European Commission to allocate 60M euros to Uzbekistan for 4 projects (Exclusive)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug 26
By Fakhri Vakiliov-Trend:
The European Commission expects to commit EUR 60 million in four projects in Uzbekistan as part of the 2019 Annual Action Program, representative of European Commission told Trend in an interview.
He noted that the first project is the Uzbekistan WTO Accession Program (EUR 5 million), which aims to contribute to Uzbekistan’s process to accede to the WTO to foster coherent trade policy/regulations formulation and implementation.
“The program also aims at provision of technical backstopping throughout the negotiations to WTO accession; and provision of capacity building for both public and private sector stakeholders. It is planned to be implemented with the International Trade Center”, the official added.
The second project, according to the official, is the Skills Development for Employability in Rural Areas of Uzbekistan project (EUR 10 million), which aims to equip the labor force in Uzbekistan with relevant skills for the need of a sustainable, diversified and modernized agriculture.
“It is planned to be implemented with UNESCO”, he stated.
The third project worth EUR 5 million is the EU contribution to the UN-led Multi-Partner Human Security Trust Fund for the Aral Sea region in Uzbekistan.
“The objective of this multi-sectorial fund is to improve the environmental, social and economic situation in the Aral Sea region of Uzbekistan in the context of the environmental disaster, through addressing different aspects of human security” European commission representative stressed.
The last and the largest project is the EU Budget Support to the Agriculture sector in Uzbekistan (EUR 40 million, first ever budget support operation in the country). It aims to assist the Government of Uzbekistan in strengthening selected agri-food public services in order to increase farm incomes and rural employment opportunities, enhance food security and ensure sustainable use of natural resources.
“EU budget support will be accompanied by a strong capacity building component. It is hoped that budget support interventions will help us to engage in concrete reform processes with a broad and pragmatic policy dialogue that should steer the Government towards evidence-based comprehensive sectorial and thematic policies”, the representative stressed.
Finally, he noted that the current Multi-annual Indicative Program (MIP) 2014-2020 for Uzbekistan (for a total of EUR 168 million) is concentrated on rural development, and specifically focuses on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable communities.
Goals under this sector include poverty reduction and wealth creation in rural and remote communities; the improvement of quality of life, living standards and food security of people residing in isolated or sparsely populated areas; and the protection of natural resources.
Moreover, new opportunities for extending cooperation beyond rural development are being pursued. Some of the fields of future EU intervention in Uzbekistan that could most accelerate the reform process are: good governance and rule of law; education and skills development; and agriculture/rural development and water management.
Follow author on Twitter:@vakilovfaxri