ASTANA – Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov discussed the role of the United Nations in the modern world and Kazakhstan in an interview with local information agency KazTAG on Oct. 24.
The UN is a universal platform for dialogue and forum to search for answers to pressing issues of the international agenda, Idrissov said. The efficiency of the UN depends primarily on the members of the organisation and their determination to support its activity and find compromise solutions to problems.
Since its formation, the UN has contributed significantly to the world’s peace and development. More than 120,000 UN peacekeepers maintain the peace in the framework of 16 peacekeeping operations on four continents; employees of the organisation provide food to 90 million people in 80 countries and assist 38 million refugees, while vaccination and disease control programmes save more than 20 million children annually.
Idrissov also pointed to collective UN actions in recent months in response to the outbreak of the Ebola virus and the strengthening of terrorist organisations in several Middle Eastern countries. The actions highlight the relevance and lack of an alternative to the universal organisation in the field of settling urgent issues of regional and global security.
Many important events have occurred since Kazakhstan’s entry into the UN, the minister said, such as President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s attendance at summits and high-level meetings of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and visits by the heads of the UN to Kazakhstan. The essential component is that all important international initiatives of the President, which were announced from the UNGA stage, received broad support from the international community and have found practical implementation, Idrissov explained.
“Kazakhstan’s top-priority issues in the framework of collaboration with the United Nations include nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, conflict prevention, economic and social development, development of intercultural dialogue, environmental issues and gender equality. The foreign ministry consistently and successfully implements the international initiatives of the President and promotes Kazakhstan’s interests within the United Nations,” Idrissov said.
He also noted Kazakhstan has proposed its candidacy for non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2017-2018. “The UNSC is a permanent body of the United Nations. In accordance with Article 24 of the UN Charter, its primary responsibility is maintenance of international peace and security. Membership in the UNSC reflects international acknowledgment of the state and its role in addressing global security challenges,” the minister said.
According to Idrissov, the Ministry of Foreign Affairshas been workingsystematicallyto promotethe candidacy of Kazakhstanand it can beelected. Kazakhstan is regardedby the international communityasa stable, predictable, peace-lovingcountry, which hasmajorpotential for economicand social development and is a significantcontributor to solving globalinternational issues.In regard to Security Council membership, Kazakhstan draws attention to ensuring water, energy and food security, as well asdisarmament andnuclear security.
Idrissov noted that peacekeeping is one of the important fields of UN activity. In his words, from the first days of its membership in the United Nations Kazakhstan, as an active member of the international community and consistent advocate for peace, has been taking steps to strengthen international and regional security. To this aim, the President elaborated and supported a series of initiatives, including the establishment of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) in Ashgabat, Kazbat, the Kazakh peacekeeping battalion, and others.
Security and disarmament issues are always one of the priorities on the UN agenda. Concerning estimates by the UN about Kazakhstan’s initiatives in the field of disarmament and non-proliferation, Idrissov said that the UN appreciates Kazakhstan’s contribution to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. UNSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon, addressing participants of the OSCE summit in Astana in December 2010, noted, “Kazakhstan’s President Nazarbayev showed extraordinary leadership by closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and banishing nuclear weapons from Kazakhstan. Today, this site stands as a symbol of disarmament and hope for the future.” According to the minister, such an assessment is shared by many members of the United Nations and they fully support Kazakhstan’s international initiatives in the field of disarmament.
Questions of development, environment and human rights also have a special place in the work of the UN. Idrissov said that the goals of sustainable development for 2015-2030 were developed by the Open Working Group, of which Kazakhstan is a member state. Thus, particular attention will be given to its work after 2015 on the most pressing global challenges such as poverty eradication, elimination of social inequality, inclusive economic growth, environment, food, water and energy security, education and health care, as well as the problems of the most vulnerable countries in special circumstances.
Idrissov added that Kazakhstan will continue to implement the national concept of transition to a green economy, as well as the Green Bridge Partnership Programme supported by the final document of the Rio +20 summit. The final document of the summit directed nations to strengthen cooperation in the field of green technologies, investment and public-private partnerships for sustainable development.
“We are actively involved in the implementation of the Framework Convention on Climate Change of the United Nations (UNFCCC) and attach great importance to reconciliation of a new universal climate treaty,” Idrissov said.
Kazakhstan’s membership in the Human Rights Council (HRC) for 2013-2015 is a reflection of its commitment to promote human rights at both the national and international levels, the minister explained. Currently, the national action plan on implementation of recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review, a mechanism of the UNHRC, is being executed.
Idrissov noted that in order to ensure full monitoring of views and facilitate the adoption of necessary decisions in the field of human rights, an advisory body known as the Dialogue Platform on the Human Dimension was created under the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It brings together representatives of NGOs, international human rights organisations, political parties, government and parliament.
The United Nations is widely represented in Kazakhstan, as 16 specialised UN agencies operate in the country. The currently implemented framework programme of development assistance for 2010-2015 covers three areas: economic and social well-being for all, ecologic sustainable development and effective governance, Idrissov said. The UN accumulated about $70 million to implement projects in these spheres. During the first years of independence, the UN offered mostly humanitarian assistance to Kazakhstan; assistance was later provided in the sphere of sustainable development.
Idrissov emphasised that Kazakhstan is presently implementing a number of joint projects with the UN, including in the Semipalatinsk region, where the government has allocated $10 million. “The UN activities in Kazakhstan are relevant and useful, especially in the provision of expert assistance, attracting funds from international organisations and funds for the implementation of various social and environmental projects,” he said.
Since working in the UN has always been considered one of the most prestigious jobs, the minister was asked about requirements of the organisation.
“At the expert level, there are three categories: D – heads of structural divisions of the United Nations, R – experts with permanent contracts, L – experts with temporary contracts. These categories are divided into five levels, of which the fifth is the highest. In accordance with the requirements of the UN, submission of documents is carried out on a general basis through a special electronic system on the organisation’s website. The expert must comply with their requirements and also know at least two official languages of the UN,” Idrissov explained.
According to him, 20 Kazakh citizens currently work in the various organs of the UN system and participate in activities of such aspects as peacekeeping, development, counter-narcotics, budgetary matters, conference facilities, communications and information technology.
The minister is convinced that Kazakh representation in the UN will increase with the growth of the country’s prestige, as well as the growth of its staff there. The implementation of major international initiatives of the President, initially voiced from the UN tribune, will contribute to the further development of effective cooperation between Kazakhstan and the main international organization, he said.