CEBU, PHILIPPINES - Ministers at the 9th Ministerial Conference of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program today welcomed the accession of two new members - Turkmenistan and Pakistan. This is a special event, consolidating the CAREC partnership and its work in transport, trade facilitation, and trade policy.
The inclusion of Turkmenistan and Pakistan extends CAREC's reach to the Arabian Sea and beyond, improving Central Asia's competitiveness in world markets, including East and South Asia, Europe, and the Russian Federation.
"We welcome Turkmenistan and Pakistan as new CAREC members. We are confident that their participation in the CAREC Program will bring benefits to all," ministers said in a joint statement. "CAREC fosters regional connectivity and instills a regional mindset to look beyond national interests."
The Ministerial Conference, hosted by the Government of Afghanistan on the Philippines' island of Cebu, allowed CAREC members to reflect upon a decade of regional cooperation and growth, and to look to the future.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda opened the Ministerial meeting on Tuesday with a call for member countries to take a long-term view on regional cooperation and to focus their actions to build upon past successes that include $13 billion in CAREC-associated investments in energy, trade, and transportation.
"What will be our legacy to the next generation and beyond?" Mr. Kuroda asked. "As we go forward with the next decade of cooperation in CAREC, let us remind ourselves repeatedly of that question. The destiny of future generations will be shaped by what we do today."
After taking stock of the first 10 years of achievements and challenges, the CAREC countries laid the groundwork for future cooperation by accelerating work on trade, transport, and energy. Over the next decade, an expanded CAREC partnership will cement the shared vision of a seamlessly interconnected region retracing the paths of the former Silk Road.
Founded in 1997, CAREC is now a partnership of 10 countries - Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People's Republic of China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan - and six multilateral institutions: ADB, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Monetary Fund, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme and World Bank.
ADB has served as CAREC Secretariat since 2001.