The Ferghana Valley, Central Asia's crossroads (RFE/RL)
7 December 2005 -- A new United Nations report says the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan could jointly battle poverty and crime by improving cross-border cooperation and removing unnecessary trade barriers.
The report by the UN Development Program, which was published on 7 December, says the five countries should work together to create what the report calls "borders with a human face."
The report urges measures including simplified and coordinated border crossing rules and improved governance of police and customs services.
The UN Development Program said removing trade and border restrictions that currently hamper economic development would significantly improve the lives of people in the five countries.
The report advises the countries to upgrade their transportation networks and liberalize trade laws with an eye to eventually joining the World Trade Organization.
It says that modernized border management could also help the five governments control illegal drug trafficking and cross-border terrorist activities.