Tashkent, April 24, 2020 - The coronavirus outbreak has evolved into a global pandemic. It has killed tens of thousands of people, straining communities, increasing calls for social protection, shrinking business activity and disrupting supply chains. Its consequences will be profound. As the virus does not discriminate between people and knows no borders, this historic crisis requires a fast, massive and coordinated global response to protect all people, save lives and tackle the economic fallout.
The European Union (EU), as the world’s largest donor and a leading economic power, is already at the forefront of this effort. The EU has contributed EUR 114 million to WHO for global pandemic response.
The European Union has taken a series of concrete actions to support efforts by Uzbekistan government in dealing with COVID crisis. The EU’s response addresses the humanitarian, health, social and economic consequences of the crisis. It addresses short-term emergency needs as well as the longer-term structural impacts on societies and economies, thus reducing the risk of destabilisation. It reinforces both governmental and non-governmental actions.
To address the urgent needs of the health sector the EU will provide EUR 2.2 million to support the WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) for the country. The EU will also refocus EUR 5 million contribution to Uzbekistan’s Aral Sea Trust Fund; the Fund will launch a Call for Proposals on Covid-19 response soon.
The EU will also support the recovery of the country's economy by accelerating the payments of EUR 21 million of its budgetary support to the development of the Agriculture sector. Additionally up to EUR 4 million will be address the socio-economic consequences of the crisis in the agricultural sector.
In addition, the EU is reallocating up to EUR 1.8 million under the «New stage of public administration and civic engagement in Uzbekistan” project implemented by the UNDP, towards the emergency expenditure for on-line access to public services, as well as provide up to EUR 1 million in support of civil society organisations dealing with the social fallout of the pandemic.
The EU is also working to support safe hospital waste management, in partnership with the Agence Française de Développement (up to EUR 1 million).
As the EU Ambassador Eduards Stiprais highlighted: “Uzbekistan government is taking critical steps to save the economy and support small and medium enterprises. I am sure that we will achieve great results only with joint efforts. The EU will continue to support the government of Uzbekistan by providing additional financial assistance and by redirecting money already available to solve the most urgent problems associated with the current COVID-19 crisis”.
The EU’s response follows a #TeamEurope approach, Global EU Response to support partner countries around the world with EUR 20 billion to fight the #coronavirus. It draws contributions from all EU institutions and combines the resources mobilised by EU Member States and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Working together, Team Europe can muster a critical mass that few others can match.
The head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell, considers that “The coronavirus pandemic requires united, global action in response. The European Union and its Member States are playing their part in tackling this health crisis and its severe consequences – at home and abroad. While we are doing everything we can to provide support to our citizens, we also need to assist our partners in our direct neighbourhood and beyond to address the impact it will have on their livelihoods, stability and security, as their problems are our problems. This is a global fight that we will either win or lose together. Cooperation and joint efforts at the international level and multilateral solutions are the way forward, for a true global agenda for the future.”