Senior officials from 11 countries in Central and West Asia and development partners gathered in Tashkent for two days for the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Senior Officials’ Meeting. The high-level meeting serves as a platform to discuss important issues of regional relevance and prepare the agenda for the 18th CAREC Ministerial Conference to be held in the capital of Uzbekistan in November this year, ADB press release informs.
Deputy Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Laziz Kudratov chaired the meeting, and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Central and West Asia Department Director General Werner Liepach, Deputy Director General Nianshan Zhang and ADB’s East Asia Department Deputy Director General M. Teresa Kho co-chaired it.
“Strengthening ties among CAREC neighboring countries and improving environment for economic cooperation, and enhancing regional connectivity through better infrastructure, will help boost the growth in the region,” said Werner Liepach. “ADB, as the Secretariat for the CAREC Program will continue to provide financial, technical and administrative support to CAREC and to projects of regional significance”.
This year’s SOM reviewed the implementation progress made to date for CAREC 2030 Strategy endorsed in October 2017 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan; provided guidance on the formulation of the CAREC Transport Strategy 2030, and CAREC Energy Strategy 2030 to be endorsed at the 18th CAREC Ministerial Conference in November in Tashkent; and deliberated on the initiative of the First CAREC Capital Market Regulators Forum to be convened in Islamabad, Pakistan in end August this year.
Senior officials commended on the satisfactory progress in the implementation of CAREC 2030 Strategy, in particular, in its priority operational clusters for trade, tourism, and development of economic corridors including the Shymkent-Tashkent-Khujand economic corridor; infrastructure and economic connectivity; and agriculture and water resources. Officials welcomed the intensified efforts to promote tourism in the region through ADB’s proposed $2.0 million technical assistance to develop a CAREC Tourism Strategy 2030 and a CAREC Tourism Investment Framework 2021-2025, and the creation of the CAREC Tourism Expert Group.
The meeting recognized the progress made in implementing the CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda 2030, endorsed last year in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan; welcomed the inauguration of the CAREC Regional Sanitary and Phytosanitary Working Group; and discussed the concept of creating a Regional Food Safety Network in the CAREC region. The senior officials were also apprised of the highlights and agreements reached at the preceding 2nd CAREC Regional Trade Group Meeting and the 18th Customs Cooperation Committee Meeting held in Tashkent.
The Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) of CAREC provides a platform to monitor progress at sector level and is vested with the authority to consider and endorse complex multi-country and multisector projects. The SOM also serves as a mechanism to ensure the effective implementation of the policy and strategic decisions made by the Ministerial conference. SOM is convened once a year to prepare for the annual CAREC Ministerial Conference. Given the scope and nature of the responsibilities of the SOM, it’s made up of senior-level officials from relevant agencies from CAREC member countries. CAREC development partners also participate in the SOM.
The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program is a partnership of 11 countries (Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, People’s Republic of China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and development partners working together to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated growth and poverty reduction. The Program is in pursuit of its long-term vision of “Good Neighbors, Good Partners, and Good Prospects”.