TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN (16 April 2019) — More than 60 representatives from 10 countries in Central and West Asia gathered at a 2-day regional workshop to discuss how to accelerate progress in gender equality in the region.
The workshop, convened by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Uzbekistan’s Women’s Committee, focused on how development projects, such as those financed by ADB, could empower women and promote gender equality to accelerate sustainable development.
“Bringing our clients and partners together in this way has been a great opportunity to exchange ideas and collaborate,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Women’s Committee Ms. Tanzila Narbayeva.
ADB Vice-President Mr. Shixin Chen said that despite significant progress in Central and West Asia, gender equality for women has not been fully achieved and women remain underrepresented in the public and private spheres.
“In Central and West Asia, the journey towards gender equality is not easy,” Mr. Chen said. “Still, we are committed to stay the course.”
Mr. Chen said that in 2018, 57% of ADB-funded projects in Central and West Asia had a gender component, a significant increase from 28% in 2009. He commended the Government of Uzbekistan on their commitment to gender equality and the good progress they have made on the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Women in Uzbekistan are now more empowered and increasingly able to access vital social services,” Mr. Chen said. He recommended that more policies and actions are needed to proactively advance gender equality.
ADB is committed to mainstreaming gender in its operations. It’s been a policy of ADB since 1982 when it put women at the forefront of its work. Since then, the policy has evolved to reflect significant changes in Asia and the Pacific region. ADB’s new corporate strategy, Strategy 2030, adopted last year, has committed to “accelerate progress in gender equality” as one of the bank’s seven operational priorities.
Since joining ADB in 1995, Uzbekistan has committed 70 loans totaling $7.4 billion, including two private sector loans totaling $225 million. ADB also provided $6 million in equity investment, $218 million in guarantees, and $87.3 million in technical assistance grants. In 2018, ADB committed five loans totaling $1.1 billion to improve power generation efficiency, primary health care services, access to finance for horticulture farmers and businesses, access to drinking water in the western part of Uzbekistan, and economic management in the country.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.