The Governing Council of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA), on recommendations from the Economic Forum, held in Dushanbe on 5-6 December, agreed to elaborate a regional innovation strategy to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meetings, held on an unprecedentedly high level with participation of experts from all SPECA countries, representatives of observer countries, development partners and civil society, underscored the importance of innovation as a driver for sustainable development.
It is increasingly recognized that technological, economic, and institutional innovation is necessary to achieve the SDGs set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In his opening remarks at the 2017 SPECA Economic Forum, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan, Mr. Neamatullo Hikmatullozoda, underscored that implementing innovation has a key importance for the countries in their willingness to achieve sustainable development. Consequently, the Governing Council stressed that SPECA increasingly becomes a place for policy dialogue in support of sustainable development.
The meetings of SPECA, a programme supported by UNECE jointly with ESCAP, received strong support from the United Nations Country Team in Tajikistan. Ms. Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Dushanbe, noted that SPECA was a “well-established UN mechanism which specifically focuses on regional cooperation”, and “an important platform for supporting progress towards many of the SDGs”.
In the lead up to the 20th anniversary of SPECA, to be celebrated next year in Kazakhstan, further measures will be elaborated to strengthen the role of SPECA, and raise its effectiveness to the benefit of the participating countries. The Programme continues to address the most pressing issues of cooperation in the SPECA region through exchanges of experience and policy dialogue to promote collaboration in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
UNECE and ESCAP confirmed their commitment to support SPECA as the only regional grouping that brings together only the landlocked Central Asian countries, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan, to search for shared solutions to shared problems.
For more information, please visit https://www.unece.org/speca/welcome.html or contact:
Mario Apostolov, UNECE Regional Adviser, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +41 22 9171134