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Uzbekistan to Continue Market Reforms Despite Challenges of COVID-19 Pandemic

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Anna Bjerde, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, met with President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Photo: Press Service of the President of Uzbekistan

Anna Bjerde, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, paid her first official visit to Uzbekistan on May 14-18. Ms. Bjerde met with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, senior government and parliamentary officials, representatives of civil society and the private sector, and international development partners.

“The World Bank welcomes the Government’s plans to continue a transparent and inclusive market transition and implement difficult but much-needed market reforms, despite the COVID-19 crisis. We will further support the reform agenda through our new Country Partnership Framework. It will define priority areas for the Bank’s financing and advisory services from 2022 to 2026 and will be aligned with Uzbekistan’s next development strategy,” said Ms. Bjerde. 

The World Bank Vice President had productive talks with President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Chairperson of the Senate of Oliy Majlis (Parliament) Tanzila Narbaeva, First Deputy Chairperson of the Senate of Oliy Majlis Sodiq Safoyev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Jamshid Kuchkarov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov, and Minister of Finance Timur Ishmetov. 

The discussions focused on the Government’s efforts to enact market reforms, reduce poverty and unemployment, raise the living standards of the population in rural areas, improve access to health, education, social protection, and water supply services, create conditions conducive for private sector-led growth, and improve the business and investment climate. 

The parties also considered the progress Uzbekistan has achieved in the areas of reforming public institutions, state-owned enterprises, financial, energy, transport, and other economic sectors, eliminating forced labor and reducing gender inequality, introducing a green growth model, and expanding trade and transport connectivity across Central Asia. 

Ms. Bjerde participated in a signing ceremony for World Bank loans totaling $289 million and a Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs grant of $7.8 million. The financing will allow the Government to implement projects on improving access to water supply and sanitation services for 500,000 people in three regions of Uzbekistan, and developing a market-oriented National Innovation System.  

During her visit to Tashkent, the World Bank Vice President also met with representatives of civil society, the private sector, and international development partners to discuss how the Bank can work more effectively with these stakeholders to help the Government continue important reforms.   

Uzbekistan was one of four countries in Ms. Bjerde’s first official visit to Central Asia. She also visited the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

Ms. Bjerde, a Swedish national, became the World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia on May 1, 2020. In this position, she leads the Bank’s strategic, analytical, operational, and knowledge work in the region.

The World Bank supports Uzbekistan through technical assistance and the financing of 24 projects totaling around $4.3 billion. These projects provide support in critical areas such as macroeconomic reforms, agriculture, health, education, water supply and sanitation, energy, transport, social protection, urban and rural development, as well as mitigation of health, economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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World Economic Forum Plans 2022 Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters

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The World Economic Forum plans to convene the world’s foremost leaders for the Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Taking place in person from 17-21 January, the Annual Meeting 2022 will be the first global leadership event to set the agenda for a sustainable recovery.

The pandemic has exacerbated fractures across society. It is a critical year for leaders to come together and shape necessary partnerships and policies. The meeting will bring together forward-thinking leaders to drive multistakeholder collaboration and address the world’s most pressing economic, political and societal challenges. Further details will be announced in due course.

The wellbeing of our participants, staff, service providers and hosts is a priority. Therefore, the World Economic Forum is working closely with the Swiss authorities, as well as with experts, national and international health organizations to put in place measures for the Annual Meeting 2022 that are appropriate and adapted to the context.

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum said “The pandemic has brought far-reaching changes. In a world full of uncertainty and tension, personal dialogue is more important than ever. Leaders have an obligation to work together and rebuild trust, increase global cooperation and work towards sustainable, bold solutions.”

Progressing cooperation on tackling climate change, building a better future for work, accelerating stakeholder capitalism, and harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be important topics on the agenda.

Ahead of the Annual Meeting 2022, the Forum will host the fifth Sustainable Development Impact Summit to take place virtually from 20 to 23 September 2021 in the context of the United Nations General Assembly. The summit will convene under the theme Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery. It will welcome almost leaders from government, business and civil society who will work together to drive action and build momentum for a more sustainable and inclusive future.

