PRESS RELEASE - Central Asia and the EU join forces to build an inclusive future

A high-level meeting of the recently launched €10 million DARYA project takes place in Italy. At the core of the discussions is how youth-oriented education and labour policies can best be implemented

Torino, 22 November 2023 – Education and Labour Deputy Ministers from Central Asia are gathering today and tomorrow in Torino, Italy, for a high-level meeting of DARYA (Dialogue and Action for Resourceful Youth in Central Asia), the first European Union’s regional project supporting education, youth employment and inclusive skills development in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

A flagship initiative in Europe-Asia relations, DARYA is a concrete development of the EU’s new Strategy on Central Asia, launched in 2019. The project uses education as a platform to bring the European Union closer to Central Asian countries and strengthen mutual cooperation. It is funded by the European Union and implemented by the European Training Foundation (ETF).

"DARYA marks a new milestone in the bilateral relations between the European Union and the Central Asian countries", said Pilvi Torsti, ETF Director. "It highlights the EU’s long-term commitment to supporting countries in Central Asia in their efforts to address current challenges and meet the needs of future trends. The initiatives will certainly contribute to the inclusive development of the communities involved, especially women and young people."

Strengthening dialogue and promoting regional cooperation

With a budget of €10 million, the project operates at two main levels.

  • Locally, by stimulating the post-pandemic recovery in Central Asia through the development of quality and inclusiveness in education, training, and the labour market in the five countries.
  • Globally, the expected outcome is to strengthen participation and mutual dialogue among Central Asian countries and to promote mechanisms for regional cooperation.

Torino’s meeting is part of a regular series of High-Level Group meetings, aiming at facilitating exchanges between representatives from Central Asian countries and from the European Union and international financial institutions. Such exchanges are a way to incorporate knowledge, forming a platform focused on regional needs, while managing policy complexity to tackle new trends and the effects of digitalisation. 

Designing the way forward

For two days, Deputy Ministers from the region will be joined by representatives from the European Union (European External Action Service, European Commission, Latvia, France), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to define inclusive and market-oriented training systems in the region. Participants will share best practices, such as the Turin Polytechnic University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan an initiative of the Politecnico di Torino, which for ten years has been training highly specialised graduates, strengthening mutual benefits through education. As a result, the next steps in implementing the DARYA programmes will be outlined.

Institutional representatives
  • Kyrgyzstan, Rasul Abazbek uulu, Deputy Minister of Education and Science
  • Tajikistan, Lutfiya Abdulkholiqzoda, Deputy Minister of Education and Science
  • Tajikistan, Qiyomiddin Davlatzoda, Deputy Minister of Labour, Migration, and Employment of the Population
  • Turkmenistan, Halbibi Tachjanova, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection
  • Turkmenistan, Azat Atayev, Deputy Minister of Education
  • Uzbekistan, Rano Turdiboeva, Deputy Minister of Employment and Poverty Reduction
  • European External Action Service, Tatevika Paronjana, Political Adviser to the EU Special Representative for Central Asia
  • Asian Development Bank, Sofia Shakil, Director of Human and Social Development
  • Asian Development Bank, Michiko Suga, Representative of the European Office
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Biljana Radonjic Ker-Lindsay, Associate Director for Economic and Gender Inclusion

DARYA (Dialogue and Action for Resourceful Youth in Central Asia) is the first EU-funded regional project focusing entirely on measures that support inclusive and labour market relevant skills development opportunities for young people in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The five-year project (2022 – 2027) is implemented by the European Training Foundation (ETF), a specialised agency of the European Union, based in Italy. 

The European Training Foundation (ETF) is the European Union agency that supports neighbouring countries in reforming their education, training, and labour market systems. It currently collaborates with 28 partner countries, mainly in the context of EU enlargement and neighbourhood policies. It is headquartered in Turin at Villa Gualino.


Press Office: Daria Santucci - Andriy Brashchayko, +39 366 9639638, mediarelations@etf.europa.eu