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On 21-22 November 2023, the Economic Forum was held in Baku as part of the SPECA Week.


The SPECA Economic Forum 2023 and its associated meetings are jointly organized by the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the current SPECA Chairmanship, UNECE and ESCAP.

Reflecting the key theme of Azerbaijan's SPECA Presidency, the Forum on "Transforming the SPECA region into a connectivity hub with global reach" focuses on enhancing the role of connectivity in the face of new challenges in the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR) between Europe and China.
This Forum brought together representatives of the governments of UN member states, UN agencies and programs, relevant international and regional organizations, international financial institutions, donors, as well as representatives of the private sector and academia.

At the opening of the Forum, H.E. Mr Mikail Jabbarov, Minister of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr Abzal Abdikarimov, Vice-Minister of National Economy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, H. E. Mr Kanatbek Abdrakhmanov, Deputy Minister of Economy and Commerce of the Kyrgyz Republic, H.E. Mr Ahliddin Nuriddinzoda, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Tajikistan, H.E. Mr Atageldi Khaljanov, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, H.E. Mr Badriddin Abidov, Deputy Minister of Investment, Industry and Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mr Dmitry Maryasin, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNECE and Mr Hirohito Toda, Deputy Executive Secretary of UN ESCAP addressed with greetings to the Forum participants.
During the panel sessions, participants were given the opportunity to speak and exchange views on the digital transformation of data and document exchange in supply chains by applying the UN standards, the development of transport connectivity, green energy connectivity in the SPECA region, as well as the SPECA vision for the next 25 years.
During Panel Session 1, Secretary General of the PS IGC TRACECA, Mr Asset Assavbayev made a presentation on the topic “Pilot implementation of international standards for the digitalization of information flows on TRACECA routes,” emphasizing that “the main problem for actual implementation remains the issue of legal regulation, since today there are no international agreements regulating all aspects of the implementation of data transfer, authentication and the use of electronic digital signatures. Therefore, we would like to recommend the development of a new Framework Agreement for the digitalization of transport in the region”.

As a recommendation, Mr Assavbayev A.A. voiced the importance of strengthening synergy and coordination in prioritizing digitalization projects along TRACECA/Middle Corridor/SPECA (between all relevant international organizations).

In addition, on the second day of the Forum, the “Exhibition of SPECA Countries: Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Development” will be organized.

For reference:

- The UN Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) was established on 26 March 1998 by the Tashkent Declaration, signed by the Presidents of the Central Asian countries and the Executive Secretaries of UNECE and ESCAP as a special UN program to assist these countries in economic development, cooperation and integration into the European and Asian economies. Currently, the participating states of SPECA are Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. UNECE and ESCAP jointly provide comprehensive support to activities under the Program in close cooperation with the UN Resident Coordinators in the SPECA countries.

- On 20 November 2023, the sessions of the SPECA Working Group on Trade and the SPECA Working Group on Gender and SDGs were held. The 18th session of the SPECA Governing Council will take place on 23 November 2023.



Permanent Secretaritat of the IGC TRACECA