The Desk for South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC):

SAARC is an economic and geopolitical union of eight member-states that are primarily located in the South Asian region. Afghanistan became the eighth member of SAARC at the 14th SAARC Summit which was held in New Delhi in April 2007. From the perspective of Afghanistan, the SAARC region, with its huge potential and considerable amount of resources, can be a significant player in global economic and political arena. This region is blessed with substantial amount of natural resources that, if exploited with technically and strategically sound approaches, can help various sectors of Afghanistan’s and the region’s economic growth.

Afghanistan hopes to make a significant contribution to different technical committees as well as working groups of the SAARC. The Government of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is very interested in the SAARC’s major activities, including agriculture, rural development, health, population, women, children, environment, science, technology, transport, human resources development.

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CAREC & Colombo Plan

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.

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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.

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The Desk for Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO):

SCO, established in 2001, has six member states: People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyz Republic. SCO works towards promoting good-neighborly relations among member states, effective cooperation in political, economic and cultural aspects, and maintain and ensure peace and stability in the region. Afghanistan became an observer member of SCO in 2012, aiming to play an important role in the organization in near future. Former President, H.E. Hamid Karzai, has backed greater SCO participation in reconstruction and stabilization efforts in Afghanistan. In particular, extremism, terrorism, and drug trafficking have continued to pose serious threats to both Afghanistan and the region, the SCO member states are eager to assist in stabilizing counter terrorism efforts in Afghanistan.

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The Desk for Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO):

Established in 1985 by Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey, ECO’s main objective is to promote economic, technical and cultural cooperation among the member-states. Afghanistan joined ECO in 1992, but played its role as an active member after 2001. For Afghanistan, the ECO region is home to rich and ample resources and available opportunities that if used properly, can overcome most of the current problems. The ECO region has the potential to turn into a hub of inclusive cooperation and integration. Since 2001, ECO has funded numerous projects in Afghanistan, mainly concentrating on promoting condition for sustainable economic development.

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The Desk for the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) and the Silk Way:

The Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) was inaugurated in June 2002 in Thailand, where 18 Asian Foreign Ministers met together for the first time. The ACD is a continent-wide forum, the first of its kind in Asia. More specifically, the ACD aims to constitute the missing link in Asia by incorporating every Asian country and building an Asian Community without duplicating other organizations or creating a bloc against others. The core values of the ACD are positive thinking; informality; voluntarism; non-institutionalization; openness; respect for diversity; the comfort level of member countries; and the evolving nature of the ACD process.

Afghanistan participated in the ACD Ministerial Meeting for the first time in 2012 held on the side of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly. Membership of Afghanistan was made official in October, 2012 ACD Summit held in Kuwait. Former President, H.E. Karzai thanked His Highness the Amir of Kuwait and all ACD member states on their constant support for Afghanistan to become a member of the ACD Forum. H.E. Hamid Karzai also applauded the proposal by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al-Jaber Al Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait, to establish the ACD Trust Fund of 2 billion $ for the development efforts in the least developed Asian countries and his announcement to contribute 300 million US dollars towards the target amount of 2 billion USD.

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In July 2011, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced the ‘New Silk Road Strategy’ for stabilizing Afghanistan, promoting trade, economic cooperation and development in the wider Central Asian region. The ‘New Silk Road’ strategy is a comprehensive strategy for achieving security and sustainable economic development in Afghanistan and Central Asia, of which Afghanistan is the heart. The ‘New Silk Road’ Strategy seeks to re-establish new east-west continental corridors for the transport of goods and energy to Europe, the Indian sub-continent and Southeast Asia. The strategy aims to remove trade barriers and enable Afghanistan to emerge as a regional hub and transit point for roads, railroads, pipelines, and electric lines.


The Desk for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP):

CICA was established in 1999 for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. It is a forum based on the recognition that there is close link between peace, security and stability in Asia and in the rest of the world. As a member state from its inception, Afghanistan takes active part in all its events. Participation of the Afghan former President, Hamid Karzai, in the first CICA Summit of Heads of States and Governments, regular participation of Afghan Foreign Ministers in the CICA Ministerial meetings, as well as participation of high-level representatives of Afghanistan in various CICA events are true indicators of the significance of the organization for Afghanistan. CICA has the potential to offer Afghanistan numerous opportunities in the areas of peace, development, trade, transit, transportation and energy by enhancing regional cooperation initiatives.

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The Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) is a regional, intergovernmental and autonomous organization. It was established on 6 July 1979 at the initiative of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) with the support from several other UN bodies and donors. The Centre came into being to meet the needs of the developing states as an institution for promoting integrated rural development in the region.

Afghanistan’s membership CIRDAP provides the opportunity to work actively towards improving living conditions of rural communities as it facilitates the provision of services that influence policy formulation and program action in the areas of rural development and poverty alleviation.

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Tir & Quadrilateral Processes

The Desk for Trilateral and Quadrilateral Processes:

In addition to active participation in regional organization, Afghanistan also relies on trilateral and quadrilateral processes focused on specific theme(s) with countries in the region and beyond to actively pursue regional cooperation. Currently, Afghanistan is engaged in following trilateral and quadrilateral processes:

1. Afghanistan-Iran-Tajikistan Since 2006
2. Afghanistan-Pakistan-Turkey Since 2007
3. Afghanistan-Iran-Pakistan Since 2009
4. Russia-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Since 2009
5. Afghanistan-China-Pakistan Since 2012
6. Afghanistan-India-United States Since 2012
7. Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran-Tajikistan Since 2014

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