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Spain’s PM Speaks with Global CEOs on Strategic Priorities in Post-Pandemic Era

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The World Economic Forum today hosted a “Country Strategy Dialogue on Spain with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez” for its partners, chaired by Børge Brende, President of the Forum. The session gave CEOs from around the world an opportunity to hear directly from Sánchez on the factors behind Spain’s remarkable resilience to the economic shocks of the pandemic and its post-COVID-19 recovery strategy.

In the virtual session, Sánchez explained his government’s policy priorities and answered questions from CEOs on promoting innovation, a digital economy, a green transition and social justice in Spain, and on improving the enabling environment for long-term investors.

“After deploying unprecedented economic, financial and social measures to protect our economies, Spain is experiencing strong recovery. We want to build the economy of the future, and to do it in an inclusive way, leaving no one behind. We want to attract top talent and quality, innovation-centric investments. In summary, we want to transform the Spanish economy and we want to do it together with the private sector,” he said.

“The world economy is again growing. Spain is on track to be one of the fastest-growing economies among G20 countries. With Spain being among the key stakeholders in the European Union recovery fund, Prime Minister Sánchez and his government have provided important leadership on how to use the current momentum for a truly transformative agenda, for Spain, but also for Europe.” said Brende.

More than 80 partners of the World Economic Forum from around the world participated in the virtual session.

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The Indigenous peoples of the North in Russia have got extra support

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The largest metal producer, Norilsk Nickel, has decided to provide additional funding to the indigenous people of the Russian Arctic – living on the Taimyr Peninsula, the company said in a press release.

This is the second tranche of the company allocated to the indigenous peoples living in the north of Russia this year. Earlier it was reported that Norilsk Nickel allocated 2 billion Russian rubles (25.9 million US dollars) for various humanitarian needs of the indigenous peoples of the Russian North – the Taimyr Peninsula.

 “Norilsk Nickel’s response to the needs of indigenous peoples is a confirmation of the company’s flexibility and systematic work with local communities. Our agreement is a demonstration of the desire for sustainable development of the peoples of Taimyr. We constantly monitor the needs of specific communities and, in contact with the company, change the parameters of individual clauses of our agreements. Moreover, most of the changes are an increase in the number of events with an increase in funding for the most important support programs,” said Grigory Dyukarev, Chairman of the Association of the Indigenous Peoples of the Taimyr Peninsula, Krasnoyarsk Territory.

The company clarifies that an additional tranche of financing will be directed to the production of special literature, support for the publication of newspapers in the languages of the indigenous peoples of the North, preparation of teaching materials for language learning and some other activities.

“Nornickel strives to fully comply with the UN sustainable development goals. The company’s actions towards indigenous peoples are not a tribute to fashion, not an attempt to appease, but an honest, transparent and conscious position, the course of which is the development of corporate ethnoculture. We don’t just fund critical indigenous livelihoods and management programs, our goal is to build partnerships with all stakeholders: associations and specific communities. We always strive to respond to requests for adjustments to our support programs based on an urgent agenda that indigenous peoples themselves understand better than we do. Especially when it comes to supporting indigenous languages, promoting and protecting them. After all, language is the main vehicle for preserving the historical memory of generations, “commented Andrey Grachev, Vice President for Federal and Regional Programmes at Nornickel.

The agreement was signed at a round-table discussion on the results of an ethnological expert review to study the drivers of indigenous peoples sustainable development on Taimyr. In the period from December 2020 to July 2021, large-scale scientific studies of changes in the original habitat of the indigenous peoples of the North living in the western part of the Taimyr Dolgan-Nenets municipal district of the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the socio-cultural situation. The scientific organisations that participated in the review included Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera), The Expert Center Project Office for Arctic Development and others. The representatives of the indigenous communities praised Nornickel’s openness and determination to remedy the damaging effects of the May 2020 incident on their habitats and livelihood, emphasizing the relevance and significance of the review not only for Taimyr, but also for many other Russian regions.

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