In response to the call by Rio+20 for the design of sustainable development goals that are consistent with the post 2015 development process, high-level representatives of countries participating in the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) met between 19 and 21 November in Almaty, Kazakhstan. They discussed how strengthened regional cooperation in Central Asia can contribute to the implementation of the Rio+20 outcomes and the regional priorities to be proposed for inclusion into the post 2015 development agenda. The High-Level Segment of the SPECA Economic Forum held on 21 November under the title “Inclusive and Sustainable Development through Regional Cooperation” discussed the need for policies and programmes to integrate the social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainable development.
Speaking on behalf of UNECE Executive Secretary Sven Alkalaj, UNECE Deputy Executive Secretary Andrey Vasilyev highlighted the potential of SPECA to effectively support efforts by its participating countries to implement the Rio+20 outcomes. He encouraged SPECA participating countries to agree upon regional priorities for Central Asia’s post 2015 development agenda: while each Central Asian country has its specific needs, ongoing consultations have also highlighted several shared priorities that can only be achieved through coordinated regional action.
Participants in the High-Level Segment of the SPECA Economic Forum identified several areas where regional cooperation is essential. The ecosystems of the Aral Sea Basin are closely inter-connected, among others by the two river basins of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya. Only through regional cooperation can Central Asian countries achieve environmental sustainability, the efficient and rational management of their shared water resources and effective action on climate change.
The High-Level Segment of the SPECA Economic Forum was preceded on 19 and 20 November by an expert segment under the title “Regional Meeting on Promotion and Financing of Innovative Green Technologies”. Participants in the expert segment underlined that environmental challenges require innovative policy responses that reconcile the need to create sustained improvements in living standards with the need to reduce the use of resources and address climate change concerns. Innovation can contribute to finding cost-efficient and eco-innovative solutions to address these challenges, while at the same time creating new business opportunities for the private sector.
Countries participating in SPECA are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The Programme is supported by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.