On November 23, 2021, Tashkent hosted an international conference on Sustainable Development Goals and New Tools for Resource Mobilization. The event was organized by UNDP within the framework of the UN Joint Programme “Establishment of an Integrated National Financing Framework for Sustainable Development in Uzbekistan” together with the Senate of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction.
The Government of Uzbekistan is strongly committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2018, the 16 national SDGs and their 125 corresponding targets were adopted. How the country is progressing towards the SDGs and how mobilization of the resources can accelerate this progress were the main topics of the conference. The experts have presented where the country is in SDG Index ranking and discussed how green, sustainability and social bonds globally help accelerate attainment of the SDGs.
In her welcoming words, Ms. Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative noted that “financing the 2030 Agenda in developing countries is demanding up to $2.5 trillion annually. Since the adoption of the SDGs, major efforts have been made to develop innovative development financing instruments. As a result of one of our recent collaborations with the Government, in July 2021 Uzbekistan became the second country in the world to issue a Sustainable Development Goal bonds.”
Mr. Ilhom Norkulov, First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, provided an overview of Uzbekistan’s progress in achieving the SDGs. He noted that the COVID-19 crisis risks slowing down Uzbekistan’s impressive SDG progress. According to the Development Finance Assessment report, the country’s SDG financing gap is projected to further widen in the immediate future. From this year onwards, total available development finance is projected to hover around 77 percent of GDP.
In his presentation, Mr. Odilbek Isakov, Deputy Minister of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan emphasized the importance of SDG Bonds in leveraging private and public resources for achieving the SDGs in Uzbekistan.
A panel discussion with experts from Germany, Mexico, and Indonesia provided an opportunity to explore the best practices from around the world in introducing new financing tools to finance sustainable development. Participants learned about Indonesia’s experience with green sukuk implementation and Mexico’s experience in issuing an SDG bond.
At the same time, metrics and data play a crucial role in the process of turning the SDGs into practical tools for problem solving. Mr. Finn Woelm, Representative of Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) delivered a presentation on SDG Index Ranking, showing how Governments and civil society can utilize this tool to identify priorities for action, understand key implementation challenges, track progress, ensure accountability, and identify gaps that must be closed in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
A session dedicated to Uzbekistan SDG Bond Framework finalized the main part of the conference. As Mr. Chris Smith, UNDP International Consultant said “the uniqueness of SDG bonds is not only demonstrated in the governance of the use of proceeds under the bond, but also in the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring and reporting system for projects which are supported. To ensure that the projects are indeed having the intended impact, a clear set of key performance indicators were included in the SDG Bond Framework. Uzbekistan should be commended for delivering such a robust approach.”
The conference will be followed by the three-day capacity building seminar for the line ministries to guide them on the roles and responsibilities on the use of proceeds at every stage of SDG bond lifecycle: project selection, implementation, monitoring and reporting.