Projects in Central Asia work for women’s green leadership, improved criminal justice system

An UNDEF project in Uzbekistan supports women’s leadership in green entrepreneurship amid severe impacts of climate change, and thereby their participation in the local economy. Based in Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic surrounded by the dried-up Aral Sea and the Karakum and Kyzylkum deserts, the project works to build a start-up ecosystem for clean tech led by women. Implemented by Tech4Impact, the activities also include capacity-building, developing knowledge online knowledge materials and web resources, and conducting awareness raising campaigns. UNDEF Senior Project Officer Christian Lamarre visited the project in October 2021, participating in a project workshop in the republic’s capital of Nukus on ways to accelerate start-up launches in climate-change impacted spaces. Start-up proposals ranged from green guesthouse to hydroponic agriculture; it is expected that up to eight start-ups in this acceleration cycle will reach the final stage.

In Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, an UNDEF project works for to builds better conditions in a prison and criminal justice system suffering from overcrowding, poor management, lack of transparency and accountability, and punitive practices. Implemented by Penal Reform International Central Asia, the project also works to develop probation services as a key tool to increase resilience and stability in  communities, taking into account the problems of women and children in conflict with the law. So far, the project has visited more than 300 facilities for monitoring and formulated recommendations for improvement; and held a series of training-of-trainers sessions for prison staff, probation officers, national experts and monitoring bodies, including on ways to integrate international standards for the treatment of prisoners.