CAREC Program

What is CAREC?

The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program is a partnership of 11 countries and development partners working together to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction. It is guided by the overarching vision of “Good Neighbors, Good Partners, and Good Prospects.

The program is a proactive facilitator of practical, results-based regional projects, and policy initiatives critical to sustainable economic growth and shared prosperity in the region. Since its inception in 2001 and as of December 2021, CAREC has mobilized $47.27 billion in investments that have helped establish multimodal transportation networks, increased energy trade and security, facilitated free movement of people and freight, and laid the groundwork for economic corridor development.

CAREC 2030 provides the new long-term strategic framework for the program leading to 2030. It is anchored on a broader mission to connect people, policies and projects for shared and sustainable development, serving as the premier economic and social cooperation platform for the region.

KEY DOCUMENT: CAREC 2030: Connecting the Region for Shared and Sustainable Development | РУССКИЙ

Who are the members of CAREC?

 

What does CAREC do?

As the reintegration of the Eurasian continent gathers speed, the CAREC countries are poised to reap substantial benefits. With the rapid economic expansion of the People’s Republic of China and Japan to the east, the Russian Federation to the north, and India and Pakistan to the south, there is a real and growing demand for improved connections between Europe and Asia. This momentum provides CAREC countries with an unprecedented opportunity to emerge as a center for trade and commerce, to achieve higher levels of economic growth, and to reduce poverty.

None of the region’s economies will be able to fully capture this opportunity in isolation. But all will benefit from working together, and with their neighbors, to build on their strengths for mutual progress.

Turning this potential into reality will require significant improvement in the region’s physical infrastructure such as roads, aviation and rail systems; in the way the region manages its shared resources to support efficient and rational use of energy and water; in progress toward harmonizing and modernizing its customs administrations, and streamlining the rules and procedures that govern countries’ international trade relationships; and in efforts to promote and strengthen people-to-people contacts across borders.

The six CAREC transport corridors are building a truly global future for the region, linking markets in northern People’s Republic of China to Azerbaijan in the Caucasus and further to Europe, and from Kazakhstan to Pakistan’s warm-water ports of Karachi, Gwadar, and beyond.

Seamless connectivity is moving people and their businesses along the CAREC corridors faster, speeding up passage, and reducing the costs of crossing borders.

CAREC corridors improve access to essential services and job opportunities – ultimately ensuring a better quality of life for all people of the CAREC region.

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Learn more about CAREC Corridors

CAREC’s development partners facilitate financing for regional projects that benefit the entire CAREC region, and also ensure the quality of investments made by providing strategic and technical advice.

The CAREC Institute plays a key role in providing knowledge solutions and capacity building services in CAREC’s operational priorities to help uplift policy development, and facilitate sharing of experiences and best practices across member countries.

What has CAREC achieved?

Since 2001, the Program has recorded impressive achievements in regional economic cooperation, particularly in the areas of transport, energy, trade, and economic corridors development. From 2001 to 2020, investments in member countries have amounted to $40 billion, covering 213 projects. Latest achievements per sector are listed below.

Transport

  • 9,964 kilometers (km) of expressways or national highways built, upgraded or improved as of 2017 (surpassing the TTFS 2020 target of 7,800 km or roads constructed or improved by 2020)
  • 1,995 km of new railways built as of 2017 (surpassing the TTFS 2020 target of 1,800 km of new railways built by 2020)
  • 3,433 km of railways improved as of 2017 (surpassing the TTFS 2020 target of improving 2,000 km of railways by 2020)
  • 1 port (Aktau) completed and 2 border-crossing points (BCPs) improved (Dusti and Guliston); 1 port (Turkmenbashi), 2 logistics centers (Turkmenbashi and Zamyn-Uud) and 4 BCPs (Karamyk, Torkham, Chaman, Wagha) ongoing
  • Railway strategy developed to guild the long-term development of railways in the CAREC region
  • Road safety strategy developed to make CAREC corridors safer
  • Three knowledge products on road safety engineering completed
  • Three knowledge products on road asset management completed
  • Scoping study to understand the potential role of CAREC in creating an efficient aviation market in the region completed

KEY DOCUMENT: CAREC Transport Strategy 2030

Trade

  • Regional technical assistance projects support customs cooperation in five priority areas: (i) simplification and harmonization of customs procedures, which is the core requirement of the Revised Kyoto Convention; (ii) information and communication technology development and data exchange, (iii) risk management and post-entry audit, which includes the periodic conduct of time release studies and the adoption of Authorized Economic Operators programs; (iv) joint customs control; and (v) regional transit development
  • Pilot testing of the CAREC Customs Information Common Exchange and the CAREC Advanced Transit System
  • Assessment of CAREC member countries’ readiness to implement the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement
  • Implementation of the CAREC Common Agenda for Modernization of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures for trade facilitation
  • Regional Improvement of Border Services (RIBS), designed to coordinate infrastructure improvements and border crossing clearance procedures in select border crossing points, are being implemented in four countries: the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Tajikistan
  • 22-member CAREC Federation of Carrier and Forwarder Associations (CFCFA) active throughout the region

KEY DOCUMENT: CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda 2030 and Rolling Strategic Action Plan 2018–2020

Energy

  • Inaugural CAREC Energy Investment Forum introduced CAREC as a single significant market to suppliers of clean energy technologies
  • Technical assistance aims to further develop technical capacity and understanding government officials and institutions in CAREC member countries, and create an enabling environment for policies and regulations to support clean energy technology adoption
  • 1,697 kilometers (km) of transmission lines installed or upgraded in Q1, 2017 (total of 645,428 km, as of 2016)
  • Energy generation capacity increased by 5,482 megawatts (mw) in Q1, 2017 (total of 132,156 mw as of 2016)
  • 870 new substations installed and 206 substations upgraded in Q1, 2017

KEY DOCUMENT: CAREC Energy Strategy 2030: Common Borders. Common Solutions. Common Energy Future.

