The CAREC Institute Director Mr. Syed Shakeel Shah was invited to participate and present at the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s webinar titled New Approaches to Measuring and Assessing Regional Cooperation and Integration held on 16-17 April 2020. The webinar aimed to present progress on the regional cooperation and integration (RCI) methodology, discuss current needs in RCI operations, and agree on research areas based on RCI indicators that respond to stakeholder needs.
Mr. Shah’s presentation covered progress and challenges in measuring regional integration in CAREC. Among challenges, he listed size asymmetries, varying stages of development of key economic structures, eight of the eleven countries being landlocked, CAREC not fully integrated into the global rule-based trading system, and fragmented regionalism with multiple and disjoined economic and trade arrangements.
For further study, he shared CAREC Regional Integration Index (CRII) recommendations which include: 1) explore possibility of a formal regional trading arrangement, 2) study trade-offs between non-discriminatory regional integration and domestic development challenges, 3) explore instruments to balance proposals on regional integration through special and differential treatment in view of size asymmetries and landlocked status of most CAREC economies, 4) integration of sustainable development goals and COP21 into CAREC regional integration framework. Additionally, he shared various ideas being discussed within the Institute regarding redesigning CRII and improving its methodology, including grouping CRII in four dimensions and replacement of principal component analysis with factor analysis.