AKIPRESS.COM - Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Aziz Abdukhakimov and UN Resident Coordinator Helena Fraser launched the Joint Programme on Social Protection. The project agreement was signed on November 11 to prioritize the most vulnerable groups of population, with the objective of leaving no one behind.
Over the last few years, Uzbekistan has invested between 6-9% of its GDP annually into social protection services. Despite this commitment, there are some critical barriers in the system that affect its effectiveness. For example, social protection functions are currently fragmented across various ministries and agencies. This leads to the lack of a common vision and comprehensive approaches needed to lift individuals and families out of difficult life situations.
Global experience shows that the ongoing socio-economic reforms in the country may create short-term shocks for some vulnerable groups of people and they need to be supported by a strong social protection system.
For this, the UN system and the Government agreed to jointly implement a programme to reform the social protection system. The objective of the programme is ensure that quality social protection services are accessible to all citizens of Uzbekistan throughout their lives. The Programme will focus on following three priority areas:
(1) promoting institutional reform to address fragmentation of social protection functions across various ministries and agencies by establishing a single government body on social protection;
(2) developing comprehensive national social protection strategy, in line with international standards. Importantly, this process will shift the perception of social protection from charity-based approach to right-based approach;
(3) piloting integrated “cash + services” approaches to deliver social protection to persons with disabilities. Coupled with the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the introduction of International Classification of Functioning, the joint programme will foster greater realization of the rights and significant improvement in lives of persons with disabilities.
This joint programme worth USD two million is one of the 24 projects to be funded by the UN, where 114 proposals were considered. The joint programme will be implemented over the next two years.
It is envisaged that the joint programme will be implemented in close coordination with the Cabinet of Ministers, General Prosecutor’s Office, different ministries and civil society organizations. Three UN agencies – ILO, UNDP and UNICEF will bring their collective expertise and capacity to the project.