International Meeting on Economic Cooperation (SPECA) between Central Asia and Afghanistan

11 Nov 2011

International Meeting on Economic Cooperation (SPECA) between Central Asia and Afghanistan

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan –

The 2011 Economic Forum and the Sixth Session of the Governing Council of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) titled "20 Years of Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Central Asia: Successes, Challenges and Perspectives" was held in Ashgabat on 10-11 November.

The forum was organized by the Government of Turkmenistan - the Chair of the SPECA Governing Council - together with the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and with the support of the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Russia, Turkey, USA and Estonia participated in the forum. The Turkmen side was represented by senior government members, representatives of the parliament, ministries and academia.

The meeting was also attended by the representatives of various UN agencies, the European Union, the OSCE, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and a number of regional and international organizations, diplomatic missions accredited to Turkmenistan.

As a result SPECA Work Plan for 2012-2013 was discussed and adopted. Representatives of SPECA member countries presented a series of initiatives and ideas on how in the future SPECA could contribute more effectively to regional economic cooperation. Playing a role in strengthening energy security, continued support to the development of Eurasian transport corridors and involvement in the improvement of legal and institutional frameworks for regional water resources management were mentioned by several delegations.

In his statement Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the UNRCCA Miroslav Jenča stressed that regional economic cooperation and security are closely linked together, as he highlighted how important was to reestablish cross-border trade after the tragic events in Kyrgyzstan last year. Moreover, in his concluding remarks, he reminded that "successful regional cooperation can only be achieved with the political will of the countries of the region".