ASTANA – Maulen Ashimbayev, the chairperson of the Senate, an upper chamber of the Kazakh Parliament, spoke about the role of spiritual leaders in promoting the culture of dialogue amid geopolitical instability in the world at the Global Faith Leaders Summit in the United Arab Emirates on Nov. 6-7, as reported by the Senate’s press service.
The two-day event in Abu Dhabi brought together leading religious figures ahead of the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). It was organized by the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE), the COP28 Presidency, the Holy See, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Ashimbayev, who is the head of the Secretariat of the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, noted that the forum’s goal echoes the mission of the congress – it also aims to strengthen interfaith dialogue on the lookout for solutions against global concerns.
He presented the key points of the Concept for the Development of the Congress until 2033, which was adopted at the 21st meeting of the Congress Secretariat in October in the Kazakh capital.
“In the coming years, our Congress sets itself the goal of promoting the efforts of religious leaders and realizing the creative potential of spiritual diplomacy to solve the most pressing problems. World spiritual leaders, united, can make a significant contribution to resolving the existential threats facing humanity. Among them are overcoming climate challenges, reducing poverty and inequality, fighting extremism, ending conflicts,” said Ashimbayev.
Environmental problems took center stage in the discussions within the forum. The climate change agenda is a focal point, which requires global commitment and unified efforts of the international community.
Ashimbaev spoke about Kazakhstan’s contribution to international efforts to respond to climate change. He also reminded that Kazakhstan was among the first states to ratify the Paris Agreement. The country aims to reduce the carbon footprint and ensure carbon neutrality by 2060.
In this regard, he noted the recent initiative of Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to open the UN regional office on climate change and green energy in Almaty during the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.
When discussing spiritual diplomacy with Secretary of State of His Holiness Pietro Parolin on the sidelines of the conference, Alimbayev emphasized that “the apostolic visit of Pope Francis to our country was a great event not only for Kazakhstan, but also for the entire region.”
During his visit to the UAE, the Senate speaker met with the country’s Speaker of the Federal National Council Saqr Ghobash, and Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahyan, to expand interparliamentary cooperation.
“We are interested in studying the legislative practice of the United Arab Emirates on the development of such areas as digitalization, innovation, and artificial intelligence. In addition, it would be useful for our country to learn your experience in attracting investments and creating innovative infrastructure,” said Ahimbayev.
The conference participants and the UAE government officials highly appreciated Kazakhstan’s approach to promoting interethnic and interfaith harmony.