Uzbekistan – Sustainable Development Strategy for the Historic Cities of Bukhara, Samarkand and Nukus



Approval Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type


Many cities and secondary towns in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region have untapped cultural tourism potential that, if developed, could allow these cities to compete effectively in a regional or international marketplace. Cultural heritage projects financed by the World Bank in the ECA region have shown positive results when they jointly address and support economic growth and competitiveness through improved tourism coupled with sustainable development of city infrastructure. Efforts in heritage conservation today extend beyond the preservation of historical buildings and archeological sites to preserving and upgrading the urban landscape (streets, neighbourhoods, public areas, green spaces) and fostering local economic development. This directly improves a city's livability and quality of life, promotes positive community interaction and improves a city's self-image and attractiveness to local and international investors in tourism - one of the largest growing industries in the world today. World Bank-financed heritage and tourism development projects in ECA have played a critical role in restoring cultural capital, leading to the revitalisation of urban centres by attracting private sector investments.
The objective of this proposal is to support the historic cities of Bukhara and Samarkand to identify and prioritise key areas for urban integrated development that will promote and attract local economic development opportunities. This will be achieved through the development of comprehensive Historic Cities Sustainable Development Strategies for Bukhara and Samarkand which will include an Inter-City Collaborative Strategy process aimed at encouraging the two cities to explore and possibly agree on areas of partnership that mutually benefit and boost economic and tourism development.
i) Component 1: Sectoral studies on key urban issues identified above will be carried out by consultants that will provide the background for development of the Sustainable Development Strategies for the historic cities. ii) Component 2: Strategy development – a minimum of 4 participatory workshops (one in each of the 2 cities, one joint consultative meeting or workshop to discuss areas of city-to-city collaboration, one concluding workshop to finalise the individual strategies) and one final dissemination/Donor conference. Several smaller stakeholder meetings will be organised towards development of each strategy. iii) Component 3: Learning Exchange Visits for mayors and key national government stakeholders to two good practice EU cities that have successfully leveraged historical assets and sustainable city development interventions in enhancing and diversifying economic opportunities.
Expected Impacts and Results
1) Identification of key urban development issues that constrain the completive growth and attractiveness of these cities as key tourism destinations in the region. 2) Increased awareness and capacity of the city governments to better conceptualise and propose sustainable urban development interventions. 3) Improved understanding of participatory processes by authorities of all levels. 4) Agreed areas for city–to-city collaboration to boost tourism.