ESCAP and Russia partner to strengthen sustainable development in North and Central Asia

Sustainable development in the North and Central Asian subregion was strengthened today with the signing of a new long-term partnership agreement between the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Russian Federation, that included an annual contribution to ESCAP of US$ 1.2 million.

The Russian Federation has made a voluntary annual contribution of US $1.2 million towards ESCAP’s technical cooperation programme since 2009. Today’s agreement strengthens and extends this collaboration to include work in eight priority areas: transport, energy, environment, social development, information and communication technology, disaster risk reduction, statistics and language skills.

“ESCAP values its partnership with the Russian Federation to further build a sustainable and inclusive development path for the future,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar during the signing ceremony with H.E. Mr. Gennadiy Gatilov, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, in Bangkok.

“The new long-term agreement and contributions from the Russian Federation will assist ESCAP to improve the lives of people in the North and Central Asian region through focused larger-scale projects in the priority cooperation sectors.”

Speaking at the signing, the Deputy Minister said: “Technical cooperation activities carried out so far under the Russian voluntary contribution to ESCAP have indeed been a success, as they have significantly fostered regional cooperation in the areas that they were performed."

Partnership with the Russian Federation to date has been instrumental in promoting the policy, normative and capacity development work of ESCAP in support primarily of the energy and transport sectors, in addition to other joint priority areas such as migration, statistics, and information and communication technology.

Recent achievements in this evolving cooperation include the establishment of the Asia-Pacific Energy Forum and the intergovernmental Dry Ports Agreement.

With the support of the Russian Federation, the Asia-Pacific Energy Forum was established in 2013, and led to the adoption of the regional Plan of Action promoting regional cooperation for enhanced energy security and the sustainable use of energy.

In support of an intermodal regional transport network, the Russian Federation and ESCAP partnered again to support the development, adoption and implementation of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports which was signed in 2013. Building on the Asian-Highway and Trans-Asian Railway agreements, this is the third transport intergovernmental agreement to be negotiated under the auspices of ESCAP and paves the way towards enhanced transport connectivity and in turn greater trade, economic development and the movement of people in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Russian Federation is ESCAP’s third largest bilateral donor, following the Republic of Korea and Japan.