Statements and Remarks of CICA Secretary General Ambassador Kairat Sarybay

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Statement of CICA Secretary General Kairat Sarybay at the Central Asian Media Forum

Hörmətli Șǝhin Müəllim,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,


My sincere thanks go to organizers of our meeting and personally to Minister Darkhan Qydyrali.

It is an honour for me to participate in and address this panel session of the First Central Asian Media Forum. I am sure that an open and engaging discussion in such a reputable and well-informed audience will help all of us to better understand the processes taking place in and around Central Asia and develop new forward-looking ideas and initiatives.

The Central Asian region, despite its internal diversity, is bound by centuries-old traditions of economic, social and cultural interaction. Our region demonstrates a high level of internal connectivity, especially in comparison with the nearest geography.

An extensive security architecture has been developing in the region over the past decades and continues to develop. It is enough to mention the Shanghai Cooperation Organization with its Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Organization of Turkic States, the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre created with the assistance of UN structures, and others. And CICA plays an important role in this architecture.

Our forum of 28 states is a flexible structure based on such basic principles as inclusiveness, strict consensus and voluntary participation. The CICA countries sometimes have very different views on certain issues on the international agenda. However, strict adherence to these principles helps them to effectively interact and develop solutions, focusing on what unites rather than divides them. This is the great value and unique feature of CICA that sets it apart from other organizations operating in the region.

Central Asia, without exaggeration, is the heart of CICA. A quick look at the map would tell you that the entire perimeter of the Central Asian region is surrounded exclusively by CICA Member States. At the same time, of the five Central Asian states, four are members of CICA, and one – Turkmenistan – has observer status. Given these facts, it is clear that CICA has a special role to play for Central Asia and vice versa – the states of the region are interested in the success of CICA.

Therefore, for the Central Asian region CICA is, first of all, a platform for building interaction with other parts of the Asian continent, including the nearest neighbouring subregions of Asia.

It is important to consider not only security issues, but also to look at the potential of CICA as a multifaceted association, whose portfolio includes various dimensions of interaction.

The basis for cooperation in CICA, along with basic, statutory documents such as the 1999 Declaration on the Principles and the 2002 Almaty Act, is the Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures, an updated version of which was adopted by the Member States at the Ministerial Meeting in the Kazakh capital last October.

This is a document, unique in the world history of diplomacy, in which the Member States agreed on joint approaches to interaction in order to build confidence based on the principle “proceed from the simple to the complex” – first establishing confidence, then building full cooperation that leads to greater mutual security, which, in turn, is the prerequisite for sustainable development.

Our Catalogue consists of five broad dimensions of interaction: military-political, new challenges and threats, economic, environmental, and human. Today about 60% of the total cooperation activity in CICA is focused on economic issues, which are closely related to environmental issues, social development and humanitarian cooperation.

All this is highly relevant for Central Asia. For example, the development of transport routes in the land-locked region is of vital importance and directly affects the security of the regional countries. The issues of efficient and equitable water management in the context of global climate change require an extraordinary response, effective interaction with the basin countries beyond Central Asia too. The issues of energy and food security are closely related to them.

The management of migration flows, fight against poverty, attraction of external economic assistance and, vice versa, the provision of such assistance – all this requires good coordination within a multilateral framework. And the framework of such interaction is represented by confidence building measures.

Cooperation in solving these problems directly contributes to strengthening the security of the region, although such cooperation is not related to interaction on security issues in the traditional sense. This also explains why all these areas of interaction are so closely intertwined within CICA.

At the same time, the “traditional” security area within the framework of the forum is also being actively strengthened.

The Sixth CICA Summit held in Astana on 12-13 October adopted two very important documents - the CICA Plan of Action on the Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the CICA Leaders’ Statement on Cooperation in the Field of Security of and in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies.

CICA regularly conducts workshops and trainings on the military-political dimension, countering terrorism and extremism, illicit drugs, various forms of cross-border crime, and human trafficking. The countries voluntarily exchange best practices in these areas, which makes a significant contribution to strengthening national and regional security.

Now, CICA is entering a new phase of its development. The Astana Summit decided to transform the Conference into a full-fledged international organization. The effectiveness of CICA will increase drastically, and Central Asia will be able to fully enjoy these benefits.

The decision taken at the Astana Summit to establish the CICA Fund opens up new opportunities for collective assistance to those countries that are especially in need of such support.

Speaking about the security problems of Central Asia, one cannot ignore the situation in Afghanistan and its potential impact on the region.

Afghanistan remains a full member of CICA. However, the issue of resuming contacts with the leadership of this country is entirely at the discretion of all Member States.

It is necessary to understand that while the internal policy issues must be owned by the Afghans and only by them, the international order and progress in the region can be achieved only through collective efforts.

We need to understand how CICA could help the Afghan people build a peaceful, secure and prosperous state.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The experience of cooperation within the CICA framework convincingly shows that the security of each individual state or group of states cannot be effectively ensured without confidence building measures and mutually beneficial cooperation with the countries of their geopolitical environment. Only through joint efforts and on the basis of common interest can a system of regional and pan-Asian security be built as a precondition for sustainable development.

In conclusion, I would like to wish the Media Forum all the success and prolific discussions.

Thank you.

21 December 2022