UN Special program for Economics of Central Asia along with initiative on convocation of land-locked countries constitutes one of the priorities for Kazakhstan projects in the framework of UNESCAP and UN system as a whole. As declared in the conception of the program, its main objective is the “mobilization of additional internal and external resources for the solution of the priority issues for all the states-participants, which can be solved more effectively by mutual countries’ efforts, rather than on national base.”
Central Asia – to the European standards
The idea of cooperation in the framework of SPECA corresponds to the general line of Kazakhstani external politics, which lies in the thesis that our success is impossible without the neighbours’ success. As it was repeatedly stressed on the high level of administration of the republic, the same Kazakhstan competitiveness elevated to the state development strategy is unreachable without the increase of general competitiveness of the whole Central Asian region. According to the initial idea, facilitating practice of norms and standards in the countries of the region developed in the UN Regional Commissions (EEC and UNESCAP) the program must play the accelerator role in regional cooperation strengthening in Central Asia and its integration in the world economy. SPECA, as it was stated, will provide resolutions adopting organs of Central Asian countries a neutral forum for discussions of the development issues of the region. UN Special Program for Economics of Central Asia began to function on March 26, 1998 after signing Tashkent Declaration on SPECA by the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan on one side and Heads of UN European Economic Commission (EEC), UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) on another side. Later Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan joined this program and Afghanistan afterwards. The goal of this program is rendering the assistance to the Central Asian states in mutual cooperation deepening, economic development stimulation and integration into the economy of Europe and Asia.
In spite of some economic development success of the Central Asian countries and obvious Kazakhstan success and leadership on the whole range of parameters, it is evident that the issues remained unsolved are problems of poverty, declining of the level of human potential, education and healthcare conditions. These factors and existing serious structural problems in the economic of these countries stipulate low competitiveness of the region as a whole. The important task for Central Asian countries is carrying out market reforms. Utilization of natural resources in the energy and water management spheres, trade expansion, transport communications development, industrial cooperation and mutual enterprises networks growth are related by experts to the economic cooperation trends. Herewith cooperation trend of priority among Central Asian states is mutual employment of water energy resources. Water management sphere of the region is known with the problems of the general water resources deficit, legal base absence, ignorance of the neighbour states’ interests, and violation of water distribution principles on trans-border rivers. Evidently, interaction of the states of the region in this direction must be realized according to the respect of independence, equal partnership, national interests’ consideration and mutual duties fulfilment. Efforts of the countries of the region is possible to direct to the solution of tasks on a new and united strategy of rational employment of regional water resources, determination of exploitation principles of interstate water objects, interstate water energy consortium creation, formation of united economic space of Central Asia. The fact that SPECA is aimed at the solution of topical problems for the region and tasks testifies to the thematic of created Project Working Groups (PWG) as well – nowadays the experts of such groups work in the sphere of transport and border crossing, water resources, energy, trade, gender issues, economy and stable development.
Obviously, SPECA constitutes one of the perspective dialog forms, in the framework of which Central Asian economic integration present itself quite real and feasible task. The solution of this task will help the region integrate on more beneficial terms into the global world and build equal partnership relations with authoritative subjects of world politics and economy. For this moment SPECA gained the support of Russia, the USA, France, the Netherlands, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Turkey and range of international organizations as well. Together with EEC and UNESCAP, the SPECA active participants are the UN Development Program and Executive Committee of Interstate Council of Central Asian Economic Community, European Commission, Islamic Bank of Development, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development. Invitation of broad group of international specialized organizations, working in the respective sectors of economy, on cooperation is assumed, particularly, ORC - Organization of Railway Cooperation and IUHT - International Union of Highway Transportation. SPECA program financing is realized in the several sources. This is the resources of Central Asian countries, countries-donors and separate organizations. The opportunity of opening SPECA trust fund, where all the resources meant for realization of this project will be concentrated, is not excluded. Nowadays the main financing sources of the program are the Asian Bank of Development, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and UN Development Program. The opportunity of financing SPECA program in the framework of relating to it the UNDP project “New Silk Road” and projects of Asian Bank of Development in the sphere of transport and trade is has been noted. Moreover, attempts to attract OSCE for the SPECA program realization are being undertaken. UN regional commissions don’t take straightforward participation in the program financing. They render assistance to SPECA organs in the project documentation development and search for financing. The important step in attraction of SPECA project financing has become the resolution of 54th Session of UN General Assembly on appropriation of funds from the UN Development Account 1.75 million US dollars for the project in the sphere of water and energy resources related to SPECA program Today’s task for SPECA participants is activating the participation of all SPECA member states and in the nearest future achievement of regional projects financing in the framework of one of the three SPECA directions controlled by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan aiming at confirmation of attraction and benefit of the Program. Institutional formatting of the Program has definitively finished in due time the initial phase of SPECA realization connected with determination of main principles, tasks, organizational structure, group of participants and has created conditions for work on investment attraction into the region from international organizations and countries interested in cooperation. Non-participation and absence of actions of SPECA member states can be the obstacle against the achievement of goals and tasks set before the Program. Thereupon the decision on the high level of the issue of full and permanent participation of Central Asian states in SPECA is considered to be principally significant. The important factor for SPECA realization is the financial aid of world community. In this respect it is reasonably to support projects realization and provide financing first of all to the countries-participants which will be the good sign for the interested partners. Taking into consideration that decisive aspect in attraction of financial aid of donor community can be the positive experience of cooperation of SPECA countries-participants with investors in the framework of regional projects, it presents to be significant the direction of the efforts of SPECA countries-participants in the nearest perspective into the development of priority regional projects and preparation of project documentation aiming at speeding the beginning of the first projects realization in the SPECA framework with participation of interested donors. Successful realization of SPECA projects obviously will demonstrate the priority ranking and effectiveness of regional cooperation for Central Asian countries and raise the role of the region in the international and domestic affairs.