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This year Kazakhstan is celebrating its 25th anniversary as an independent nation. Over the years, Kazakhstan has demonstrated its commitment to multilateralism, global peace-building, security and development, as well as its efficiency as an impartial honest broker working for the common benefit. At the initiative of its founding President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country has launched meaningful international processes, including the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and the triennial Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. It has also chaired key organisations such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and has been busy promoting valuable global and regional initiatives such as the establishment of a world free from nuclear weapons and the Eurasian Economic Union.
In just over two decades, Kazakhstan has managed to become an economic and geopolitical success story. The country has also illustrated its willingness to be a trustworthy partner in a region that faces many challenges.
1. Kazakhstan’s contribution to global peace and security
Kazakhstan’s contribution to nuclear security
- Kazakhstan is a world leader in the movement to ban nuclear weapons and ensure nuclear security. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the country renounced and decommissioned its nuclear arsenal, the world’s fourth largest at that time, and shut down the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. It became a steadfast champion for nuclear non-proliferation – a role it plays to this day.
- In 2009, Kazakhstan and its four neighbours in the region established, by the Treaty of Semipalatinsk, the Central Asian Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (CANWFZ) and has worked to strengthen it ever since. Kazakhstan has urged progress on launching a similar zone in the Middle East.
- In 2012, Kazakhstan launched The ATOM (Abolish Testing. Our Mission) Project, an international education and advocacy campaign seeking to galvanise global public opinion against nuclear weapon testing and, ultimately, nuclear weapons. Already, more than 200,000 people from 100 countries supported its call.
- In 2015, the Government of Kazakhstan signed a host country agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to establish a low-enriched uranium bank in the country to provide the world with a guaranteed supply of the fuel for civic nuclear energy, thus making an important contribution to strengthening the non-proliferation regime.
- In 2015, Kazakhstan and Japan assumed co-chairmanship in the Article XIV Conference of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, seeking to bring this important international instrument closer to entry into force.
Kazakhstan’s contribution to achieving the Iranian nuclear deal
- Kazakhstan’s neutral and balanced approach in the international arena has resulted in the country gaining a reputation as an honest and impartial arbitrator in conflict resolution. Kazakhstan played an important role in the success of the Iranian nuclear deal by hosting two rounds of negotiations between Iran and P5+1 in 2013, as well as directly participating in the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In particular, Kazakhstan delivered natural uranium to Iran in exchange for the country giving up its enriched uranium.
Kazakhstan’s contribution to finding solutions to global crises
- In 1992, Kazakhstan launched the process of convening the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), a structure for promoting security in Asia that has never existed before. By 2015, it has become an increasingly influential forum bringing together 26 countries (from Egypt, Iran, and Israel in the west to Russia, China, India and Pakistan, as well as Vietnam and others in the east). By working to promote better understanding among its members, CICA has contributed to reducing tensions among its members such as India and Pakistan.
- Kazakhstan has made a contribution to the settlement of the Syrian crisis, providing a platform for the two rounds of Syrian opposition talks on in May and October 2015.
- In 2014 and early 2015 President Nazarbayev held a series of talks with the international parties involved in the Ukrainian crisis, and assisted significantly with the convening and eventual success of the two Minsk summits on the issue in August 2014 and February 2015.
- Kazakhstan deployed its observers to the UN peacekeeping missions to maintain peace in Western Sahara and Cote d’Ivoire.
- Kazakhstan’s partnership with the global community has also been fundamental to the smooth operation of the Northern Distribution Network to supply the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
- In 2015, Kazakhstan supported global efforts to counter terrorism and extremism by hosting in Astana the Regional Conference on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) for Central and South Asia and participated in two CVE summits in Washington, D.C. and New York. At the U.N. General Assembly in 2015, President Nazarbayev urged world leaders to reinforce their anti-terrorism efforts and proposed establishing a UN-led world-wide network against terrorism.
Kazakhstan’s contribution to stronger international dialogue, inter-ethnic and inter-religious harmony
- As a nation that has many ethnic groups and a multicultural identity, Kazakhstan has promoted its belief in the importance of inter-ethnic, inter-cultural, and inter-religious dialogue, understanding and non-discrimination.
- Since 2003, Kazakhstan has hosted the triennial Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, initiated by President Nazarbayev. The 5th Congress in June 2015 brought together leaders and high representatives of more than ten religions, as well as the UN Secretary General, the King of Jordan and the President of Finland.
- Kazakhstan was the main initiator of the proclamation by the United Nations of the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), aimed at promoting solidarity among all the peoples of the world, equality, inclusiveness, as well as cultural diversity.
