The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) jointly with the Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan on the Role of Women in Society, Gender Equality and Family, the Committee on Women and Gender Equality of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis and the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan launched the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions program to promote women empowerment and gender equality among government agencies in Uzbekistan. The State Customs Committee is the pioneer implementing institution in the country and in the Central Asia region.
The Government of Uzbekistan is strengthening its efforts to address gender gaps in the country
Uzbekistan is the most populous country in Central Asia with 34 million people. The country’s constitution ensures equal rights between women and men; Uzbekistan was one of the first countries in Central Asia to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1995. From 2017, the country is reinvigorating its gender equality institutional reforms. In 2019, the government of Uzbekistan adopted a law on “Guarantees of Equal Rights and Opportunities for Women and Men” which represents a firm stance against gender-based discrimination and ensures equal rights for both sexes, which Art. 10 states that the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan as well as state bodies within their powers shall carry out public administration in the sphere of insurance of equal rights and opportunities for women and men. Following it, in 2021 a comprehensive “National Strategy for Advancement of Gender Equality” was approved and is currently under implementation. The introduction of the Gender Equality Seal in Uzbekistan is strategically aligned with the country’s international obligations to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment and will undoubtedly strengthen public institutions’ contributions in this sense.
The Gender Equality Seal will strengthen Uzbekistan efforts on advancing gender equality through public policies and services
Tanzila Narbayeva, Chairperson of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, said the Seal will facilitate the successful implementation of the National Strategy to Advance Gender Equality in Uzbekistan and will set an example not only in Uzbekistan but across Central Asia. Speaking at the launch event, she also noted that gender equality is not just about empowering women and it will benefit all, both women and men.
“The Seal will ensure the creation of equal opportunities for women and men to advance in official positions in state organizations, increase their potential, as well as prevent harassment and violence in the workplace. Promoting and achieving gender equality also empowers men, and benefits the entire society”Tanzila Narbaeva. President of the Senate and the Republican Commission for Strengthening the Role of Women in Society, Gender Equality and the Family
Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan, highlighted that the Gender Seal directly supports the country’s international commitments and its active advocacy to promote gender equality.
“Uzbekistan has committed to expanding women’s economic opportunities, improving reproductive health and eradicating gender based violence. This is an important step in that direction.”Matilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan
The Customs Committee is the first public institution to pilot GES in Uzbekistan
The Gender Equality Seal supports public institutions every step of the way to meet international standards on gender equality, providing them with a clear and practical roadmap to implement strategic transformations towards gender responsive and inclusive governance. It facilitates public institutions better connecting organizational structure with results and impact of their policies, programs and services, while enhancing institutional accountability on gender equality. The Seal recognizes and champion good institutional work through awarding the Gender Equality Seal.
Nodira Azizova, national gender adviser of the UNDP Seal presented the main objectives, milestones and benchmarks that should be achieved and implemented by the State Customs Committee. Through the Seal, UNDP will support the public institutions to develop and implement a number of specific interventions designed to identify and address gender gaps based on the requirements of the Seal standards. At the end of the programme, based on the achievement of specific outcomes, State Customs Committee will attain a Bronze, Silver or Gold Gender Equality Seal.
Ana Maria Landa Ugarte, Global Coordinator of the Seal, noted that the Customs Committee of Uzbekistan, as one of the two pioneers in implementing the Gender Equality Seal in the Customs sector globally, has a unique opportunity to become a world gender equality champion within the Customs community, and within the wider global public administration community. She emphasized that the Seal will make the Customs Committee a better place to work for all, strengthen the quality and efficiency of its services and allow it to contribute to the sustainable development of Uzbekistan.
Otabek Choriev, Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee, reconfirmed the commitment of the organization on improving on advancing gender equality and women empowerment. He underline that the Customs Committee does not start from scratch, but on the opposite it has been developing sustained effors in the last years, that allowed it to receive in 2020 the national recognition “Activist for Gender Equality” award.
I hope that this pilot will set a good example for achieving real equality between women and men and an inspiration for all public institutions – and that we will see many other institutions that will join the program in the near futureMatilda Dimovska, UNDP Resident Representative