Distinguished heads of delegations!
Ladies and gentlemen!
I would like to echo the words of gratitude expressed to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev, for the initiative to organize the First Summit of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia – SPECA and for the warm hospitality.
It is worth underlining that under the effective chairmanship of Azerbaijan, our regional cooperation within the framework of the Programme has reached an entirely new level.
This year’s Ministerial Meeting in Geneva, the “SPECA Week” taking place these days in Baku, and, of course, today’s historic Summit will turn our vast region into a centre of global connectivity.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to warmly congratulate my esteemed colleagues, distinguished representatives of the United Nations, and all the participants of this event on the 25th anniversary of the establishment of our joint Programme.
I am pleased to note that the UN General Assembly has recently adopted a special resolution on SPECA.
Dear participants of the meeting!
Established in Tashkent, this important platform has demonstrated its utmost necessity as a practical regional partnership mechanism for achieving sustainable development goals.
This is reflected in the implementation of more than 400 projects aimed at expanding practical cooperation in trade, communications, transport and logistics, digitalization, energy, water resources, ecology, gender equality, and other areas, as well as the adoption of trade facilitation and innovative development strategies.
I am pleased to note that the atmosphere of good neighborliness and trust in Central Asia has strengthened, and integration has deepened, especially in recent years.
You are all well aware of how efficiently we and our esteemed colleagues have solved difficult issues and complex problems.
We are currently implementing major industrial cooperation and infrastructure programs with the countries of Central Asia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Hungary.
We have set up joint investment companies and created project financing mechanisms. Modern trade and logistics centers and special economic zones are being built in the border areas.
In this regard, I appreciate the unprecedented creative work being undertaken in the regions of Azerbaijan, where historical justice has been restored with their liberation under the leadership of distinguished Ilham Aliyev.
Indeed, I am confident that these positive and far-reaching changes open the door to new opportunities for developing our regional cooperation.
Dear heads of delegations!
We are well aware of the grave dangers our countries face in the current global geopolitical instability.
We need to strengthen our regional cooperation and comprehensively support each other to effectively counter contemporary challenges.
In this regard, I would like to draw your attention to the following main areas.
First. Uzbekistan is in favor of transforming the SPECA programme into an open and more effective regional platform for expanding our economic cooperation.
To this end, I believe that the time has come to significantly enhance the effectiveness of the working groups in the main areas of our partnership and to strengthen the institutional framework of our Programme.
We propose elaborating a SPECA-2030 Development Concept with experts from the UN Economic Commission for Europe and ESCAP.
Second. It would be appropriate to draw up a Joint Action Plan for the Development of Regional Trade as part of our Program.
First, we are talking about introducing the best practices and experiences for eliminating existing obstacles and harmonizing measures of technical regulation of export-import operations.
According to the analysis, we have all the opportunities to bring the mutual trade turnover between our countries from the current $52 billion to $100 billion and the share of industrial products in it to 70% by 2030.
Third. As my esteemed colleagues have noted, we need to accelerate the establishment of the SPECA Trust Fund and launch its practical operations next year.
I believe that the Fund’s activities will primarily support major projects in the green economy, innovation, high technology, logistics, alternative energy, smart agriculture, the creation of modern social infrastructure, and other relevant fields.
The Fund should actively cooperate with international development institutions, attract financial resources, and allocate funds for priority projects and programs on the most favorable terms.
Uzbekistan is also ready to make a financial contribution to the Fund’s establishment.
Fourth. We support the full implementation of the Road Map adopted today and aimed at digitalizing the process of exchanging information and documents along the Trans-Caspian Multimodal Corridor.
In this regard, we are ready to host an International Forum “Digital Transport Corridors” in Uzbekistan early next year. The event will involve transport ministers, logistics companies, cargo carriers, heads of industrial enterprises, and leading experts in the field.
Together with specialized UN bodies, we are keen to actively promote large projects to strengthen transport connectivity in our region.
Fifth. We propose establishing a Special High-Level Working Group for Food Security and holding its first meeting next year in Samarkand.
The agenda of this event will include such issues as developing cooperative relations between our leading agricultural industries and creating value chains, promoting scientific and technological exchange, introducing innovative resource-saving solutions, and launching “express corridors”.
Sixth. We believe that it is time to adopt a new comprehensive conceptual document of SPECA – a Multilateral Green Strategy given the fact that water, energy, ecology, and agriculture are interconnected sectors.
Naturally, no country in our region can solve such acute and growing problems alone, relying solely on its own capacities.
According to the UN estimates, our region is losing approximately $2 billion annually due to water scarcity.
If this negative process worsens and remains without a comprehensive response, the per capita water availability may decrease by 25% and agricultural productivity by 40% in the future.
Seventh. I would like to request you to consider our proposal to establish a SPECA Businesswomen’s Council to continuously and systematically promote active initiatives and concrete plans of businesswomen within SPECA.
The recent business meetings held prior to the Summit have once again demonstrated the significance of such discussions in our friendly nations.
In addition, within the framework of the Council, I propose to present the “Speca Recognition” International Award to the women who make outstanding contributions to our nations’ economic development, prosperity, and cooperation.
Dear participants of the summit!
For certain reasons, today’s meeting is taking place without the participation of representatives from Afghanistan, even though this country is an integral part of Central Asia and is critical to regional stability.
I urge my esteemed colleagues, the leadership of UNECE and ESCAP to establish working relations and restore cooperation with Afghanistan as part of the SPECA Program.
We cannot afford to leave this country alone with its problems. A positive outcome cannot be achieved without engaging the current Government in international dialogue.
Taking this opportunity, I express my special gratitude to all of you for supporting a historic decision made two days ago in Paris to hold the UNESCO General Assembly session for the first time in Central Asia – in the ancient city of Samarkand in 2025.
Within the framework of this important international forum, I propose to develop a Plan of Joint Events to fully demonstrate to the world the great civilizational potential of the people of our region.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Uzbekistan’s firm commitment to multilateral partnership within the framework of the United Nations SPECA regional program for sustainable development and prosperity of our people.
Thank you for your attention.