Opening remarks by CICA Secretary General Ambassador Kairat Sarybay at the Workshop of the Official Economic Policy Research Centers on Economic Cooperation and Integration in the Turkic World
Sözlerime başlamadan önce Türkiye’de yer alan o korkunç çifte depremin sonucunda hayatlarını kaybeden kardeşlerimizin ruhu şad olsun, Türk Dünyası’nın başı sağ olsun!
[Translated from the Turkish language: “Before I begin, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the souls of those who lost their lives in the recent double earthquake in Türkiye. May they rest in peace, and may the Turkic world find peace during this difficult time.”]
Honourable Minister Tumysh,
Dəyərli Həsən Həsənov cənabları,
[Translated from the Azerbaijani language: “Honourable Hasan Hasanov”.]
Distinguished President of the International Turkic Academy,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Our thoughts are with the Republic of Türkiye and people during this difficult time.
Dear President, it is a great pleasure for me to participate today in this event. Strengthening economic cooperation and connectivity and ensuring more balanced and sustainable growth are vital for any country or group of countries in the context of modern challenges, including COVID-19. That is why our today’s discussions are needed more than ever. And I would like to welcome the initiative of the Turkic Academy to make a bold step toward the economic research
Both our institutions have an objective and a responsibility to serve society through a set of shared values: a commitment to contribute to the enhancement of economic opportunities for all in our region; a belief in the potential of our nations; a desire to ensure that the right conditions are in place to be the driver of growth and prosperity.
The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. It is a forum based on the recognition that there is a close link between development, peace, security, and stability in Asia and in the rest of the world.
The forum consists of 28 states, including all member states of the Organization of Turkic States. Turkmenistan is an observer state of CICA.
The Member States are able to engage and come up with solutions on the CICA wide-ranging agenda by adhering firmly to fundamental values like inclusiveness, strict consensus and voluntary participation. They also concentrate on what unites them rather than what divides them.
The CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures consists of five broad dimensions of interaction: economic, military-political, new challenges and threats, environmental, and human.
Implementation of CBMs under the economic dimension may be carried out under the following priority areas: small and medium enterprises, energy security, information technology, tourism, development of secure and effective systems of transportation corridors, agriculture, finance, trade and investment.
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.
In 2021, 44 events have been implemented at the CICA platform, and 17 of them belong to the economic dimension. In 2022 16 events out of 40 held at CICA were related to the economic dimension, including the Conferences on microfinance for SMEs, cross-border e-commerce and expansion of supply chains for SME products.
Most active interaction has been seen in the areas of SME development, agriculture and finance.
Increasing attention is rightly paid to the issues of digitalization and the widespread introduction of information technologies. And most of the events conducted at the CICA platform are cross-sectoral in nature.
This highlights the deep sense of ownership, the relevance and capacity of CICA and the interest of Member States in promoting the forum and utilizing it to pursue national interests and strengthen cooperation and connectivity, which ultimately contributes to ensuring comprehensive security in Asia. Several speakers today mentioned different corridors, railway and transport projects.
Moreover, within CICA, we have an advisory body named the Business Council, which integrates representatives of business associations and public authorities of the Member States. This institute is responsible for promoting the development and expansion of economic operations in small and medium-sized entrepreneurship spheres.
Another CICA institute is the Think Tank Forum, which will probably be very interesting for representatives of economic research institutions. The CICA Think Tank Forum provides information and analytical support for activities within the CICA framework and aims to develop interaction among the think tanks and research institutions of the CICA Member States. Currently, our Member States are discussing the Agenda of the Think Tank Forum for 2023, and I am sure that the economic cooperation themes will be part of this plan.
The first review of the implementation of confidence building measures in the economic dimension, which took place at the meeting of the CICA Senior Officials Committee in mid-June last year contributed to building a clear vision of how to increase the effectiveness and practical impact of the CICA activities.
The forum is now moving into a new stage of its natural evolution. The Astana Summit, which was held in CICA's 30th anniversary year, agreed to transform the Conference into a full-fledged international organization.
The initiative of the Kazakh Chairmanship voiced by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the Sixth CICA Summit last October in Astana to establish the Council for Sustainable Connectivity is aimed at strengthening the CICA economic dimension of cooperation by enhancing transport corridors and transit routes in a sustainable manner.
Undoubtedly, the Turkic states and other member states will fully enjoy the benefits of CICA's vastly increased efficacy.
What I have had the honour to describe today is a journey. A journey that the CICA Secretariat and the Member States including Turkic have embarked on hand-in-hand towards a common goal of regional stability and shared prosperity.
I very much look forward to continuing our joint work.
Astana, 17 and 18 February 2023