The aim of the Conference was to provide practical guidance on how to develop Geographical Indication in Central Asia, in order to promote strengthened regional cooperation, trade, and exports.
Many Central Asian products have unique high quality properties that at present are not sufficiently marketed and branded as such. Geographical Indication is considered to be one of the most successful marketing tools in this regard and is an important economic resource for local producers seeking to sell high quality products on the international market. As proven by the experience in other countries Geographical Indication, when correctly established, contributes to create new job opportunities, preserve traditional knowledge and greater consciousness for the environment, promoting rural development, tourism and is often an important economic resource, for local producers.
At the conference High-level representatives from REDD elaborated on the international protection dimension of the G.I concept. A side event was also exclusively dedicated to G.I for agricultural products from the Fergana Valley, which covers the territories of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The production of fruit and vegetables in the Fergana valley is of particularly high social and economic importance as it allows for engaging substantial local labour resources. G.I has great potential to bring added value to a region not only in terms of jobs and higher incomes, but also in promoting the region as a whole, and as a “regional brand”.
Furthermore, the second day of the conference covered the handicraft sector where textile products such as carpets and suzanis were presented as items possible for G.I. registry due to their distinct variety and special link to the local heritage and territory. To this end the closing event of the conference was dedicated to the promotion of traditional ethnic patterns and designs from Central Asia and to exploring their branding for the international fashion market. The unique expertise from Zazi Vintage and the International Trade Center's "Ethical Fashion Initiative” on how to successfully combine effective branding with ethically sustainable livelihoods and production methods, using exclusively organic materials, was showcased.
At the conference local producers from all sectors were given the opportunity to showcase their products to European partners. For Tajikistan, this conference also forms part of the process of making a possible future GSP+ agreement more effective, by enhancing the possibilities of exporting local high quality products to the EU market.