UN Secretary-General Arrives in Kazakhstan to Attend SCO Summit, Hold Talks  

ASTANA – UN Secretary-General António Guterres has arrived in Almaty with an official visit on July 3.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has arrived in Almaty with an official visit on July 3. Photo credit: UN in Kazakhstan

Guterres was greeted by Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Akan Rakhmetullin, Permanent Representative to UN Kairat Umarov and UN Resident Coordinator for Kazakhstan Michaela Friberg-Storey. 

Earlier, Guterres spoke about the agenda of his visit,  the resolution adopted last September by the UN General Assembly on Cooperation between the UN and the SCO, and Kazakhstan’s role as the SCO chair in 2023-2024 in an interview with Kazinform.

According to the UN in Kazakhstan, Guterres will meet with President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and other senior officials in Almaty and Astana and attend the SCO summit.

In an interview, Guterres said that the initiatives and outcomes of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship are in line with the UN Common Agenda and have laid a solid foundation for the continued partnership.

“Kazakhstan’s presidency of the SCO has been marked by significant efforts to enhance regional cooperation and address development, climate change, trade, economy, culture, and humanitarian issues, hosting around 80 events. In addition, Kazakhstan oversaw efforts to turn the SCO into a more effective multilateral platform, with a common strategic vision to enhance its effectiveness,” said Guterres.

Guterres underlined the role of regional organizations, such as the SCO, in the current geopolitical dynamics.

“We face existential challenges – from the worsening climate emergency and escalating conflicts to the global cost-of-living crisis, soaring inequalities and dramatic technological disruptions. This is a time to come together and to work together, in the face of growing divisions,” he said.

Guterres said that addressing our challenges requires effective international institutions rooted in 21st-century realities based on the UN Charter and international law.

“Regional organizations play a crucial role in promoting and maintaining peace in various parts of the world. Their expertise, rapid response capabilities, and established frameworks for cooperation make them indispensable in preventing conflicts and building peace,” he added.

According to Guterres, the SCO has emerged as an essential actor on the international platform in the last few years.

“While it remains committed to its original goal of coordinating the response to common threats including terrorism and violent extremism, the SCO is also striving to foster deeper economic integration and multi-dimensional cooperation, contributing to regional security,” he noted.

Guterres reflected on climate change and Kazakhstan’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality by 2060.

“The climate crisis and water scarcity are two issues with the potential to create serious tensions in Central Asia. Kazakhstan has been active in addressing water scarcity,” he said.

According to Guterres, on climate, all countries must submit new national action plans by next year, which must be fully aligned with limiting long-term global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“They should include concrete plans to cut the production and consumption of fossil fuels by at least thirty percent by 2030. I am sure that Kazakhstan will play its full part in the energy transition, including at this year’s Conference of Parties in Azerbaijan,” said Guterres.

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