UNITED NATIONS: Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has called upon the international community to jointly preserve the spirit of practical cooperation and interaction, placing common interests above existing conflicts and strengthening unity among countries is becoming more relevant than ever.
“Today’s session of the United Nations General Assembly is taking place in the context of fundamental changes in the system of international relations. There is a global crisis of confidence. Problems in the functioning of global security institutions and deviation from international law are increasing. All this is causing a huge increase in tension,” said the Uzbekistan President while addressing the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session, 2023 here.
“The geopolitical contradictions are creating new obstacles to the free flow of trade, investment and innovation. Even on issues that concern the fate of humanity as a whole, such as climate change, hunger and inequality, one can feel that mutual communication has been lost,” he added.
He also called for aid for Afghanistan, saying that the country’s frozen assets should be used to address its “acute” humanitarian issues.
“Leaving Afghanistan again alone with its own problems would be a great, new grave mistake,” said Mirziyoyev, whose country borders Afghanistan, said while addressing the UNGA 2023.
“Ignoring, isolating and imposing sanctions only exacerbates the hardships faced by the ordinary Afghan people. We believe that humanitarian aid to the Afghan people should not be reduced,” he added.
He said that last year, his government launched the “Samarkand Solidarity Initiative” aimed at common security and development.
He explained that the main goal of his government is:
– to comprehensively understand the responsibility for the present and future of our countries and peoples;
– to engage in a global dialogue all parties that are ready for open and constructive cooperation.
“I am confident that holding a Summit of the Future next year at the initiative of the UN Secretary-General will serve to address the current challenges of international and regional development, increase the influence and effectiveness of our Organization”.
“We remain committed to continuing our policy of creating New Uzbekistan, which is a law-governed, secular, democratic and social state. Our country is boldly pursuing the path of fundamental reforms aimed at strengthening the principles of democracy and justice, based on the noble idea of “in the name of human values and interests,” he added.
“In April this year, for the first time in the history of Uzbekistan, a nationwide referendum was held on the renewed Constitution, which defines the priorities of national development. More than 90 percent of the voters in the referendum supported this truly popular Constitution. This has ensured that our reforms have become indeed irreversible,” he said.
“In our Basic Law we have reaffirmed our commitment to the principles of equality of all citizens, human rights, freedom of speech and conscience, regardless of nationality, language and religion”.
He said it is on this legal basis that we have adopted the Development Strategy “Uzbekistan – 2030”.
“This Strategy is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and we are fulfilling all commitments we have undertaken”.
He said as an outcome of the ongoing reforms, the economy of Uzbekistan, despite the global challenges, is showing a steady growth.
“Over the past six years, the gross domestic product has grown over 1.5 times. Our main objective is to double this figure by 2030. Another priority of our economic liberalization is to become a full member of the World Trade Organization in the near future”.
He said since 2017, poverty in our country has been halved thanks to the policies aimed at improving the living standards of our people.
“We plan to reduce it to 7 percent by 2030. We intend to increase by several times the scale of water supply, healthcare, education and other social services to population. We support the UN Secretary-General’s initiative Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection,” he added.
In order to share best practices within the framework of this initiative, we propose to hold in 2024 in our country the World Conference “Social Protection: the Path towards Development” under the auspices of the United Nations.
“In recent years, Uzbekistan achieved remarkable results in the protection of human rights. Forced labor and child labor have been completely abolished in our country. For a century, millions of people were forced to pick cotton in Uzbekistan. The vast majority of the population – teachers and doctors, entrepreneurs, workers and employees, and, unfortunately, schoolchildren and university students – were mobilized to pick cotton every year from September to December”.
As a result, boycotts of ‘Uzbek cotton’ were announced and the country was blacklisted for years.
“Thanks to our strong will and determination, now it is all history. Our people have been completely liberated from cotton slavery. The ban on forced labour is guaranteed in our renewed Constitution and the criminal liability for the involvement in forced labour has been introduced. I believe that it is necessary to intensify the global fight against forced and child labor. Our experience shows that it is possible to put an end to this.”
One of the Uzbekistan’s strategic tasks is the development of human capital and the training of a creative young generation.
We believe that high quality education, accessible to all, is the most effective factor in eradicating poverty, improving public welfare and achieving sustainable economic growth, he said and added that in this respect, our country has gained considerable experience in recent years – the education system is undergoing radical transformations.
“In the last six years, the coverage of pre-school education has increased from 21% to 70%, and that of higher education from 9% to 38%. By 2030, we will create conditions for every child to have access to preschool education and for half of secondary school graduates to obtain higher education,” he concluded.