Published on April 16, 2022 10:04 p.m.
Conference on Green Economy and Food Security Held at CAREC Institute
LAHORE (Dunya News) – The second research conference of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Institute took place from April 11-12 in a virtual format.
The event, titled “Resilience and Economic Growth in Times of Great Uncertainty in the CAREC Region”, was organized in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and the Asian Development Bank (AfDB).
The conference covered important areas such as green economy and sustainable development, current trade risks and regional cooperation, agriculture and food security.
In his welcome address, CAREC Institute Director Syed Shakeel Shah underlined the importance of the conference for the region, its timeliness, and noted that the solutions proposed by the participants could serve as an impetus for the economic recovery.
The main objective of the conference is to foster research partnership and provide consolidated research-driven solutions to development challenges in the CAREC region.
This two-day virtual research conference brings together researchers and representatives from governments, international organizations, research institutes and think tanks from the CAREC region and beyond.
Today we will begin with the opening session, including the keynote address which will set the stage for the discussion. In addition, the conference features a special session on the launch of CI’s first annual book entitled Covid 19 and potential for economic recovery in the CAREC region, three thematic sessions on green economy and sustainable development, understanding current business risks and Regional Cooperation, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security and Roundtable on Revitalizing Regional Cooperation for a Green, Sustainable and Inclusive Recovery.
Iskandar Abdullayev, Deputy Director of the CAREC Institute, presented the first volume of the CAREC Institute Yearbook, after which speakers made presentations highlighting the book’s key findings and policy recommendations.
On the first day, conference participants concluded that CAREC members should jointly promote regional economic growth through better policy coordination and practical cooperation; actively promote digitization; and prioritize green and sustainable development in their regional cooperation.
The second day of the CAREC Institute Research Conference focused on exploring current trade risks and regional cooperation, sustainable agriculture and food security.
One of the important topics discussed throughout the second day of the conference was the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs. SMEs represent more than 90% of total enterprises in Central Asia, but their contribution to GDP ranges between 25% and 41%, except in Uzbekistan, which is closer to the OECD average of around 55%.
To ensure a rapid and robust recovery of the SME sector, it is essential that the governments of Central Asian countries develop comprehensive programs to support SMEs and individual entrepreneurs, including fiscal and financial measures, simplification of procedures and administrative requirements, suspension of inspections and audits. Access to affordable financing for SMEs is central to reviving the sector.
Underlining the importance of regional cooperation, realizing the potential of the Zangezur Corridor was highlighted by the speakers.
Considering population increase, climate change and environmental degradation, nutritional issues, future agriculture and food and nutrition security policy in CAREC countries should support sustainable agriculture through promotion conservation agriculture technology.
Prominent personalities like His Excellency Mr. Jin Lu, the Deputy Director General of the Department of International Economic and Financial Cooperation, Ministry of Finance, Tetsushi Sonobe is the Dean and CEO of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI ), Lyaziza Sabyrova Director of Regional Cooperation and Coordination of ADB Operations, JOHANNES F. LINN Research Fellow also participated in the conference.