Science, technology and innovation policy development - the foundation for sustainable development in Uzbekistan


On 20 May 2021, a national consultation meeting was held online in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) during which UNESCO presented the draft National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy of Uzbekistan for 2021-2030.

The event was organized in close cooperation with the Ministry of Innovation Development of Uzbekistan within the framework of the UNESCO-Islamic Development Bank (IsBD) project on strengthening inclusive Science, Technology and Innovation System in Uzbekistan.

The aim of this meeting was to present and discuss the finalization of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy of the Republic of Uzbekistan (2021-2030) with key STI national stakeholders involved in the policy formulation process.

The STI policy was formulated though a participatory process involving the main actors of the national innovation system of Uzbekistan as well as its regions.

Ms Shahlo Turdikulova, First Deputy Minister of Innovation Development of Uzbekistan, addressed the meeting, stating that STI policy is an integral part of Uzbekistan's overall national development policy.

“Together with UNESCO and IsDB, we are implementing the ambitious goal of enhancing our country's capacity in STI development. One of the important goals is to achieve gender parity in research and increase the number of women scientists by 2030,” she said.

“The process was initiated in 2020 with the STI review of Uzbekistan in collaboration with the Ministry of Innovative Development and UNESCO in the framework of a project financed by the Islamic Development Bank,” said Mr Jan Hladík, Head of the UNESCO Tashkent Office and UNESCO Representative to Uzbekistan. “The publication “Mapping Research and Innovation in the Republic of Uzbekistan” produced as a result of this study in English, Uzbek and Russian forms the basis of this policy.”

Ms Peggy Oti-Boateng, Director of UNESCO's Division of Science Policy and Capacity-Building, highlighted the role of STI in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She said Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9: Industrialisation, Innovation and Infrastructure) is the foundation for achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“It is encouraging to see that Uzbekistan reflects the Sustainable Development Goals in its national documents and recognises STI as the foundation of the sustainable development. <...> UNESCO will continue to support Uzbekistan in building national ecosystems in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and will share its best practices from around the world so that the country can benefit from the best of them,” she said.

Ms Sirin Elci, UNESCO’s international expert in STI policy, presented the first draft of the STI policy to the meeting and outlined its priorities and targets until 2030, within the country context.

She highlighted key sectors for innovation-based growth and development in Uzbekistan, such as Agriculture, ICT, Manufacturing, Health& pharmaceutical industry, and Tourism.

Ms Elci presented the three main pillars of Uzbekistan's STI policy: strengthening STI system and governance, implementing a full-fledged STI policy mix and achieving evidence-based policy implementation.

Moreover, the draft policy set targets to increase R&D intensity to 1 per cent (from 0.1 per cent in 2018), to rank among the top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index, to increase the share of business sector in Gross domestic expenditure on R&D to 50 per cent (from 40 per cent in 2018) and others.

The presentation was followed by comments from Mr Ibrokhim Ishmatov, Head of the Department of Human Capital Development, Ministry of Innovative Development, and other national stakeholders.

The comments and inputs from national stakeholders will serve to produce the final draft STI policy, which will be again proposed for discussion and validation at the second national validation workshop, to be held in July 2021.