Regional: Assisting the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Institute Knowledge Program (Phase 1)

Sovereign Project | 46141-001 Status: Approved

Summary

The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute (CI) constitutes one of the operational priorities in the CAREC 2020. Support to the CAREC Program and the CI is reflected in Pillars 1 (Cross-Border Infrastructure), 2 (Trade and Investment), and Pillar 4 (Other Regional Public Goods) of ADB's Regional Cooperation and Integration Strategy (2006). ADB's support to these pillars in terms of non-lending knowledge products include, among other things, capacity and institution building, research, and policy dialogues and similar forums. The R-RDTA is also in line with ADB's Strategy 2020, which mandates ADB to engage in forward-looking research activities to provide the necessary knowledge support to its developing member countries. The R-RDTA will support the research and knowledge management components of the CI under the Strategic Knowledge Framework (SKF).

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Project Name Assisting the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Institute Knowledge Program (Phase 1)
Project Number 46141-001
Country Regional
Project Status Approved
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 8259-REG: Assisting the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Institute Knowledge Program (Phase 1)
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 1.50 million
TA 8259-REG: Assisting the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Institute Knowledge Program (Phase 1) (Supplementary)
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 1.50 million
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Regional integration
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Sector / Subsector

Energy - Energy sector development and institutional reform

Industry and trade - Industry and trade sector development

Public sector management - Economic affairs management - Public administration

Transport - Transport policies and institutional development

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Description The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute (CI) constitutes one of the operational priorities in the CAREC 2020. Support to the CAREC Program and the CI is reflected in Pillars 1 (Cross-Border Infrastructure), 2 (Trade and Investment), and Pillar 4 (Other Regional Public Goods) of ADB's Regional Cooperation and Integration Strategy (2006). ADB's support to these pillars in terms of non-lending knowledge products include, among other things, capacity and institution building, research, and policy dialogues and similar forums. The R-RDTA is also in line with ADB's Strategy 2020, which mandates ADB to engage in forward-looking research activities to provide the necessary knowledge support to its developing member countries. The R-RDTA will support the research and knowledge management components of the CI under the Strategic Knowledge Framework (SKF).
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The CAREC Program is a key platform of the countries for economic cooperation in the region. Since its inception in 2001, significant progress has been achieved especially in the priority areas of transport and trade facilitation, energy, and trade policy, as evidenced by a properly-functioning institutional framework for policy dialogue and decision making, as well as total investments to date of about $20 billion.

However, much remains to be done. A key area which needs strengthened efforts is to mainstream CAREC into the national development agenda, and fostering stronger country ownership. This is fundamental, as further progress in economic cooperation in the region can only be achieved if the concepts, principles and benefits of regional cooperation are internalized into the countries's decision-making process. This in turn will depend on the availability of trusted, high quality knowledge products that could better inform policy choices. Thus, the provision of knowledge products and services on the analytical underpinnings of regional cooperation processes, their costs and benefits, and the best ways to implement them is critical to this process. In particular, it would promote better understanding of the key imminent challenges and evolving trends affecting the countries of the region, thus helping decision-makers anticipate and craft the appropriate responses.

Impact Enhanced quality of regional cooperation
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Enhanced capacity of CAREC country governments and institutions to engage in regional cooperation
Progress Toward Outcome

Individual consultants have been engaged during 2013-2015 to undertake work towards achieving the objective of the TA.

Progress made includes: (i) developing concept of economic corridor development; (ii) signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the cities of Almaty and Bishkek to jointly work on the development of the Almaty-Bishkek Corridor Initiative (ABCI); and (iii) the Joint Working Group under the ABCI was established to guide, monitor and implement the ABCI in this phase of knowledge and analytical work.

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

1. New knowledge and applied solutions to facilitate policy decisions in support of regional cooperation initiatives

2. Repository of knowledge products and information sources on regional cooperation in the CAREC region

3. Platform for the exchange and dissemination of knowledge generated and collected

4. Institutional capacity of the CAREC Institute strengthened

5. CAREC Institute physically established

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

The CAREC countries have reached broad agreement on the CI Work Plan for 2013-2017 after several rounds of consultations, and this was endorsed as part of the Wuhan Action Plan at the 11th MC. The CI Work Plan was structured around the three pillars of the Strategic Knowledge Framework (SKF), namely: (i) knowledge generation; (ii) knowledge services; and (iii) knowledge management, and drew from the work plans of the various Sector Coordinating Committee as well as country specific inputs.

The ADB completed a study on Economic Corridor Development (ECD) for the CAREC program. The study develops a framework for corridor development relevant to the context of Central Asian economies and their unique economic and physical geography. The study assessed the applicability of economic corridor development for Corridor 1 --- a regional and international link, traversing Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic, and recommended a more detailed and substantial exploration for possible development of Almaty Bishkek Corridor as an economic corridor. The recommendations of the study will be considered by CAREC senior officials.

