Central Asia is a diverse region, rich in resources and opportunities. As energy and water infrastructure is being modernized, planned, and built, there is an opportunity for an integrated innovative and forward-looking regional approach to save resources and connect systems for optimized results.
On 1-3 November 2021, UNECE, UNESCAP, the National Academy of Sciences, the International Green Technologies and Investment Centre, the International R&D Centre of Energy Integration, and The Kazakh British Technical University (KBTU), brought together about 100 experts online and in person to set priorities and propose turnkey projects that would make a difference for the region.
The Forum stressed the crucial role that energy must play to achieve almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals, from eradication of poverty through advancements in health, education, water supply and industrialization to combating climate change. Central Asia has a unique opportunity at this time to innovate and plan resources through forward looking energy and water strategies, based on a common an agenda.
The region calls for increased financial flows into bankable energy and water projects. A regionally owned fund in support of a portfolio of projects dedicated to an immediate socio-economic response would be welcome. United Nations platforms can assist to build the critical elements in strategies for the countries to collaborate in enhancing energy security for a sustainable innovative socio-economic development of Central Asia. A coordinated approach to the region’s challenges in energy and water management, transport, intra-regional connectivity, and trade will help countries cope with the vulnerability to COVID-19 related economic shocks through project-based activities.