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Speech by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan H.E. Mr. Emomali Rahmon at SPECA Summit

TAJIKISTAN, November 24 - Excellency Ilham Geydaroglu,

Distinguished colleagues,

Dear friends,

I at the outset express my deep appreciation and profound gratitude to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan His Excellency Ilham Geydarovich Aliyev for the wonderful organization of High Level Summit and for the warm welcome and traditional hospitality.

We extend heartfelt congratulation to the brotherly Azerbaijan on its successful chairmanship at the UN Special Program for the Economies of Central Asia.

We are also grateful to the UN regional commissions for their many years of efforts they have made to provide technical assistance and unwavering support to the SPECA.

We this year commemorate the anniversary of the establishment of the SPECA.

Over the past twenty-five years, it has made a certain contribution to the development of economic cooperation among the participating countries.

The Program was aimed at promoting the rational use of available resources and opportunities for the sustainable development of each country and region at large.

Tajikistan attaches great importance to strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation within the SPECA.

From the very first days of its establishment, our delegation has been actively participating in its activities.

The participating countries have enormous labor and abundant natural resources, tremendous energy, transport and communication capabilities.

This is precisely why our mission in the years to come should include our focus on more effective use of this unique platform for interaction with the view to actively promote regional integration in all areas of common interest.

The goals and objectives of SPECA correspond to the priorities of the national economy and the goals of Tajikistan National Development Strategy 2030.

In this context, Tajikistan considers it important to increase trade and economic cooperation with the countries of the region, which is also one of the priorities in the SPECA activities.

The share of the SPECA participating countries in the foreign trade turnover of Tajikistan is about 26% of its total volume.

As the permanent chairman of the SPECA Working Group on Trade, our country contributes to the development of sustainable trade exchanges between the countries of the region.

We place significant importance to the introduction of trade facilitation procedures as part of the implementation of the relevant strategy of the Program.

We do hope that this document will facilitate the practical application of norms, standards and recommendations for the use of best practices in this area.

Tajikistan is keenly interested in utilizing all tools to expand trade opportunities with SPECA participating countries.

The expansion of transport links will undoubtedly contribute to increasing the volume of mutual trade.

In this regard, it would be right and timely to help SPECA participating countries to develop their transport infrastructure.

In this context, their connectivity to international transport and communication corridors, as well as simplification of transit and diversification of transit routes is essential.

We also propose to study the possibility of integrating the activities of wholesale distribution centers in the region.

This initiative would remarkably contribute to an uninterrupted supply of agricultural products between the participating countries, increasing their exports to third countries and, in general, promoting mutual trade within the region.

Dear participants,

Rational and effective use of energy and water resources in Central Asia is identified as yet another priority of the SPECA.

We stand ready for constructive and fruitful cooperation with all interested parties in this direction.

As is known, more than 60% of the water resources of Central Asia is originated in Tajikistan.

In terms of total reserves of hydropower resources, Tajikistan ranks the eighth, and in terms of their specific reserves per capita, it ranks the second in the world.

We use only 5% of this potential today.

98% of our country's electricity is generated from renewable sources of green energy.

According to this indicator, Tajikistan ranks the sixth in the world.

We intend to double generation capacity of our environmentally friendly energy in the near future, as a key ground for promoting a «green economy».

Further effective development of Tajikistan's hydropower resources, including with the participation of SPECA countries, could make a significant contribution to the development of our common market for renewable energy sources.

Climate change remains a major challenge for the SPECA region.

One of the main indicators of this process is the degradation of water resources, which in turn play a critical role in the comprehensive socio-economic development of our countries.

We in recent decades have observed intensive melting of glaciers, including in Tajikistan.

As I have repeatedly noted, today, out of 13.000 glaciers in Tajikistan, 1.000 have completely melted and vanished.

A volume of the largest continental glacier Fedchenko (Vanjyakh) has decreased dramatically.

Therefore, the topics of preservation and rational use of water and other natural resources must remain at the core of the agenda of our Program.

We believe it is necessary to create appropriate mechanisms for interaction in these areas within the SPECA.

Dear participants,

The introduction of artificial intelligence could be another important area of promising cooperation within the SPECA in the years to come.

Within the framework of the “Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence in the Republic of Tajikistan” adopted last year for the period up to 2040, our country is taking specific steps forward in this direction.

We propose to establish in the capital of Tajikistan SPECA Artificial Intelligence Development Center.

Widespread use of digital cutting-edge technologies is an integral part of the economic development of our countries.

We in Tajikistan are undertaking necessary efforts to promoting step-by-step digitalization of all sectors of the economy, public administration and business.

The Concept and Program for the Digital Economy Development have been adopted.

We propose, within the SPECA, to intensify cooperation among the parties in the digitalization of multimodal exchange of data and documents along transit routes on regional transport corridors.

We express our readiness to move towards better interaction between our countries in the field of electronic trade in order to protect the rights and interests of participants of trading operations.

In furtherance of this, we consider it advisable to take the necessary measures to implement joint projects those aiming at building technological parks and train qualified IT experts.

Dear participants of the Summit,

Thanks to cooperation within the SPECA over the last years, we have accumulated a valuable experience, which we could use to adapt it to the shifts and developments of the modern world.

Tajikistan fully supports the idea of creating the SPECA Secretariat.

We believe that the functioning of the new permanent acting authority should be in accordance with the economic development priorities of all participating countries.

We are ready to constructively study proposals on the format and location of the Secretariat.

In our opinion, the time has come to implement truly operational joint projects within the SPECA.

We give our full support to the idea of creating the SPECA Trust Fund for the mobilization and attraction of financial resources from partner countries and donor organizations for the implementation of projects in the SPECA participating countries.

I would like to note that you personally, Your Excellency Ilham Heydarovich, made at minimum two breakthroughs in the activity of SPECA.

The first, for over 25 years of history of SPECA’s existence you elevated it to the level of heads of participating states.

The second, despite a long delay of the establishment of SPECA Trust Fund you successfully resolved this issue during the year of your presidency in SPECA.

Dear colleagues,

In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude for the support of Tajikistan’s upcoming chairmanship at SPECA next year (2024).

We are ready, jointly with other participating countries, to make a worthy contribution to achieve the objectives identified by and enshrined in the Program.

I thank you for attention.