Dear friends and partners, 2022 has been an eventful year for the CAREC program with several activities taking place across priority clusters of the CAREC 2030. This newsletter provides highlights of the program in 2022. This year, we aim to have a stronger takeoff for all our activities despite the challenges still present in the region. We also aim to keep our member countries and partners continuously informed about the program’s initiatives.  We wish everyone a prosperous and productive 2023! CAREC Secretariat CAREC Ministers Endorse New Green Recovery, Food Security, and Clean Energy Cooperation Initiatives Countries in central and west Asia have endorsed three new cross-border cooperation initiatives (deliverables) to help accelerate the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, improve food security, and boost the development of clean energy. These are the (I) CAREC Post-Pandemic Framework for a Green, Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery; (ii) the Cooperation Framework for Agricultural Development and Food Security in the CAREC Region; and (iii) the CAREC Green Energy Alliance.  CAREC Ministers Discuss Regional Cooperation Initiatives at 21st Ministerial Conference CAREC ministers gathered virtually at the 21st Ministerial Conference on 24 November where they discussed regional cooperation initiatives that would help accelerate the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, improve food security, and boost the development of clean energy. The event, with the theme, “Revitalizing Regional Cooperation for a Green, Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery,” was hosted by the People’s Republic of China.  

CAREC Holds High-Level Policy Dialogue on Tightening Financial Stability Government officials from finance ministries, central banks, regulatory authorities, and other senior officials in the CAREC region shared their experiences in dealing with risks and vulnerabilities to financial stability at the CAREC Economic and Financial Stability Cluster High-Level Policy Dialogue on October 4. The virtual event, under the theme “Dealing with Risks and Vulnerabilities: Tightening Global Financial Conditions Amid Post-Pandemic Recovery and Geopolitical Conflict,” was also attended by representatives from the ADB, International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank, who likewise shared their insights and explored policy options. 

CAREC Holds High-Level Session on Climate Resilience, Food Security at 55th ADB Annual General Meeting The CAREC High-Level Session on Regional Cooperation for Green and Resilient Development, held on 28 September at the 55th ADB Annual General Meeting, discussed ways to implement a risk-informed regional development program focusing on macroeconomic resilience, public health resilience, and disaster risk management. Speakers from governments, development partners, and the private sector deliberated on innovative regional financing solutions and sustainable regional investments to address risks. 

CAREC Holds Agricultural Development and Food Security Workshop CAREC member countries, development partners, and experts attended the CAREC Agricultural Development and Food Security Workshop from 11 to 12 August at Istanbul, Türkiye, where they shared ideas to develop a framework to help improve agricultural development and food security in the region amid global challenges such as climate change and trade disruptions. 

Regional Gender Expert Group (RGEG) Holds Inaugural Meeting in Istanbul, Türkiye The CAREC Secretariat held the hybrid inaugural launch of the Regional Gender Expert Group on 9 and 10 August in Istanbul, Türkiye, with some participants joining online. The Group acts as an advisory and consultative body for the implementation of the CAREC Gender Strategy endorsed by member countries in 2020. 

Conference Presents Study on Trade Facilitation Initiatives in CAREC Countries The virtual conference titled “Trade Facilitation in CAREC: A 10-Year CPMM Perspective,” held virtually on 17 August, presented findings of a study that identifies significant trade facilitation initiatives and development in CAREC countries, with evidence from the CAREC Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring data. Leading academics, policymakers, and international organizations discussed studies and policy implications related to CAREC transport and trade facilitation and how CPMM data and findings can be used to support policy formulation in the region. 

CAREC Launches Digital Strategy Website, CAREC Startup Ecosystem Map and Innovation Network The CAREC Secretariat launched on 30 June the CAREC Startup Map and the CAREC Innovation Network, which aim to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. The Startup Ecosystem Map and Innovation Network will identify and locate players in the startup ecosystem so they can build partnerships and share the resources needed to facilitate businesses. The session was attended by CAREC member country representatives, start-up accelerators, students, investor communities, and development partners including ADB. 

CAREC Senior Officials Meet to Discuss 2022 Deliverables Senior officials of CAREC discussed on 28 June the progress of the program as well as new initiatives (deliverables) for 2022. Building Resilience to Future Outbreaks: Infectious Disease Risk Financing Solutions for the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation RegionThis study provides a review of infectious disease risk financing schemes to draw lessons for CAREC member countries. It offers recommendations to strengthen their disaster risk management strategies and public sector budget resilience.

