The ESCAP Subregional Office for North and Central Asia (SONCA) was established under United Nations General Assembly Resolution 63/260 as a result of the United Nations Secretary-General's pledge to strengthen the UN Development Pillar.
SONCA was accredited on 5 July 2011 in Almaty, Kazakhstan and better positions the ESCAP to address sustainable and inclusive development priorities in the subregion comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan participates in the activities of SONCA as a member of the United Nations Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA).
Main objectives of SONCA are to achieve internationally agreed-upon development goals by promoting inclusive and sustainable social and economic development, to address social and economic disparities and strengthen subregional economic cooperation, partnerships and knowledge-sharing among member countries, the private sector, civil society and other development partners in order to ensure inclusive and environmentally-friendly development for all.
SONCA will facilitate the improvement of regional connectivity by encouraging transport infrastructure development and facilitating agreements to boost regional trade and economic prosperity, support the implementation of macroeconomic reforms and sustainable development, with a focus on energy and water resources. It will also coordinate the activities under the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia which is supported by ESCAP and the Economic Commission for Europe and covers five Central Asian economies, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.
The subregional office will build two-way linkages between ESCAP headquarters and member States in the subregion and ensure that subregional needs and perspectives are reflected in the promotion of broader regional cooperation in Asia and the Pacific.
ESCAP views North and Central Asia as a very important part of the global economic and social processes which already plays a noticeable role in contemporary geopolitical relations with its vast natural resources, significant transit and transport potential and well-educated population. It enjoys good prospects for development of cooperation in various fields to become a linking bridge between various regions.
According to the recommendations resulting from the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Meeting on the New ESCAP Subregional Offices for East and North-East Asia, North and Central Asia, and South and South-West Asia ( Bangkok, 2-4 March 2010) and approved at 66 Session of the Commission the Subregional office for North and Central Asia will assist member States in the following priority areas: