Kazakh, U.S. Officials and Scholars Look for Avenues for Cooperation

ASTANA, June 25 – Kazakh and U.S. officials and scholars met in Astana today for the first meeting of the Joint Committee Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation seeking to explore avenues for collaborative efforts in such areas as biomedical research, green chemistry and natural resources and mineral management.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev co-chaired the meeting on the Kazakhstan side along with Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. The meeting brought together dozens of officials and scholars from the two countries.

The committee met in three working groups on biomedical research, green chemistry and natural resources and mineral management which on June 24 at the Nazarbayev University. The meeting on June 25 took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to Kerri-Ann Jones, the most active cooperation so far has been noted between Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Environment Protection and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Among the results of the meeting are an agreement for the Nazarbayev University to work on a four-month joint stem cell research project with a U.S. university, and for young Kazakh doctors to participate in short-term training seminars in the United States on oncology treatment, especially for breast and cervical cancers. American participants also showed great interest in cooperating with their Kazakh counterparts on developing new antibiotics to replace those drugs to which viruses become adapted.

Moving on to the cooperation in green chemistry, scholars from the two countries focused on efforts that can advance Kazakhstan’s Green Economy Strategy as well as policies and best practices that promote job creation in both countries.

So, at the conclusion of the meeting, USAID mission director Anne Aarnes and Kazakhstan’s Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection Marlen Iskakov signed a memorandum of understanding on low-emission development strategies.

Commenting on the signing of the memorandum, Jones said “it was a very significant step.”

“This was a very productive meeting and coming from this meeting we are going to develop an action plan that will guide us to make sure that we move along,” she added.

Speaking on EXPO 2017 in Astana that will focus on future energy, Jones said: “We look forward to the EXPO 2017 because it is on such an important topic for the whole world and, certainly, because Kazakhstan and the U.S. are building partnerships in these areas that are very important for our energy future and the green economy.”