An international forum on global inter-parliamentary cooperation in achieving SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) is taking in the Bukhara city of Uzbekistan, 23-24 June 2021.
It is moderated by Chairperson of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis, Ms. Tanzila Narbayeva.
The forum is being held as part of the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan on adopting a special UN resolution on enhancing the role of parliaments in achieving global development goals and ensuring human rights, which was announced at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
The participants of the event, through physical and online presence, include the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Martin Chungong, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Peter Lord Bowness, Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic Speaking Countries Altynbek Mamayusupov, heads and members of parliaments of foreign countries, inter-parliamentary organizations, representatives of Youth Parliaments, government bodies, international organizations, NGOs, media, and experts from research institutes.
The organizers are the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction with the United Nations Agencies in Uzbekistan.
There are several thematic sessions:
- The role of Parliament in ensuring effective implementation of the SDGs;
- The Funding of the implementation of the SDGs;
- The creation of statistical indicators of the SDG;
- The participation of civil society institutions and public in the implementation of the SDGs;
- Parliamentary control, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the SDGs;
- Ensuring international dialogue and global partnership with the parliaments of the world for sustainable development (draft program).
Head of the forum, the Senate Chairperson Ms. Tanzila Narbaeva wrote an article which was published by the parliamentary newspaper Narodnoye Slovo on 23 June 2021.
Here is the article:
Uzbekistan on the path of sustainable development
Tanzila Narbaeva, Chair of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis
As humanity progresses, there is a growing need for joint solutions to global problems. In this regard, international organizations are taking measures to consolidate the efforts of all states, to involve them in solving urgent issues concerning the fate of the inhabitants of the planet. In particular, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), initiated by the United Nations, are of great importance and overarching nature for all of humanity. In 2015, the government of Uzbekistan made a commitment to implement in the country the issues of the UN Global Agenda for the period up to 2030.
Much has been done in the republic over the past period. First of all, in 2018, 16 National Sustainable Development Goals were adopted (the 14th goal “Conservation and rational use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” is not relevant for Uzbekistan), and 125 tasks arising from them.
In addition, a Council has been established to coordinate the implementation of the road map developed for the implementation of the SDGs. On March 20, 2019, it approved 206 indicators for monitoring their implementation. With the assistance of the United Nations Development Program, a web portal has been launched with information on 119 indicators, and on another 80 indicators, information is being collected.
The implementation of the goals is closely linked to the large-scale reforms carried out within the framework of the national Action Strategy for 2017-2021. The five priority areas of the strategy define the way to achieve the SDGs. At the same time, the SDGs are being integrated with national and regional development strategies and programs, in particular, with the Concept of Social and Economic Development of Uzbekistan until 2030.
With the assistance of the UN Economic and Social Council, the first Voluntary National Report on the results achieved in the implementation of the SDGs was prepared, which was presented at the political forum on July 15, 2020. Currently, SDG goals and indicators are included in more than 190 strategic documents, sectoral and territorial programs. The government monitors the effectiveness of reforms in 23 global ratings (indices), including the global SDG rating. At present, Uzbekistan occupies 66th place in it.
Currently, the parliament of Uzbekistan is actively involved in the processes of strengthening the rule of law, ensuring the well-being of the people, protecting human rights and interests, and strengthening international relations. To ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are reflected in the lives of everyone by 2030, MPs place particular emphasis on responsible approach and transparency.
Effective use of parliament’s oversight function is a key means of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Its application provides an objective assessment of the state of affairs in achieving the SDGs. In this regard, last year, the Parliamentary Commission was created to monitor the implementation of the National Goals and Objectives in the field of sustainable development for the period up to 2030 and its charter was approved. Using their powers in the field of lawmaking and oversight, both chambers of parliament are actively involved in the implementation of the goals and objectives of sustainable development. This process involves civil society institutions, youth, and local non-governmental non-profit organizations.
Tasks of the parliamentary commission:
-support, control and assistance in the activities of the Coordination Council in the implementation of the tasks assigned to it;
– Hearing once a quarter the reports of the Coordination Council on the implementation and achievement of results of the National goals and objectives;
-preparation of proposals for the development of draft laws and other regulatory legal acts;
-implementation of systematic monitoring of the implementation of legislation and regulatory legal acts aimed at ensuring the implementation of goals and objectives in the field of sustainable development of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
-conducting a critical analysis of the development of those areas that are included in the National Goals and Objectives for Sustainable Development for the period up to 2030 (in particular, issues of social sphere, health, ecology, gender equality, poverty eradication and others);
-determination of the actual state of affairs on the implementation of the National Goals and Objectives in the field of sustainable development for the period up to 2030;
– study of advanced foreign experience, participation in the development of international cooperation;
– consideration of the annual budget parameters provided by the government for their sufficiency and compliance with the plans for the implementation of the National SDGs in Uzbekistan and, if necessary, development of proposals for amending the State budget and the law on the State budget of the country for the next calendar year;
– maintaining public relations in order to widely publicize progress in the field of SDGs, including participation in the discussion and submission of voluntary national reviews at the political forum of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC);
– discussion of other issues within the competence of the commission.
