On November 20-21, 2019, the 2019 SPECA Economic Forum “Connectivity: Sustainable Transport and Trade Facilitation in the SPECA subregion” took place in Ashgabat.   

The Forum organized by the Government of Turkmenistan jointly with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) was attended by the heads and specialists of the leading international organizations, the delegations of SPECA states-participants, representatives of the financial institutions, as well as the sector ministries and agencies of Turkmenistan.  

During their speeches, the representatives of the UNECE Executive Secretary, ESCAP Executive Secretary, as well as the UNDP in Turkmenistan stated the vital role of Turkmenistan in the process of promoting the constructive regional and international dialogue. It was noted that the trade and transport stand as the main vectors of collaboration.   

The participants thoroughly discussed the opportunities of facilitating the normative procedures of carrying out the trade relations, as well as the development of transport connection systems. The parties made proposals and recommendations with the aim of easing the access to regional markets, including the coordinated functioning of transboundary chains of supply. It was noted that these efforts promote the enhancement of connectivity between the economies of SPECA states and the countries of Europe and Asia which in turn should draw in new investments, technologies and innovations in the given region.       

Upon the results of the Forum, the participants adopted the “Ashgabat Initiative on Reducing Barriers to Trade and Transport Using United Nations Legal Instruments, Norms, Standards and Recommendations while Bolstering Connectivity in the SPECA region.”