The main purpose of the e-forum was to discuss how governments, businesses and the public can combine their efforts to implement a new policy based on green recovery and identify practical steps to help transition to a “green” economy.
The e-forum was hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, particularly the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, the Centre for Hydrometer logical Services under the Cabinet of Ministers, and the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection, the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).
The international forum had three objectives:
First, to contextualize what it means for Uzbekistan to ‘’build forward better’’ with a focus on green recovery and bringing together all stakeholders. Second, to allow for discussion on how policies for renewables, energy efficiency, climate change mitigation, environmental stewardship and others comprising Uzbekistan’s transition to a green economy can rebuild a better and more resilient society and economy, reducing pressures on natural resources and the environment. Lastly, to formulate a set of priority directions and practical actions to support the Government of Uzbekistan through green economic recovery, both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Uzbekistan’s mission to develop a green economy was put in motion ahead of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly through the adoption of the ‘Strategy for the transition of the Republic of Uzbekistan to a green economy in the period of 2019-2030’ (further the ‘National Green Economy Strategy’) in October 2019. This strategy sets targets to reduce national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by increasing energy efficiency, enhancing the use of renewable energy, improving resource efficiency and crop yields, and limiting land degradation.
Although the implementation of the National Green Economy Strategy slowed in 2020, as resources were shifted to address the COVID-19 pandemic’s socio-economic impacts, the global health crisis emphasized the link between public health, climate and nature, and its strong impulse could be harnessed for building a green economy (as is the case with a global transition to green and circular economy in response to changing climate).
In addition, opening and closing statements by high-level representatives of the Government, UNDP, UNECE, and EU, the e-forum comprised of four expert-led sessions. Interactive e-forum sessions facilitated extensive discussions about low-carbon, greener options for Uzbekistan to ‘build forward better’, along with priority actions and green finance instruments to decouple economic recovery from increases in GHG emissions and to strengthen country’s resilience to climatic and non-climatic shocks in foreseeable future.
Four expert-led sessions helped to formulate the following concept:
"Building forward better: Green recovery": enabled discussion of the pandemic’s impact on socio-economic development and formulation of green recovery plans, and the policy and financing tools to boost usage of resources.
"Identifying gaps and opportunities for green recovery in Uzbekistan": helped to examine the National Green Economy Strategy in connection with COVID-19 recovery plans and reaffirmed UNDP’s commitment and readiness to support the Government’s National Interagency Green Economy Council through provision of targeted long-term technical assistance, advisory and coordinating support, capacity building, facilitating multi-stakeholder consultations and assisting with mobilization of funds from donors and investors.
"Deep dive on green financing instruments:" covered existing national and international experience with relevant finance instruments, while identifying factors that reduce risk for green investments, and existing international funds and institutions financing related projects.
"Enabling environment for the digital transformation in the private sector:" allowed to identify best practices in public-private partnerships and challenges related to legal frameworks, financing and infrastructure that should be addressed in order to fully unlock the potential of the private sector in supporting the digital transformation and green recovery of Uzbekistan.
All four sessions facilitated with intensive multi-stakeholder discussions and the e-forum itself closed with an overview of jointly agreed priority actions for Uzbekistan’s green recovery and transition to a green economy at scale. Over 350 representatives attended to the forum, from local private and public sector, civil society, international organizations, the media, and members of the broader public.
In order for discussions and recommendations the Policy Brief on "Green Recovery and the Transition to Green Economy in Uzbekistan" was developed and presented during the Forum. The Policy Brief identified priority sectors for green recovery, analyzed opportunities and challenges in these sectors, and provided the Government with a comprehensive list of priority green policies, actions, and practices that could facilitate operationalization of the National Green Economy Strategy.
The Policy Brief will be used to facilitate long-term engagement of UNDP and other international development agencies and donors with the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan in such areas as water use efficiency, wastewater treatment and reuse, decarbonization and transition to renewable energy at scale, waste management, recycling and reducing environmental footprint of landfills, promoting use of electric transportation, advancing urban planning and development with more focus on green infrastructure and nature-based capital, greening industrial, construction and housing practices, greening and increasing added value in supply chains, increasing resource productivity and sustainability (especially in agriculture), access to green investments for a private sector and raising awareness about environmental stewardship, all of which could contribute to a greener and resilient development of Uzbekistan in the post-COVID19 world.
All recordings of the sessions, the conclusions and recommendations of the e-forum, executive summary of the Policy Brief as well as additional information and presentation materials will be made public at the eForum’s website: http://uz.undp.org/greenrecovery
“We consider transition towards a green economy as a way of stimulating economic development driven by innovation and knowledge-based economy… This year we have launched a new joint project with UNDP “Towards Green Recovery in Uzbekistan”, which aims at promoting and facilitating the process of sustainable green development in the pilot districts of Karakalpakstan and Fergana Valley to be implemented in 2021 and the next year.”
- Mr. Jamshid Kuchkarov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan for financial and economic issues and poverty reduction / Minister of economic development and poverty reduction of the Republic of Uzbekistan.
“We need to ensure that climate change and the more intensive use of natural resources do not impose limits on the future growth prospects, undermine progress made in poverty reduction and adversely impact food security of Uzbekistan”
- Ms. Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, UN Assistant Secretary-General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Europe and the CIS.
“60 per cent of the Uzbek population are people below 30 years. More than a half of country’s population should not be just receivers of the government’s reforms but rather be agents of change”
- François Begeot, Head of Cooperation for the Delegation of the European Union to Uzbekistan.