- In 2010, Kazakhstan chaired the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), becoming the first country from the CIS, Asia and the first predominantly Muslim country to do so. Under the motto of Four Ts – Trust, Tolerance, Transparency and Tradition – Kazakhstan was able to give a new impetus to the organisation and to convene its first summit in 11 years in Astana, which reaffirmed the principles on which it is based, with particular emphasis on the vision of a common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community. During the chairmanship, Astana also hosted a high level conference on tolerance which provided a good basis for common work on promoting tolerance towards all in the OSCE participating states.
- In 2011-12 Kazakhstan headed the OIC and made significant efforts to creating better understanding between predominantly Muslim nations and the rest of the world, also helping to launch, among others, OIC Human Rights Commission. It was at our initiative and during our chairmanship that the Organisation of Islamic Conference changed its name to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to reflect its broader goals of promoting cooperation among its 57 member states. And it was our initiative and during our chairmanship that the OIC decided to establish the Islamic Organisation for Food Security.
2. Kazakhstan’s contribution to global development
Kazakhstan’s contribution to global sustainable development
- Kazakhstan is determined to play its role in the efforts of the global community to build a more environmentally-friendly world which is energy, food and water secure.
- Kazakhstan has initiated the creation of the Islamic Organisation on Food Security of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
- Kazakhstan is working on the implementation of the Global Energy-Ecological Strategy, as well as Astana’s “Green Bridge” initiative, aimed at encouraging easier transfer of “green” technologies among countries.
- Kazakhstan will host the EXPO-2017 International Specialized Exhibition, with the theme of Future Energy, which will focus on the environmental challenges facing humanity and how to overcome them. Kazakhstan now works with its partners to establish an international center for the transfer of green technologies under the UN auspices.
- Kazakhstan fully supports the facilitation of the Agenda for sustainable development for the period after 2015, taking active part in the negotiations on the Post 2015 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
- As part of the preparations for the Rio+20 Summit, Kazakhstan proposed the Green Bridge Initiative aimed at developing partnerships among European, Asian and Pacific countries in order to transform the current conventional development models into ‘green growth’ concepts.
Recent Focus: Helping Those in Need
- Kazakhstan has transitioned in a short period of slightly more than 20 years from a recipient of aid to a donor. This is illustrated by the ongoing creation of Almaty Sub-regional Hub of Multilateral Diplomacy, consisting of 19 representative offices of UN organisations and programmes, as well as the country’s intensive preparations to launch its own system of international development aid, provisionally branded as KazAID.
- Kazakhstan has already provided various forms of assistance to the UN member states in the amount of more than $100 million.
- Significant support has been given to Afghanistan, including the provision of 1,000 scholarships for Afghan students in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan also provided aid to Afghanistan in the form of food, education and financial assistance for infrastructure projects, intended for building schools, hospitals and the rebuilding of roads. Support was also provided to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan during their humanitarian crises.
- Kazakhstan donated to the “African Union Support to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa” (ASEOWA) aid programme to fight the epidemic.
- In 2015, Kazakhstan and the UNDP launched a project called “Updating Professional Skills to Improve Productivity, Employment and Development” to support the delivery of development assistance to countries in Africathrough capacity-building training. The project, in which more than 70 specialists participated from African states, took place in 2015 and focused on oil & gas exploration, public health and agriculture.
- During the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, Kazakhstan and the UNDP signed a $2 million cost-sharing agreement for a new project – “Africa–Kazakhstan Partnership for the SDGs”. This agreement focuses on technical support to the ministries of foreign affairs and other relevant institutions in 45 African countries. The project will promote the sharing of institutional experiences and best practices, as governments prepare to take forward the new 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- The government of Kazakhstan has funded 12 countries in support of bio-gas projects for the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) in cooperation with ESCAP (Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and the Republic of Vanuatu).
- In September 2015, Kazakhstan announced that it will provide additional assistance to PSIDS countries, together with ESCAP, to support their development in the framework of the “Supporting Inclusive and Sustainable Development in the Small Islands Developing States in the Pacific region” project.
- Kazakhstan is increasing cooperation with the largest integration associations of America (OAS, CARICOM and the Union of South American Nations).
- Kazakhstan has funded 3 OAS programs in 2014-2015: “Virtual education courses, Ensuring gender equality for observance of rights of women”, “Strengthening of the system facilitating decision-making for managing risks of natural disasters in Central America and the Caribbean Basin” and “Promoting Circular economies in OAS Member States through Closed Looped Cycle Design and Production Methods”.
- Kazakhstan is also engaged in the work of the CARICOM Community. Kazakhstan has launched the second phase of assistance to Small Island Developing States by allocating funds through the CARICOM Secretariat as a means of institutional development in the framework of the “Supporting Inclusive and Sustainable Development in Small Islands Developing States in Caribbean” project.