Regional Cooperation at Work in Central Asia
The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program is a partnership of 11 countries and six multilateral development partners working to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction.
By promoting and facilitating regional cooperation in the priority areas of transport, trade facilitation, trade policy, and energy, CAREC helps Central Asian and neighboring countries realize their immense potential in an increasingly integrated Eurasia.
The program is a proactive facilitator of practical, results-based regional projects, and policy initiatives critical to trade expansion and sustainable development. Since 2001, the program has mobilized almost $27.7 billion in transport, trade, and energy infrastructure investments.
To guide the CAREC Program in the next 10 years, ministers of all 10 CAREC countries (*) endorsed the CAREC 2020: A Strategic Framework for the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program 2011-2020 (CAREC 2020) at the 10th Ministerial Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan in November 2011.
A year later, to ensure effective and timely achievement of the strategic objectives laid out in CAREC 2020, the 11th CAREC Ministerial Conference held in Wuhan, People's Republic of China in October 2012 endorsed the Wuhan Action Plan. The action plan has emphasized three priority areas of actions: operational priorities of the four sectors, the CAREC Institute Work Plan 2013–2017, and the Transport Facilitation Action Plan.
(*Georgia joined CAREC in 2016.)
CAREC multilateral institution partners:
As the reintegration of the Eurasian continent gathers speed, the CAREC countries are poised to reap substantial benefits. With the rapid economic expansion of the People's Republic of China and Japan to the east, the Russian Federation to the north, and India and Pakistan to the south, there is a real and growing demand for improved connections between Europe and Asia. This momentum provides CAREC countries with an unprecedented opportunity to emerge as a center for trade and commerce, to achieve higher levels of economic growth, and to reduce poverty.
None of the region's economies will be able to fully capture this opportunity in isolation. But all will benefit from working together, and with their neighbors, to build on their strengths for mutual progress.
Turning this potential into reality will require significant improvement in the subregion's physical infrastructure such as roads and rail systems; in the way the region manages its shared resources to support efficient and rational use of energy and water; in progress toward harmonizing, automating, and modernizing its customs administrations; and in efforts to streamline the rules and procedures that govern the countries' international trade relationships.