Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a universal plan for a better future for all of humanity. Under the auspices of the United Nations, in 2015, all member states adopted 17 interconnected goals. These goals are primarily aimed at eradicating poverty, protecting our planet, improving the quality of life, and enhancing prospects for all people.
In Uzbekistan, in 2022, Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 83 “On Additional Measures to Accelerate the Implementation of National Goals and Tasks in the Field of Sustainable Development for the Period up to 2030” was adopted. This reaffirms Uzbekistan’s firm commitment to achieving the global Agenda for the period up to 2030 in comprehensive partnership with all UN member states to implement the sixteen national sustainable development goals.
The National Goals and Tasks in the Field of Sustainable Development for the Period up to 2030, the Action Plan for the Effective Implementation of National Goals and Tasks in the Field of Sustainable Development for the Period 2022–2026, as well as Uzbekistan’s National Development Strategies, all serve the realization of Sustainable Development Goals.
To organize systematic work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the government of Uzbekistan has established a special coordination council, including the Parliamentary Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of National Goals and Tasks in the Field of Sustainable Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan for the Period up to 2030. As a result, sustainable development goals have been balanced with developed and implementable strategies, concepts, and roadmaps for the economic, social, and environmental development of the country and its regions.
The strengthening of parliamentary control in achieving the SDGs is the outcome of the United Nations General Assembly resolution of December 14, 2022, which approved the initiative of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan regarding “Enhancing the Role of Parliaments in Accelerating the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.”
The results achieved in the implementation of Uzbekistan’s national goals and tasks have been approved and recognized by the international community.
The primary principle of the new Uzbekistan, “In the Name of Human Honor and Dignity,” aligns with the UN principle of sustainable development, “Leave No One Behind.“
According to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development report, in 2023, Uzbekistan ranked 69th out of 166 countries in the Sustainable Development Goals Index, marking an 8-point increase in its ranking.
The SDR Index report highlights positive growth in sustainable development indicators for 11 out of 16 goals in Uzbekistan. This includes poverty reduction, food security and nutrition, health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, industrialization, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, peace, justice, and effective institutions.
The Voluntary National Reviews prepared in 2020 and 2023 on the implementation of Uzbekistan’s national goals and tasks for sustainable development until 2023 were positively assessed by the UN.
Uzbekistan has achieved significant results in all Sustainable Development Goals, which have been balanced and interconnected with the implementation of the “Action Strategy on the Five Priority Areas of Development of the Republic of Uzbekistan for 2017–2021.”
Specifically, Uzbekistan has achieved the following results regarding the Sustainable Development Goals:
Goal 1: Uzbekistan has taken measures aimed at substantially reducing poverty.
These measures involved the development of legislative, institutional, and economic mechanisms to address and combat poverty. From 2015 to 2022, the national poverty rate decreased from 30.4% to 14.1%. The coverage of the population receiving social benefits increased from 0.8% to 2.5% during this period, with a sevenfold increase in government spending.
Goal 2: Significant efforts have been made to ensure food security and nutrition.
Uzbekistan ranked first in the Top 10 countries with the most progress in food security in 2019-2022, according to the Global Food Security Index. Extensive work has been done in land relations, with 400,000 dehkans (small-scale farmers) receiving 100,000 hectares of arable land, enabling the additional production of 1.5 million tons of food products.
Goal 3: Measures have been implemented to promote a healthy lifestyle and well-being for all at all ages.
From 2015 to 2022, the maternal mortality rate decreased from 18.9 to 13.9, child mortality in children under 5 years decreased from 15.1 to 11.4 per 1,000 live births, and infant mortality decreased from 7.9 to 4.5 per 1,000 live births. In 2022, the incidence rate of newly detected tuberculosis was 46.9 per 100,000 populations, which is an 11.6% decrease compared to 2015.
Goal 4: Extensive work has been done to provide comprehensive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities.
There is a sustainable trend of increasing the enrollment of children aged 3 to 6 in pre-school education (from 20.8% in 2015 to 68.3% in 2022). The percentage of schools with internet access and computers for educational purposes increased to 99.7% in 2022 (compared to 87.9% in 2017). The percentage of young women with higher education increased fivefold from 2015 to 2022, and the percentage of youth aged 18-27 with higher education increased from 8% to 30%. The number of functioning higher education institutions increased from 69 in 2015 to 199 in 2022.
Goal 5: Significant progress has been made in promoting gender equality and expanding the rights and opportunities of all women and girls.
In 2022, according to the Women, Business, and the Law Index by the World Bank, Uzbekistan was among the 27 countries that implemented significant reforms in the field of women’s rights and gender equality. Exceptional results were attained in specific components, notably in areas such as women’s mobility, entrepreneurship, and assets. The percentage of women in the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis increased from 16% in 2015 to 28.2% in 2022, and in leadership positions, it increased from 27.7% to 28.2%, respectively.
Goal 6: Targeted measures have been implemented to conserve and sustainably use water resources and promote sanitation.
The percentage of the population with centralized drinking water supply increased by 5.2 percentage points over the last 7 years and reached 69.7% in 2022. The indicator for the “degree of integrated water resources management” increased from 49 to 56 during this period.
