May 14, 2004
In this issue:
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP)
- UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown visited Kyrgyzstan
- Afghanistan Conference Ends with Call for Pursuit of Regional Cooperation
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP)
UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown visited Kyrgyzstan
Bishkek, 12-14 May 2004. Mr. Mark Malloch Brown, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator visited Kyrgyzstan between 12-14 May, 2004 to urge regional cooperation and integration in Central Asia, and to support acceleration of ongoing democratic and economic reforms in Kyrgyzstan.
He took part in an Afghan Regional Economic Cooperation Conference in Bishkek on 12 May 2004.
During his visit, Mr. Malloch Brown met with President Askar Akaev to express UNDP’s strong backing for the democratic and market transition in Kyrgyzstan.
Together with the President, he opened on 13 May in Bishkek the National Forum “Millennium Development Goals: Poverty Reduction and Social Mobilization” to advocate for broader country activities in support of the Millennium Development Goals.
UNDP’s regional strategy for Central Asia attaches great importance to improved regional cooperation and stresses the link between national reforms and regional cooperation.
“The free movement of goods and ideas between Central Asian countries is crucial to improvements in living standards,” says Mr. Jerzy Skuratowicz, UNDP Resident Representative for Kyrgyzstan. “By working together to foster closer economic co-operation, all Central Asian countries will benefit and move ahead,” adds Mr. Skuratowicz.
UNDP is planning to prepare the first regional Human Development Report for Central Asia on the topic of regional co-operation. It will aim to measure and quantify the economic and social benefits of cooperation and integration.
During his visit to the country, UNDP Administrator along with government officials met the donor community, civil society organizations and mass media where issues of UNDP partnership broadly discussed.
Afghanistan Conference Ends with Call for Pursuit of Regional Cooperation
Bishkek, 12 May 2004. Representatives from Central Asian countries, Iran and Pakistan reconfirmed their readiness to join Afghanistan’s reconstruction by providing humanitarian, technical and consultative assistance in both public ventures and private sector initiatives. At a conference organized by the United Nations Development Programme in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, ministers and business leaders explored mutually beneficial ways for the region to contribute to Afghanistan’s recovery and economic growth.
Participants at the high-level three-day conference, which ended yesterday, focused on efforts that countries in the region could undertake to reduce trade barriers, improve transport infrastructure and streamline border bottlenecks. They adopted a Bishkek Declaration in which they “believe strongly that economic cooperation among Afghanistan’s neighbors will accelerate Afghanistan’s recovery, bring stability to the region, and provide a basis for the pursuit of common economic interests across the region.”
The Declaration also urged “donor states, international financial institutions and humanitarian organizations to build Afghanistan’s capacity to sustain its revival.” It underlined the role of the private sector in expanding economic cooperation and reconstruction of Afghanistan, and called for support of this sector through the establishment of an export and investment guarantee fund by donor countries to Afghanistan.
“We plan to support the government of Afghanistan in reforms and reconstruction of the country meant to create peaceful and democratic Afghanistan,” said Kyrgyz President Askar Akaev.
“Central Asian countries have huge resources – hydroelectricity, coal and ferrous metals, as well as transportation and communication networks,” said President Akaev. Referring to Kyrgyzstan’s specific involvement in programs for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, President Akaev said that “Kyrgyzstan is ready to closely cooperate with different countries and international organizations in various sectors, such as restoration of communications, construction of homes, medical and educational institutions; medical assistance; delivery and distribution of humanitarian goods, development of industrial infrastructure, which can provide Afghanistan’s economy with a variety of goods.”
UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown told the delegates, “Regional cooperation is a necessity and not an option. By working together to open borders, harmonize trade and customs regulations, and cooperate in energy production and the use of natural resources, the countries of the region can all benefit.”
Mr. Malloch Brown said that for all the countries represented at the conference, “it’s clear that your destinies are tied both for good and for ill. The nature of many of the region’s development challenges – shared water, narco-trafficking, the spread of HIV/AIDS, and other issues cannot be solved at the national level alone.”
Afghan Commerce Minister Sayed Mustafa Kazemi said that an agreement was reached that Kazakh and Kyrgyz business delegations would visit Kabul soon to explore investment opportunities.
“We have established an extremely important partnership among our private sectors,” said Afghan Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani.
He said that the conference gave the participating countries “a chance to rediscover each other.” Dr. Ghani said that the conference could “generate billions more in sustainable growth for the region.”
For additional information, please contact Olga Grebennikova, UNDP Public Relations Officer. Tel.: (0 996 312) 61-12-13. Fax: (0 996 312) 61-12-17. Email:
You are welcome to visit UNDP website at http://www.undp.kg where you can find a detailed information on UNDP programme activities in Kyrgyzstan.
Additional information on Conference “Afghanistan’s Regional Cooperation: Central Asia, Iran and Pakistan” you can find if you visit its website: http://arec.undp.kg