UNECE is deepening its support to help countries of the region capitalize on innovation to recover from the pandemic and realize the ambitious vision of the 2030 Agenda.
The UNECE Innovation for Sustainable Development Review (I4SDR) of Uzbekistan, which is currently underway, will set out concrete recommendations to guide reforms to encourage innovation across the economy and society. This was among the areas of cooperation discussed between UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova and the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan H.E. Shavkat Mirziyoyev in Tashkent, who agreed to further strengthen collaboration on shared sustainable development priorities. Discussions also focused on the participation of Uzbekistan in the Trees in Cities Challenge, and in a UNECE Road Safety Performance Review.
Innovation is a key driver for enabling sustainable development as it enables actors in the economy to experiment with new ideas for addressing challenges and creating value by introducing new products, services and processes into their activities.
Uzbekistan shows great potential as well as strong political and social commitment to innovation as a central component for further development and is currently introducing various institutions and mechanisms in effort of expanding the innovation ecosystem. To fully leverage and exploit the country’s innovative potential, it is important to ensure innovation becomes more systematic in the country. This includes enhancing the absorptive capacity of enterprises to assimilate external knowledge to further modernise industry practices, fortifying linkages between research and industry to strengthen commercialisation, as well as encouraging the transfer of knowledge and technology between innovation stakeholders to increase competitiveness of the economy across sectors.
Recommendations emerging from the I4SDR will assist the government in structuring innovation policies, strengthening relevant institutions, and improving policy processes and instruments. In a meeting with the Executive Secretary, H.E. Mr. Ibrokhim Yu. Abdurakhmonov, Minister of Innovative Development, stated that the I4SDR recommendations will feed into and help shape the upcoming strategy for innovative development 2022-2030 currently being developed.
The I4SDR builds on recommendations of the third UNECE Environmental Performance Review (EPR) of Uzbekistan, which was officially launched on 15 July 2021. Uzbekistan has already confirmed its commitment to implement the recommendations of the EPR.
Innovation and environmental performance are closely linked, as innovation is crucial for ensuring overall long-term sustainable development, including for accelerating the shift to a circular economy. Innovation is a key element in discovering and implementing new ways of decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation. This includes for reducing pollution and fostering the efficient use of resources, for example by diversifying to alternative and renewable energy sources, and introducing efficient methods of water consumption.
Addressing a high-level Conference on Regional Connectivity in Central and South Asia, the Executive Secretary further stressed the concrete contributions of UNECE’s legal norms, standards and tools – from inland transport agreements like the TIR Convention (which cuts cross-border transit times by up to 80%) and its digitalized eTIR system, to over 500 UN/CEFACT e-business standards, and trade facilitation recommendations and a package of standards for multimodal transport data exchange, and multilateral environmental agreements – to making Central Asia a hub for sustainable transport and trade.