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SPECA Economic Forum to discuss regional aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Representatives of participating countries of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) - Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan - will discuss how the Programme should support the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The discussions at the Economic Forum, to be held on 10 and 11 November in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, the present country-chair of SPECA, will focus on those areas – water, environment, trade, transport and connectivity – where regional cooperation is most important for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Innovation, gender, statistics and disaster risk reduction will also be discussed as cross-cutting issues which also call for a subregional approach.

Analysis of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals revealed that Central Asia performed overall very well in MDGs, in areas where implementation was largely the responsibility of single nations but seemed to do less well in areas where the implementation depended on the cooperation of several states. The highly specific conditions of Central Asian countries call for strengthened regional cooperation. These countries are landlocked with the nearest seaports hundreds of miles away; they experience increasing strain on their shared water resources and suffer from the effects of climate change and the lasting environmental, economic, social and health problems caused by the drying out of the Aral Sea.

The participation of the UNECE Chair, Ambassador Mukhtar Tileuberdi of Kazakhstan in the SPECA Economic Forum signals the expectation that UNECE will play an active role in the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Development Agenda at the regional level. Besides UNECE and ESCAP, the two Regional Commissions that have been supporting SPECA since its establishment in 1998, representatives of UNDP country teams and partners from the UN systems, including UNRCCA, UNEP, UN Women, UNIDO, UNFPA, ITC, development partners including ADB, EBRD and the Aga Khan Development Network, civil society organisations like the Regional Environmental Centre of Central Asia, as well as the academic community and the private sector will participate in the Forum,

The Economic Forum will be followed by the SPECA Governing Council which is expected to adopt a declaration outlining the role of SPECA in supporting the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, review work accomplished by the programme and approve the 2016-2017 SPECA Work Plan.