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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

image 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

image 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

Uzbekistan’s new Budget Code – What exactly is it?

28 Sep 2015

image UNDP UZBEKISTAN - By making the budgetary process more transparent and results-focused, the new Budget Code will help streamline and enhance development processes throughout the nation.

By the 'Budget System Reform in Uzbekistan' project manager Fayzulla Salakhuddinov and by blogging consultant James Brindley, with contributions by Victoria Anoshkina and Matluba Mukhamedova. Since its adoption in December 2013, the Budget Code of the Republic of Uzbekistan has for the first time in national history simplified the structure, components and processes of Uzbekistan’s budgetary system into one piece of legal document. It has been a long-process, but one whose result will have a positive, multiplying effect on nationwide development. Simplifying the content of 50 sets of previous legislation into one single Budget Code package, has been the result of a three year process that combined the efforts of the United Nations Development Programme, the Ministry of Finance and other national partners, along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Assistance for the Development of Exchanges in Economic and Financial Technologies (ADETEF). The code is currently in its testing stage, but once it is fully implemented and professionals throughout Uzbekistan have learnt how to turn its clauses into actions, the result will be a qualitatively new approach to creating national budgets, that will further empower development initiatives in turn. This blog provides an insight into what exactly the Budget Code  Read More

Who is behind remittances? A Profile of Uzbek Migrants

05 Mar 2015

image UNDP Uzbekistan: Remittances from Russia to Uzbekistan, mln USD

Blog by Ziyodullo Parpiev   We think we know everything about remittances flowing from host countries to source countries: amount of money, its transfer and what the remittances are spent on. We also know that, by positively contributing to consumption and poverty reduction, remittances can transform livelihoods of not only families receiving them, but also whole neighborhoods, regions and countries. But do we know about people who are sending the remittances, about families who depend on them, about neighborhoods which are being transformed by them? The goal of this blog post is to shed more light on the people behind remittances. Just few words about the importance of remittances in Uzbekistan: since 2009, remittances from Russia have increased at double-digit rates, and exceeded 6.6 billion U.S. dollars (approximately 12% of GDP) in 2013. It is estimated that due to the ongoing Russian ruble crisis, amount of remittances started falling already in 2014. A recent World Bank study (Ajwad et al, 2014) estimates that 2 million Uzbek citizens lived outside the country abroad as of 2010, which amounts to an emigration rate of approximately 7 percent of the population. The mobility rate is more than double the world average (3.2 percent) and  Read More

Answering calls for help – HIV Hotline in Tashkent

08 Dec 2014

image UNDP in Uzbekistan - A new HIV information hotline in Tashkent is making sure that essential medical and psychological support is never far away.

“I’ve just been diagnosed with HIV. What do I do now?” “I think I might have been involved in risky behaviour. Are there any post-exposure prophylactics I can use?” “Can my son still get married if he is HIV-positive? How could he minimise transmission to his spouse, and could he have healthy children?” At any given time there are only a few staff members operating the phones at Tashkent’s HIV hotline centre, which was established in coordination with the Tashkent City AIDS Centre, but every day they receive up to a dozen calls. Some callers want to learn about prevention, others to try to recover from the shock of diagnosis, and some are looking for advice about how to balance life with treatment. These confidential calls come not just from within Tashkent, but also from regional Uzbekistan, neighbouring countries, and even as far afield as Turkey and the Russian Federation. Established through the ‘Strengthening national capacities to address emerging challenges to halt the spread of the three diseases (AIDS, TB and Malaria)’ project since August 2014, in partnership between UNDP Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Health and Tashkent city AIDS Centre, the HIV hotline is the first of its kind in Uzbekistan.  Read More

Limited or unlimited opportunities of people living with disabilities?

