Economic Forum of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA)
The SCO attends 2017 SPECA Economic Forum in Dushanbe

On 5-6 December 2017, Tajikistan chaired the 2017 Economic Forum of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) themed Innovation for the SDGs in the SPECA Region, as well as the 12th session of the SPECA Governing Council.

Both events were held in Dushanbe and were attended by high representatives from the member states and from international and regional organisations.

SCO Deputy Secretary-General Aziz Nosirov led the SCO Secretariat delegation.

Minister of Economic Development and Trade of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr. Nematullo Khikmatullozoda said at the opening ceremony: "The Government of Tajikistan is doing its best to promote innovative activities and is giving much attention to the strengthening of cooperation with the member states of the SPECA and other UN bodies."

Other speakers at the opening were Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Andrei Vasilyev, ESCAP Deputy Executive Secretary for Sustainable Development Kaveh Zahedi, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Tajikistan Ms Pratibha Mehta, as well as delegation heads from the SPECA countries.

The participants discussed the innovation policy priorities in the region, new approaches to promoting innovation, as well as international experiences and approaches to innovation for sustainable development in the region. The highlights included effective management of water and energy resources, the economy, plus the development of trade and gender equality. Recommendations were drafted after the 2017 SPECA Economic Forum.

The participants in the 12th SPECA Governing Council session reviewed the organisation's performance in 2016 and 2017 and interaction with international organisations, as well as adopted the SPECA Work Plan for 2018-2019.

The Republic of Kazakhstan has been elected the chair country for 2018.

The UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) was launched on 26 March 1998 by the Tashkent Declaration, which was signed by the heads of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and the UNECE and ESCAP Executive Secretaries. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan joined the programme several years later.
The SPECA mechanism comprises project working groups on water, energy and environment; transport, transit and connectivity; trade; statistics; knowledge-based development; as well as gender and economy.