The Joint Plan of Action for Central Asia was adopted at a high level meeting held on 30 November 2011 by the States of Central Asia, namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, with Uzbekistan opting for observer status. The Ashgabat Meeting also led to the adoption of a Final Declaration expressing support for the Action Plan and for regional cooperation on countering terrorism by the 54 participants present, representing, in addition to the Central Asian States, ten other Member states of the United Nations, namely Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and the United States, as well as senior United Nations and European Union officials.
The Central Asia Joint Action Plan is the first regional framework designed to address the threat of terrorism through a common approach, based on the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and strengthened international partnership.
The JPoA serves as a common framework of reference for the Central Asian region that identifies joint goals to be achieved and collaborative actions to be taken. It provides both guidance in terms of policy and in terms of policy-implementation, and aims at facilitating comprehensive, holistic, and coordinated efforts by a broad variety of stakeholders. It helps avoid duplicating (existing) initiatives launched by governments, regional and international organizations but rather complements them and builds on them.
The joint Action Plan is unique in a number of ways: 1) It is comprehensive, i.e. it has specific sections about what should be done about each of the 4 pillars; 2) It addresses simultaneously measures to combat terrorism and to prevent them in the long run; 3) It allows for a common framework that identifies common goals to be achieved, and 4) It builds on the existing initiatives launched by governments, regional and international organizations and takes stock of gaps and challenges for the implementation of these initiatives.