Heads of delegation,
Ladies and gentlemen,
The highlight of today's timely organized meeting was that the pandemic has been so much more than a health crisis.
It has severely disrupted businesses, economies, societies, travel, trade, and supply chains.
This Summit-level Meeting became today a valuable platform for exchanging information between states and organizations on lessons learned from the pandemic that will be vital in collectively responding to future emergencies.
Gratitude to President Aliyev, Government of Azerbaijan for organizing this Summit-level Meeting and inviting CICA to take part.
Developing countries, which make up the majority of the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, were mainly tested.
I should mention in this regard that more than 50% of the world GDP is produced in the 28 Member States of CICA and two-thirds of global economic growth is also provided in Asia.
Let me brief you on steps taken by CICA in response to COVID-19 on post-pandemic recovery.
Epidemiological safety was identified in 2021 as a priority area for addressing new challenges and threats within the updated CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures.
The accelerated digitalization of business has become one of the consequences of the pandemic. According to the World Economic Forum Report, in 2020 the use of the Internet worldwide increased by 30%, and e-commerce grew by more than 20%.
Prospects for cooperation in the areas of digitalization of business processes of small and medium-sized enterprises and ensuring food security are of priority for CICA. These issues were discussed by the participants of the Fifth Plenary Session of the Business Council and the Seventh CICA Business Forum, held on June 27, 2022, in Astana.
More than 150 participants from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, Qatar, Russian Federation, and Turkye, including representatives of departments responsible for the implementation of the economic policy of the Member States in the field of small and medium-sized businesses, leaders of business communities and heads of diplomatic missions, as well as experts from international organizations and professionals in the field of digitalization of business processes in tourism, agriculture and transport and logistics support.
The participants considered a proposal to deepen cooperation between the CICA Member States by promoting the use of efficient and sustainable technologies, investing in infrastructure - roads, storage facilities, and processing equipment so that manufacturers can effectively deliver their products to consumers, facilitate financing for small and medium-sized producers. The participants also noted the need for international cooperation in order to make trade flows as open as possible, to minimize export bans.
In 2022, Kazakhstan's CICA Chairmanship initiated the establishment of a permanent Council on Sustainable Connectivity, which will work on developing a network of transit and transport infrastructures of the CICA Member States that are resistant to contemporary challenges.
In that regard, the CICA Secretariat is also working with Azerbaijani colleagues on convening a CICA Conference on Sustainable Connectivity in Baku.
CICA is very much looking forward to further interaction with all stakeholders maintaining peace and security at the global and regional levels including the Non-Aligned Movement.
I thank you.