BAKU, AZERBAIJAN: – Senior officials from the 10 member countries of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program, met Wednesday in Baku, Azerbaijan, and moved towards completing a strategic framework that over the next decade will help further develop regional transport networks, boost regional trade, and help secure reliable, efficient energy.
The Senior Officials’ Meeting took stock of the group’s achievements since its formal establishment in 2001, and put finishing touches to CAREC 2020, the strategy that will guide the partnership for the next 10 years. It will include a five-year plan of priority regional investments in transport, trade facilitation, and energy. CAREC 2020 will be formally adopted in November 2011 when CAREC countries gather again in Baku to mark the occasion of their 10th Ministerial Conference.
“This year is special as it marks the first decade of CAREC’s existence. It is a time to look back, celebrate, reflect, and—very importantly – to also look to the opportunities ahead,” said Juan Miranda, Director General of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department. “The CAREC countries are closer now than they have ever been, and CAREC 2020 will speed the process by which Central Asia re-assumes its position as a pivotal crossroad for international trade and commerce.”
The CAREC partnership comprises 10 countries—Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—and six multilateral institutions: the Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Program, and World Bank. ADB has served as the CAREC Secretariat since 2001.
CAREC promotes project-based cooperation in transport, energy, trade facilitation, and trade policy. To date, the regional group boasts more than $15 billion in CAREC-related investment in these sectors, including building and upgrading 3,600 km of roads and 2,000 km of railway; as well as ports and priority border crossings. CAREC has also improved energy security, efficiency and distribution throughout the region.