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.
The JWG on ABCI had its third meeting in Madrid, Spain on 19- 20 October 2015. Recognizing the strategic importance of tourism sector to the ABCI, the third JWG meeting (JWG3) was co-hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The JWG3 was followed on 21 -22 October by a workshop on urban development and transformation in partnership with Fundacion Metropoli, including a visit to the city of Bilbao.
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.
Further, a minor change in implementation arrangements was approved on 10 December 2015 to (i) include the engagement of a consulting firm through single-source selection (SSS) method, and (ii) extend the RDTA's completion date to 31 December 2016.
The engagement of the consulting firm is underway.