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Countries in the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) are falling behind potential on many metrics of innovation performance.  R&D spending remains below 1 per cent of GDP, almost entirely publicly funded, and SPECA countries rely extensively on natural resources,…
Building upon the recent Innovation for Sustainable Development Review (I4SDR), UNECE and the Ministry of Innovative Development of Uzbekistan are discussing the implementation of the report recommendations and engaging in dialogue on sustainable innovation-led development this week in Geneva at…
A small sub-set of small- and medium-sized enterprises – innovative, high-growth enterprises (IHGEs) – plays an outsize role in innovation and structural transformation as they spearhead experimentation with new ideas to create value, address challenges, and reduce transaction costs. A critical…
Transitioning towards a knowledge-based economy away from a resource-intensive model of economic growth is central for sustainable development among the seven countries of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) - Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,…
Countries of Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe have been hit hard by the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to derail sustainable development progress in the region. However, there is also a stronger momentum towards regional cooperation, and countries can…
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Trade facilitation has acquired even greater importance for the land-locked countries of Central Asia, as it helps remove burdensome formalities for their trade and transport operations. Simplifying and digitalizing procedures helps diminish physical contacts along…
A circular economy is a paradigm which can contribute to reducing the economic, environmental and social costs of resource use, while at the same time strengthening economic competitiveness, reducing poverty, and providing better quality of life, in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for…
The economic downturn due to COVID-19 will hit the countries of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – hard and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities. As a region highly reliant…
The nations of Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – together with Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, are undergoing significant transformations as they advance in their implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, these countries…
Central Asia lacks a coherent regional approach to address water, energy and environment challenges, which are largely transnational and can only be tackled in a collaborative manner.  To remedy this situation, water, energy and environment specialists from seven countries (Afghanistan,…
Technological, economic, and institutional innovation will be essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To this end, the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA), which includes Afghanistan,…
Given the close links between the energy, water management and environmental protection sectors, improved cooperation between the countries in Central Asia is crucial to achieve the relevant Sustainable Development goals.  This was the main conclusion of the 20th session of the SPECA Working…
Representatives of participating countries of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) - Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan - will discuss how the Programme should support the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for…
Central Asian economies are taking practical steps to push for a more knowledge-based path towards economic development to overcome their remoteness from major markets and exposure to fluctuations in commodity prices.The Government of Tajikistan held discussions with domestic innovation…