The Economic Forum of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) concluded that strengthened sub-regional cooperation is an important precondition for the achievement of several of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The implementation report of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) revealed that SPECA participating countries performed well in MDGs depending on national level implementation efforts, but fared less well in areas where implementation depended on cooperation between several states within the subregion. Support to the implementation of the the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should therefore pay particular attention to those areas – water, environment, trade, transport and other aspects of connectivity – where regional cooperation is most important for success.
The Chairman of the Economic Forum, Saidrahmon Nazirev, First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan, stressed that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development creates new opportunities and challenges for the SPECA region. National efforts by participating countries alone, even if supported by development partners, will not be sufficient to guarantee the achievement of all 17 SDGs. There are a number of key areas where strengthened regional cooperation is a key precondition for success.
The Economic Forum and Governing Council of SPECA were held on 10 and 11 November 2015 in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, present country-chair of the Programme. Almost one hundred participants, including delegates of participating countries, UNECE, UNESCAP, UNDP, UNEP, UNFPA, UNRCCA, UNIDO, UN Women, ITC, ADB, EBRD, the Aga Khan Development Network, GIZ and representatives of several neighbouring countries, civil society and the private sector discussed how the Programme should support implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The delegates of participating countries presented their plans, needs and priorities with a view to developing a partnership with the UN and other members of the development community to work together for the achievement of SDGs. Representatives of regional organizations, civil society and the private sector supported the idea of a broad partnership for implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Development Agenda at the sub-regional level.
The SPECA Governing Council adopted a declaration “Paving the way for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the SPECA region”, which outlines how the Programme can contribute to the implementation and monitoring of progress towards the SDGs.
In its Declaration, the Governing Council expressed its appreciation for the commitment of the development partners and, in particular, the UNDP and UN Country Teams in the SPECA region, to actively support the national and sub-regional efforts of SPECA countries to achieve the SDGs. It invited partners to continue to actively cooperate with UNECE and ESCAP in bringing the relevant lessons learned and experiences gained to the SPECA Thematic Working Groups and other fora so that they can be shared and discussed among SPECA countries with a view to expediting progress towards the achievement of SDGs in the region and contributing to SDG follow-up and review.
The Declaration underscored the importance of partnerships for SDG implementation. In this regard, UN Country Teams, as well as the Regional UN Development Group Team, which provides an important link between country and regional actions towards SDGs, should play an important role in strengthening sub-regional cooperation in Central Asia and provide a substantive contribution to strengthening inter-governmental cooperation within the SPECA framework.
The Governing Council elected Azerbaijan as the country-chair of SPECA for 2016.
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Note to editors
The United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia was established in 1998 by the Tashkent Declaration. Its participating countries are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.