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UN regional centre for preventive diplomacy in Central Asia set to open

UN regional centre for preventive diplomacy in Central Asia set to open

The United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia will be inaugurated on Monday in an initiative by the world body to help the region’s countries respond more proactively to cross-border challenges and threats before they can become costlier and more difficult to control.

The Centre – located in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan – is being set up by the UN’s Department of Political Affairs (DPA) as it builds on its earlier assistance to the region, including the work since 2002 of the UN Forum for Conflict Prevention in Central Asia.

Known by its acronym UNRCCA, the Centre is tasked with assisting the governments of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan “in building capacities to peacefully prevent conflict, in facilitating dialogue, and in catalyzing international support behind projects and initiatives,” according to a press release issued by DPA.

The Centre will be headed by a senior Representative of the UN Secretary-General and has been awarded an initial budget of $2.3 million and a small international staff contingent.

UNRCCA is expected to work closely with existing UN agencies and programmes operating in Central Asia, and also regional groups such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

While the Centre’s immediate priorities will be determined after further consultations with the five governments in the region, cross-border threats and challenges such as terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and environmental degradation are likely to be high on the agenda.

B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, will deliver a message on behalf of Mr. Ban to Monday’s inauguration ceremony, which will be followed by a two-day conference in Ashgabat on “International Cooperation in Preventive Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution.”