Kazakhstan’s Unwavering Commitment In Promoting International Peace, Security

Kazakhstan’s Unwavering Commitment In Promoting International Peace, Security

By R. Ravichandran

KUALA LUMPUR July 16 (NNN-Bernama) — The just concluded inaugural Central Asian Security and Cooperation Forum in Astana, Kazakhstan which was held against the backdrop of rising geopolitical tensions, is only one of several international initiatives mooted by Kazakhstan over the years on key regional and global issues.

The forum was also held at a time the world is grappling with various international security issues and  challenges like war, armed conflict, food security, energy security, international terrorism, fear of nuclear war and issues related to climate change, infectious diseases, economic crisis, transnational crime, natural disasters, weakening of multilateralism and challenges brought by new technologies with global implications like Artificial Intelligence.

The international community also today believes the world is facing unprecedented challenges to the foundations of the international relations system, in a rapidly changing geopolitical environment.

Within all these context, the forum which gathered intellectuals from 25 countries including Malaysia and organised by the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies (KazISS) and co-chaired by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs was another important platform created by the Kazakhstan government  to deliberate on various existing and newly emerged key international issues.

The two-day Central Asian Security and Cooperation Forum on Thursday and Friday was themed “Asia in the Changing World: Agenda for the Future”, reflected the immense importance of Asia in the global political and economic affairs.

As stated by the Kazakhstan government, this forum is intended to become part of the global ecosystem of the most authoritative annual venues, such as the Munich Security Conference, IISS-Shangri La Dialogue, Raisina Dialogue, Primakov Readings and also the Astana International Forum.

The director of KazISS Yerkіn Tukumov said that the forum achieved its goals of promoting regional cooperation through the exchange of ideas and the joint search for new solutions to Asia’s most pressing security issues. 

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his welcoming address to the forum, delivered by Murat Nurtleu, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs mentioned that in the current complex global environment, direct and open dialogue with the expert community has become an urgent necessity.

The President further pointed out that any systemic crisis, however, in addition to creating a wide range of threats, also brings with it new unique opportunities for Central Asia and “it is therefore important for us to focus our efforts on seeking constructive ideas and effective approaches to building a more safer and just world”.

It must also be noted the remarks by Tokayev that Kazakhstan has resolutely stood by the formula “A successful Central Asia means a succesful Kazakhstan”.

Nurtleu in his own address said that Astana is determined to continue pursuing a balanced, multi-vector and constructive foreign policy while pointing out that for its part, Kazakhstan has regularly put forward many initiatives aimed at ensuring Asia’s peaceful and long-term development.

The forum again brought into the limelight Astana’s increasing role on regional and global affairs, a role Kazakhstan has voluntarily came forward as it has also initiated other international initiatives such as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the Astana International Forum, the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, the Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) and the proposal to establish the International Agency for Biological Safety (IABS).

All these six major initiatives and followup actions are testimony to the Kazakhstan government’s political will to help make the world a more secure place to live, as the world is increasingly being viewed more pessimistically than in the past due to the rapidly deterioritng global security environment.

By initiating these initiatives and pushing forward cooperation, collaboration and dialogue among nations and various international stakeholders and coming out with practical and implementable measures, for example the CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures, Kazakhstan is seen as “walking-the-talk”.

It cannot be denied that after independence in 1991, Kazakhstan with some 19.8 million population now, has slowly but steadily emerged onto the world stage, contributing and playing constructive and proactive role on issues related to international and regional issues such as peace and security within the context of its multi-vector foreign policy.

“Over the years of independence, our country has strengthened its position in the international arena, has established itself as a peaceful and open state, a reliable partner in global and regional affairs. Kazakhstan implements a multi-vector, pragmatic and proactive foreign policy, makes a significant contribution to the formation and implementation of a global and regional agenda in the field of security, cooperation and development,” stated Kazakhstan’s Concept of Foreign Policy (2020-2030).

Being the ninth largest country in the world and strategically located in Central Asia and in a region with countries with political turmoil and security challenges such as Afghanistan, Kazakhstan is very much aware that peace, security and stability is paramount to its own as well as regional prosperity.

Going back to CICA, the idea of CICA which held its first Summit in 2002 was mooted by the first president of Kazakhstan – Nursultan Nazarbayev, at the 47th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in October 1992.

As stated, the initiative was aimed at establishing an acceptable structure for ensuring peace and security in Asia and its main objective is to enhancing cooperation through multilateral approaches towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. Creating an environment of confidence among Member States is central to the basic objectives of CICA.

