Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the president of Uzbekistan, voiced a number of interesting initiatives at the international conference “Central and South Asia: Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities,” which took place on July 15-16 in Tashkent.
We have collected the main ones:
Trade and economics
Shavkat Mirziyoyev made a proposal to conclude a multilateral agreement on economic cooperation between the countries of Central and South Asia, and also to hold an annual interregional forum to discuss topical issues of expanding economic cooperation, deepening cooperation and investment interaction between countries.
The proposal also provides for advanced transport communications and energy infrastructure.
New rail line
The President of Uzbekistan announced the need to accelerate the construction of the Termez-Mazar-i-Sharif-Kabul-Peshawar railway.
It will become a modern version of the ancient northern trade route known as Uttarapatha, which connected the Indo-Gangetic Plain with the southern territories of the Eurasian continent through the historic cities of Taxila, Gandhara and Termez.
According to the head of Uzbekistan, it is necessary to develop specific measures to implement digital connectivity in the field of trade, transit and border crossing by adopting a Joint Action Strategy. It is important to involve leading experts from the two regions, as well as specialized agencies in the UN for this work.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed, under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to hold a meeting of the ministers of agriculture of Central and South Asia to develop a Program to overcome the rapid rise in prices of basic food products, and food shortages.
This document should provide for joint development and research, the introduction of advanced technologies, and the implementation of industrial cooperation projects.
Drugs and terrorism
The President invited the countries of the region to develop a Joint Anti-Drug Action Plan with the participation of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Uzbekistan is also ready to organize a special expert meeting on the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking with representatives of the two regions.
The President of Uzbekistan added that close attention is required for environmental issues and for the stimulation of "green" development. Common problems today are water scarcity, air and environmental pollution, soil degradation and desertification.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to develop, within the framework of the World Tourism Organization, a program for Central and South Asia aimed at popularizing the historical and cultural heritage of the people living in these regions. The Uzbek leader noted the need for mutual recognition of certificates on vaccination for the further development of tourism.
Culture and youth
The President of Uzbekistan proposed to hold an international forum "Historical heritage of Central and South Asia" under the auspices of UNESCO in Uzbekistan in Termez, as well as to create a permanent Youth Council of Central and South Asia.
Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to introduce a facilitated visa regime for scientists and researchers, as well as to create an online platform for cooperation between universities and research centers in Central and South Asia.
The President of Uzbekistan also proposed, on the basis of the International Institute of Central Asia, to create a permanent expert pool of prominent scientists and researchers to promote regional cooperation.