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  • Publication
    Uzbekistan - Country Gender Assessment 2024
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-06-05) World Bank; The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
    Addressing gender gaps is critical to the success of Uzbekistan’s inclusive transformation. Uzbekistan’s national income would be about 29 percent higher if women were to participate in equal measure to men. If working women were simply to catch up to the wages earned by men, the increased income would pull more than 700,000 people out of poverty. What prevents Uzbekistan from realizing such massive potential This Country Gender Assessment identifies strengths and examines the remaining barriers to greater equality within Uzbekistan’s ongoing social and economic transformation. It consolidates existing analytical work by the government, the World Bank, development partners, academia, and others. Ultimately, it proposes a set of high-priority goals essential to closing the gap between Uzbekistan’s current performance and its potential for more inclusive prosperity. The enduring challenge of gender inequality holds Uzbekistan back from its development potential. Comparing to global benchmarks identifies many of the strengths and weaknesses in Uzbekistan’s recent performance with regards to gender equality. In the 2022 global Gender Development Index, which measures gaps in human development achievements across health, knowledge, and living standards, Uzbekistan is ranked 106 out of 189 countries. Since monitoring began, life expectancy is the only component of the index for which women have ranked higher than men. Legal impediments to equality measured by the Women, Business, and the Law (WBL) index in 2023 revealed that Uzbekistan, with a score of just 70.6, ranked at the bottom of the list of Europe and Central Asia (ECA) countries, especially with respect to legislation addressing gender-based violence (GBV), equality in the workplace, equal pay, parenthood, and pensions. It should be noted however that recent legislation promises to raise the country’s future performance on the WBL measure in 2024, especially with respect to GBV and workplace protections introduced in the country’s new labor code. Despite challenges, Uzbekistan performs relatively well in several critical dimensions, above all with respect to equal access to basic health and education services, as is highlighted in the country’s strong performance in the global Gender Inequality Index. Collectively, these comparisons suggest that while Uzbekistan has a strong tradition investing in human capital for both men and women, an urgent agenda to foster a more inclusive society remains incomplete. But success promises to generate a virtuous circle of gender equity and economic growth.
  • Publication
    Circular Economy as an Opportunity for Central Asia - Summary Report
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-05-31) World Bank
    The concept of the circular economy (CE) is gaining attention worldwide as a way to promote sustainable development and reduce resource consumption. The CE is an economic system that aims to reduce the use of natural resources and to minimize waste and emissions by keeping materials in use for as long as possible. A CE seeks to minimize the consumption of finite resources by promoting three key principles of waste management and sustainability: ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. If a product eventually needs to become waste, its materials should be recycled and used for a new purpose. Optimizing resource use in this way is the only strategy which allows for decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation and is critical for the green and low-carbon transition. The countries in Central Asia are still in the early stages of the CE transition. The CE is one of the main potential ways forward for Central Asia on the road toward carbon neutrality. Circular Economy Action Plans (CEAPs), such as the ones presented in this report, are essential for charting the way forward in the circular transition. This report summarizes three CEAPs: (a) CEAP for the Construction Value Chain in Kazakhstan, (b) CEAP for the Agri-Food Sector in Uzbekistan, and (c) Support in Financing and Delivering the Circular Economy in Almaty. The report is targeted at policy makers at national and municipal levels as well as sectoral level experts, associations, business support organizations, and others. The objective is to demonstrate the potential of the CE concept and to inspire further actions and consolidation with regard to sectoral and innovative circular policy development as well as designing of new, circular funding opportunities.
