral Sea Shores Pt. 2 – Battling the Dust

23 May 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan - Teaching farmers how to get the most out of their land, and encouraging them to share that knowledge with their peers, has been a vital part of boosting human security in Karakalpakstan

By Blogging Consultant James Brindley The UN Aral Sea Joint Programme ended in 2016, concluding four years of work addressing long-term social, health and economic impacts of the Aral Sea disaster. To present the project’s main results and its sustainability, we are publishing three blogs about the completed work and what the next plans are. Building on our last blog that looked at how we’ve made communities more economically and socially resilient, in this blog we’ll look specifically at how our programme has worked to counter environmental problems caused by the Aral Sea disaster. We’ll look at how worsened desertification and airborne sands have directly influenced human security and well-being in the region, and how we’ve worked to address these crucial issues. (Human Security refers to maintaining livelihood and standards of living in the face of trying circumstances – check out our previous blog to learn more about the concept as it applies to our response to the Aral Sea disaster) Resilient agriculture Alternative business is growing in Karakalpakstan, but to a strong degree agriculture has replaced fishing as a major source of income in the region, and the well-being of communities relies on how farms can maximise their outputs and  Read More

Export Made Easy - Uzbekistan's First National Electronic Trading Platform

22 May 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan - The UzTrade website is a new channel to deliver unique national products, like high-quality fruit and vegetables, to overseas buyers

By Blogging Consultant James Brindley “Our company specializes in producing and selling fresh and dried agro-produce, and we are interested in expanding into new markets. The new ‘UzTrade’ trading platform provides us with a channel to offer products to a larger circle of potential overseas buyers,” entrepreneur Mr. Askar Kadirov told UNDP staff at the opening of Uzbekistan’s first online platform for international business. Like Odinakhon Saidova, who we featured in a previous blog on international trade fairs, Mr. Kadirov’s goal is to turn domestic success into international trend-setting. His company Spectrum ITG exports fruits and vegetables, products that Uzbekistan is already renowned for, and the UzTrade website has been proved the best tool for facilitating this trade. “I believe that through ‘UzTrade’ I will conclude more contracts and increase export volumes," he said. "I would like to thank the website’s initiators and developers for their good job. The initiative was simply necessary in the era of e-commerce.” Ground-breaking tool for business “Bill Gates’s quote – “If your business is not on the Internet, then your business will be out of business”, absolutely applies to benefits of the newly-established ‘UzTrade’ Electronic Trade Platform for Uzbekistan SMEs,” said website client Mr. Mumtoz Dalimov, from Tune Consulting LLC. It's  Read More

Preparation in Action – Kamchik Pass

11 May 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan: Securing the essential Kamchik pass in a national priority.

By Blogging Consultant James Brindley One Friday morning in late 2016, Tashkent feels a slightly stronger-than-usual earthquake. At the UN Country Office, staff feel distinct vibrations through the floor and walls and ripples appear in cups of coffee. Meeting participants scramble under the conference table and take hold, while other staff do the same at their desks, and colleagues in corridors crouch next to the nearest load-bearing wall. After a few seconds the shuddering ends, staff gather to make sure no one is hurt, and life continues as normal. However, on an isolated stretch of the Kamchik Pass that connects the fertile Namangan, Andijan and Fergana regions to Western Uzbekistan, a much stronger earthquake hits accompanied by a rockfall and landslide. In the time of a radio transmission a series of well-established systems and meticulously-rehearsed procedures kick into action, helping to keep stranded motorists safe and re-opening a transport route. *** This is only a hypothetical scenario, but one that presents the vital work UNDP Uzbekistan conducts in partnership with the Ministry of Emergency Situations to better fortify the nation against possible natural disasters. The established systems that will limit the impact of such natural disasters, should they occur in the  Read More

Changes in industrial demand for personnel

05 May 2016

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The economic breakthrough, enabling shift of the country to upper segment of middle-income countries according to methodology of international development organizations will largely depend on the quality of manpower that are available on labor market. Workforce shall be able to work with the most modern facilities, offer and implement innovative ideas and solutions. President Islam Karimov set a target to increase industry’s share in the country’s GDP. Nowadays, as well as in near future there will be a greater demand for technical personnel. A diagram below shows forecast for industrial sector’s demand for personnel. The diagram confirms accuracy of the chosen path to implement the professional colleges system. At the same time, educational system faces new challenges caused by rapidly changing conditions of market economy. In this regard, technicians must not only be produced by colleges but also meet expectations of employers in the private sector. Graph I Meanwhile, in order to meet requirements of industrial demand, it is necessary to take additional measures and change the training process, primarily professional college students. There are, on average, 500,000 pupil graduating from the secondary school annually in the country, of which 90% continue their studies at professional colleges. Currently, every pupil is  Read More

