The European Union's development priorities in Central Asia, in line with our joint commitment to Sustainable Development Goals, aim at meeting the increasing needs from growing and young populations and at providing economic opportunities in a region lacking economic diversification.
Assistance provided by the European Commission combined with assistance provided by EU Member States individually makes the European Union the number one donor in the region. The global envelope for EU assistance to Central Asia (through the Development and Cooperation Instrument) increased to €1 billion for the period 2014-2020, which is up from €750 million in the prior financing period. In order to better fit development programmes to each country's specificities, such as their existing level of development and an assessment of needs, the European Union employs a differentiated approach to its assistance, with a focus on the poorest and the most fragile countries.
Regional programmes aim at supporting a broad-based process of dialogue and collaboration between the five Central Asian countries. Regional cooperation is important for energy, the environment, water and socio-economic development. The rational use of natural resources is a key factor for the development and political stability of the region. Addressing the needs of a rapidly growing young population through the provision of jobs and better education and research opportunities is also key.
Regional dialogue and actions also support the legal capacity of the Central Asian countries and contribute to the reform of their legal and judiciary systems. Regional cooperation aims at strengthening cross-border co-operation through integrated border management, in order to facilitate cross border training and to improve people's mobility, while also intensifying the fight against drug trafficking. The EU Action Plan on Drugs is the key policy reference document on drugs-related issues. New impetus has been given to our very important programmes on border management (BOMCA) and the fight against drugs (CADAP).
Other EU external instruments complement EU support to the region, when appropriate. Within the Development Cooperation Instrument, the thematic programmes “Global public goods and challenges”, “Civil Society and Local Authorities”, the ''European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights'', the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation and Non-State Actors and Local Authorities are particularly important. Certain measures, particularly in the area of conflict prevention and crisis management, may also be supported under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, which aims at responding to situations of crisis or political instability, and can include preventive long-term actions to global and trans-regional threats.