CAREC Water Pillar Scoping ReportThe scoping study for the CAREC Water Pillar presents a framework for regional cooperation on water that responds to the growing demand for water at a time of increasing climate related uncertainty. Initially, it focuses on cooperation within the Aral Sea Basin region with an expectation that its scope will expand gradually to other sub-regions within CAREC. It aims to complement the role of existing regional institutions, national agencies, and development partners. 

CAREC Digital Strategy 2030The strategy provides a mechanism to promote policy design, capacity building, and dialogue on digital technologies to address social and economic challenges posed by the rapid development of disruptive technologies and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

E-Commerce in CAREC Countries: Infrastructure Development Digital trade promotion has been a long-standing priority for member countries of the CAREC Program to support their integration into global value chains and economic diversification. The study underscores the importance of enabling legislation, digital literacy, and creation of trust. It also emphasizes how a comprehensive strategy; adequate data for policy making; and support for e-commerce ecosystems, industry associations, and start-ups could nurture e-commerce markets. 

Compound Risk Analysis of Natural Hazards and Infectious Disease Outbreaks Compound risk occurs when two or more shocking events overlap, inducing additional pressure on social and physical vulnerabilities. As part of the study, scenarios of a natural hazard occurring during an outbreak are created for each CAREC country. The study concludes that compound risk may pose a challenge for the CAREC region in terms of elevated costs of response due to higher operational complexity, longer timelines required for reconstruction, and higher procurement costs resulting from supply interruptions or price shocks. It is therefore important to consider compound risk when investing in disaster risk management. 

CAREC Health Strategy 2030 The strategy aims to enhance health security through regional cooperation. It has four main pillars: (i) leadership and human resource capacity, (ii) technical preparedness, (iii) surge demands and access to supplies, and (iv) vulnerable population groups and border health. It is intended as a tool to guide CAREC health cooperation, dialogue and knowledge exchange, programming and mobilize new project financing. 

The Situation of Railways in CAREC Countries and Opportunities for Investment, Commercialization and Reform Building upon 11 country-level assessments and incorporating the development of a CAREC Regional Transport Model, this report examines the situation of the region’s railways and identifies priorities for railway investment, commercialization and reform. It is one of the first consolidated analyses of CAREC railways and contributes to the growing evidence basis to support dialogue and decision-making on railway development in the region. 

CAREC Road Safety Engineering Manual 5: Star Ratings for Road Safety Audit This system, Star Ratings for Road Safety Audits, will help policy makers and practitioners involved in designing, upgrading, and rehabilitating roads to meet safety targets and reduce injuries from traffic accidents. 

Road Safety Report Card for the CAREC Region This publication shows the status of key road safety issues in each country, progress toward national policies, and the actions taken toward achieving the objectives of the CAREC Road Safety Action Plan. The information in this report will help development partners identify priorities, resources, and possible actions to help CAREC member countries improve road safety and reduce the financial and human cost of road traffic accidents. 

Inception Report on Prefeasibility Studies for Shymkent-Tashkent-Khujand Economic Corridor Development The Shymkent-Tashkent-Khujand Economic Corridor (STKEC) is an initiative supported by the ADB. It covers the Shymkent city (in Kazakhstan), Tashkent city (in Uzbekistan), and Khujand city (in Tajikistan) and their surrounding oblasts of Turkestan, Tashkent, and Sughd. The STKEC aims to realize the potential for increasing cross-border economic cooperation and integration and fostering economic growth through promoting spatial economic development among Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. 

Narrowing the Disaster Risk Protection Gap in Central Asia CAREC member countries face growing levels of disaster risk without sufficient financial protection. Regional cooperation can help narrow the protection gap and increase the financing available for quick responses to disaster events. This publication explores the current approach to disaster risk finance in each CAREC member state to identify opportunities to strengthen financing arrangements. It aims to inform the design of a regional disaster risk transfer facility. The CAREC scoping study titled Supporting Regional Actions to Address Climate Change as a Cross-cutting Theme under CAREC 2030 analyzes climate change issues in the region and recommends actions to help tackle them, including the preparation of a regional climate change strategy. Read hereCAREC at 22: Working Together for Shared Prosperity 

This video highlights CAREC’s milestones for the last 22 years and its impressive achievements in promoting regional cooperation and in providing opportunities for strategic policy dialogue, capacity building efforts, and issue-based and practical solutions. CAREC Deliverables: Overcoming Challenges and Building Resilience in the CAREC Region

This video provides information on the CAREC deliverables that reflect the strong resolve of member countries for regional prosperity and collective action using the CAREC platform.