In collaboration with the Ministry for Investments and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan and international partners we organized the Regional Conference “Productive Capacities, Trade and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Central Asia” on 25 November 2019 in Tashkent .
The objective of the conference was to provide a platform to discuss how productive capacities and trade can be used as an engine to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (specifically Goals #8 and #12) in Central Asia.
Over 100 representatives of the Governments of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, private sector and business organiziations, academia/think tanks, as well as international partners active in economic growth, productive capacities and trade issues participated in the conference.
The conference consisted of plenary sessions, organized around panels on several main topics including:
- Trade and Sustainable Development: Trade policies contributing to economic growth and decent work;
- Productive capacities, Trade and SDGs: Building forward-looking productive capacities, promoting trade and increasing competitiveness;
- Standards for sustainable (regional) trade and SDG implementation;
- Trade Facilitation: Progress and Challenges.
During the conference, Government officials from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan provided overviews of implementation of trade policies for sustainable and inclusive development in the countries, as well as key challenges and future directions.
Mr Laziz Kudratov, the first deputy minister of investments and foreign trade of Uzbekistan emphasized that the expansion of trade, economic and investment cooperation with Central Asian countries is a priority area for foreign economic policy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and proposed a number of measures aimed at creating favorable conditions for integration of the Central Asian countries into the global supply chains. The proposed measures include the harmonization of standards and technical regulations, reduction of non-tariff measures that distort trade, accelerated modernization of regional infrastructure, working out joint approach towards management and development of transport corridors, as well as customs and border control procedures, and development of regional value chains and industrial cooperation.
Rrepresentatives of UNDP and UNCTAD presented overview of support provided to the countries of Central Asia to transition to more inclusive and sustainable growth patterns as well as organizations' visions with regards to trade and productive capacities and the importance of future proofing productive capacities.
UNECE and FAO experts presented recommedations aimed at increasing the sustainability of food production and consumption through adoption of international agricultural standards, whereas ADB and GIZ representatives briefed about on-going and planned technical assistance projects and provided recommendations on increasing intra-regional cooperation on trade facilitation measures as the basis for improving trade competitiveness and advancing the Central Asian countries’ trade and development objectives.
The event placed the region’s growth and trade challenges within the context of the SDGs and facilitated exchanges of approaches needed and channels through which trade can contribute to achieving the goals related to promoting decent work and economic growth, and also promoted exchanges of experience in strategic job-rich inclusive growth policy making and programming responses.
UNDP’s ‘Aid for Trade’ project as a national component of the regional ‘Aid for Trade in Central Asia – Phase III’ project aims at increasing income generation, creating jobs and expanding exports.