The ministers from Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan met at the 21st CAREC Ministerial Conference on 24 November.
This year’s Ministerial Conference was chaired and hosted virtually by China under the theme Revitalizing Regional Cooperation for a Green, Sustainable, and Inclusive Recovery.
Countries in Central and West Asia have endorsed three new cross-border cooperation initiatives to help accelerate the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, improve food security, and boost the development of clean energy, ADB said in a press release. They include:
- The CAREC Post Pandemic Framework for a Green, Sustainable, and Inclusive Recovery, which outlines areas where CAREC countries can collaborate to boost the region’s recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, among other shocks.
- The Cooperation Framework for Agricultural Development and Food Security in the CAREC Region, which focuses on international cooperation to modernize agriculture, strengthen policies, and develop food value chains. The framework also emphasizes international trade in food products and enhancing information sharing on food security.
- The CAREC Green Energy Alliance will be the first financing vehicle specifically for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region. Now endorsed by the ministers, work will begin on establishing the vehicle, which will provide access to investment-ready green energy projects and match financiers with project developers to fast-track the low-carbon transition.
“The pandemic showed that health shocks can have large macroeconomic impacts with significant social costs,” ministers from the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program said in a joint statement.
They promised to push productivity through digitalization, innovation, and investment; achieve green growth through climate action, sustainable agriculture, and energy transition; and promote inclusiveness through social protection, gender, education, and health.
“We are committed to helping our developing member countries tackle the challenges they face—including recovery from the pandemic, food security, and climate change,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
“We aim to provide $14 billion to strengthen food security in Asia and the Pacific between 2022 to 2025. Our Countercyclical Support Facility or CSF programs are also helping our members cope with external shocks. Under CSF, we recently approved $500 million in support to Uzbekistan, $1.5 billion to Pakistan, $50 million to Tajikistan, another $50 million to the Kyrgyz Republic, and $100 million to Mongolia”, he noted.
Ministers also welcomed a CAREC scoping study, which analyzes climate change issues in the region and recommends actions to address them, including the development of a regional climate change strategy.
The CAREC Program is a partnership of countries and development partners working together to promote sustainable development. It facilitates practical, results-based regional projects and policy initiatives to accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty in the region. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) hosts the CAREC secretariat. ///nCa, 25 November 2022