Central Asian Experts Share Progress on Strengthening Government Policies with Evidence and Data

TASHKENT – Officials and experts from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan gathered in Tashkent on May 25th to share their experiences using modern data systems for creating and implementing government policies. The two-day international conference was hosted by the World Bank and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction, Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, and Ministry of Finance with support from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom.

The conference marked the official launch of the new Effective Governance for Economic Development (EGED) in Central Asia Program, funded by the UK government* and implemented by the World Bank and ACTED. The program supports the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in generating better data and evidence, using them for policy design and implementation of economic reforms, improving coordination within government, and better engaging with citizens.

“The UK launched the EGED Program together with the government partners to support more evidence-based policymaking in Central Asia. We believe that the use of data and evidence is essential for more effective policymaking. We are excited to bring together government and civil society partners from across the region at this conference to share lessons and discuss the next steps, as we scale up program activities, also in response to the UK’s new International Development Strategy that places emphasis on government institutional leadership,” stressed Mirza Jahani, Development Director for Central Asia, FCDO.

The conference brought together over 150 participants from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, including experts in developing evidence-based policies and reforms, senior government officials, and representatives of civil society, think tanks, academic circles, and international organizations.

“The momentum for improving the quality and use of data and evidence in Uzbekistan has intensified since 2016. Thanks to the policy of openness and transparency that the Government has chosen to follow, our country’s statistical capacity score has substantially improved every year since then. We are happy to share our experience and learn from the experience of our Central Asian colleagues attending the conference,” noted Jamshid Kuchkarov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction of Uzbekistan, in his welcome address at the conference.

Participants shared lessons on the interface between data production, data analysis and use of data for public policies, progress in evidence-based policy implementation, and approaches to strengthening the role of civil society. Discussions focused on generating evidence, and experts showed how cutting-edge analytical methods greatly improve the capacity of governments to create policy solutions.

“In 2022, we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the partnership between Central Asian countries and the World Bank. Through the years, the main focus of this partnership has been to improve the wellbeing of people in the region,” said Tatiana Proskuryakova, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia. “We have been providing financial and analytical support to build the capacity of the governments to improve data for creating and implementing policies oriented to the needs of citizens. We will keep helping them achieve further progress in this direction, including through the EGED Program delivery.”

During the event, participants adopted a joint conference declaration, which reconfirmed their commitment to the following: mobilizing evidence to generate inclusive growth, reduce poverty, prioritize the wellbeing of marginalized groups, and ensure equal access to opportunity for all of society to improve their lives; strengthening exchange across Central Asia in the production of rigorous evidence for more transparent, inclusive, and efficient policymaking; improving data and integrating evidence-based policymaking into various areas; making government data and evidence open and public by default; and encouraging the use of government data by the public, engaging the public in policymaking, and raising awareness around evidence-based policy in Central Asian countries.