Remarks of the CICA Deputy Secretary General at
the round table dedicated to the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, colleagues,
- At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the hosts of this event dedicated to the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, which is of significance for the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) that I have the honour to represent today.
- The initiative to convene the Conference was announced by First President of Kazakhstan His Excellency Nursultan Nazarbayev at the 47th session of the UN General Assembly in 1992 in the absence of a pan-Asian institution of multilateral diplomacy despite earlier attempts.
- The key idea behind the initiative was the intention to create an effective multilateral framework for peace and security in Asia that enjoys the support of countries in the region.
The support of a number of Asian nations for this initiative showed that such an institution was relevant and in demand in Asia's multifaceted political landscape.
- Thirty years of daily painstaking work by the Member States to advance the CICA process have resulted in what is now the intergovernmental forum with the largest geographic coverage in Asia.
The Conference brings together 28 states, which collectively represent about 90 percent of Asia's territory and population.
CICA produces more than 50% of the world's GDP and accounts for two-thirds of global economic growth.
- CICA's external relations, including the number of Observer States and Partner Organizations, have significantly expanded. Nine countries and five international organizations, including the UN, have observer status.
- An extensive security architecture has been developing in the region over the past decades and continues to develop. It is enough to mention the Arab League (also known as the League of Arab States), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation with its Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, Collective Security Treaty Organization, Organization of Turkic States, Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre created with the assistance of UN structures, ASEAN and other associations.
CICA plays an important role in this architecture. The Conference has established good working relations with many of these subregional institutions and efforts are underway to establish partnerships with others.
- Multilateral diplomacy in CICA is based on the rule of strict consensus, inclusiveness, and the voluntary participation of the Member States in the Conference's processes.
- In line with its founding documents CICA pursues a policy based on the principles of sovereign equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of the Member States and economic, social and cultural cooperation to achieve its primary goal of enhancing cooperation through multilateral approaches to promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.
- As the Conference evolved, the structure of its bodies was created. The Business Council and Business Forum, Youth Council, and Think Tank Forum have been established and are actively operating.
- The Conference has its structure, institutions, and budget enabling the forum to effectively carry out its mission. The CICA Secretariat with international personnel has been established in the Kazakh capital and is being consistently strengthened.
- Building confidence among the Member States is the bedrock of the Conference, and the CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures was updated by the foreign ministers of the Member States in 2021.
- The Catalogue categorizes confidence building measures into five broad areas: economic dimension, environmental dimension, human dimension, new challenges and threats, and military-political dimension.
- CICA confidence building measures are implemented systematically. Seventeen Member States act as coordinators or co-coordinators for specific confidence building measure projects.
- The Conference, with its comprehensive agenda, is an operational platform with the potential to pool the collective wisdom of Asian states for peace, cooperation, security, and development and to ensure their inclusion in global multilateral decision-making processes.
Distinguished participants of the round table,
- CICA, as many of you know, is undergoing the process of transformation based on the Astana Statement adopted at the historic Sixth Summit in the Kazakh capital in October 2022, the 30th anniversary year of CICA.
- The Kazakh Chairmanship, together with the Secretariat, has prepared a draft Road Map for Transformation.
- At yesterday's meeting of the CICA Senior Officials, the draft Road Map generated some good substantive discussion.
The Chairmanship and the Secretariat are actively consulting with the Member States so that the document can be approved by the CICA Ministerial Council by late 2023.
- Negotiations on the transformation of the Conference are a central, but not the only item on the CICA agenda.
- Among the many planned events, I would like to mention the Youth Council Meeting, which will be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, in May 2023, Eleventh Meeting of the Think Tank Forum in China in late August 2023, CICA Business Council and Business Forum meetings in Almaty in October 2023, Conference of the CICA Ministers on Environmental Issues in Astana in 2024, and Rally of Leaders of the Volunteer Movements of the CICA Countries in Kazakhstan in 2024.
- The Secretariat, with the support of the informal CICA Ambassadors Club, conducts other activities such as a ski tour that took place in Astana in February 2023, friendly football tournaments, a bicycle tour to be held this June, and it is also planned to organize a hiking tour from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan this July.
- The CICA Alley initiative was launched in Astana in 2021 and since then the Conference has been holding annual events at the Alley. Yesterday, the CICA Senior Officials Committee meeting approved the initiative to plant a CICA Alley in the capitals of CICA Member States on a voluntary basis.
- A crucial step in the Conference’s practical activities is the operationalization of the CICA Fund, under which the Member States are expected to submit their project proposals, prepare and hold the first Project Review Committee meeting, and initiate fund-raising activities.
- The ambitious agenda of the Conference and the Secretariat's systematic approach to covering events on the website and social media increase CICA's visibility in the region and beyond.
Esteemed participants of the round table,
In my presentation I have tried to give you a close-up look at the processes taking place in CICA. Much of the work done by the Member States is invisible to the general public.
However, each such step contributes to the consolidation and enhancement of the role of Asian countries on the world stage, as well as of their influence in global politics.
CICA faces an ambitious and complex task of transformation, which, I believe, is feasible, given the political will of the Member States.
Thank you for your attention!
CICA Deputy Secretary General
Ms. Chi Fang
Date and venue:
Library of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
20 April 2023