Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic senior officials met in Madrid on 19-20 October to review progress on the Almaty-Bishkek Corridor Initiative (ABCI).

Co-hosts UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Fundacion Metropoli highlighted synergies between Silk Road tourism corridors initiative and urban development in Madrid and Bilbao.

Pradeep Srivastava, principal economist, Asian Development Bank Central And West Asia Regional Cooperation, Central and West Asia Department, chaired the session.

The ABCI was launched with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the city administrations of Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Bishkek (Kyrgyz Republic) at the 13th CAREC Ministerial Conference.

Under the initiative, Almaty and Bishkek will develop the first CAREC economic corridor at the city level.

The joint working group (JWG) was formed with seven members each from Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic, representing city administration and central government.

The first JWG meeting agreed on an initial set of priority areas for analysis: long-term urban planning, agriculture and food security, health services, education services, tourism, and infrastructure related to trade and logistics.

The second JWG meeting identified relevant areas such as special economic zones and industrial parks, with particular focus on the information technology sector.

(Photos courtesy of UNWTO)