UNICEF statement on presidential decree "On additional measures for social support of the population" aimed at mitigating the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic
TASHKENT, 27 August 2020 - UNICEF welcomes presidential decree "On additional measures for social support of the population" as a timely measure to mitigate the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a step towards improving the social protection system in Uzbekistan.
"There is ample international evidence suggesting that the incidence and burden of additional expenses associated with schooling fall disproportionately high on the poorest and the most vulnerable children, creating bottlenecks for their regular school attendance and that teaching learning materials available at home plays a vital role in influencing the performance of children. Therefore, the Government’s initiative to cover some of these education related out-of-pocket expenses for these targeted groups who form close to 15 percent of the school going population, will undoubtedly relieve them of the burden and contribute to improving school attendance and learning, thus fulfilling their rights to education,” said Munir Mammadzade, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan.
“I believe this one-time investment will help vulnerable families to better cope with the impact of COVID-19 and that our joint efforts in establishing shock-responsive social protection system in Uzbekistan will result in sustainable investments in human capital, so that no child is left behind.”
UNICEF has been working with the Government of Uzbekistan on strengthening the social protection system. Currently, together with other UN agencies, UNICEF is providing financial and technical support in designing and implementing reforms aiming to improve the social protection system in Uzbekistan, focusing particularly to the wellbeing of families and children.
Social protection for children is now the area that requires urgent attention. Unfortunately, over the last two decades, Uzbekistan has seen a significant and growing gap in the level of social security offered to children. Between 2009 and 2018, the number of households receiving the family allowance shrank by 67 percent, while those accessing the childcare allowance fell by 61 percent. As a result, by 2018, only 17 percent of children aged 0-17 years were living in a household receiving either the childcare or family allowance.
Despite that currently the Government of Uzbekistan is taking measures to extend the number of beneficiaries of childcare and family allowances by 50 percent by the end of 2020, expanding coverage remains an acute problem. It requires additional resources, but there are ways of making it affordable.
UNICEF reaffirms its commitment to provide technical assistance to the Government of Uzbekistan in strengthening social protection for children. It is not only the right thing to do, but it is also a smart investment in the nation’s future prosperity, especially considering current ‘demographic window of opportunity’.
UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.uz