Aral Sea Shores pt. I – Evolved Communities

24 Apr 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan: Providing vulnerable groups with employment and incomes has been just one objective of the Aral Sea Joint Programme's work in targeted districts

By Blogging Consultant James Brindley This is the first in a series of blogs that present the results of the UN Aral Sea Joint Programme, specifically looking at the development of communities and alternative business. The second blog will look into how the programme reviews the human impacts of environmental change, and the third will review how the programme’s impacts will be sustained into the future. Every country around the world faces challenges. Some challenges are resolved through naturally changes over time, while others need focus, perseverance and thinking outside the box. As my home, Australia has no shortage of environmental, economic and particularly social difficulties – pride in my nation comes from its doggedly tackling these concerns for the benefit of all its citizens. For Uzbekistan, a major challenge is the Aral Sea Disaster – a situation not created but inherited, but one whose repercussions are now coming to bear. While life can be difficult in this far western region, the combined efforts of UNDP, UNFPA, UNESCO, WHO and UNV, and tireless contributions by regional government, have shown what can be achieved. The best way to see changes made by the Aral Sea UN Joint Programme is to visit communities  Read More

Planning for climate change – An approach for agriculture in Uzbekistan’s Dry Regions

12 Apr 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan: At a project inception meeting, stakeholders meet on-site to discuss how climate change risks can be most effectively mitigated

By Blogging Consultant James Brindley  While December 2015’s Paris Conference generated a global push to combat climate change, closer to home UNDP Uzbekistan has engaged national partner representatives in planning an approach to addressing the global challenge. Climate change is a particular concern in regions with environmental challenges, an example being agricultural communities in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan region which have grappled with dry climates, extreme temperatures and water deficits, but have to date withstood climate change-induced risks. Assisting the transition from spontaneous climate change adaptation to a planned approach has been the purpose of UNDP’s jointly-implemented ‘Developing Climate Resilience of Farming Communities in Drought Prone Parts of Uzbekistan’ project. Planning for this initiative began in late 2014, with the input of national partners, international expertise and the intended beneficiaries themselves, making sure the project would be well coordinated and implemented. As a result of this extensive planning process, 2015 saw the establishment of two demonstration workshops held both in the western city of Nukus and at the project’s pilot site in the Kegeyli district. As a means of overcoming the problem of boosting Karakalpakstan’s climate security, the workshops presented the use of information sharing systems designed to prepare farmers for potential future  Read More

Why putting climate change on paper will make a difference

11 Apr 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan: The new Climate Risk Profile report serves as a framework for helping Uzbekistan's most vulnerable communities overcome climate change risks

By Blogging Consultant James Brindley Uzbekistan is a country of different environments – in the east the terrain is dominated by snow-caped mountains and grassy hillsides, while journeying west reveals extensively-farmed fertile lands, gradually shifting into dry regions and eventually the Karakalpakstan deserts and the Aral Sea’s shores. What these vastly-different areas have in common is that the health of their environments, and the well-being of people who live there, are both vulnerable to the accelerating effects of climate change. Proceeded by an uncharacteristically mild winter, a number of 2016 initiatives will focus on addressing Uzbekistan’s climate change threats, and among these include the promotion of the Climate Risk Profile (CRP) document as an authoritative information source regarding climate change in Uzbekistan. It’s creators, including UNDP and national research partners, hope it will inform people of both the existing climate change induced risks and the way that they can be mitigated. “This report intends to put the matter of climate change induced risks onto a national scale, an area not yet broadly considered, but one that can have a significant impact on Uzbekistan’s future,” said Ms. Natalya Agaltseva, the manager of the Climate Resilience project supported by UNDP Uzbekistan, who coordinated the  Read More

From the Basics Up – How to Build Good ICT in Government

04 Apr 2016

image UNDP Uzbekistan - ICT expert Andrey Kuznetsov highlights the need for institutional reform as a bedrock for strong e-governance

By Blogging Consultant James Brindley When Latvian ICT expert Andrey Kuznetsov presented at a national seminar hosted by UNDP’s ‘E-Government Promotion for Improved Public Service Delivery’ project and its partners in December 2015, the message was simple – the strength of an ICT-based e-governance system is only as solid as the institutions it’s built on. Institutional reform is a pre-requisite of e-governance – it is a foundation that needs to be built before ICT is introduced. “Only then can follow the implementation of any ICT solution,” Mr. Kuznetsov said to UNDP Uzbekistan, after completing his mission to Uzbekistan. “An attempt to 'push' old paper-based technology and approaches into an ICT system can never improve services, but in most cases makes situation even worse than without automation at all.” Good ICT with the Back Office to Match Back when e-governance was a new idea being introduced in Uzbekistan, systems at the time relied extensively on written paperwork which made implementing public services a time-intensive process, and limited the government’s ability to act as a service provider. Considerable progress has been made from that point, with ICT systems having been introduced into courts, business, governance, and most significantly through the medium of the nation’s  Read More