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HIV - Living Behind a Disguise

17 Feb 2014

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By UNDP Online Communications Assistant James Brindley - In many ways Sherzhod is the face of Uzbekistan’s younger generation; he is a tech-savvy  urban youth who is always on the hunt for next idea. Right now he works a typical job that a 22-year-old could expect, but dreams about a future career in medicine, so he knows that extra studying lies near in the future. Like many of his peers in Uzbekistan, he is expected to get married and start a family, but for now he is content to pursue his career and to try and make an impact. He is also living with an illness. In reality, he told me during an interview at the offices of the NGO where he works in Tashkent, his illness is not that bad. There are plenty of things that could make his life harder and shorter, but in the scheme of things he is relatively healthy. What distresses him more are not his illness’s symptoms, but its reputation, and the fact that he cannot tell anyone about it. Sherzhod is not his real name, and he is one of an approximate 24,000 Uzbek people who are HIV-positive. HIV is a persistent problem in Uzbekistan,  Read More

Cutting Through the Red Tape

17 Feb 2014

image Steps are being taken to ensure that national finances are delivered to the sectors that need them, in a timely and efficient way.

By Online Communications Assistant James Brindley and the PR Specialist of the ‘Budget System Reform in Uzbekistan’ project Malika Tayjanova In 2013 and in years before, the formulation of annual budgets in Uzbekistan was an arduous task. In a centralised process, producing annual budgets required referrals to 50 often-contradictory documents and two laws. This process was invariably slow in regional Uzbekistan. However, three years of extensive collaboration between UNDP and the Ministry of Finance has led to the development of a Budget Code. The main focus of UNDP’s work towards establishing a Budget Code, officially introduced in January 2014, has been to simplify budgetary processes while also ensuring the use of Performance-Based Budgeting. Making steps towards streamlining Uzbekistan’s budgetary process has, first and foremost, required the simplification of related legislation. Before the Budget Code, financial experts developed annual budgets by using two separate laws (the first addressing budgetary processes and the second addressing budgetary funds), along with a range of often contradictory documents associated with these processes. Today both laws have been compiled into a single piece of legislation, and a Budget Code has been formulated. By clarifying the budgetary process and eliminating the possibility of misinterpretation of key documents, the  Read More

Gender-based violence in Uzbekistan

23 Jan 2014

image Why victims remain silent in Uzbekistan

By Komila Rakhimova - Putting gender-based violence on the national agenda is of paramount concern for Uzbekistan, as there are few statistics on this issue and services for victims are scarce. The subject of violence against women is taboo not only in society, but also in policy discussions by the nation’s leaders. Across Uzbekistan, only a few shelters and non-governmental organizations, some unofficially, provide services for women and children who have been victims of violence. That’s why we used the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women as an opportunity to get the word out about this subject. The global day is designed to do just that: Get people thinking and talking about an issue that is often unspoken of in day-to-day life. UNDP collaborated with national partners on activities for the annual joint United Nations 16 Days of Activism campaign, From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World, which ran from 25 November to 10 December. Campaign activities, including interactive games and quizzes, took place across all 14 regions of the country. Sports associations also played a large role in this year’s campaign by providing demonstrations of self-defence techniques. We also updated our information booklet, which contains contact information for organizations that provide legal,  Read More

A Day in the Life of … a UNV Community Volunteer Coordinator in Uzbekistan

13 Dec 2013

image Maksuda with volunteers at a workshop on raising awareness about preventing HIV and AIDS

By Andreas Karpati - Meet 40 year old Maksuda Muhsinbaeva, Community Volunteer Coordinator based in Namangan, the most populous city in the Fergana Valley in Eastern Uzbekistan. She has a background in psychology, a decade-long record in community development with both local and international organizations, and is now one of several National United Nations Volunteers throughout the regions of Uzbekistan. The project that Maksuda is part of, Social Innovation and Volunteerism in Uzbekistan, is led jointly by UNDP and UN Volunteers. Its mission is to create an environment that’s more supportive of youth volunteerism, civic engagement, and to encourage the use of innovative approaches to tackle community challenges. The project is based in the capital, Tashkent, and it has no national counterpart, so bringing the project’s benefits outside the capital is a challenge. Given that there’s a considerable opportunity gap between the well-developed metropolitan area of Tashkent and provincial cities (not to mention more rural regions), it’s imperative to make sure the project reaches these areas too. This is where Community Volunteer Coordinators like Maksuda come in. They help deliver the benefits of initiatives like small grants schemes, social innovation workshops or youth-run debating clubs, tried and tested in Tashkent, throughout the country. It’s satisfying but challenging  Read More

South-south cooperation: Is it time for Uzbekistan to become a donor?

18 Sep 2013

image Tashkent - A city on the rise

by Ildus Kamilov - South‒south cooperation has the potential to not only invigorate Uzbekistan’s economy but also stimulate economic growth across the region. How? South‒south cooperation is the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge between developing countries, known as the global south. Through this cooperation, Uzbekistan can decrease its dependence on foreign aid and even create a shift in the international balance of power, strengthening economic ties among the countries of Central Asia. And now is the time for Uzbekistan to step up and become an emerging donor. (Developing world reshaping the future, says global Human Development Report) Transforming from a recipient of assistance into a donor country can bolster a country’s economic and political status, and the Uzbek development model makes the country ripe for just such a move. Uzbekistan could also enjoy political and economic dividends from supporting research by foreign experts through the support of grants and other tools for the promotion of scientific exchange. Liberal economists usually complain about the strict interventionist policies of the Uzbek Government. However, even the most orthodox liberal cannot contest the seven to eight percent annual GDP growth (pdf) Uzbekistan experienced during the global financial crisis of 2008. According to official reports, the Uzbekistan Fund for Reconstruction and Development reached $10 billion in 2012 and is expected to grow to $15 billion by 2016. The  Read More

Beyond Receipts and Contracts – UNDP Operations in Uzbekistan

26 Jun 2013

image The work of UNDP in Uzbekistan's operations department has a direct impact on our agencies nationwide work, and can mean the difference between failure and success.

The medication required for the antiretroviral treatment needed by people living with HIV in Uzbekistan is as fragile as it is crucial – it needs to be maintained at the right temperature, delivered in the right format, and be on hand when and where it is required. This makes getting the vital medication from the supplier to the patient, part of the UNDP project combating HIV in Uzbekistan, a delicate process.  Inconsistent refrigeration before and after delivery can limit the medication’s effectiveness. Incomplete documentation and transportation delays mean supplies may not be delivered where and when they are required. Both impact the livelihoods of patients, and put their well-being at risk. Delivering everything from ARVT medication to milk storage equipment, hiring the right expertise and making sure the necessary utilities and services are available, are all part of the UNDP Operations Unit’s work to guarantee the success of the agency’s national projects. “Whenever we do procurement, recruitment or payments, we see it not just as buying products, hiring consultants or meeting financial obligations,” Operations Manager Mr. Shavkat Muminov said. “Ultimately we are ensuring that the beneficiaries, the people we support, are getting the help they need.” “This is especially the case  Read More