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Eleventh meeting of CICA Think Tank Forum held in center of Asian continent

On 28-29 August 2023, the 11th meeting of the Think Tank Forum (TTF) of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) was held in the city of Xining (Qinghai Province, China). The Forum was organized by the TTF Chair – Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and the Government of Qinghai Province. The topic of the meeting was “Building an Asia of Mutual Learning and Win-win Cooperation: The Role and Mission of CICA”.

The meeting was attended by scholars and researchers from TTF member scientific institutes and think tanks, some of whom participated in an online format. The meeting also brought together representatives of local authorities of Qinghai Province, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, ambassadors and diplomats of the embassies of the CICA Member States accredited in Beijing.

The opening ceremony on 28 August was addressed by CICA Secretary General Ambassador Kairat Sarybay, Vice Governor of Qinghai Province Ms Wang Haihong, SIIS President Mr Chen Dongxiao, representative of the Kazakh CICA Chairmanship Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to China Shakhrat Nuryshev. The Secretariat of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation delivered a video message to the participants of the meeting.

In his speech at the opening ceremony, CICA Secretary General K. Sarybay stressed that the TTF plays a special role among the permanent institutions of CICA, its mandate and composition make it possible to consider an almost unlimited range of issues. The ideas and recommendations developed by the TTF, as the Secretary General noted, have great potential to be translated into specific actions and solutions. In conclusion, Kairat Sarybay emphasized that practical cooperation among CICA Member States, establishment of effective CICA instruments, including the TTF, demonstrate the increased importance of CICA for its Member States and its high added value in strengthening peace, security and prosperity in Asia.

The thematic discussion at the 11th TTF meeting was based on three sessions: Mutual Learning among Civilizations and the Path to Coexistence among CICA Member States; Security, Stability and Win-win Cooperation among CICA Member States; CICA as an International Organization: Mechanism Building and Concept Innovation.

The presentations by representatives of think tanks – TTF members – provided many interesting ideas, which are of interest for the future development of CICA and its transformation into a full-fledged international organization and will be summarized by the TTF Chair – SIIS – and proposed to the governments of the CICA Member States for further consideration and discussion.

At the third session of the 11th TTF meeting on 29 August Secretary General Kairat Sarybay made a presentation on the retrospective, overview and outlook of the CICA transformation process, in which he tried to give as comprehensive answers as possible to potential questions of the scientific and analytical community of CICA about the goals and directions of transformation of the Conference into a full-fledged international organization ( The ensuing discussion suggested that there was considerable interest in the process.

The hosts of the 11th TTF meeting offered a wide-ranging cultural programme for the participants, which was directly related to the topics of discussion. For example, during the visit to the Qinghai Provincial Museum of Natural Resources the participants learned about Chinese national programmes aimed at sustainable development, environment preservation and improvement, transition to renewable and green energy, creative approaches to synergy between measures for environment improvement and industrial and agricultural development, which were extensively implemented in the province. This experience can be very valuable for making general recommendations to the Member States within CICA. The experience of harmonious coexistence and interaction of different religious and faith groups in Qinghai Province is of great interest in the context of dialogue among civilizations, religions and cultures.

During the visit of the CICA Secretary General to Qinghai, he met with TTF Chair and SIIS President Mr Chen Dongxiao on 29 August. The parties discussed the outcomes of the 11th TTF meeting and the prospects of the Forum's activities for the next two years. Interesting proposals were made on both sides to revitalize the TTF as a permanent CICA advisory body and improve its effectiveness.

Kairat Sarybay also met with Vice Governor of Qinghai Province Ms Wang Haihong, Director General of the Foreign Affairs Office of Qinghai Province Mr Wang Zhizhong, and his deputy Ms Ma Naixin.

The Forum meeting was widely covered in the media of the People's Republic of China and beyond. During the Forum, the CICA Secretary General gave interviews to Shanghai's The Paper and People's Daily Online media outlet.