  • Publication
    The Knowledge Compact for Action: Transforming Ideas Into Development Impact - For a World Free of Poverty on a Livable Planet
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-05-07) World Bank
    Today’s global challenges are bigger, more complex, and more intertwined than ever before, from the relentless grip of poverty and stubborn persistence of inequality to the devastations caused by climate disasters, fragility, pandemics, and conflicts. Financing and investments alone cannot solve these problems in a global context of higher debt and scarce resources. Now more than ever, clients are demanding innovative ideas and successful experiences from other countries to tackle the ongoing and emerging global crises, regain the development progress of past decades and move faster towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, recent breakthroughs in technology, including the rapid advances in artificial intelligence, offer enormous potential to revolutionize development work. Policymakers and practitioners across the globe are poised to benefit from new tools to innovate, act based on evidence and accelerate the transformation of new ideas into development outcomes that improve lives of the poor. This paper articulates the strategic direction of the Knowledge Compact for Action, which seeks to empower all WBG clients, public and private, by systematically making the latest development knowledge available to respond more effectively to increasingly complex development challenges. The Compact seizes the opportunity of the digital revolution, bringing together the wealth of data analytics, research and best practices accumulated by the WBG over decades and combining this knowledge with the WBG’s proven mix of public-private finance to power learning and innovative solutions. This includes capturing the tacit knowledge embedded in operations for policymakers and development practitioners to easily access lessons of development successes and failures in other countries. Ultimately, the Compact aims to take knowledge to a new level, placing it front and center of the WBG’s work to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity on a livable planet.
  • Publication
    Climate Adaptation in Uzbekistan: Landscape Restoration Opportunities
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-05-07) World Bank
    Land use plays a pivotal role in Uzbekistan’s development, and embracing sustainable agriculture offers a promising pathway to achieving middle-income status. This report aims to identify hotspots of land degradation and declining productivity along with areas of adaptation opportunity where landscape restoration can offset these trends under changing climate conditions. It also analyzes the costs of land degradation (cost of inaction) compared to investing in adaptation technologies (cost of action). The report recommends technological, institutional, and policy options to reduce natural capital degradation in the agriculture, forest, and water sectors.
  • Publication
    Net Zero Energy by 2060 : Charting the Path of Europe and Central Asia Toward a Secure and Sustainable Energy Future
    (2024-03-01) World Bank
    Since February 2022, geopolitical events have made clear Europe’s need to diversify its energy sources and avoid excessive dependence on fossil fuel imports. The drop in Russian natural gas flows to Europe in 2022 marked the single largest supply shock in the history of global gas markets. It caused a significant increase in prices of electricity and heating services for consumers across the continent. With Europe’s high reliance on imported natural gas, reestablishing energy security is a paramount objective. But how security can be achieved is subject to many uncertainties. Although Central Asia is not as dependent on gas imports as other parts of the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region, it has not been spared an energy crisis. Chronic underinvestment and the harshest winter conditions in decades resulted in significant blackouts in power and heating during the winter of 2022/23. This report analyzes the implications of the 2022/2023 energy crises over the short and long term, observing possible energy scenarios through 2060 in the Bank’s ECA region and examining three key questions: • What is the state of energy security in ECA in the wake of recent geopolitical events? • What will it take to decarbonize the ECA energy system? • What are the main uncertainties?
  • Publication
    Guidance Note on Uzbekistan Green Taxonomy
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-02-20) World Bank
    This Guidance Note serves to support the government of Uzbekistan in the design of a national Green Taxonomy. A green taxonomy sets out rules for classifying environmentally sustainable activities and can be instrumental inthe transition to a Green Economy by guiding policies and public resource flows, and influencing the private sector’s investment response. The Guidance Note discusses methodological choices for the taxonomy and their policy implications, reviews existing international practices, and recommends a model taxonomy and roadmap for further development of the taxonomy. A key message in the note is the importance of setting clear strategic goals that will inform the selection of the taxonomy’s environmental objectives and its other features. Also discussed are theinstitutional arrangements to coordinate the actions and inputs of multiple stakeholders during the development process of the taxonomy, and the importance of strong oversight and consistent enforcement of taxonomy rules by a competent regulatory body.
