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Special Issue No 11

Third Ministerial Meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia to be held in Almaty on August 25, 2008

Category: General
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News Bulletin
Released by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America


Special Issue No 11, August 25, 2008

Third Ministerial Meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia to be held in Almaty on August 25, 2008

The third Ministerial meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is scheduled for August 25 in Almaty. The meeting will be held under the chairmanship of Kazakh Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin.

Delegations of 21 CICA member-states, six observer states and three international observer organizations, namely the UN, the OSCE and the League of Arab States are expected to take part in the meeting.

Bangladesh, the International Organization on Migration, the EurAsEC and the Economic Cooperation Organization have all been invited to the event as well.

Prior to the beginning of the session, an official ceremony of admission of new countries – Jordan, the UAE and Qatar – to the CICA membership will be held.

The participants are expected to sign a Convention on legal capacity, privileges and immunities of CICA Secretariat and its personnel. This will be followed by the signing of the Declaration on implementation of confidence-building measures throughout the CICA space to mark the progress of CICA in the important area of CBMs in Asia.

A protocol supplementing the agreement on the Organization’s Secretariat that foresees relocation of the CICA headquarters from Almaty to Astana is to be signed as well.

The forthcoming CICA Ministerial will be followed-up by so-called second track diplomacy. The first Conference on security and cooperation in Central Asian-Caspian region will be held in Almaty on August 25. Kazakh Institute of World Economy and Politics will organize the Conference in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan. The participants will analyze and discuss the role of the Central Asian-Caspian region in the global and Asian security systems, interaction and cooperation in economic, political, politico-military and other spheres.

The Conference's timing corresponds with the CICA ministerial meeting, contributing to the overall discussions on the Asian security issues. The United States will be represented by Dr. Fredrick Starr, head of the Central Asia – Caucasus Institute and a renowned expert on the region.

What is CICA?
In his first ever address to the UN General Assembly in 1992, President N. Nazarbayev presented his vision of the security system in Asia and proposed a Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) as a mechanism to help resolve the continent’s problems. Over the last sixteen years, the CICA process has turned into an effective full-fledged forum for dialogue intended to identify mutually acceptable measures for addressing the region’s problems and conflicts.

Popularization of the CICA Process
A new political process has started to evolve in Asia, intended to significantly broaden the capabilities for multilateral dialogue. As one looks back on the path covered over the last two years since the Conference’s Second Summit meeting, one may note that, thanks to joint efforts, tangible results have been achieved in the following areas:

a)  For the first time in the Forum’s history, CICA meetings were held outside Kazakhstan (such as meetings of the Special Working Group and the Senior Officials’ Committee held in Bangkok (March 12-14, 2007) and Seoul (June 9-11, 2008)).

b)  At the first meeting of CICA Foreign Ministers held in 1999, fourteen Asian nations joined the process by signing a Declaration on Principles Guiding Relations between CICA Member States. The Kingdom of Thailand joined the Conference in 2004; the Republic of Korea came on board in 2006.  Three more countries, i.e., Jordan, United Emirates, and Qatar applied to join the CICA in 2008. Thus, the number of full-fledged Conference members reached twenty-one. Other nations intend to apply for full membership.

c)  In December 2007, CICA was granted observer status with the UN General Assembly, and its mission was recognized globally.

d)  Relations of partnership are being established between the CICA and such entities as SCO, EurAsEC, OEC, ASEAN, SAARC, the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), and IOM. Memoranda of Understanding are to be signed on August 25 between the CICA Secretariat, on the one hand, and OEC and IOM executive bodies, on the other hand. CICA has offered cooperation to the OSCE and the two Secretariats are currently contemplating a MoU to work together.

All of the above testifies to the Forum’s rising popularity and steadily growing credibility across Asia in its capacity as a continent-wide structure.

The signing of the CICA Secretariat Agreement was a significant event in the course of the Second CICA Summit in 2006, marking an important step towards institutional crystallization of the CICA process while imparting the necessary organizational, political, and functional thrust. The Secretariat is a permanent administrative body that provides organizational, technical, and information support to any events held within the Conference’s framework.

