BISHKEK, KYRGYZ REPUBLIC - The Kyrgyz Government and ADB today discussed the preparation of a comprehensive action plan (CAP) for the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program, at a national workshop in Bishkek.

The workshop is one a series of national events organized by CAREC in member countries to get feedback from governments on the goals, objectives, expected results, priority investments and initiatives, and performance indicators for the CAP.

The CAP is a strategic framework that sets out intended outputs and outcomes from regional economic cooperation in Central Asia over the medium term.

At the 4th Ministerial Conference, which took place in Bishkek last year, ministers of CAREC member countries agreed that a strategic framework for regional cooperation is essential for charting the course ahead and suggested that the respective governments must provide the necessary guidance in formulating the strategic framework.

The workshop on CAP in Bishkek was co-chaired by Azamat Dikambaev, Acting State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic, and David Husband, Senior Advisor of the CAREC Program. Senior government officials representing the transport, trade and energy sectors gave an overview of CAREC's priority sectors, provided information on regional cooperation initiatives of the Kyrgyz Republic, made proposals for CAP, and suggested ways to improve the CAREC program.

Participants of the national workshop highlighted the active role of ADB and CAREC program in promoting regional economic cooperation in Central Asia and noted the importance of formulating CAP as a strategic framework, upon which the priorities for regional economic cooperation and the proper sequencing of initiatives will be decided.

At the 5th Ministerial Conference on CAREC in Urumqi, PRC in October this year, CAREC member countries are expected to endorse the CAP.

In separate meetings with the Kyrgyz Government, ADB officials discussed the issue of CAREC expansion, including possible inclusion of agriculture, environment, tourism, and human development sectors in the CAREC Program.

The CAREC Program is an alliance comprising eight countries - Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, People's Republic of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan - and six multilateral institutions - ADB, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and World Bank.

CAREC's multilateral partners based in the Kyrgyz Republic - World Bank, IMF, EBRD and UNDP - were informed about the outcomes of the national workshop on the CAP.

CAREC aims to promote economic growth and raise living standards by encouraging regional economic cooperation. The program has concentrated on financing infrastructure projects and improving the region's policy environment in the priority areas of transport, energy, trade policy, and trade facilitation. The combined assistance of the multilaterals for these sectors is expected to exceed $1.45 billion during 2006-2008.

The Kyrgyz Republic joined ADB in 1994. As of 31 December 2005, ADB provided 25 loans and one grant totaling $604 million equivalent. ADB has also approved technical assistance amounting to $37.2 million.

Media Contact