The Commission is carrying out large-scale and consistent work. Last year, it studied the implementation in the regions of measures to reduce poverty, ensure food security, protect mothers and children, ensure gender equality and protect women’s rights, which is in line with the National Sustainable Development Goals. The study covered the progress of the implementation of 37 national objectives and more than 50 indicators, the reports of the leaders of 19 government agencies were heard.
Based on national goals, the Oliy Majlis sent 27 parliamentary, 388 senatorial and 338 deputy inquiries to members of the government.
The activities carried out correspond to the intention of the proposal put forward by the President at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly to adopt a special resolution to enhance the role of parliaments in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring human rights. In the process of considering laws, their assessment is based on the directions of the SDGs. Parliament is empowered to perform control functions, assess the performance of executive bodies, taking into account the implementation of the tasks of the Sustainable Development Goals in the field.
The Resolution adoption:
– allows strengthening the role of members of parliament in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, monitoring their implementation, ensuring the implementation of national plans and programs, exercising parliamentary control;
– contributes to the provision of the necessary conditions for the promotion of the principles of the UN Global Agenda, in particular, helps to create a system of national law, translate the principles of the SDGs into legislation, study and analyze them;
– contributes to the planning and approval of the budget in the framework of achieving the SDGs, decision-making in assessing the work performed, establishing an exchange of experience with other states in the field of decision-making.
Through the broad involvement of the national parliament in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, ties with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the UN have been strengthened.
The government has a weighty word
The government plays a special role in achieving the SDGs in Uzbekistan. It is carrying out large-scale work to improve the ranking in the SDG index. In particular, measures are being taken to establish cooperation with the “Bertelsmann Stiftung” fund, focused on calculating the index of global sustainable development goals, and establishing information exchange. For an objective assessment of activities to achieve the SDGs, work has begun on conducting a study on MICS. In parallel, preparatory work continues on population registration and victimization, conducting medical and demographic research, and improving statistical indicators. The participation of Uzbekistan in the international comparison program based on the purchasing power parities of the currency is envisaged.
The consistency in achieving the SDGs shown by the government of the republic is clearly visible in the process of combating the pandemic. As you know, the first case of the virus was registered in March 2020. Thanks to timely measures taken, it was possible to prevent a sharp increase in the number of infected. Accordingly, the mortality rate among patients was below the global average. So, by the end of March 2020, it amounted to 0.4 percent, in March 2021 – 0.7 percent.
At the beginning of last year, a Special Republican Commission was formed to prepare a Program of Measures to Prevent the Import and Spread of a New Type of Coronavirus in the Republic of Uzbekistan. Air, rail and road communications with other states were terminated. It was decided to close the institutions of preschool, secondary and higher education. Efforts have been made to return citizens who are abroad to Uzbekistan. Then the President announced priority measures to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the global crisis on the economy. In order to support economic recovery and improve the health care system, an Anti-Crisis Fund in the amount of ten trillion soums was established under the Ministry of Finance.
As part of these measures, small businesses and private enterprises were provided with tax incentives and deferred payments on loans. In March-April 2020, the President of Uzbekistan approved three more packages of anti-crisis measures. Efforts to optimize the capacity of the healthcare system were focused on the construction of three specialized hospitals for the treatment of patients, the production and purchase of ventilators, oxygen concentrators and personal protective equipment. Life itself has shown the effectiveness and timeliness of these steps.
Thanks to consistent progress towards achieving the SDGs over the past three years, Uzbekistan has made great strides in economic liberalization. They were clearly visible in 2015-2019, when the foundations that hindered the movement were radically changed due to the ongoing reforms aimed at ensuring economic growth and creating additional opportunities for citizens.
Achieving the National Goals based on the SDGs is the path chosen by Uzbekistan. The measures taken by the government to reform state institutions, further expand the participation of civil society in transformations, and improve public services in the areas of health care and education can only be welcomed.
What are the results achieved?
The SDGs have incorporated 17 goals; to achieve each, large-scale work is being carried out in the country, which gives significant results. For example, they began to seriously reduce the poverty level of the population, which ensured a decrease in this indicator from 12.8 percent in 2015 to 11 percent by 2019.
The second is food security. As a result of the work carried out in this direction in the Global Hunger Index, with 6.7 points, Uzbekistan took 30th place among 107 states, entering the group of countries with a low proportion of the undernourished population. The achievements are based on effective measures to meet the need for vital food products (wheat, salt, eggs, potatoes, fruits and vegetables, melons and grapes).
Another goal is to ensure a healthy lifestyle. The work done in this direction is recognized not only by compatriots, but also by the international community. Its results clearly show the decrease in the mortality rate of children under five years of age from 15.1 percent in 2015 to 12.4 percent in 2019.