Capacity development activities carried out in 2013 were:

(i) International Workshop on CAREC Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring;

(ii) CI Economic Corridor Development Consultation

(iii) Focus Group Meetings

(iv) Workshop on Economic Corridor Development

Activities carried out in 2014 were:

(i) CAREC-IMT Workshop on Economic Corridor Development

(ii) High Government Officials and Mayors Meeting in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic

In November 2014, the cities of Almaty and Bishkek signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly work on the development of the Almaty-Bishkek Corridor Initiative (ABCI). The ABCI is undertaking analysis to identify the possible content and scope of economic corridor development encompassing both cities and areas around and between them. The initiative--the first example of city-level cooperation in the CAREC region--will help coordinate urban development planning between Almaty and Bishkek, and will generate detailed studies to identify infrastructure requirements, policies, and market opportunities to better integrate their economies.

The Joint Working Group (JWG) was established by the governments of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic to guide, monitor and implement the ABCI in this phase of knowledge and analytical work, supported by technical assistance by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the Central Asia Region Economic Cooperation Program.

The first JWG meeting (JWG1), held in Bangkok, Thailand on 22 23 December 2014, agreed on an initial set of priority areas for analysis: long-term urban planning, agriculture and food security, health services, education services, tourism, and infrastructure related to trade and logistics. It also agreed on indicative issues to be covered for the prioritized areas for analysis.

The second JWG Meeting (JWG2), held on 4 6 August 2015 in Bengaluru, India, reviewed and provided guidance on the analytical work that has been undertaken in the priority areas, and explored information and communications technology (ICT) applications in the sectors being considered for economic corridor development, and initiated joint discussion of long-term city planning and its coordination. It also identified future work to be taken in other areas relevant to ABCI such as IT sector, disaster risk management, and public-private partnerships, and reviewed and discussed forward work planning.

A memo requesting for a minor change in implementation arrangements to modify or include a number of consultant positions under the RDTA to carry out activities related to the Almaty-Bishkek economic corridor development was signed on 25 February 2015.

Geographical Location Kyrgyz Republic,Mongolia,Pakistan,People's Republic of China,Kazakhstan,Afghanistan,Uzbekistan,Tajikistan,Turkmenistan,Azerbaijan
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

The CAREC 2020 lays out the vision and the strategic directions for cooperation for the period 2011-2020, and articulates two principal goals of cooperation, namely (i) trade expansion; and (ii) improved countries' competitiveness. To fulfill the high expectations placed on it by CAREC 2020, the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) held in June 2012 endorsed the CI Strategic Knowledge Framework 2013-2017 (the SKF). The SKF aims to build CI as a leading knowledge institution on economic cooperation in the region. In particular, the CI will (i) sharpen its focus on regional, multi-sectoral and common sector issues; (ii) integrating knowledge generation, services and management in its planning and execution to be more effective; and (iii) form strategic alliances with regional institutions and networks. A range of institutional building measures were also proposed to strengthen the CI and improve the quality of its programs and products.

Indicative five-year CI work plans were discussed in the subregional workshops, the mid-year CAREC senior officials' meeting (SOM), and the 10th CAREC Ministerial Conference (MC), which were all held in 2011. Consensus was reached among the participating countries and CAREC MI partners on focus of CI research on regional, multi-sectoral and common sector issues in CAREC to assist achievement of the operational objectives of CAREC 2020 of, namely, expanding trade and improving countries' competitiveness. Following these guiding principles, consultation is ongoing on annual activities of the CI, with continued assistance from ADB and other MI partners. The new CI work plans are expected to be further reviewed at a CAREC National Focal Point meeting in late September 2012 in Bangkok, and to be endorsed at the 11th CAREC MC to be held in November 2012.

During Project Implementation The ADB will ensure that the Knowledge Program activities are carried out effectively and efficiently. Guidance on the CI work program will be received from the existing CAREC institutional mechanism which consists of sector coordination committees, senior officials' meeting and ministerial conference.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services Under the supervision of the CWRD senior staff who will oversee the RDTA implementation, a total of about 117 person-months of an international consultant and approximately 96 person-months of national consultants inputs will be engaged to help with the implementation of the RDTA.
Procurement Equipment to be purchased will be procured in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines.
Responsible ADB Officer Hong Wang
Responsible ADB Department Central and West Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Div, CWRD
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong
Metro Manila, Philippines
P.O. Box 789, 1099 Manila,
Philippines
Timetable
Concept Clearance 12 Sep 2012
Fact Finding -
MRM -
Approval 11 Dec 2012
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 17 Sep 2015

TA 8259-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
11 Dec 2012 - 11 Dec 2012 31 Dec 2014 31 Dec 2016 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
3,000,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 3,000,000.00 11 Dec 2012 1,160,692.40

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