ASTANA — Education and Labour Deputy Ministers from Central Asian countries convened in Torino, Italy, on Nov. 22 for a high-level meeting of the € 10 million ($ 10.9 million) Dialogue and Action for Resourceful Youth in Central Asia (DARYA) project to foster regional cooperation and inclusive development, reported European Training Foundation’s press service.
This project represents the European Union’s (EU) inaugural regional initiative to support education, youth employment, and inclusive skills development in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
DARYA is a flagship initiative within Europe-Asia relations, and a concrete manifestation of the EU’s Strategy on Central Asia launched in 2019. Funded by the EU and executed by the European Training Foundation (ETF), the project utilizes education as a catalyst to strengthen ties between the EU and Central Asian nations.
Pilvi Torsti, ETF Director, emphasized the significance of DARYA, stating, “DARYA marks a new milestone in the bilateral relations between the European Union and the Central Asian countries.” Torsti highlighted the EU’s long-term commitment to supporting Central Asian countries in addressing current challenges and preparing for future trends, focusing on inclusive development for communities, especially women and young people.
Operating with a budget of €10 million ($10.9 million), DARYA works on local and global levels. At the local level, it aims to stimulate post-pandemic recovery in Central Asia by enhancing the quality and inclusiveness of education, training, and the labor market in the five participating countries. Globally, the project seeks to strengthen participation and mutual dialogue among Central Asian countries and promote mechanisms for regional cooperation.
The Torino meeting is part of a series of High-Level Group meetings facilitating exchanges between representatives from Central Asian countries, the EU, and international financial institutions. These exchanges aim to incorporate knowledge and create a platform focused on regional needs while addressing policy complexity to tackle emerging trends and the impacts of digitalization.
Over two days, Deputy Ministers from the Central Asian region will collaborate with EU representatives, including the European External Action Service and European Commission, as well as Latvia and France. Additionally, representatives from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will join efforts to define inclusive and market-oriented training systems in the region. The meeting will include sharing best practices, such as the Turin Polytechnic University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, which has been training highly specialized graduates for a decade.
The meeting participants include Deputy Ministers of Education and Science from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Deputy Ministers of Labour and Social Protection from Turkmenistan, and Deputy Ministers of Employment and Poverty Reduction from Uzbekistan.
DARYA is the first EU-funded regional project to support inclusive and labor market-relevant skills development opportunities for young people in Central Asia. The European Training Foundation, based in Italy, oversees the project’s implementation and is the EU agency supporting neighboring countries in reforming their education, training, and labor market systems. Currently collaborating with 28 partner countries, ETF is headquartered in Turin at Villa Gualino.