The 11th session of the CAREC Institute Governing Council convened on 16 July 2021. The National Focal Point of Azerbaijan Excellency Rovshan Najaf chaired the session attended by representatives of all 11 member countries, also Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Institute staff.
The CAREC Institute Director Syed Shakeel Shah updated the Council on the work progress, mentioned the recognition of the Institute’s COVID-related analytical work in the 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report by the University of Pennsylvania; new collaborations established with UNICEF, UNESCAP, IsDB, and AIIB, and the new focus on the digital CAREC work. He then thanked the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for hosting and funding the Institute, also thanked the Government of Pakistan for a voluntary contribution to the budget in 2020.
The Council pondered on three main topics of the agenda: CAREC Institute strategy mid-term review and update, options for financial sustainability, and revision of the Advisory Council rules.
The Chair of the session, also Safdar Parvez of ADB, noted the Institute’s increased input to support member countries, and encouraged the Institute to maintain and enhance its relevance, value, and utility for CAREC members, also keep improving its institutional capacity. The Pakistan representative appreciated improved outputs of the Institute, including research products and policy briefs. He also announced another voluntary contribution by Pakistan to the Institute’s budget for 2021-22.
The PRC representative Han Bin noted improvements in the Institute’s performance. He then suggested separating the mid-term review of the strategy from the actual strategy document, and made recommendations for further refinements, namely: strengthen interlinkages with the CAREC 2030 strategy, digital strategy, and member country national strategies; strengthen research in digital economy, renewables, and public health; improve partnerships and networks; deepen partnerships with multi-lateral development partners; set up a function of internal controls and audit within the Institute and enhance oversight; strengthen capacity building of the Institute to tailor services to meet the members’ national needs; promote linkages among CAREC entrepreneurs; diversify funding sources; and strengthen the south-south cooperation.
Director Shah welcomed remarks and suggestions from country representatives and ADB colleagues. He stated that revised documents incorporating the suggestions will be circulated with draft minutes for approval of the Council members. Director Shah requested early approval of the same so that the Institute can move ahead with development of the results framework at the earliest.