The “Social Protection Innovation and Learning” project in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan benefits from a relatively comprehensive social protection system inherited from the Soviet era, which includes social assistance, labour market interventions, pensions and social care services. However, as the country transitions towards a mixed system combining universal benefits with targeted approaches, important challenges remain for extending coverage of needs-based social assistance to all those who need it. Enhancing social safety nets are key areas of the Government’s economic modernization reforms that are aimed at reinvigorating equitable growth for all citizens, and the government which has substantially increased funding for social assistance in 2020 and 2021. Major plans include the implementation of the national social protection strategy, widening access to pensions, and a transition away from informal employment and high levels of under-employment towards a more formal economy. The lack of comprehensive data on poverty and vulnerability, as well as a need for greater transparency and public access to information further compound these challenges. The overall objective is to support the Government of Uzbekistan to build sustainable and adaptive social protection systems.