On 24 June 2021, the CAREC Institute Deputy Director Two Dr. Iskandar Abdullaev was invited to present at a webinar titled “Multilateral Development Banks as Key Partners in Promoting Regional Cooperation and Integration” hosted by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
Dr. Abdullaev argued that multilateral development partners (MDPs) are very well placed to support the SDGs on national, regional, and global scales by providing multi-level public goods.
“MDPs, in collaboration with other stakeholders, should operationalize regional cooperation and integration (RCI) process mainly through their subregional programs and projects which might be focused on digital trade and promoting intraregional agriculture supply chain; trade facilitation; infrastructure improvement and seeking investment opportunities in transport, green energy and water sectors; as well as regional human development,” Dr. Abdullaev said.
In his opinion, MDPs could leverage their unique position to incentivize countries to collaborate more. As challenges associated with SDGs are often of cross-border nature and beyond one country’s capability, MDPs’ role in addressing them through mobilizing finance, knowledge, and expertise, and, thereby, contributing to regional cooperation and integration can be increasingly high.
Dr. Abdullaev added that there is a need for MDP facilitated cross-sectoral and cross-organizational (with all MDP presence) expert groups on a multitude of issues, such as climate change, public health, migration, digitalization, food security, etc. Given the complexity of issues, heterogeneity of economies, and the scale of work, one MDP alone might not be sufficient to secure the required political commitment in regional capitals. So, MDP cooperation becomes paramount to capitalize on their influence in member countries to lead and facilitate consensus building.
Regional cooperation platforms (like CAREC) can help MDPs identify challenges of a regional scale, also avoid redundancy, allocate resources in a tailored manner, assist to identify and address competing development needs of countries/regions, and increase coordination.