A separate topic of our aspirations is gender equality. Over the past five years, the country has adopted many documents aimed at empowering women. If in 2015 there were 73 normative legal documents in the country providing full and wide access to services and information on preserving sexual and reproductive health from the age of 15, then in 2019 their number increased to 101. There are still problems in this direction. For example, the unemployment rate among women remains high in comparison with men. It is 12.8 percent. The proportion of female compatriots in leadership positions is still insufficient. Therefore, the Senate of the Oliy Majlis adopted the Strategy for Achieving Gender Equality until 2030, which regulates the creation of equal opportunities in all spheres for women in our country.
Tangible progress has been made towards another important goal of achieving universal coverage and quality in education. In particular, over the past three years, the coverage of preschool education has increased from 27.7 percent in 2017 to 60 percent. The number of students in higher educational institutions has also increased from 84 people for every ten thousand in 2016 to 130 in 2019.
In order to ensure environmental sustainability, the Concept of Environmental Protection until 2030 was adopted. It clearly outlines the priority directions of Uzbekistan’s environmental protection policy.
There is a lot of evidence to support the implementation of the SDGs. But we have a lot of tasks to complete. In their implementation, we will rely on international cooperation and the advanced experience of foreign countries. The international forum held in Bukhara will contribute to this in every possible way.
The effect of international cooperation
For the period up to 2030, the Global Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals will remain an integral part of the progress of all humankind. From this point of view, the SDGs are the foundation not of one state or individual nationality, but of the entire international community. Their implementation is possible with general solidarity, cooperation and mutual support.
The policy implemented in our country is based precisely on this vital need. For the successful implementation of the SDGs, the government of Uzbekistan has established close cooperation with the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), The International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and many others. In each of the areas of cooperation, programs are being implemented, and road maps are being introduced.
In contact with international organizations operating in our country, active work is being carried out in the following areas:
– ensuring the quality of protection of environmental objects (atmosphere, water, soil, bowels of the earth, biodiversity, protected natural areas) from anthropogenic impact and other negative factors;
– establishment of priority use of environmentally low-hazard materials, production facilities and others;
-extension of protected natural areas;
-providing environmentally safe use of toxic chemical and radioactive substances;
-improvement of the waste management system;
-forming the ecological culture of the population, increasing the transparency of the activities of state bodies for environmental protection and increasing the role of civil society in this.
These tasks outlined in the concept are carried out on the basis of the corresponding “road maps”. In particular, on November 27, 2018, under the auspices of the UN in New York, a high-level presentation and special event was held in connection with the creation of the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Human Security for the Aral Sea region. Its mission is to attract donor funds for the implementation of projects and programs to mitigate the consequences of an environmental disaster in the Aral Sea region.
The next step was the adoption by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan on January 8, 2019, resolutions “On measures to support the activities of the Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Human Security for the Aral Sea region under the auspices of the United Nations”, including the “road map” in this direction.
According to the decree, an interdepartmental working commission was formed to support the activities of the trust fund and attract funds from the donor community. In order to create a legal, institutional framework
On January 24, 2019, the first meeting of the committee of the fund’s board was held, at which the composition of the committee and the technical secretariat, as well as the leadership, were approved.
Last year, the government of Norway transferred $ 1.1 million to his current account, and the government of Uzbekistan – $ 2 million. These funds were used to finance two projects in the Republic of Karakalpakstan.
Forum will give momentum to efforts
The forum in Bukhara will consider the work carried out in the country to implement the SDGs, the role of the national parliament in it, as well as the results of international cooperation. The event should become a platform for dialogue to exchange experience. It is held by the chambers of the Oliy Majlis, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction in cooperation with the UN structural units in our country. Members of parliament, as well as representatives of major international and inter-parliamentary organizations, youth parliaments, civil society institutions and government departments will take part in the work. Among the invited speakers are 30 speakers from the European Parliament, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Bulgaria, the Republic of Korea, China, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and a number of international organizations … Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Martin Chungong, who is arriving in our country for the first time, also expressed his desire to participate in this forum.
The following issues will be considered at the international forum:
– the role of parliament in ensuring the successful implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals;
-financing of activities for the implementation of the SDGs;
-forming statistical indicators of the SDGs;
-participation in this process of civil society institutions and the general public;
-the importance of parliamentary oversight, monitoring and evaluation in the implementation of the SDGs;
-development of international dialogue in this direction between the parliaments of the world and global cooperation.
As a result of the forum, it is expected that the Bukhara Declaration on inter-parliamentary global cooperation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will be adopted.
In a word, this forum, held for the first time not only in the history of Uzbekistan, but throughout the world, will play an important role in the implementation of the SDGs. The interaction of the parliaments of the countries in this direction is based on the interests of all mankind. Efforts based on mutual agreement and cooperation will help achieve the SDGs at the national, regional and global levels. /// nCa, 24 June 2021 (in cooperation with Embassy of Uzbekistan in Turkmenistan)