Today the Cotton Campaign submitted recommendations to the World Bank for its Uzbekistan SCD.
We noted that the World Bank has substantial leverage with the government of Uzbekistan. To achieve the World Bank’s twin goals of “of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in ways that are environmentally, socially and fiscally sustainable” in Uzbekistan, it is incumbent on the World Bank to use its leverage to end the practices of its member the Uzbek government that ensure the impoverishment of the people of Uzbekistan, including systematic forced labor, repression of civil society, and corruption. The World Bank’s Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) is the opportunity to analyze the actual economic and social trends in Uzbekistan and establish the analytical framework to guide the World Bank’s strategy to achieve its twin goals. Unfortunately the World Bank’s power point titled “Online Consultation for the Preparation of the Uzbekistan Systematic Country Diagnostic” (hereinafter “power point”) fails to properly analyze the economic situation in the country because it virtually ignores the role played by the Uzbek government in manipulating the economy for the benefit of elites. This must be remedied in the SCD for Uzbekistan.
Thus, it is vital that the World Bank account for the following key issues, explained in the subsequent text:
- Management of the cotton sector as a system of patronage is the root cause of forced labor;
- The Uzbek government continues to use systematic forced labor to produce cotton;
- The Uzbek government represses any attempt by independent civil society to report on human rights;
- The Uzbek government’s use of coercion to force farmers to fulfill cotton production quotas violates international laws and impedes recruitment of voluntary agricultural labor, investment and economic development;
- World Bank commitments to establish third-party monitoring of core labor standards and a grievance redress mechanism for its projects in Uzbekistan remain unfulfilled;
- Corruption impedes the World Bank goals of eliminating poverty and boosting shared prosperity; and
- The cotton sector exemplifies widely applied policies of the Uzbek government that benefit particularistic interests of government officials rather than the population as a whole.
Read the full submission to the World Bank for its Uzbekistan SCD here.