Uzbekistan: bring the social protection system in line with international standards

Social protection is necessary for all people throughout their lives. It is needed both by those who work and those who are temporarily or permanently unable to work. It is essential for children and the elderly.

News | 07 April 2023
This was discussed by participants in the events to determine the fiscal space and adequately finance the social protection system in Uzbekistan, which took place from 3 to 6 April this year.

“The International Labour Organization actively supports countries in establishing adequate levels of social protection for all members of society, guided by international social security standards, and in particular the Social Security Minimum Standards Convention No. 102 (1952). At the same time, the budgetary capacity of many countries in our subregion is limited, which is one of the main obstacles to expanding the coverage of the population with the social security system and measures,” said Mikhail Pouchkin, Deputy Director of the ILO Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, in his speech.

The main event of the week was the presentation and discussion of the report on the definition of fiscal space for social protection in Uzbekistan. The report was prepared by the ILO on the basis of a study carried out jointly with national counterparts and the International Monetary Fund.

“The implementation of the National Social Protection Strategy requires significant resources. The government has set such ambitious goals as introducing social insurance, continuing to apply social protection measures for the population, developing active measures in the labour market, etc.,” said Jamshid Abruev, Deputy Minister of Employment and Poverty Reduction.

In recent years, the ILO has worked closely with the Ministry of Employment and Poverty Reduction, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Federation of Trade Unions, the Agency for Statistics, the Pension Fund of the Republic of Uzbekistan in collecting data and conducting an actuarial assessment of unemployment insurance schemes and schemes for expanding the coverage of informally employed unemployment benefits and pregnancy and childbirth.

During a technical workshop on April 3, models for introducing unemployment insurance and expanding coverage for unemployment and maternity benefits were presented. The most optimal options for Uzbekistan will be presented to the National Tripartite Commission for approval, testing and implementation on a pilot basis.

“It is necessary to pay attention to social insurance and the involvement of the country's workers in the social insurance system. It's in the spirit of the times. The main task of our social dialogue partners is to support this trend and set a good level for its implementation,” said Eka Margishvili, Executive Director of the Confederation of Employers of Uzbekistan.

Particular attention was given to the role of trade unions in providing social protection to informal workers. In particular, with the technical assistance of the ILO Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV), a two-day training workshop was held on this topic.