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Strategy for assistance to Central Asia 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010

The regional strategy paper for Central Asia aims to provide responses to the needs of the region in respect of regional cooperation, poverty reduction and improving living standards, as well as good governance and economic reform. The regional strategy paper (RSP) 2007-2013 and the indicative programme 2007-2010 present the terms for implementation.

ACT

European Community Regional Strategy Paper for Assistance to Central Asia for the period 2007-2013 and indicative programme 2007-2010 (pdf ).

SUMMARY

The regional strategy paper (RSP) defines the objectives and priorities of cooperation with Central Asia in areas of common interest to the partner countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan).

Despite their common experience, the countries display marked differences in their situation, territorial area, population, level of human development and willingness to cooperate and integrate with the rest of the world. On the other hand, the region shares political, economic, social and environmental challenges, such as:

  • trade and access to world markets, characterised by complex, badly coordinated trade policies, lack of transparency, high transport and transit costs and delays at border crossings for imports and exports;
  • the investment climate, with its continuing fluctuations reinforced by legislative uncertainty;
  • transport, which requires progressive, but effective integration in European and international agreements, the improvement of road and rail safety, maritime and aviation security, inland waterway transport and the introduction of inter-modal concepts;
  • the management of shared natural resources, especially water, but also the questions of climate change, deforestation, natural disasters and renewable energy resources;
  • social development and poverty reduction, as the region is characterised by highly unequal income distribution, high unemployment, low life expectancy and a resurgence of communicable diseases.

EU response strategy

The strategy for assistance and the indicative programme 2007-2010 identify three priority objectives selected by the European Union (EU) for the partnership in the next five years.

The EU's first objective is to promote regional cooperation with Central Asia and good neighbourly relations. The EU will concentrate mainly on four objectives capable of providing real added value through implementation at regional level, i.e.:

  • support for transport and energy networks and integration with the international market to strengthen links and trade relations;
  • improvement of environmental management, which comprises sustainable management and good governance in the water and forestry sectors, biodiversity conservation and nature protection, especially in relation to climate change;
  • border and migration management, the fight against organised crime, and customs;
  • promotion of educational exchanges and scientific and people-to-people activities with the population of the region.

As far as bilateral assistance is concerned, poverty reduction and improving the standard of living are the top priority. This comes within the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The incidence of poverty is very high in the region and the inequalities in socio-economic development amplify instability, insecurity and extremism in these countries. This objective will focus on the development of the region and local communities, as well as support for rural development and social sector reforms.

The promotion of good governance and economic reforms is the second priority assistance area for this period. The Commission will focus on the promotion of good governance of civil society, the social dialogue and democratic processes, but also on reforms allowing better regulation of markets and trade. Support for political, administrative and judicial reforms ensure the stability of the countries of Central Asia. A specific programme is defined for each country, taking account of the national policies and individual situations.

The EU assistance is based on a series of instruments and measures, such as the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI), including the 5 thematic programmes, the Instrument for Democratisation and Human Rights, the Nuclear Safety Instrument, the Stability Instrument and the Humanitarian Instrument.

Terms and conditions

The funding for the geopolitical indicative programme for Central Asia (DCI) for the period 2007-2010 will amount to EUR 314 million, of which EUR 94.2 million will be allocated to the promotion of regional cooperation with Central Asia and EUR 219.8 million to the other two priorities. The European Council will monitor progress made in implementing the strategy in June 2008 and then at least every two years.

The indicative programme 2007-2010 presents the expected results of the Community assistance regarding the various priorities presented above. As far as the regional programmes are concerned, it is a matter of improving energy and infrastructure management; increasing transport movements (number and quality) and harmonising maritime, rail and road transport; raising awareness of environmental issues and cooperation of civil society in this field; improving efficiency and safety at border crossings and harmonising the procedures; and extending and modernising the local and regional infrastructures, as well as improving access to services for the population and bringing laws and practices in line with international standards, including in the field of human rights.

Performance indicators defined at the time of drawing up the programmes will allow their impact to be measured (progress achieved with regard to human rights and in the other above-mentioned areas, relevance of the activities, statistics on the trend in poverty and notably the Millennium Goals, implementation reports, etc.).

Last updated: 12.06.2008
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