Goal 7: Positive changes have occurred in ensuring access to modern sources of energy.
The percentage of the population with access to electricity is 100%, and the use of clean energy sources increased from 94.5% in 2015 to 97.3% in 2022.
Goal 8: Measures have been taken to promote sustainable economic growth.
The growth rate of real GDP per capita was 2.7% in 2017 and 5.6% in 2022. GDP per employed person increased by 1.9 times.
Goal 9: Steps have been taken to create sustainable infrastructure, promote comprehensive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
From 2015 to 2022, passenger traffic increased from 120.1 to 146.5 billion passenger kilometers, including road traffic from 109.1 to 131.0 billion passenger kilometers, and air traffic from 6.8 to 10.9 billion passenger kilometers. The value added in the manufacturing industry as a percentage of the country’s GDP per capita increased from 14.1% in 2015 to 20.5% in 2022. The percentage of the population covered by mobile networks using 3G/4G technology increased from 70% to 95% in the last three years.
Goal 10: Reduction of social inequality in all its forms within the country has been achieved.
From 2019 to 2021, the growth rate of household income per capita among the least affluent 40% of the population increased from 16.9% to 22.4%.
Goal 11: Specific measures have been taken to ensure environmental sustainability and the comprehensive development of cities and human settlements.
The construction of housing has been significantly expanded, leading to an increase in the availability of housing per capita from 15.7 square meters per person in 2015 to 18.2 square meters per person in 2022. During this time, more than 300,000 apartments and individual residential houses were constructed, which is ten times more than in the previous years of independence.
Goal 12: Measures have been taken to transition to rational consumption and production patterns.
The generation of toxic waste of classes 1-3 danger on a per capita basis decreased from 13.1 kg in 2019 to 8.0 kg in 2022.
Goal 13: Concrete measures have been taken to combat climate change and its consequences.
According to the international EDGAR database, in 2021, Uzbekistan’s carbon intensity of GDP was 0.465 tons of CO2 per $1,000 of GDP at PPP (in constant 2017 prices), which decreased by 7.0% compared to 2019. Afforestation has been established on an area of more than 1.5 million hectares on the dried seabed of the Aral Sea.
Goal 15: Specific measures have been implemented for the protection and restoration of terrestrial ecosystems and the rational use of forests.
The forest area as a percentage of Uzbekistan’s total land area increased from 8.3% to 8.7% over 7 years. The proportion of protected areas increased by 2.0 times.
Goal 16: Significant work has been done to promote the building of a peaceful and open society.
In the World Bank’s 2021 World Governance Indicators (WGI) index, Uzbekistan improved its position in all six components. In particular, in terms of “Government Effectiveness,” Uzbekistan ranked 116th out of 208 countries, improving its previous ranking by 22 positions. In the United Nations e-Government Development Index in 2022, Uzbekistan rose to the 69th position out of 193 countries, up from the 81st position in 2019, due to the accelerated adoption of digital technologies.
Goal 17: Positive shifts have been achieved in global integration and targeted increases in resources directed towards sustainable development.
Uzbekistan has opened its doors to cooperation with all countries, including Central Asian countries. Over 7 years, the overall share of government revenues as a percentage of GDP has increased from 16.5% to 22.7%. The percentage of the population using the Internet from 2017 to 2022 increased from 48.7% to 83.9%.
In summary, Uzbekistan has established a strong foundation for the timely and high-quality achievement of its national sustainable development goals and tasks by 2030. Based on the achievements made, the following steps are envisaged for achieving these national goals and sustainable development tasks:
- Full alignment of national sustainable development goals and tasks with the Development Strategy of the New Uzbekistan until 2030. The priority areas identified include: creating favorable conditions for unlocking the potential of every individual; ensuring the well-being of the population through sustainable economic growth; preserving water resources and environmental protection; upholding the rule of law and establishing a government oriented toward serving the people; and consistently pursuing a policy based on the principle of a “Safe and Peaceful State.”
- Expanding the participation of civil society institutions in monitoring and assessing the results of achieving national goals and tasks. This involves taking into account proposals and recommendations from private entrepreneurs and residents of different regions of the country to enhance the effectiveness of measures taken.
- Increasing public awareness and the population’s knowledge about the efforts being made to achieve national goals and tasks. Regularly conducting special sociological surveys in cities, districts, and mahallas (local communities) about priority measures to meet the needs and requirements of the population, based on sustainable development measures.
- Expanding the opportunities for state budgeting of measures to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in addressing socio-economic challenges such as poverty reduction, social stratification, targeted social protection, improving the quality of education and healthcare services, gender equality, and addressing social risks and climate change-related issues, as well as ensuring food, energy, and environmental security.
- Continuing the dialogue between the state and the private sector, international organizations, and further expanding international cooperation with all countries worldwide, including those in Central Asia. This includes implementing UN initiatives proposed by Uzbekistan for regional cooperation and enhancing the role of parliaments in ensuring the rights of youth integrated with the SDGs.