OSCE promotes its own idea of Caspian cooperation
Two OSCE-supported events launched activities in Turkmenistan aimed at promoting green ports and connectivity in the Caspian Sea region. A roundtable discussion for experts on 29 October took place in Ashgabat and a technical workshop was held on 30 October at the Turkmenbashi International Seaport. As OSCE notes, they concluded a series of launch events that started in Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan earlier this year within the framework of the OSCE project “Promoting Green Ports and Connectivity in the Caspian Region”. The project aims to boost sustainable connectivity and trade among Caspian Sea ports of those countries.
Gathering over 60 participants, the events in Ashgabat and Turkmenbashi received considerable attention by government officials and the international donor community in Turkmenistan. Representatives from the relevant ministries, including the Ministry of Industry and Communication, the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations, the Ministry of Energy, port and customs authorities, and logistics companies, together with OSCE experts, discussed key phases of the project. They also discussed national technical assistance needs and major benefits that such a co-operative approach to digitalizing and greening the selected ports in the Caspian Sea will bring.
Through comprehensive stakeholder engagement, technical assistance and realistic solutions for its implementation, the project will offer an effective mechanism for enhancing economic co-operation between Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. It will contribute to efforts of further developing the Caspian Sea into a regional logistics and trade hub, which would bring sustainability and security in the OSCE area and economic well-being to people living in the region.
"We are very happy to support this important project which will further improve the economic co-operation between Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, help reduce the carbon footprint of transport and promote sustainable connectivity," said Diego Ungaro, Ambassador of Italy to Turkmenistan.
Neithart Höfer-Wissing, Ambassador of Germany to Turkmenistan, noted: "Connectivity is very important in a globalized world and should be further promoted between Central Asian countries. Germany is a proud supporter of this OSCE project".
“Turkmenistan plays an increasingly active role in the existing international and regional political dialogues and in initiatives aimed at boosting economic co-operation in the wider region,” said Ivana Markovic Boskovic, Officer-in-Charge of the OSCE Centre in Ashgabat. “This flagship project will provide an additional impetus to the Centre`s ongoing activities in the area of promoting instruments of trade and transport facilitation and digitalization along with developing transit potential of the beneficiary countries.”
Daniel Kroos, OSCE Senior Programme Officer, explained that a growing interdependence between the economies in the region calls for a comprehensive approach to energy, digital data exchange and transport infrastructure. He noted that such an approach is needed to accommodate the fast-growing trade between Asia and Europe to ensure sustainable connectivity.
The events in Turkmenistan followed the start of project activities in Azerbaijan in June 2019 and in Kazakhstan in October. The project is implemented with financial support from Germany, Italy, Iceland and Azerbaijan.