Over one year of the Secretariat’s existence, various documents governing its day-to-day activities have been adopted, such as the Regulation on CICA Symbols, Financial Regulations of the CICA Secretariat, and the Regulation on CICA External Relations.

In addition to the Agreement on the CICA Secretariat, the legal and operating basis of the Conference’s principal administrative authority is provided by the Agreement “On the Terms and Conditions of the CICA Secretariat’s Location Within the Republic of Kazakhstan” as made between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Secretariat. Signed on June 26, 2007 by Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister for the Government of Kazakhstan and by the CICA Executive Director for the Secretariat, the above document was ratified by the Republic of Kazakhstan Law No. 20-IV ZRK dated March 20, 2008.

The Convention “On Legal Capacity, Privileges, and Immunities of the CICA Secretariat and its Personnel” between CICA member countries is to be opened for signing at the Third Meeting of Foreign Ministers in 2008. Thus, the principal phase of CICA institutionalization is drawing to a close.

Going forward, “Personnel Regulations of the CICA Secretariat” are to be developed based on the existing Criteria applicable to the Secretariat’s professional employees.

Implementing the Catalogue of the CICA Confidence-Building Measures
Presently, the CICA has embarked on a new phase of its evolution that boils down to specific implementation of confidence- building measures among member states.

One of the key results achieved by the Second Meeting of Foreign Ministers of CICA countries in 2004 was the adoption of the Catalogue of the CICA Confidence-Building Measures, an overarching document that contemplates multilateral cooperation among states on a broad spectrum of stability and security issues. The catalogue embraces military, political, economic, environmental, and human dimensions, as well as the issues of addressing new challenges and threats.

In March 2007, in Bangkok, the CICA Senior Officials Committee (SOC) considered and adopted a working document titled “Cooperative Approach to Implementing the CICA’s Confidence Building Measures”, a detailed concept and mechanism of implementing the Catalogue. The Bangkok meeting of the SOC marked a quantum leap of the entire process to practical implementation of specific convergence and confidence-building measures by member states across 4 dimensions: economic, environmental, humanitarian, and tackling new threats and challenges. A decision was made to commence work in the military-political dimension, being the most complex one, at the next phase.

Seven member states have become coordinators of individual confidence-building projects (Azerbaijan in the area of developing secure and effective systems of transportation corridors; Iran in the area of drug enforcement and national management of emergencies; Kazakhstan in the humanitarian sphere; the Republic of Korea on cooperation in the fields of information technology and energy security; Russia on cooperation in the development of small and medium businesses; Tajikistan on cooperation in tourism; and Turkey in addressing new challenges and threats).

At the October 17, 2007 Meeting of the CICA Senior Officials’ Committee (SOC) dedicated to the Conference’s 15-th anniversary, the Republic of India expressed its readiness to become, jointly with the Republic of Korea and, respectively, Azerbaijan, a co-coordinator in the areas of energy security and cooperation in the development of secure and efficient transportation corridors. Israel offered to share its advanced expertise in water management, agriculture, high technologies, as well as management of natural calamities and crises, and offered to conduct workshops on one or several of the above subjects. In 2008, Thailand became Russia’s co-coordinator on cooperation in promoting small and medium businesses.

On December 22-23, 2007, the First Specialized Meeting of Experts (SME) was held in Tehran on confidence-building measures in the area of fighting drug trafficking; an SME was held on January 31-February 1, 2008 in Ankara on the implementation of confidence- building measures in the area of new challenges and threats. Those meetings drafted Concepts for the above avenues of cooperation. As currently expected, such documents would be adopted before the end of 2008.

SMEs are to be held in 2008-2009 in the capital cities of the coordinator states to elaborate the drafts of relevant documents whose implementation will take the CICA to a new phase in the development of confidence building measures.


News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Zhanbolat Ussenov
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