H.E. Mr. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, addressed the world leaders at the UN 75th session of the General Assembly.
After welcome President Volkan Bozkirs and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, President Mirziyoyev said the following:
“The seventy-fifth session of the General Assembly is being held for the first time in the history of the United Nations in a completely new format – an online videoconferencing in the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. Such a global catastrophe has not been observed on our planet in the last hundred years. It vividly revealed humanity’s vulnerability.
The current complex situation has proved that all states and peoples of the world are interconnected and that regular dialogue, trust and close cooperation among us are extremely important.
In this context, we all have deeply realized the need to consolidating the mutual efforts of governments, parliaments, civil society institutions; strengthening the principles of common responsibility; effective coordination of international partnership; increasing the status and capacity, as well as expand the competences of the World Health Organization.
Our goal is the joint creation of justice-based global system that ensures basic rights, freedoms, health and well-being of every human being. In this regard, we propose to develop under the UN auspices an International Code of Voluntary Commitments of States during pandemics. The document could reflect each state’s commitments to its citizens and international partners.
Since the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Uzbekistan, all our efforts and resources have been focused on containing this dangerous disease and, most importantly, saving people’s lives. As a result, the number of victims in our country is one of the lowest in the world (0.7%). Social protection and health systems are being drastically strengthened to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic; targeted support is provided to the population, sectors of the economy and businesses. Special funds have been set up to this end.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to all our friends and partners who have generously supported during this time of trials. We fully support the international community’s efforts to effectively combat the pandemic, including the development and widespread use of essential drugs and vaccines.
We also welcome the proposal of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to hold a summit next year on the pressing issues of food security in the current context of the crisis.
Three years ago, in my address to the General Assembly, I stated that Uzbekistan was firmly determined to implement radical reforms. As a result of our large-scale measures on political and economic modernization of society, a new Uzbekistan is being formed. Today, the process of democratic transformations in our country has become irreversible.
Last year’s parliamentary elections demonstrated the growing political activism of the population and parties, the role of civil society institutions, and the influence and importance of the media. Gender policy has become our priority. The role of our women in public administration is growing. In our new Parliament, the number of women deputies has doubled.
The human rights situation has also drastically changed. Child labor and forced labor were completely abolished. The National Human Rights Strategy has been adopted. In response to a call from the United Nations to help stateless persons, this year alone 50,000 of our compatriots were granted Uzbek citizenship. The situation with religious freedom in our country has also improved dramatically.
Further strengthening inter-ethnic harmony and inter-religious tolerance is our constant task. Comprehensive reforms aimed at ensuring the true independence of the judiciary and the rule of law are being consistently implemented. The uncompromising fight against corruption has reached a new level. In this regard, important legislation has been adopted and the Anti-Corruption Agency was established. We are dynamically continuing economic reforms. For the first time, we have publicly declared our determination to reduce poverty.
We are achieving this through development of entrepreneurship and job creation; improving the investment climate and business environment; building a modern social infrastructure and providing targeted assistance to the population training people in new professions. In our country, where over half of the population is young, an extensive work is underway to ensure that every young person takes a worthy place in society and demonstrate their potential.
Youth Parliaments, the Agency for Youth Affairs and the Interagency Council on Youth have been established in the country. In August, the Samarkand International Forum on Youth Rights was successfully held under the auspices of the United Nations.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again call on you to support our initiative to adopt the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Youth. It is particularly important to discuss the document together with the UN and the Inter-Parliamentary Union with the involvement of young deputies of national parliaments and youth parliaments. There is no doubt that this Convention will serve to protecting the rights and interests of the younger generation and realizing their talents.
In addition, given the growing role of parliaments and civil society institutions in addressing today’s social problems:
We propose to adopt a a special resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on enhancing the role of parliaments in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and ensuring human rights, as well as to hold a Global Forum of Public Chambers under the auspices of the United Nations in order develop new approaches to current international issues.
Fundamental changes are taking place now in the region of Central Asia. We have managed to create an atmosphere of good neighbourliness, mutual trust, friendship and respect among the countries of the region. Our common achievement is consultative summits of the Central Asian Heads of State which was put forth for the first time at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly and has been regularly held since then.
