An assessment of the social protection system in Uzbekistan. Based on the Core Diagnostic instrument (CODI). A joint report by ILO, UNICEF, and the World Bank

The reform of the social protection system has been on the government reform agenda for the last two years. Now, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Uzbekistan, it is gaining more urgency.

News | 30 October 2020
What is the role of social protection? What are the strengths and weaknesses of Uzbekistan’s social protection system? How can the national social protection system be strengthened to maintain living standards and build resilience to shocks like COVID-19? Some of the answers can be found in a new study by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Bank launched jointly with the ‘Yuksalish’ Nationwide Movement.

“The study provides a detailed analysis of the national social protection system. The document also presents feasible recommendations which are useful in informing the Government's programmes in response to the socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Akmal Burkhanov, Chairman of the ‘Yuksalish’ Nationwide Movement.

“One of the main takeaways of the report is a need for clear leadership and a coordination entity capable of developing and implementing a national social protection strategy. The strategy will begin, in the short term, to close important coverage gaps in the system — in particular among children and their families, among people with disabilities, and a growing gap among older persons. It will also ensure a holistic approach to social security, social assistance, social services, and active labour market programmes, leading to more effective use of allocated resources and better protection of the population, especially the most vulnerable,” Ms. Yulia Oleinik, UNICEF Uzbekistan Chief of Social Policy.

“The report’s finding that 44 percent of Uzbekistan’s population benefits from social insurance programmes points to the importance of social insurance mechanisms to provide adequate, periodic guarantees with significant impact on poverty reduction even in times when budgetary allocations for social assistance programmes are dwindling. An adequately funded and well-designed social protection system, which includes workers in informal economy, is a key to building the resilience of individuals and households and economies to health, social, economic, and climate-related shocks,” Ms. Jasmina Papa, Social Protection Specialist, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team and Country Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“The latest COVID pandemic across the country and the natural disasters that have recently affected the well-being of thousands of residents of Bukhara and Syrdarya Regions add to the sense of urgency to build greater resilience through expanded social assistance, especially among poor and near-poor households who are disproportionally affected by the impacts of such crises. We hope that our Uzbek partners will find the report’s conclusions and recommendations useful in light of their efforts to reform the national social protection system. The World Bank, UNICEF, and ILO stand ready to help the Government develop effective, responsive, sustainable, and inclusive social protection programmes supporting various groups of people in need,” said Ms. Maddalena Honorati, Senior Economist, the World Bank.

This report provides an assessment of the social protection system, including an inventory of Uzbekistan’s main social protection (SP) programmes as well as an analysis of their appropriateness, effectiveness, responsiveness and cost-efficiency and fiscal and financial sustainability. It identifies the main strengths and weaknesses of the system, and offers a set of conclusions and recommendations on strengthening the SP system in Uzbekistan. The key objective of the report is to inform the current and fast-moving reform programmes aimed at maintaining a high economic growth rate, increasing competitiveness, and promoting international economic integration.