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Identifying the case for an inclusive child benefit to allow Uzbekistan to flourish

Uzbekistan Richard

Uzbekistan is a youthful country, with a third of the population aged 17 or less. The large proportion of the population entering the labour market has the potential to provide a significant boost to the economy of the middle-income nation in the future.

To further support the Government of Uzbekistan’s high investment in social protection, UNICEF has identified a need for reform so the system supports all children and young people and economic growth is inclusive. Most children in the country live on low-incomes and poverty significantly affects households with children. To address these issues, Development Pathways has been working with UNICEF Uzbekistan since 2018 to support the agency in the analysis and high-level advocacy on social protection reform and policy.

The project, Institutional Consultancy to provide support in Social Protection Policy and System Reform in Uzbekistan: Single Registry Development and Policy Advice, is undertaken in support of UNICEF’s objective that vulnerable groups benefit more from an inclusive social protection system by 2020.

Over the last decade, UNICEF has been engaging with the national Government on enhancing social protection in Uzbekistan, with support from Development Pathways, including a comprehensive review of the existing system published in 2013. The project involves a collaboration between UNICEF and our Social Policy and Social and Economic Analysis teams to consider how to improve the effectiveness of Uzbekistan’s social protection strategy. Meanwhile, our Management and Information Systems team worked with the Ministry of Finance to develop a Single Registry to improve the administration and coordination of benefits to maximise their impact on poverty reduction.

The outcomes include a situational analysis of Uzbekistan’s children and young people, an evaluation of the effectiveness of the current system, and recommendations for a national social protection system based on simulations using Uzbekistan’s latest household survey. A final report outlines the evidence while the work on imperatives for social protection reform has been presented in high-level advocacy meetings with Government of Uzbekistan officials. In addition, a successful pilot of the Single Registry has been undertaken in a selected region of Uzbekistan.

The Government is considering the findings in 2019 as they deliberate making reforms to the system of child benefits to accompany a new National Development Strategy.

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