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Four Years for Better Health – Outcomes of UNDP’s HIV Initiative

17 Dec 2015


Throughout its history the HIV/AIDS crisis has been an global struggle impacting nations around the globe, and while infections rates have been lower in Uzbekistan than in other nations, the state has nevertheless felt the epidemic’s effect. Addressing the nation’s HIV/AIDS situation has been a key focus of both national and international partners, including the Republican AIDS Centre, UNDP, UNICEF and UNAIDS. UNDP has served as a capacity building partner to the Uzbekistan government, with the ‘Continuing Scale Up of the Response to HIV’ project actively combatted rates of national infection. This has resulted from the development of infrastructure and the improvement of professional skill sets, while also making sure effective treatment and counselling services are available to HIV-positive individuals. With the work of strong partnerships, the tide of HIV is beginning to turn. “This multi-faceted project, which has been an enormous undertaking not just in terms of cost but also coordination, has established practices and facilities that will limit new HIV infections while also making more effective approaches to treatment the norm,” said project manager Zakir Kadirov. “At the end of December this initiative will conclude, but the frameworks put in place will make sure its impacts continue into the  Read More

Lessons from Estonia’s Best E-justice Practices

16 Dec 2015

image The Uzbekistan delegation, supported by UNDP Uzbekistan’s ‘Rule of Law’ project, meets with Estonia’s E-Goverance Academy director Arvo Ott

‘A strong e-justice system is just one key component of a broader e-governance system, and is an initiative that needs to be constantly developing and growing’ – this was one key lesson attained through a recent study tour conducted for a delegation of key Uzbekistan legal professionals. Along with presenting examples of the interconnectedness and fluidity of a strong e-governance system, the tour also put emphasis on methods of streamlining court operations. The six-day tour saw the participation of eleven delegates, including judges from Uzbekistan’s Supreme Court, the High Economic Court, representatives from regional/inter-district courts, and those from a range of relevant ministries and departments. The tour focused on the mechanisms of Estonia’s ‘E-Toimik’ e-justice system, and directions for its continued development, and presented through meetings with key justice figures, and through visits to courts, institutions and educational facilities. After the event it was intended that its outcomes should help shape a direction for the growth of Uzbekistan’s E-Sud system, making sure justice can be quickly and more effectively provided to individuals requiring assistance from courts. Estonia’s Experience Estonia has been recognized globally for the advancements it has made in terms of its e-justice programme, and this was evident to participants  Read More

Indoor Water for a Healthier Winter

15 Dec 2015

image This winter, Ziwar Begjanova and her family can enjoy safe water piped directly to their home

In the depths of winter there are few things more uncomfortable than hot running water turning cold, but this is nothing compared to a need to go out into snow and ice to fetch water from a communal pump. Until now, this was a regular part of life for Ms. Ziwar Begjanova – a resident in the isolated Nogai community of Uzbekistan’s Aral Sea region. “This year’s snow and cold weather won’t disturb us, as we won’t have to bother carrying water to our households from the neighbouring street.” Ms. Begjanova shared with staff from the UN Joint Programme. “This is because from now we will have tap water in our households.” The UN Joint Programme has worked in Uzbekistan’s far western region to combat the impacts of the Aral Sea disaster, with a primary focus on improving the region’s level of human development. A particular concern in the region is the daily struggle involved in obtaining water for household, farm and business use, and meeting the individual requirements of each village. In the case of Ms. Begjanova’s home village, and many others in the targeted regions, the development of improved water access was the result of a community development plan  Read More

Bicycles keep TB prevention on track

27 Nov 2015

image 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

image 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 innovative 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

A future on two wheels

20 Nov 2015

image 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

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

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