The EU development cooperation with Uzbekistan and other countries in Central Asia is based on a multi-annual regional cooperation strategy which takes the situation and needs of each country into account.
In line with Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) goals, EU recent and ongoing bilateral co-operation projects in Uzbekistan have focused on rule of law/criminal justice reform, the improvement of social services, in particular mother and child health and inclusive education, rural development, strengthening of civil society/local actors and support to SMEs. Regional projects for Central Asia support the efforts of the countries of the region to reform border management, fight against drug trafficking, improve energy efficiency and use of renewables, and promote regional cooperation in the areas of rule of law, environment and education.
The eleventh meeting of the Cooperation Council between the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Uzbekistan held on 17 March 2014 in Brussels confirmed rural development as the only sector of concentration for EU development assistance for the period 2014 -2020. Building upon this general understanding and taking into account other donors' complementary activities, the Multi-annual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 will continue aiming at poverty reduction and wealth creation in rural communities, the improvement of the quality of life, living standards and food security of people residing in isolated or sparsely populated areas, and the protection of natural resources. Its scope extends beyond the traditional focus on agriculture as it will support income and employment generating investments in village infrastructure, in local cooperatives, family farms, micro and small- sized enterprises. Rural development interventions may also include sustainable energy, improvement in rural areas of water/sanitation and irrigation systems, as well as climate change resilience actions or disaster risk reduction measures, when relevant and appropriate.
For the period of 2014-2020 the financial envelope for Uzbekistan amounts to EUR 168 million, which is almost 124% increase compared to 2007-2013 programming period.
In addition to the bilateral cooperation foreseen under this MIP, the EU regional cooperation Central Asia programmes and other relevant EU instruments and thematic programmes will also contribute to the attainment of the EU objectives in the political dimension, on economic and social development as well as on national and regional security issues. The
Uzbekistan can also benefit from EU thematic programs for:
- Human and social development (Investing in people)
- Environment, and sustainable management of natural resources including energy
- Nuclear safety co-operation
- Non-state actors and local authorities in development
- Migration and asylum
- Instrument for stability
- European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights
- Uzbekistan is also benefiting from the Investment Facility for Central Asia (IFCA), which was launched in 2010 to blend EU development assistance with loans by European and International financial institutions for the 5 countries in Central Asia.