  • Publication
    Kazakhstan Economic Update, Winter 2023-24 - Shaping Tomorrow: Reforms for Lasting Prosperity
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-02-14) World Bank
    Kazakhstan’s economic outlook for the next two years is one of steady growth, driven in part from its continued reliance on hydrocarbons and by stronger consumer spending. Real GDP is forecast to grow by 4.5-5 percent in 2025 as the expansion of production capacity in existing oilfields is set to boost exports and spur growth of the petrochemical industry in 2025 and beyond. Elevated inflation is expected to fall, but still remain above the central bank's target in 2024 and 2025. The current account is expected to remain in a deficit at 3.0 and 2.3 percent of GDP in 2024 and 2025, respectively. The deficit is expected to persist in 2024 and decline steadily, while inward foreign direct investment flows are projected to continue, largely destined to the mining sector. The draft budget plan for 2024-26 moves towards fiscal consolidation. The government is planning to gradually decrease the deficit in the medium term in line with the fiscal rule to preserve fiscal buffers. Government debt is sustainable, but debt servicing costs have been increasing, reflecting the reliance on domestic debt in a context of high domestic interest rates. Kazakhstan’s growth outlook faces several downside risks emanating from both domestic and external factors. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resultant tensions in and near the Black Sea could lead to further disruption of Kazakh oil exports via the Caspian pipeline, which would have severe economic and fiscal repercussions given the importance of the hydrocarbons sector. Any major unscheduled maintenance in the oil fields as well as unexpected delay in the development of the Tengiz oil field might curtail production and dampen economic growth. Unforeseen external pressures and volatility of the tenge could lead to higher inflation. Furthermore, given Kazakhstan's economic ties with Russia, the risk of secondary sanctions continues to be a concern, which would dent confidence, deter FDI, and undermine growth. The special section of this Economic Update examines Kazakhstan’s growth challenges and the underlying structural weaknesses and proposes reform priorities for long-term development. Between 2018-22, average GDP per capita growth was 1 percent, well below the average of 3.3 percent for upper middle-income countries. Delivering a better quality of life and higher incomes for citizens in a global context that is committed to decarbonization requires rethinking reform priorities.
  • Publication
    Trees, Cities, and a Green Future: Connecting Urban Forestry Policymakers, Practitioners, and Experts across Central Asia and the Globe for Landscape Restoration and Climate Resilience
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-01) World Bank
    Urban forestry has evolved into a multifaceted discipline, encompassing far more than aesthetic landscaping. As a cornerstone of environmental stewardship, it includes strategic planning and comprehensive management to optimize the environmental, social, and economic benefits of trees. This involves the conservation of various green spaces—parks, riverbanks, vacant lots— to enhance urban life. It adds economic and property value, creates jobs, and offers costsaving benefits such as reduced infrastructure needs and lower energy costs by providing shade. Social advantages include improved public health through recreational spaces, stress reduction, air pollution reduction, and promotion of physical activity. Additionally, the environmental impacts of urban forestry are profound: mitigating climate change, enhancing air and water quality, reducing erosion, and promoting biodiversity. The World Bank’s series of webinars ‘Trees, Cities, and a Green Future’ were held from January through July 2023 to address the pressing need for awareness, education, and collaborative action in the field of urban tree management; especially considering its multifaceted importance in modern cities and unique relevance in Central Asia. It was cohosted by the World Bank’s Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy and Urban, Resilience, and Land global practices. The series represented a thematic set of learning events curated as an online knowledge exchange platform that aimed to connect policy makers, practitioners, and experts across Central Asia and the globe, all focused on advancing urban forestry and greening best practices for urban land restoration and climate resilience in cities and regional development projects.
  • Publication
    Uzbekistan Country Climate and Development Report
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-21) World Bank Group
    This report explores how climate action, in line with Uzbekistan’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2060, interacts with the country’s growth and development path. It further suggests priority actions to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience while supporting inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.
  • Publication
    Braced for Impact: Reforming Kazakhstan’s National Financial Holding for Development Effectiveness and Market Creation
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-05) Melecky, Martin; Di Benedetta, Pasquale; Ahmad Fontan, Ismael; Jambal, Ganbaatar; Noel, Michel
    Braced for Impact: Reforming Kazakhstan’s National Financial Holding for Development Effectiveness and Market Creation offers a framework for assessing the readiness of development finance institutions (DFIs) and their conglomerates to deliver credible development impact and create financial markets. The framework focuses on accountability for impact, responsible leveraging of entrusted capital, holistic risk management, and proper governance. It is used to assess Baiterek, Kazakhstan’s national financial holding—a conglomerate of DFIs—and to derive policy options and practical recommendations for the given country context. If the recommended reforms are implemented, Baiterek will be braced for positive impact on Kazakhstani firms, households, and the environment while also helping create deeper financial markets through robust mobilization of private capital. A reformed Baiterek could become a leading global DFI conglomerate and a role model for similar institutions in other countries. However, if too few or none of the recommended reforms are undertaken, Baiterek will need to brace for further criticism from unhappy stakeholders.