Image: UNDP Uzbekistan

16 June, TASHKENT – During her two-day visit to Uzbekistan on 15-16 June 2021, Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), reaffirmed the organization’s commitment to support the country’s people-centred, green and resilient development, particularly in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic. 

In speaking to a group of journalists at a press conference organized at the end of her visit,  Ms Spoljaric Egger said she was impressed with how the Government of Uzbekistan responded quickly and comprehensively to the COVID-19 pandemic.  “I commend Uzbekistan’s swift and comprehensive COVID19 response, the urge to look beyond recovery, and how response efforts have been linked to medium and longer-term sustainable development needs,” she said. “Right now, there is great momentum as Uzbekistan forms its next development strategy for 2022-2026 and determines future directions of growth.”

"I commend Uzbekistan’s swift and comprehensive COVID19 response, the urge to look beyond recovery, and how response efforts have been linked to medium and longer-term sustainable development needs,” she said. “Right now, there is great momentum as Uzbekistan forms its next development strategy for 2022-2026 and determines future directions of growth.”

During her visit, Ms Spoljaric Egger renewed UNDP’s collaboration with national partners to strengthen good governance, create green economic growth that benefits all citizens, and promote clean energy and better means of environmental protection. She also reiterated UNDP’s continued dedication to helping find innovative solutions to perennial challenges, including those faced in the Aral Sea region.

UNDP advocates for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) integration and will support a combination of policy and investments in governance, social protection, green economy, and digitalization – the four areas where we call for an ‘SDG Push’.” - Ms. Spoljaric Egger highlighted.

Ms Spoljaric Egger also attended an International Business Forum on enhancing women’s economic empowerment in Uzbekistan and throughout Central Asia. There she reiterated UNDP’s goal to mainstream gender within Uzbekistan’s critical entrepreneurship sector and addressed legal and regulatory barriers that prevent women’s participation in the economy.

The next day, Ms Spoljaric Egger handed over special equipment to Tashkent’s ‘Ishga Marhamat’ jobs center, whose job training programmes aim to increase youth employment as Uzbekistan enters the ‘Year of Supporting Youth and Improving Public Health’.

While in Uzbekistan, Ms Spoljaric Egger reasserted UNDP’s commitment to Uzbekistan’s national priorities of continued growth. These include improving parliamentary oversight of SDGs, driving forward Uzbekistan’s Poverty Reduction Strategy with a focus on vulnerable population groups, advancing Uzbekistan’s green recovery and transition from COVID-19, and supporting the National Gender Strategy.   

As Regional Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS since October 2018, Ms Spoljaric Egger leads projects and teams in 17 countries and one territory. The visit to Uzbekistan was Ms Spoljaric Egger’s first official trip since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

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