Uzbekistan has a young population, but many children and young people are facing significant challenges. Children from families living on low incomes are less likely to access adequate diets and education. Most young people face significant challenges transitioning from the education system to the labour market. Children and young people with disabilities are one of the most disadvantaged groups in society.
Uzbekistan is one of the highest investors in social protection across middle-income countries. However, while the system brings a range of positive benefits, many people in need of support are unable to access social protection. To invest in future generations, the system is in need of reform to ensure that families in Uzbekistan can access social protection on an equal basis.
This paper, commissioned by UNICEF Uzbekistan, examines the challenges faced by the population of Uzbekistan, in particular those faced by its children and young people, and aims to assess the effectiveness of the current social protection system in addressing these challenges.
By reforming the national social protection system in Uzbekistan into an inclusive lifecycle social protection system, Uzbekistan could provide a minimum level of income security to the majority of the population while also generating greater economic growth and enhancing social cohesion. Reforms to the national child benefit system would go a long way to strengthening the overall social protection system. The analysis in this paper shows that it would only require a small annual increase in investment in the child benefit system for Uzbekistan to be able to reach the vast majority of children with a meaningful increase in household income by 2030.
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