ASTANA – Kazakh Minister of Foreign Affairs Erlan Idrissov chaired the first meeting of the year of a two-year old Dialogue Platform on Humanitarian Dimension, a consultative advisory body (CAB) under the auspices of the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Feb. 11.
In his speech, Idrissov talked about the expanded government meeting with the participation of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev that took place earlier on the same day. He emphasised the direct relationship between the issues and topics discussed at the expanded meeting and those discussed in the CAB framework, stressing that the main priority of the state policy specified by the head of the state at the meeting and in the work of the dialogue platform is the rights and needs of people.
The foreign minister noted with satisfaction the progress and constructive interaction between representatives of government bodies and NGOs.
“I would like to note the uniqueness of the dialogue platform where rapprochement is seen, areas of common interest are found and trust between state authorities and the civil sector is achieved. I welcome the institutionalisation of the dialogue platform, which has already set up a working group and subgroups of the CAB,” he said.
During the meeting, government officials in cooperation with the leaders of civil society summed up the work of the dialogue platform in 2014 and approved the plan for the current year.
CAB members were also briefed on the agenda of the working group, which was established under the joint chairmanship of the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) deputy from the Nur Otan party Aigul Solovyova and Chairman of the Board of the Kazakh International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law Yevgeniy Zhovtis. Four subgroups have been set up as part of the working group: democracy, human rights, rule of law and legislative initiative. The schedule of the working group and the above-mentioned subgroups will be in close coordination with the foreign ministry and the concerned ministries and departments. The co-coordinators of subgroups from the government side are expected to be Mazhilis deputies.
The proposed mechanism is an important element of CAB transition from dialogue to practical format of joint cooperation among government officials, representatives of parliament and civil society.
Following the work of the dialogue platform in 2013, 157 recommendations were devised followed by 109 recommendations in 2014. The above-mentioned working group and subgroups intend to start implementing government and civil society-coordinated recommendations aimed at promoting democracy and human rights in the country very soon.
The meeting participants concurred on the shared vision of the platform’s evolution and that its institutionalisation is taking placed. They also reaffirmed their commitment to work together and focus on the impact of this important dialogue platform.
Representatives from the OSCE, the United Nations Development Programme and the EU mission in Astana also take part in the work of the platform.