Key Publications

View all CAREC publications

CAREC Timeline



1996

1996

Technical assistance to promote regional economic cooperation in Central Asia is approved


1997

1997

Regional technical assistance for Central Asia supports projects that increase trade and cooperation between Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Uzbekistan


1998

1998

Tajikistan joins CAREC


2000

2000

The CAREC Secretariat is established at the Asian Development Bank


2001

2001

In 2001, six CAREC-related projects were approved with a combined value of $247 million

First CAREC Senior Officials’ Meeting is held in Manila, attended by delegations from Azerbaijan, the PRC, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan



2002

2002

First Ministerial Conference reaches consensus for a flexible, practical approach within a results-oriented institutional framework. Customs Cooperation Committee was established


2003

2003

Six multilateral institutions commit to the program
Azerbaijan and Mongolia join CAREC


2004

2004

Transport and trade policy coordinating committees are established. The private sector is encouraged to take part in the program


2005

2005

Afghanistan joins CAREC
The Energy Sector Coordinating Committee is formed


2006

2006

Comprehensive Action Plan
The First Business Development Forum sees business leaders and policy makers find ways to reduce impediments to regional cooperation


2007

2007

Ministers endorse the Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy
The CAREC Institute Prospectus creates a mechanism to address “second-tier” issues of communicable disease control, environmental protection, business development, capacity–building initiatives, and research


2008

2008

Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the PRC is brought into the partnershipThe Trade Policy Strategic Action Plan is endorsed to help liberalize trade regimes and get member countries into the WTO The Strategy for Regional Cooperation in the Energy Sector breaks ground as the first energy plan among Central Asian nations


2009

2009

Ministers endorse the Energy Action Plan Framework and CAREC’s results focus
Private companies establish the CAREC Federation of Carrier and Forwarding Associations and start sharing crossborder movement data as the CAREC Corridors Performance Measurement and Monitoring Program is launched


2010

2010

Pakistan and Turkmenistan join CAREC
The Development Effectiveness Review is launched to monitor CAREC’s performance process


2011

2011

Ministers endorse the CAREC 2020, the strategic framework for expanding trade and improving global competitiveness


2012

2012

68 projects worth $23 billion are prioritized to complete the six CAREC transport corridors
CAREC partners set a practical, results-oriented, and corridor-based approach to cross-border transport


2013

2013

Ministers approve a refined strategy for transport and trade facilitation to integrate multimodal transport, improved logistics, more links to gateway ports, and better services at border crossings
Action plan for transport and trade facilitation comprises 108 investment projects worth $38.8 billion
Ministers approve Trade Policy Strategic Action Plan 2013-2017


2014

2014

Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic sign the Almaty–Bishkek Corridor Initiative to kickstart CAREC’s economic corridor development drive
Transport Sector Workplan 2014–2016 is formulated with country- and subregion-specific targets


2015

2015

CAREC Institute’s physical base is launched in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, PRC
Georgia participates as an observer in the 14th Ministerial Conference


2016

2016

Georgia becomes the 11th member of CAREC
Ministers endorse Mid-Term Review of CAREC 2020, Railway Strategy 2017–2030, and Regional Road Safety Strategy 2017–2030


2017

2017

As of end September 2017, $30.5 billion in investments have gone into 182 CAREC-related projects
Ministers endorse CAREC 2030, a new framework to guide CAREC to better connect people, policies and projects as an open and inclusive platform
CAREC Institute obtains its legal status


2018

2018

Ministers endorse CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda 2030 and its Rolling Strategic Action Plan 2018-2020 to further integrate CAREC countries with the global economy through trade expansion, greater diversification and stronger institutions for trade.
ADB and Turkmenistan sign a $500 million loan to improve Turkmenistan’s transmission network and power supply and increase its electricity exports to the region.


2019

2019

Ministers endorse the CAREC Transport Strategy 2030 and CAREC Energy Strategy 2030
CAREC gathers Energy ministers in their first regional dialogue, where they agreed to double renewable energy and energy efficiency levels


2020

2020

Ministers endorse the CAREC Program, Results Framework, CAREC Tourism Strategy 2030, and the CAREC Gender Strategy 2030


2021

2021

Ministers endorse new policy roadmaps for promoting digitization and health security in the region, such as the CAREC Health Strategy 2030 and the CAREC Digital Strategy 2030


2022

2022

Ministers endorse three stategic documents: the CAREC Post-Pandemic Framework for Green, Sustainable, Inclusive Recovery; Cooperation Framework for Agricultural Development and Food Security in the CAREC Region; and the CAREC Green Energy Alliance
They also considered how to support regional actions to address climate change under the CAREC Program


2023

2023

CAREC Climate Change Visionwas endorsed