WUHAN, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA – Ministers from 10 nations spanning the Caucasus, Central, East, and South Asia will gather here on 29-31 October to discuss concrete ways to boost connectivity and cooperation in their region through to 2020.
The meeting marks the 11th gathering of the ministers of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program.
“Regional cooperation is the best means of ensuring regional prosperity. Next week, the goal will be to agree on how to implement our vision of better trade and transport links and how we can better share ideas and knowledge within the CAREC region,” said Klaus Gerhaeusser, Director General of the Central and West Asia Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
At the 10th CAREC gathering in Baku, Azerbaijan in November 2011, ministers endorsed a 10-year framework for the region, titled CAREC 2020: 10-year Strategic Framework for the CAREC Program. This year, the ministers will be discussing Implementing CAREC 2020: Vision and Action.
The CAREC program prioritizes projects and initiatives in four key areas: transport, energy, trade facilitation, and trade policy in an effort to promote economic growth and poverty reduction in the region.
Since CAREC was formed in 2001, the region has seen $19.6 billion in investments in just over 120 projects. This includes building or rehabilitation of almost 4,000 kilometers of roads and 3,200 kilometers of railways, allowing faster movement of goods and people within the region. In the energy sector, more than 2,300 kilometers of power transmission lines have been constructed and are already providing reliable electricity to homes and businesses.
In the past year alone, the region has improved border services and expanded customs control between Mongolia and the PRC among other efforts to promote trade. CAREC officials have also received training and other support to smooth the path toward World Trade Organization membership.
Six multilateral institutions support the work of CAREC: ADB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the Islamic Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank. ADB has served as the CAREC Secretariat since 2001.