Countries in central and west Asia have endorsed three new cross-border cooperation initiatives to help accelerate the region’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, improve food security, and boost the development of clean energy
“The pandemic showed that health shocks can have large macroeconomic impacts with significant social costs,” ministers from the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme said in a joint statement at the 21st CAREC Ministerial Conference held on 24 November 2022. “We will push productivity through digitalisation, innovation, and investment; achieve green growth through climate action, sustainable agriculture, and energy transition; and promote inclusiveness through social protection, gender, education, and health.”
The CAREC Programme is a partnership of countries and development partners working together to promote sustainable development. It facilitates practical, results-based regional projects and policy initiatives to accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty in the region. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) hosts the CAREC secretariat.
“We are committed to helping our developing member countries tackle the challenges they face—including recovery from the pandemic, food security, and climate change,” said ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa. “By working together through platforms like CAREC, the region can secure a more promising path to a greener, more resilient, and inclusive future.”
The initiatives endorsed by ministers from Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are:
1. The CAREC Post Pandemic Framework for a Green, Sustainable, and Inclusive Recovery, which outlines areas where CAREC countries can collaborate to boost the region’s recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic and geopolitical conflicts, among other shocks.
2. The Cooperation Framework for Agricultural Development and Food Security in the CAREC Region, which focuses on international cooperation to modernise agriculture, strengthen policies, and develop food value chains. The framework also emphasizes international trade in food products and enhancing information sharing on food security.
3. The CAREC Green Energy Alliance will be the first financing vehicle specifically for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region. Now endorsed by the ministers, work will begin on establishing the vehicle, which will provide access to investment-ready green energy projects and match financiers with project developers to fast-track the low-carbon transition.
Ministers also lauded a CAREC scoping study that analysed climate change issues in the region and recommended actions to help tackle them, including the preparation of a regional climate change strategy. This year’s Ministerial Conference was chaired and hosted virtually by the PRC under the theme ‘Revitalizing Regional Cooperation for a Green, Sustainable, and Inclusive Recovery’.