Experts discussed how coronavirus affects the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (+video)

Experts discussed how coronavirus affects the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (+video)

August 26, 2021 at 17:00 (Tashkent time) within the framework of the Annual Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group in Uzbekistan "Respond, restore, restart", an online webinar hold on the topic: "Is the decade of action to deliver the SDGs in jeopardy?"

The event was attended by high-level speakers: Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, IsDB President, Dr. Rami Ahmad, Special Envoy on SDGs and Senior Advisor to the President, Islamic Development Bank, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary General and Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund and Former UN Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Dr. Obid Khakimov, Center for Economic Research and Reforms, Office of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Dr. Ir. Arifin Rudiyanto, Deputy Minister for Maritime and Natural Resources Affairs, Ministry of National Development Planning, the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President, Operations (East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific), Asian Development Bank, Ms. Jana El Baba, Sustainable Development Officer, UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Dr. Kevin P. Gallagher, Director, Global Development Policy Center, Boston University, Dr. Mansur Muhtar, Vice President, Country Operations, Islamic Development Bank.

Uzbekistan at the international expert platform was represented by the director of the Center for Economic Research and Reforms (CERR) under the Administration of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Dr. Obid Khakimov.

In his speech, the head of CERR noted that in 2017 the Government of Uzbekistan launched a wave of economic reforms to move to a more open economy.

The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Uzbekistan coincided with large-scale reforms within the framework of the National Action Strategy for 2017-2021. According to World Bank estimates, Uzbekistan was one of only three economies in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region that maintained positive economic growth in 2020. Despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 crisis, reforms implemented in the early phase of the transition to a market economy supported growth in 2020.

In October 2018, the government of Uzbekistan adopted a resolution titled “On Measures to Implement the National Goals and Targets in the Field of Sustainable Development for the Period Until 2030”. This resolution reaffirmed Uzbekistan’s dedication to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The resolution also set 16 national SDGs for Uzbekistan that focused on environmental, economic and social issues in the country, and 125 related targets, and 206 indicators to facilitate monitoring the implementation of the SDGs. Simultaneously, an inter-agency Coordination Council was established to oversee SDG implementation across 21 government agencies and the National Action Strategy 2017-2021 was confirmed as a pathway towards SDG implementation.

The government monitors the effectiveness of reforms through 23 global ratings (indices), including the global SDG rating, according to which Uzbekistan ranks 52nd out of the 162 states (2021).

Speaking about the needs and priorities of financing the SDGs for Uzbekistan, the Director of CERR pointed that the COVID-19 pandemic that broke out in March 2020 threatens to slow down progress in achieving the SDGs for Uzbekistan.

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to slow down Uzbekistan’s progress on the SDGs. The Government is taking decisive measures to curb the spread of the pandemic and mitigate its socio-economic consequences. An Anti-Crisis Program has been adopted along with a $1 billion USD of Fund to support businesses and employment, and to expand social assistance to the vulnerable. In general, since April 2020, about 5.2 million USD people have received emergency assistance at least once.

Famous economist Jeffrey Sachs, offered recommendations aimed at achieving the SDGs. His main thesis was that the only way to defeat hunger, poverty and save children from deadly diseases was by increasing funding for development.

According to the expert, in order to achieve the Goals, it is necessary for developed countries to increase aid to developing countries over the next few years.

Sachs noted that global GDP is about $100 trillion USD and developed countries should allocate $1 trillion USD to implement the SDGs. It is necessary to pay attention to developing countries.

“Today multilateral development banks finance $100 billion USD a year for sustainable development, but we have to increase it up to 10 times. For example, the United States alone during the pandemic spent $7 trillion USD to fight the pandemic and another $4 trillion USD are planned to be spent on the development of the country's infrastructure", said the scientist said.

“I live in one of the countries where it is extremely difficult to get money for sustainable development. Funds for these purposes do not come from the business community. The amount of government funding for development must match the amount of our promises and our needs.

Please use next year to boost development finance through the multilateral development bank channel. Let's explain to developed countries that we live on the same planet and these are the same pathogens, the same virus, climate change and instability”, said Prof. Jeffrey Sachs.

Vice-President of the Asian Development Bank Mr. Ahmed M. Said proposed to improve the allocated funds and also recommended the IsDB to provide more consulting assistance to developing countries for institutional development.

Dr. Rami expressed gratitude to the Uzbek side for organizing the Annual Meeting of the IsDB Group this year in Tashkent.

CERR Public Relations Service

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