01 Dec 2014

image At the meeting with Hillary Clinton, a former United States Secretary of State

Author: Oybek Isakov is a member of the Consulting Council of NGOs for people living with disabilities, under the National Association of NGOs Who can decide whether our lives will be full of happiness and positive emotions, or full of disappointment? Is the quality of our lives based on the country we live in, the society we are a part of, our fate, or just random events? In my years I have understood that my life is determined by my choices. I am responsible for it, and only I decide whether it will be bright, interesting and full of opportunities, or boring and unfulfilling. I am a person with specific needs, but that does not stop me from experiencing the world, being a part of society, or contributing to Uzbekistan’s development. In addition the conditions of our lives are always improving, and if we think this is personally not the case, then we can do our best to improve it ourselves. In 2006 the UN established the ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities’. In 2009 Uzbekistan signed this convention and took actions towards ratifying it. The convention is an important document - it is a guide that shows the  Read More

Figures show: teacher, doctor or artist - a typical “woman’s job” in Uzbekistan

25 Nov 2014


Gender equality is a vital topic in the majority of countries in the world, and is one of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG). It is also included as one of the Sustainable Development Goals that UN aims to achieve by 2030. In Uzbekistan, UN Development Program has been doing a lot of work towards women’s empowerment. Still, current statistical data shows that there are areas that need attention of the government, all economic sectors, and the society. Aiming to raise awareness of the gender equality issue in Uzbekistan, the UNDP Local Governance Support Project/Phase-2 has created infographic that illustrates current trends. According to the developed visual report, the number of women in Uzbekistan is almost equal to the number of men. But, in terms of territory, women prevail over men in the cities, and come short in the villages. On average, women live almost five years longer than men, and commit only 17% of crime. As for socio-economic participation, there are several gaps that need to be addressed. Thus, education shows significant inequality by gender. As the figures show, out of 258.4 thousand students entering universities, only 36.5% are women. Women predominantly study liberal arts and pedagogy – more than  Read More

Moscow Conference on HIV/AIDS Prevention

13 May 2014


The international conference titled ‘Effective Disaster Management for Saving Lives’ was held in Moscow, dedicated to discussing issues regarding HIV/AIDS prevention in East Europe and Central Asia. Within the framework of the jointly-implemented project ‘Continuing Scale Up of the Response to HIV’, funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the United Nations Development Programme in Uzbekistan supported the participation of the NGOs ‘Ishonch va hayot’ and ‘Protivorakovoe obshestvo Uzbekistana’ in the conference. The Uzbekistan Delegation was represented by specialists from the Republican AIDS Centre, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan, UNAIDS and other NGO members. In his opening address at the conference the Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Michel Sidibé called the East Europe and Central Asia regions important for a ‘revolution in HIV/AIDS prevention’. He highlighted significant progress made in preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission throughout all countries in the region within the last three years. Michel Sidibé also emphasised that the countries had lifted restrictions on entry and residence for HIV-positive individuals, and identified Uzbekistan as one of these countries. During the conference its participants paid attention to critical issues, modern strategies and prosperities in HIV/AIDS prevention in  Read More

A Watchful Eye – UNDP Security Guard Oksana Taran

08 May 2014


Tashkent resident Oksana Taran spends her free-time outdoors, visiting the city’s parks with her family. She also loves gardening and listening to music. This quiet weekend life is in stark contrast to her weekdays, during which the security of the UNDP Country Office relies on her constant vigilance. For some, having to protect millions of dollars of equipment, and more importantly the safety of 60 staff members, may seem an enormous responsibility. But this is precisely what makes Ms. Taran’s work fulfilling. “In my job I need to be fully aware of the circumstances and situations that surround me, so I need to be responsible and hard-working,” Ms. Taran said, speaking to the UNDP communications team. “I am the only female on our security team, and I feel the support, respect and care of my colleagues. I have great respect for the UN, and it has always been my ambition to work for the organisation.” Ms. Taran is one of thousands of Uzbek women who are breaking the cultural and social stereotypes of their gender, and who are paving the way for other women in previously-untapped professions. Having completed an illustrated career in the military, Ms. Taran is no stranger to  Read More