I am pleased to send greetings to all the participants at this High-level Conference. Trade, transit and transport are critical to economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development in Central Asia and around the world. They are central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, and will be an important component of the post-2015 development agenda.
Central Asia’s landlocked status, remoteness from major markets and high transit costs present key challenges. I therefore welcome collaboration by countries in Central Asia and their neighbours to develop shared infrastructure, increase investments in road systems, and renew efforts to promote trade.
Addressing trade and transit requires attention to natural resources, especially energy. A common approach by the governments of Central Asia to the management of natural resources can promote progress across the region. And by improving transport systems, Central Asian countries can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change.
Only by working together can we follow the sustainable path that leads to long-term prosperity and sustainable development that respects the planet’s ecological limits.
I wish you a successful meeting.