NUR-SULTAN – President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed transforming CICA (the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia) into a full-fledged international organization during his meeting with the delegations participating in the 6th meeting of Foreign Ministers hosted in Nur-Sultan, reports the Akorda press service.
The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of Bahrain, Belarus, India, Qatar, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, the Minister of Tourism of Israel, as well as the deputy foreign ministers of countries, heads of international organizations and diplomatic missions.
Tokayev said that the CICA, which was initiated by Kazakhstan back in 1992, has transformed into a continental platform with broad geographic representation and a comprehensive agenda having the potential to consolidate the efforts of the Asian states to promote peace, cooperation, and development.
“As you know, we have identified a number of ambitious priorities aimed at achieving the strategic goal – the transformation of CICA into a full-fledged international organization. CICA already possesses all the necessary elements of an international organization, including fundamental documents, governing and working bodies, an operating budget, and a permanent secretariat. The proposed transformation will emphasize Asia’s new role in global affairs. This step will also confirm the commitment of member states to create a truly common, indivisible, and comprehensive security architecture on the largest continent,” said Tokayev.
Because the pandemic limited the capacity of Kazakhstan as chair of CICA in 2020-2021, Tokayev suggested the delegation consider extending the country’s chairmanship into 2022-2024. “If approved, we pledge to use the renewed mandate to strengthen collective efforts to carry out the noble mission of CICA,” he added.
Tokayev said that the significance of the Asian continent as a major geopolitical space is growing.
“I am convinced that the twenty-first century will truly belong to Asia if we can develop a truly unified and constructive approach and assume greater responsibility and commitment. In this regard, as never before, we put our hopes on CICA as the only forum capable of forming a new configuration of Asian security, cooperation, and common prosperity,” said Tokayev noting that in the coming years, CICA should focus on confidence-building and conflict prevention measures, as well as restoring stability in Afghanistan.
He also emphasized the success of the updated Catalogue of Confidence-Building Measures (CBM), which covers new priority areas of cooperation, such as epidemiological security, public health and pharmaceuticals, information technology and counterterrorism,
Tokayev reaffirmed his country’s commitment to donating the QazVac vaccine to other countries as part of the effort to strengthen global public health. Besides the QazVac vaccine, two more vaccines are currently in development in Kazakhstan.
Despite the adverse consequences brought by the pandemic, it could become a “turning point” for Asia, opening up new opportunities to strengthen Asia’s role in the world.
“Our region is home to 60 percent of the world’s population and around 40 percent of global GDP at purchasing power parity. It hosts powerful economic unions such as the Eurasian Economic Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership. To increase the sustainability of our economies, CICA, in my opinion, should pay special attention to cooperation with these organizations,” Tokayev.
Among the new challenges that CICA is facing are issues pertaining to climate change. Extreme weather conditions, largely resulting from climate change, negatively impact the food and water security of the region.
“Today, the Asia-Pacific region is increasingly exposed to various natural disasters. It accounts for more than 40 percent of the world’s natural disasters and 84 percent of the affected population. These issues are of particular importance in the run-up to the COP26 Summit, the most important climate forum since the Paris Conference. Quality implementation of the Glasgow agreements is essential to avoid further loss of life and livelihoods. We look forward to your countries’ cooperation in advancing these pressing issues,” said Tokayev.
All of these efforts, he noted, should aim at “building a more secure, sustainable, and prosperous Asia.”
Tokayev also invited the delegations to attend the 6th CICA summit to be held next year in Kazakhstan.