Countries in Central Asia and their Caucasus neighbours across the Caspian Sea face intertwined challenges caused by geopolitical conflicts, the most serious of which is the ongoing invasion of Russia of Ukraine and the impacts of climate change.
However, increased cooperation and cooperation in the region facilitated through ADB’s Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme will allow the country to overcome these problems.
CAREC Programme was established in 1997 by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to encourage economic cooperation among countries in Central Asia and nearby parts of Transcaucasia and South Asia. Its eleven member countries are Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Mongolia, Pakistan, the People’s Republic of China, and Azerbaijan.
In a Q&A, ADB Director for Regional Cooperation in Central and West Asia, Lyaziza Sabyrova, explains how the region could address the issues facing them.
The ongoing war in Ukraine has disrupted supply chains and has driven up food and supplies prices. Meanwhile, extreme weather events, such as the record-breaking floods in Pakistan in 2021, have threatened livelihoods.
The region is also facing pressures to transition to renewable energy. Still, reliance on fossil fuels from countries rich in energy reserves like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan and a lack of investments in clean energy hinder the region from shifting to clean energy successfully.
Central Asia and the Caucasus are known for their quality products, such as barley, corn, flax, grapes, potatoes, rice, sugar beets, sunflowers, tobacco, apricots, pears, plums, apples, cherries, pomegranates, melons, dates, figs, sesame, pistachios, and nuts. Increasing trade in the region is one of the solutions to strengthen food security, and this could be achieved through harmonising food quality standards and easing border crossing procedures.
CAREC Programme is an ideal platform to increase countries’ cooperation in the region.
Other programmes initiated through CAREC Programme include:
- Building new roads or rehabilitating existing ones to improve transportation connectivity.
- Spotting opportunities in the region to share energy reserves and boost renewable energy investment to improve energy security.
- Monitoring the flow of moving goods along six CAREC transport corridors that crisscross the area and how the region could achieve its potential to shift to renewables to reduce GHG emissions.
Read the article to learn more about the issues faced in the regions and possible solutions to address them.
Q&A: Addressing Intertwined Challenges in Central Asia and the Caucasus through Regional Cooperation. (2023, May 3). ADB. Retrieved from https://www.adb.org/news/features/qa-addressing-intertwined-challenges-central-asia-caucasus-through-regional-cooperation