Since the first summit, there was no turning back. CICA headquartered in Astana, had witnessed six Summits so far, the last being in 2022, as well as various level ministerial meetings and political declarations. It has come a long way, with 16 member states participating at the first Summit in 2002 and today having 28 member states, five observer organisations and six partner organisations.

Kairat Sarybay, the Secretary General of CICA in his remarks at the Central Asian Security and Cooperation Forum said that Asia has great potential for resolving differences between countries and improving the quality of interstate relations and to achieve this goal, international regional organisations can be an important element in maintaining peace, security, stability and prosperity in the region.

He explained that although the Greater Asia already has several multinational blocs, but the  Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia holds a special place among them.

“Today, CICA has 28 Member States covering 90 per cent of Asia and representing half of the world’s population. CICA is the only pan-Asian organisation that covers a vast territory from the Pacific Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Urals to the Indian Ocean.” he said.

Sarybay emphasised that the backbone for cooperation in CICA, along with basic, statutory documents such as the 1999 Declaration on the Principles and the 2002 Almaty Act, is the Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures.

“It is a document, unique in the world history of diplomacy, in which the Member States agreed on joint approaches to interaction in order to build confidence by upholding the “simple-to-complex” principle – first establishing confidence, then, on this basis, building full cooperation that leads to greater mutual security, which, in turn, is the prerequisite for sustainable development,” he had said.

On the other hand, the Astana International Forum held since 2008, is another platform for dialogue initiated by the Kazakhstan government to unite and consolidate efforts to address important global issues.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his address at the Plenary Session of the Astana International Forum on June 8 had among others pointed out how the world is witnessing the process of erosion of the very foundation of the world order that has been built since the creation of the United Nations.

He also had said that a handful of recent ‘new crises’ – from Covid-19 to armed conflicts – threatened the fragile international ecosystem.

“The fundamental point is:  just as a combination of geopolitical pressures are pushing us apart, we face a clear, strong imperative to come together, to engage, to collaborate, and to align with one another.

“At such a time, the Astana International Forum is one of many possible steps to reverse this trend. Only by meeting together, taking counsel together, being mutually honest about our problems, our concerns and our hopes, can the international community address these issues.  Only this way can we shape our shared future, and return to the gradual building of a more stable, equitable, and prosperous world for all,” he said.

Another success story of Kazakhstan’s international initiative was the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. The congress held every three years since 2003 in Kazakhstan, have been held seven times, the last one in 2022, gathering delegations from 50 countries, a testimony to the relevance and importance of such a congress, at a time when the world is increasingly witnessing intolerence and hatred among people.

The congress played an important role in bringing together religious leaders, providing them an opportunity to engage in dialogue, while working on ways to promote peace and tolerance among various religions in the world. 

Being a food producing country, Kazakhstan realised the issue of global food security. Thus, the announcement for the need for a specialised food security entity within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was made on June 2011 at the 7th session of the World Islamic Economic Forum in Astana, at the initiative of Kazakhstan, which is not only a oil and gas exporting country but also a food-producing and exporting state. The IOFS focuses on food security, agriculture, and rural development, including capacity building and resource mobilisation.

Since 2016, five IOFS General Assemblies have been held with progress made, for example at the third General Assembly in 2020, all 16 strategic programmes of the IOFS were approved by the Member States. At a meeting in Pakistan in 2021, participating member States launched an “Afghanistan Food Security Programme” and identified the IOFS for taking necessary efforts for the implementation of this Programme.

In another international initiative, at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly in Sept 2020, President Tokayev announced that Kazakhstan is proposing to establish a special multilateral body – the International Agency for Biological Safety (IABS)– based on the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and accountable to the United Nations Security Council.

“In light of the global pandemic, launching of a biological weapons control system is becoming more acute than ever,” he had said highlighting Kazakhstan’s concerns on the issue.

Follow up to that, among others, an international conference on Kazakhstan’s initiative to establish the IABS was held in Geneva in April 2022.

Based on various international and regional initiatives launched by Kazakhstan’s government, the Central Asian country is doing its best, creating excellent opportunities for exchange of ideas and knowledge and providing platforms and avenues for constructive and open discussions as well as greater international engagement for potential cooperation, collaboration and solutions to key global issues, problems and challenges.

Thus, it cannot be denied over the years all these forums and meetings have successfully brought together world leaders, ministers, politicians, senior government officials, scholars, thinkers, political scientists, economists, researchers, journalists, religious leaders, international organisations, think tanks, and other stakeholders for fruitful discussions, building bridges and finding common ground in helping to shape a better and brighter world for the current an future generation.



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