In Uzbekistan, policy dialogue builds momentum for transition to a green economy

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Closing session of the "Uzbekistan Policy Dialogues: Green Growth and Climate Change" Closing session of the "Uzbekistan Policy Dialogues: Green Growth and Climate Change"

Over the last few decades, Uzbekistan’s remarkable economic growth has been fueled by resource extraction and the mining and manufacturing sectors of the economy. Yet, this progress has come at a high price. The country’s economy is now the fifth most intensive in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world and is the most intensive in Europe and Central Asia due to a fossil-fuel heavy energy mix and an energy-intensive industrial sector.  

Like the rest of Central Asia, Uzbekistan is also highly vulnerable to climate change. The changing climate threatens its natural capital, agriculture, land and water productivity, and exacerbates natural disaster risks. The country ranks 96 out of 191 countries in climate vulnerability (ND-GAIN 2019). It is prone to earthquakes and floods that affect an average of 1.4 million people and cause almost $3 billion in losses every year. Severe water scarcity and land degradation further threaten agricultural productivity and food security.

Today, Uzbekistan has a unique opportunity to overcome limits to growth under its current development pattern and to strengthen its economic competitiveness in a global marketplace that has become more climate- and environmentally aware. Building on the impetus of structural reform, Uzbekistan can chart a path towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient green growth model based on the resilient, inclusive, sustainable and efficient use of natural resources for its economy, people and the planet. 

"Building on the impetus of structural reform, Uzbekistan can chart a path towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient green growth model based on the resilient, inclusive, sustainable and efficient use of natural resources for its economy, people and the planet."

Engaging stakeholders in discussions on green growth 

Pursuing a green transition with widespread benefits requires a whole-of-society approach that considers a broad range of stakeholders. To that end, a series of policy dialogues on green growth and climate change was held jointly by the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction of Uzbekistan (MEDPR), the World Bank, and the Regional Environmental Center for Central Asia (CAREC). From August 2021 to February 2022, 11 roundtables brought together a diverse group of stakeholders for the first time in a hybrid offline and online format. More than 700 stakeholders participated in the dialogues including policymakers, members of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis, officials from more than 30 Uzbekistan ministries, agencies, and municipal authorities, as well as leading national and international experts, civil society, academia, development partners, and the public. 

This unprecedented multisectoral and multistakeholder platform has elevated the green transition agenda as a core national development priority across all levels of government as signaled by a high-level address affirming these commitments at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021. To make the win-win case for a green transition, the dialogue series focused on building awareness of and technical capacity for the top green economy transition priorities.  It leveraged partnerships and expertise in Uzbekistan and across Central Asia, and from among the international development community including the United Nations Development Program, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, African Development Bank, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Asian Development Bank, and a rich network of non-governmental organizations, academic and research institutions.

Uzbekistan Green Economy Transition Priorities
Fig. 1 - Uzbekistan Green Economy Transition Priorities. Source: World Bank


Building a common vision

Over the course of six months, the Policy Dialogue Series examined Uzbekistan’s progress toward a green transition and toward meeting its climate change commitments as outlined in the government’s  draft Climate Change Strategy for 2021–2023 (in process of being tabled) and Strategy on Transition to a Green Economy for 2019–2030. Each policy dialogue roundtable presented progress, issues, and challenges of the green transition in Uzbekistan and practical/actionable opportunities for investments and policy actions.  The roundtables,  have thus helped to develop a blueprint for the country’s Green Growth Strategic Framework for the implementation of the Strategy on Transition to a Green Economy for 2019-2030. The Framework blueprint identifies stakeholder roles and responsibilities, existing policy, knowledge, and investment gaps; and assistance needed to build the country’s long-term green transition model. 


Uzbekistan?s 2019?2030 Green Economy Transition Strategy - Selected actions and targets
Fig. 2 - Uzbekistan’s 2019–2030 Green Economy Transition Strategy - Selected actions and targets. Source: World Bank |Policy brochures available in English, Uzbek and Russian at

The policy dialogue series built steadfast commitment in Uzbekistan to the green agenda. Participants contributed to a common vision and a deeper understanding of the priority areas and best practices. Through robust media outreach, the series reached more than 200,000 people and facilitated broad public engagement across traditional and social media platforms for green growth and climate change. Uzbekistan has now prioritized green transition in its new national development strategy for 2022-2026 and MEDPR, as the lead coordinating agency, has expanded its new Green Economy unit and endorsed policy recommendations and sectoral action plans. 

This multisectoral and multistakeholder dialogues have also opened a space for inclusive and open discussion which has strengthened coordination and collaboration. This comes at the right time, as the Green Economy Unit, has been empowered to lead coordination and implementation with sector ministries through a Green Growth Strategy Framework including through technical inter-agency and multistakeholder working groups. 

In February 2022, at the conclusion of the dialogue series, MEDPR launched stakeholder consultations that will continue through April 2022 to further review and endorse the framework. The World Bank published Uzbekistan: Choosing an Innovative and Green Future and the summaries from 10 policy dialogue roundtables and policy brochures for each of the roundtables, accessible here.


Moving forward

Uzbekistan has the potential to become a champion of green growth in Central Asia. The time is ripe to seize the opportunity afforded by the green future.  The World Bank Group will support the government in transitioning to a green economy through a new Country Partnership Framework for 2022-2026 that will provide additional technical and financial assistance needed to achieve these above-mentioned targets.


Utkirjon Kholbadalov

Head of Department, Green Economy, Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, Republic of Uzbekistan

Marco Mantovanelli

World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan

Leela Raina

Economist, Environment Natural Resources and Blue Economy Global Practice, World Bank

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