Uzbekistan has made substantial investments in upgrading its water supply and sanitation (WSS) services over the past decade, amassing the largest public borrowing portfolio for WSS projects of any country in Central Asia. Despite such progress, residents – particularly in rural areas - continue to face challenges in accessing clean and reliable water services.
The World Bank is continuing its support to the WSS sector through technical assistance designed to enable sustainable service delivery and enhance implementation of the Government’s ambitious reform program in this area.
On 7 November 2017, a one-day workshop, jointly led by the World Bank and the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services, was held in Tashkent involving the World Bank experts and local officials of state agencies. The participants deliberated upon challenges and constraints in the WSS sector and considered a range of possible policy and institutional solutions to accelerate progress towards achieving universal access to safe, reliable and sustainable drinking water and sanitation services across Uzbekistan.
“In partnership with the World Bank we are successfully implementing the US$268 million projects in Bukhara and Samarkand cities, as well as in districts of Syrdarya and Bukhara regions to improve water supply for local population, particularly for those living in rural areas of the country. We are glad that the workshop will allow to discuss aspects of further technical assistance required to support the reform in the WSS sector,” Muzaffar Saliyev, Minister of Housing and Communal Services of Uzbekistan, noted in his welcome speech.
“Providing clean water to people across the country is one of the priorities of the Government. The World Bank Group is pleased to support such an important goal. The World Bank Group will continue to support advancement of fundamental policy, institutional and human resource capacity building, in addition to financing infrastructure development. Both soft and hard investments are critical for the WSS sector, and will support developments in the social sphere, as articulated in the Government’s National Development Strategy (2017-2021),” Hideki Mori, the World Bank Country Manager in Uzbekistan, said.
The workshop participants included senior officials and experts of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Ministries of Housing and Communal Services, Finance, Economy, the State Investment Committee, the State Water Inspectorate, the National Project Management Agency and provincial SUE Suvokova. In addition to reform discussions, international experts delivered presentations on subjects relevant to the development of the sector and reforms in Uzbekistan, including performance based contracting for non-revenue water and public private partnerships for professional development.
In Uzbekistan, the World Bank currently supports implementation of 16 projects, which are worth of around US$2 billion. Those projects cover such priority areas as agriculture and water resources management, energy, transport, healthcare, education, urban development, water supply and sanitation.