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Central Asian Regional Platform for Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange

JT Universities

There is increasing evidence, and recognition, that clean energy transitions require new technologies to serve the energy needs of growing and advancing conomies. Coal should not be simply burnt for energy production. To the contrary, its true value lies in its potential to be refined and utilized for high value resources, such as graphene, carbon nanotubes, lithium, Rare Earth Elements, cobalt, and manganese, as well as other materials. Recognizing coal’s hidden potential gives an opportunity to preserve coal extraction and thus save jobs and avoid the majority of the negative environmental impacts caused by the current end use of coal. Furthermore, a new approach to coal extraction and use will create new jobs in industries essential to development of a green economy. As a result of exploiting this unrealized potential, transition of the coal regions will expose communities to less cultural and social shocks. 

In addition, the proposed approach offers new options for financing the transition. It is because by removing the risk of having certain coal assets stranded, it gives financial institutions an opportunity to preserve them, thus freeing significant resources for investments needed in infrastructural projects, which not only depend on  the feedstock provided by coal companies, but make the business case for coal mines continued existence as a crucial element of the new green economy.

Building and maintaining resilient and carbon neutral energy systems in Central Asia and adopting the new approach to coal will require developing new innovative solutions, which will in turn require new skills. Universities will play a key role in that process as it will be to large extent their task to develop human capital necessary to meet the requirements of the green economy and to close the skills gap across the region to deliver on green and just energy transition.


In that context UNECE has started a cooperation with a number of Central Asian universities aiming to develop a regional platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange. The platform will map respective activities and strengths of the universities involved, and coordinate their curricula so that they respond to the needs of the upcoming energy transition and thus ensure that students are equipped with skills necessary to prepare the transformation, deliver it, and maintain its results. It will also promote industry-academia collaboration by establishing various forms of exchange fora. Those are to assume a form of the regular online webinars organized under the auspices of UNECE, and of on-site regular conferences hosted at one of the involved universities on a rotational basis. During such meetings universities will have an opportunity to learn from the private sector what the needs of the latter are, and at the same time will be able to provide guidance to the local industries indicating to them directions into which they should develop to remain competitive on international markets.