Statements and Remarks of CICA Secretary General Ambassador Kairat Sarybay

  • Home Statements and Remarks of CICA Secretary General Ambassador Kairat Sarybay

Remarks of CICA SG Ambassador Kairat Sarybay at the inaugural ceremony of the MIND Think Tank initiated by Maqsut Narikbayev University


Dear ladies and gentlemen,


It is a pleasure to address you at the inaugural ceremony of the MIND Think Tank initiated by Maqsut Narikbayev University. I extend my sincere gratitude to Chairman of the Board Talgat Narikbayev for his invitation, which provides us with an opportunity to exchange views on academia's potential to research and analyze contemporary pressing issues.

I am honoured to represent CICA, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, which serves as an intergovernmental platform dedicated to ensuring sustainability, peace and security across the continent. With 28 Member States covering 90% of Asia's territory and half of the world’s population, CICA fosters equal opportunities for members with diverse backgrounds to discuss ideas, share knowledge and collaborate across its five dimensions: economic, environmental, human, new challenges and threats and military-political.

The Sixth CICA Summit held in Astana in October 2022 marked a significant milestone in CICA's journey. It initiated a systematic, inclusive and transparent discussion process aimed at transforming CICA into a fully-fledged international regional organization. With three decades of evolution, CICA has acquired the characteristics, functions and structures of an international organization, promoting dynamic, equitable and balanced economic growth among Member States.

Now CICA has started a new journey, just as you have today. Before any new beginnings, if we hope to reach success, we must stop and ask ourselves a few important questions. Who are we and what do we want to achieve? For CICA, the answer is simple: we want to achieve connectivity. Any organization strives to develop the capacity to be able to improve the lives of people and societies. What CICA needs to do is build bridges, nurture mutual trust and promote development, whether it is through peaceful dialogue or exchange of knowledge and best practices. Thus, connectivity is not only about transport infrastructures, communication networks, like the Internet, or power grids that make up energy transmission systems. It is also about tangible and intangible bonds that connect states, societies, economic agents and individuals all over the region. Such a connectivity, in the long run, will produce huge multiplying impact on the overall development of all CICA Member States.

Education happens to be the most common confidence building measure in our work. Establishing a network of experts and scholars for intellectual exchange, research collaboration and policy discourse is the essential first step to implementing any meaningful change.  

For that purpose, CICA has its own Think Tank Forum, which was convened at the initiative of China in 2014 and formally established in 2021. It serves as a vital intellectual hub and policy resource for policymakers, aiming to shape CICA's contribution to sustainable development, peace and security across Asia and beyond.

The CICA Think Tank Forum (or TTF) has got members from well-established think tanks of CICA Member States and coordinated by the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies. The Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan serves as a co-chair of the CICA TTF. Another prominent think tank from Kazakhstan that is also a member of the CICA TTF is the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

From 2014 to 2023, the Chinese institute organized 11 forum meetings, contributing to improved cooperation among CICA Member States. The 11th meeting of the Think Tank Forum held in Xining, China, in August 2023 focused on “Building an Asia of Mutual Learning and Win-win Cooperation: The Role and Mission of CICA.”

The CICA Secretariat initiated a synergy between the CICA Think Tank Forum and the CICA Business Council. The CICA TTF will conduct a study on national approaches and incentives implemented by the CICA Member States for SME development and women's empowerment in the region. This will result in the publication of a collection of materials and analyses to help small and medium enterprises and policymakers in Asia.

In the human dimension, the CICA Member States proactively engage in various domains, including upholding human rights, fostering dialogue among civilizations, empowering women and girls, and collaborating in areas such as science and education. President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has proposed several initiatives to strengthen cooperation in the human and environmental dimensions including: a ministerial-level meeting of the Youth Council and the Rally of Volunteer Movements Leaders under its auspices scheduled to take place on 16-17 May 2024, and the CICA Ministerial Conference on Environmental Issues to be held in Astana on 28 August 2024.

The Kazakh Chairmanship is spearheading the establishment of the CICA Council on Sustainable Connectivity. This year, two CICA expert meetings are scheduled to discuss the draft Concept Paper for this initiative. Further advancement of this endeavour may necessitate thorough consideration and analysis by the Think Tank Forum of initiatives on sustainable connectivity in Asia, particularly in areas such as customs procedures, digitalization of export-import transit processes and rule-making activities. These initiatives will require collective efforts from the CICA Member States.

CICA actively engages its academic circles and the younger generation. I should add that CICA has received a number of interns from this University and hopefully our institutions can work even more closely in the near future. Kazakhstan's Chairmanship is leading an initiative to establish the Partnership Network of Leading Universities of the CICA Member States. This network aims to facilitate joint scientific, research and educational activities, along with organizing events, programmes and projects. CICA Member States have made significant progress in drafting the relevant Memorandum. Our objective is to finalize negotiations on the draft Memorandum this year. Once approved by the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, it will be open for higher education institutions from the CICA Member States to join.

These initiatives underscore CICA's dedication to inclusivity, harnessing the collective intellect of both seasoned professionals and the next generation to shape policies that promote peace, security and development across the diverse Asian region.

In conclusion, think tanks influence the vision of individuals and nations through in-depth research, expert analysis and innovative solutions to complex issues.

I extend my best wishes to the newly established MIND Think Tank as it strives to develop and secure a significant position in the research environment of Kazakhstan and beyond.

Thank you.



Astana, Maqsut Narikbayev University campus

15 February 2024