The Desk for the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and the Colombo Plan:
The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program is a partnership of ten countries and six multilateral development institutions working to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction in the region. The Program’s long-term vision is Good Neighbours, Good Partners, and Good Prospects. Afghanistan joined CAREC in 2005. Membership of Afghanistan in the CAREC Program is an issue of central importance to the Afghan Government as the country is located in the heart of the Eurasia region, and since time immemorial has been at the crossroad of cultural exchanges between China and the Middle East, and between South Asia and Europe.
Since 2005, CAREC has funded 25 projects in Afghanistan of which 8 projects have been completed and the remaining 17 projects are currently being implemented. CAREC funded projects are mainly concentrated on regional power transmissions, building transport infrastructures and modernization of Customs in Afghanistan which would facilitate improved trade in the region.
The Colombo Plan was established in 1951 by Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and currently has expanded to include 26 member states. The Colombo Plan is a partnership concept of self-help and mutual-help in development aimed at socio-economic progress of its member-states. The current programs of the Colombo Plan are in the areas of public policy formulation in an environment of globalization and market economy, private sector development as a primary factor for growth, and in drug abuse and prevention in member-states.
Afghanistan became a member of the Colombo Plan in 1963. However, technical assistance from the Colombo Plan to Afghanistan was halted from 1979 to 2002. Colombo Plan resumed its technical assistance to Afghanistan since 2002. Drug consumption currently represents one of the greatest threats to the future of Afghanistan, which is among the permanent programs of the Colombo Plan.