Press Releases

Remarks of CICA Deputy Secretary General Zhang Ling at the Seventh North and Central Asia Multistakeholder Forum on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

Distinguished Chair,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to participate in this forum session, addressing such a distinguished audience. I extend my gratitude to the Subregional Office for North and Central Asia (SONCA) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) for organizing this event.

I am honored to represent CICA, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia. CICA is a unique consensus-based multilateral platform dedicated to enhancing cooperation for the promotion of peace, security, and stability in Asia. Today, CICA brings together 28 Member States, covering 90% of Asia's territory and half of the world's population.

CICA provides an equal opportunity for all its Members, with diverse political, economic, social, and cultural backgrounds, to exchange ideas, knowledge, and best practices, collaborate on beneficial initiatives, and make decisions based on mutual agreement. By facilitating the voluntary implementation of specific and result-oriented confidence-building measures (CBMs), CICA contributes to the achievement of the goals of SDG 17. This is achieved by building trust, strengthening peace and security, and fostering economic growth and sustainable development. CICA's CBMs encompass five dimensions of cooperation: military-political, new threats and challenges, economic, environmental, and human dimensions. In this manner, CICA is interconnected with SDG 17 in their shared mission to promote collaboration and partnerships as essential tools for addressing global challenges and regional stability.

As an example, CICA offers an ideal platform for its Member States to collaborate on environmental issues and work towards sustainable solutions within the CICA environmental dimension. Sustainable development, environmental protection, and natural disaster management are the priority areas of this dimension. To combat, prevent, and mitigate climatic challenges, the Member States organize various events such as seminars, workshops, online training, and expert meetings. These events raise awareness among the Member States and provide opportunities to share best practices and improve synergies among each other. For instance, in the CICA workshop on "Ecosystem Restoration in the Context of Climate and other Vulnerability" organized by Bangladesh in July 2023, participating countries shared their best practices and solutions aligned with their sustainable development goals.

Dear participants,

During the Sixth CICA Summit in October 2022 in Astana, our heads of state and government launched the CICA Transformation process into a full-fledged regional international organization. At this Summit, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed strengthening cooperation in the environmental dimension by hosting a High-level Environmental Conference in Astana in 2024. This conference aims to identify environmental issues and develop coordinated solutions under the auspices of CICA.

By organizing such a high-level conference, the CICA platform will underscore its commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development. Asia, as a continent with a large population, robust economic growth, and geographical diversity, faces a significant challenge in incorporating various approaches to address climatic and environmental challenges. Furthermore, during the Sixth CICA Summit, the Kazakh Chairmanship initiated the establishment of the CICA Council on Sustainable Connectivity to tackle new challenges in the global economy, including supply chain issues, and address the underdeveloped connectivity among CICA Member States.

Sustainable development is a fundamental concept with the power to shape our future. A correct understanding of sustainability is crucial to achieving sustainable development goals. SDGs remind us that the challenges we face are global in nature, and their achievement requires true cooperation, solidarity, and partnership.

The United Nations Headquarters hosted a significant side event on 22 September 2023, under the title "The United Nations, CICA, and Regional Organizations: Collaborative Support for the SDGs." This gathering, coordinated by the Kazakh Chairmanship of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in conjunction with the CICA Secretariat, represented another important achievement in the enduring and diverse partnership between the UN and CICA. Its primary objective was to foster cooperation and coordination between these two organizations in their efforts to advance sustainable development.

Finally, CICA is planning to hold a side event, on the margins of the Eightieth Commission session of ESCAP in 2024, under the theme "Leveraging Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific ". This side event represents a significant step forward in fostering dialogue, collaboration, and innovation to address the pressing challenges and opportunities of our time.

I would like to express my gratitude once again to the organizers for this productive forum.