On September 6, 2022, the CAREC Institute, in partnership with the ADB, launched a four-day Road Asset Management (RAM) workshop for Azerbaijan. This is the institute’s first hybrid workshop since the global outbreak of COVID-19 – bringing together (physically and virtually) leading national experts with extensive experience in the road sector, including national senior officials, researchers, road authorities, and international consultants. The multi-session workshop was developed on the basis of the CAREC Institute’s RAM maturity assessment of the CAREC countries conducted in 2021. The workshop aims to conduct a country review of the RAM implementation and further develop participants’ skills on asset data collection, management and maintenance. During the workshop, participants will learn about greenhouse gas emissions from road traffic and measures to combat them, as well as how to prepare a country-specific greenhouse gas emission reduction plan through enhanced RAM. The workshop help build groups of national asset managers in each CAREC country, and ultimately throughout the CAREC region, who can support each other in RAM and promote collaboration in the form of a committed community of practices.
Ms.Candice McDeigan, Country Director at the Azerbaijan Resident Mission of the Asian Development Bank, welcomed the workshop participants and stressed the importance of cooperation among national transport agencies, the ADB and the CAREC Institute in capacity building and asset management maturity assessment. These measures are important to improve RAM and ensure infrastructure sustainability. Dr. Iskandar Abdullaev, Deputy Director Two of the CAREC Institute, in his welcoming speech noted the work of the institute in preparing materials for regional-level workshops and country-specific trainings which consider country policies, road regulations and engineering solutions. The CAREC Institute maintains regional partnerships among national governmental agencies to further disseminate knowledge in the form of specific trainings and policy dialogues. Mr. Vugar Guliyev, Acting Deputy Director of the Project Implementation Unit of the Azerbaijan’s State Agency of Automobile Roads, thanked the ADB and the CAREC Institute for strengthening national RAM skills, improving transport, trade and energy infrastructure and national policies, and also emphasized the unique role of Azerbaijan in transit traffic between Asia and Europe and in spreading the benefits of better regional connectivity.
At the first session of the workshop, Dr. Iskandar Abdullaev gave the keynote presentation on the CAREC corridors, noting their role not only as transport corridors, but also as economic, environmental, and knowledge corridors. The CAREC Institute, as the knowledge arm of the CAREC Program, conducts research, capacity building activities, and knowledge sharing activities in supporting these corridors. In the field of cargo transport, the institute jointly with the ADB conducts the CAREC Corridor Performance Measurement and Monitoring assessments and policy advocacy with national governments to remove impediments to trade. The CAREC Regional Integration Index report and other knowledge products of the CAREC Institute on digitalization, free trade, financial inclusion, tourism, etc. provide recommendations for national governments to improve supply chains, logistics, road infrastructure, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, establishing financial links between CAREC countries to ensure economic growth and development. CAREC corridors are also helping to promote environmental education in the region. The institute conducts research and policy dialogues on the impact of climate change on the CAREC economies and on water resource management and energy connectivity. By promoting a corridor of knowledge, the CAREC Institute creates a network of thoughts, ideas, and knowledge among CAREC countries and regional stakeholders through collaboration between international financial institutions, national governments, research institutions, universities, civil society, and the business sector, providing a framework for knowledge transformation into tangible benefits. The role of knowledge corridors in regional economic cooperation is also very important, since standardization, a systematic approach to regional transport, trade, energy, tourism and economic development require an immense demand for knowledge.