Advancing decent work for social justice – a high-level event in Tashkent

Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent hosted a high-level event with the participation of the representatives of the International Labour Organization (ILO), government, workers’ and employers’ organizations to touch basis on achievements, challenges and plans for improvement in ensuring decent work for social justice in Uzbekistan.

News | 21 February 2023

The Parliament, the Ministry of Labour and Poverty Reduction, Federation of Trade Unions and Confederation of Employers of Uzbekistan discussed country's progress in decent work promotion. International development organizations, the UN agencies, and interested government agencies joined the discussion.

The ILO delegation included ILO Assistant Director-General, Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Heinz Koller, Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia,  Emmanuel Julien, Senior Adviser to the Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Pierre De Lame, Director of the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team and Country Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Olga Koulaeva.

The conference created a platform for discussion of the following issues: promoting inclusive and gender responsive policies to support job creation  and extend social protection; building robust  and enabled institutions; reforming legislation in accordance with international labour standards supported by social dialogue.

“Our cooperation with Uzbekistan is now embracing the full of ILO mandate. Uzbekistan has become one of our flagship countries that might inspire other countries to engage with ILO. The Decent Work Country Programme for Uzbekistan 2021-2025 is fully aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Heinz Koller, ILO Assistant Director-General, Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia. “The Government of Uzbekistan is now rightly concentrating on poverty reduction which is an ambitious and not easy task. We already support our national partners looking at social security schemes and funding mechanisms. We have really to say that social protection is not a cost but an investment.” – he added.

As reported during the conference, to date, some 1.3 million of Uzbekistan’s work force remain unemployed. The level of unemployment decreased from 9.6 in 2022 to 8.9 per cent in January 2023. The level of poverty dropped from 17% to 14.1%.

“Uzbekistan is committed to implementation of structural reforms aimed at sustainable development in Uzbekistan. It is well known that Uzbek labour market is one of the most dynamic in the region. Private sector is a crucial element in the process of ensuring employment for fast growing labour force.Аt the same time, implementation of international labour standards, ensuring social protection, strengthening, social dialogue, and achieving gender equality and inclusion remain the core priorities for Uzbekistan,” highlighted  Tanzila Narbayeva, Chairperson of the Senate, representing the National Commission on Human Trafficking and Forced Labour at the meeting.

 Behzod Musaev, Minister of Employment and Poverty Reduction noted in his speech that a new edition of the Labour Code and the Law on Employment of Population were adopted based on the recommendations of the ILO. Representatives of the Federation of Trade Unions of Uzbekistan and the Confederation of Employers of Uzbekistan marked that the social dialogue grows stronger in Uzbekistan.

The event was organized as a part of implementation of the ILO Decent Work Country Programme for the Republic of Uzbekistan 2021-2025 that aims to improve the regulatory framework governing labour relations; enhance decent work and better employment opportunities for youth, women and vulnerable groups, generated by inclusive and equitable economic growth; extend the access of the most vulnerable groups to equitable, inclusive and quality education and social protection; and strengthen social dialogue and the institutional capacities of the social partners.