Existing obstacles to cooperation among the countries of the region are being removed. Over the past four years, bilateral trade has grown almost five-fold. Hundreds of new joint projects and programs are being implemented. During these days of trial, our countries are standing by one another in repatriating their citizens, maintaining transport corridors and providing humanitarian assistance.
Today, the Central Asian states face an important strategic task which is to ensure deep integration of our region into the global economic, transport and transit corridors. In this regard, we propose to establish a Regional Center for the Development of Transport and Communications under the auspices of the United Nations. Effective security cooperation is maintained in Central Asia today, and the United Nations Global Anti-Terrorism Strategy is being successfully implemented.
We propose to hold an International conference on the 10th anniversary of Regional joint plan of this Strategy. The ancient cultural and rich spiritual heritage of our region is of global importance. We are ready to hold the International Forum “Central Asia at the Crossroads of World Civilizations” in the ancient city of Khiva in 2021 in cooperation with UNESCO.
We see Afghanistan as an integral part of Central Asia. The Tashkent High-Level Conference on Afghanistan in March 2018 marked a new stage in the mobilization of the international community’s efforts to resolve the Afghan problem.
In order to involve Afghanistan in the process of economic integration in the region, we have started the implementation of major infrastructure projects such as “Surkhan-Puli Khumri” power line and construction of a railway from Mazar-i-Sharif to the sea ports of the Indian Ocean.
We welcome the agreement signed in Doha between the United States and the Taliban and support the agreement of Afghan political leaders to establish a National Reconciliation Council. Taking this opportunity, we welcome the important initiative put forward by Mr. Antonio Guterres, namely the call for a comprehensive ceasefire, armed conflicts and military actions in all regions of the world.
We believe that peace and stability in Afghanistan should remain a constant focus of the United Nations. Only through joint efforts and close cooperation can we realize all the dreams and aspirations of the Afghan people. In this regard, it is important to work on the principle of “From instability and destruction – to peace and prosperity.”
Today, it is necessary to create a permanent platform for international cooperation that would listen to the concerns of long-suffering Afghan people. To this end, we propose to establish a permanent UN commission on Afghanistan. The main task of this Commission should be to promote and facilitate the economic and social development of Afghanistan.
Distinguished heads of State and Government!
Another acute problem of our time is related to global climate change. Today, every country can feel the destructive effects of this process. Unfortunately, such negative developments also pose a great threat to the sustainable development of Central Asia.
We are facing the threats of deterioration of environmental situation in the region, intensification of drought and desertification, erosion of the soil layers in which nuclear waste is stored. I would like to once again draw your attention to the devastating effects of the drying up of the Aral Sea.
The Aral Sea region has become the center of an environmental tragedy. To mitigate the current situation, we are carrying out an extensive work to create two million hectares of new plantations and forests, to form a layer of soil. At our initiative, the United Nations Multilateral Trust Fund for the Development of the Aral Sea Region was established.
We hope that the fund will serve as a base platform for the international community to provide practical assistance to the population living in a stressed ecological zone. We propose to adopt a special resolution of the UN General Assembly declaring the Aral Sea region an area of ecological innovation and technologies. It would be expedient to mark the date of adoption of this important document as the International Day for the Protection and Restoration of Ecosystems.
In conclusion, I would like to emphasize another point: the continuing unrest in various parts of the world, the growing conflict and violence, environmental risks and other modern threats are exacerbating the global problems of poverty.
These problems become especially acute in the condition of pandemic. The “Voice of Poverty” is even more alarming today. In this regard, we propose to set the issues of poverty eradication and the fight against poverty as one of the main topics of the next session of the United Nations General Assembly.
It is clear that the socio-economic landscape of the post-pandemic world will be completely different. We need to work on the basis of new approaches and close cooperation against common threats to security and sustainable development. In these processes, the central role of the United Nations as a coordinating international structure needs to be further strengthened.
The Republic of Uzbekistan stands ready to develop a wide-ranging and mutually beneficial partnership with all countries of the world, as well as practical dialogue with the United Nations and its institutions.”