Brussels, 12 November
EU-Uzbekistan development cooperation
Why is Uzbekistan important for the EU?
In the wake of the 2004 and 2007 enlargements, the EU has become closer to Central Asia, geographically, politically and economically. As the most populous country in the very heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan is an important partner for the EU. Relations between the European Union (EU) and Uzbekistan are based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) which entered into force in 1999.
The EU's adoption of the Central Asia Strategy for a New Partnership in June 2007 underlined the common engagement of the 27 Member States and of the European Commission (EC) to upgrade relations with Central Asian countries. The EU's aim in Central Asia, supported by the European Commission, is to promote the stability and security of the countries in Central Asia, to assist in their pursuit of sustainable economic development and raising living standards, and to facilitate closer regional cooperation - both within Central Asia and between Central Asia and the EU - in a comprehensive manner, including bilateral relations between the EU and the five Central Asian countries individually.
How much of the EU assistance budget is allocated to Uzbekistan?
In addition to the assistance given bilaterally by the 27 Member States, the EU has designed numerous programmes implemented by the European Commission. The EC allocated €32.8 million to support national-level programmes between 2007-2010 and intends to increase allocation up to €42 million between 2011 and 2013. The EC is also funding regional programmes designed to tackle challenges of a regional nature and to promote cooperation among countries on issues of common interest.
In which sectors is the EU cooperating with Uzbekistan?
The European Commission is currently implementing projects in the field of maternal care (Mother and Child Project), enhancing living standards, social services (Institutional Building and Partnership Programme) and private sector development (Central Asia Invest Regional Programme).
Important new programmes are currently being designed in the Institutional and Legal Framework areas, such as Support for the Uzbek Parliamentary System and for the implementation of Judicial Reform and Criminal Laws. Between 2011-2013, cooperation will target three main areas: raising living standards through rural and local development, Rule of Law and Justice Reform, and enhancing trade, business and SMEs. The European Commission is also supporting cooperation in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency, education, environment, border management and the fight against drugs.
During his trip, Commissioner Piebalgs will notably visit the Mother and Child project:
Mother and Child Project
This project aims to improve healthcare for mothers and babies in Uzbekistan by building, renovating and running regional training centres for maternal and child care, as well as increasing awareness on the availability of healthcare. So far, it has:
Trained over 6 000 health providers in 14 months, leading to a decline in infant mortality rates in key regions
Enabled 16 regional training centres to be renovated and equipped.
Has caused the morality rate at the Neonatal Pathology Unit of the Samarkand Hospital to drop by more than a third
Institutional Building and Partnership Programme (IBPP)
The IBPP is a small-sized projects programme mainly aimed at Uzbek non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Since 2002, it has been the most effective and reliable EC instrument to support civil society actions in Uzbekistan. The programme finances projects with an important impact at regional and local level.
The programme is based on a strong partnership between international and local NGOs and one of its main features is the establishment of good relationships with local partners. The 22 implemented projects in Uzbekistan since 2002 have allowed the development of new skills and techniques in education, health, support to SMEs, women entrepreneurs, and young people:
Initiatives with a focus on social issues, such as helping women and handicapped people to create their own businesses, have had a positive local economic impact;
IBPP projects have in many cases laid the foundations for debate. One example is an initiative in Samarkand which led to preventive action on violence against women and children;
Other interventions provided ideas (pilot projects) that have been taken up in other regions by other stakeholders or donors, and at the national level.
The IBPP has proven to be a successful tool for enhancing the participation of women, children and the socially underprivileged as final beneficiaries.
Other EU-Uzbekistan ongoing cooperation projects:
More information on Uzbekistan: