CAREC Institute Held Its Fifth Advisory Council Meeting

19 Oct 2023

On October 19, the CAREC Institute held the fifth meeting of its Advisory Council to discuss current and future directions of research projects, the draft Rolling Operational Plan for 2024-2025 and the mid-term review of the implementation of the institute’s Strategy for 2021-2025. The Advisory Council serves as a vital platform for the exchange of innovative ideas and approaches to the institute’s strategic plans on knowledge formation and sharing.

Mr. Kabir Jurazoda, Director of the CAREC Institute, in his opening remarks, noted the importance of the advisory contributions of Council members to the Institute’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of knowledge products and services and their relevance to the needs of CAREC countries. Dr. Lyaziza Sabyrova, Regional Head of the ADB Regional Cooperation and Integration, Central and West Asia Department, suggested major areas that require new knowledge and rigorous research analysis for the CAREC region, such as cross-border technology transfer, private sector participation in green development, connectivity and trade, climate change and green energy transition, and inclusive development.
CAREC Institute Chief Economist Dr. Hans Holzhacker provided an overview of the institute’s research initiatives. In previous years, the CAREC Institute has successfully completed key studies on public attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination, the CAREC Regional Integration Index, the digital divide, investment in the digital economy, agriculture-water-climate change nexus, energy governance, and several studies using CPMM data. The institute’s current research includes water infrastructure financing, climate stress, fintech-led regional financial cooperation, blended learning through flipped classrooms, civil aviation, household energy access and readiness to move towards green energy, CAREC FTA, e-commerce, the cost of climate inaction, as well as quarterly macroeconomic monitoring. Dr. Holzhacker suggested that the institute’s future research will focus on three main directions: i) The Economics of Disruptive Technological Change and Innovation, especially the green energy transition with a focus on green finance, sustainable/circular industry policies, and digitalization issues of infrastructure, fintech, e-commerce, and Industry 4.0; ii) Economic Corridors and Connectivity, including trade facilitation, CPMM, digital corridors, transit versus local corridor utilization; and iii) Socioeconomic Impact and Inclusivity, including such subjects as future of work, training and (re)qualification, internal and external migration.

The draft rolling plan of the institute for 2024-2025 was presented by Chief of Strategic Planning Division, Mr. Khalid Umar. The two-year Rolling Operating Plan outlines the institute’s key initiatives and activities in the areas of economic monitoring and research, capacity building, knowledge management, and partnerships as part of the implementation of the CAREC Institute’s Strategy 2021-2025. Over the next two years, the CAREC Institute will continue to produce Quarterly Economic Monitors assessing the trends of the CAREC national economies, economic and policy briefs on issues of regional importance, research studies, organize research conferences, publish annual research books, and collaborate with individual researchers through visiting fellowships program. Capacity building activities will include more than a dozen core programs annually related to the institute’s research. The e-learning platform will be expanded with new digital learning modules and additional functionalities. The Institute will continue to expand its knowledge management activities by using new communication channels and formats and improving the quality of knowledge products. The CAREC Institute will expand its knowledge partnerships through formal cooperation agreements, joint research through the research grant program, and joint organization of forums, workshops, and dialogues. As secretariat to the CAREC Think Tank Network (CTTN), the CAREC Institute will continue organizing its annual flagship think tank development forum, CTTN grants program and CTTN dialogue/talk series. Mr. Khalid Umar further informed the Advisory Council members about the mid-term review of the implementation of the CAREC Institute Strategy 2021-2025 that will identify issues and challenges affecting the effective and efficient implementation of the Strategy, examine the external geo-economic environment, review internal developments and propose changes that will improve the work efficacy of the CAREC Institute.

Next, the members of the Advisory Council discussed the proposed issues, provided their feedback and shared their own ideas and proposals for further improving the work of the CAREC Institute. Suggestions included new areas of research and capacity-building activities related to climate change and digitalization issues, improving the institute’s monitoring and evaluation activities, reviewing partnerships policy, developing e-linkages with universities and other knowledge initiatives, expanding collaboration with ADB, regional stakeholders and national think tanks, universities, and others. The Advisory Council also proposed to increase the frequency of the meetings to deepen engagement with the CAREC Institute and provide more informed advice on core strategic and operational matters.

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