Today, the anniversary events of the UN Special Program for the economies of Central Asia (SPECA), which celebrates its twentieth anniversary, have started in Almaty.
The Economic forum and the 13th session of the SPECA Governing council, jointly organized by the government of Kazakhstan, the current Chairman of SPECA, the United Nations Economic and social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), have been attended by governmental delegations of the Programme participants – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as representatives of UN agencies and programmes, international and regional organizations, international financial institutions, the private sector and the academic community.
“Twenty years of SPECA: A new stage in regional cooperation for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was the theme of today’s economic forum, which is a traditional multilateral dialogue, held with the participation of interested partners of the SPECA region.
The achievements of SPECA countries in the areas of transport, trade, energy, information and communication technologies and challenges for the future have become key topics on the agenda.
The forum discussed the necessary structural economic reforms aimed at realizing the benefits of integration in the Central Asian region as a result of improving trade, transport and energy networks.
Speakers from seven SPECA countries also shared the proposals for further strengthening regional trade through simplification of trade procedures, the removal of tariff barriers, the adoption of a coherent regional policy.
The recommendations developed at the forum were submitted for further approval by the highest decision-making body of the Program – the Governing Council, which will meet tomorrow, 21 September.
It is expected that the governing Council will evaluate the activity of the SPECA for the two decades of its existence and consider the draft plan of the SPECA Innovation strategy for sustainable development, developed in line with earlier decisions.
In addition, the work of the thematic working groups of the Council dealing with sectors such as water, energy, environment, transport, trade, statistics, economy and gender will be summarized.
SPECA was established on the basis of the Tashkent Declaration of 26 March 1998 with the aim of strengthening regional economic cooperation in Central Asia and the integration of these countries into the Eurasian economy. Over the years, the Programme has also become an important platform for regional SDG achievement in the areas of infrastructure, innovation and economic diversification.