Central Asian Forum for Security and Cooperation Shines Light on Global and Regional Challenges (ANALYTICS)

By Naghi Ahmadov

On July 13-14, 2023, the first Central Asian Forum on Security and Cooperation (CAF) was held in Astana, Kazakhstan. The CAF under the theme “Asia in a Changing World: An Agenda for the Future” is hosted by the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Kazakhstan (KazISS) and co-organized with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan.

The event was attended by high-level UN representatives, well-known politicians and diplomats, leading experts from the countries of Central Asia, Russia, China, the European Union, the USA, Japan, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Great Britain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Azerbaijan and other states. In the forum, where in total more than 60 delegates from 25 countries of the world participated, Azerbaijan was represented by Javid Valiyev, Head of Department at the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center).

During the two-day forum, sessions and panel discussions were held on the themes, such as “Dialogue on global security challenges: in search of ways of cooperation”, “Regionalization of Central Asia: in search of a new model”, “Kazakhstan and global changes”. The participants discussed how to tackle the global security challenges, the contours of emerging risks, etc. Moreover, discussions took place around the topics, such as climate change, water scarcity, droughts, loss of biodiversity and pollution. The Eurasian connectivity and the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route were also among the issues that were considered.

In a greeting addressed to the forum participants, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized that in today’s complex global environment, a direct and open dialogue of experts has become an urgent need.

Ambassador Terhi Hakala, the EU Special Representative for Central Asia stated that today the concept of security is changing and expanding. She also drew attention to the fact that in the modern world all the numerous and diverse security threats are interconnected and require a new integrated approach. According to her, the world needs strong multilateral institutions that bind the interests of all countries - big and small.

Director of the KazISS Erkin Tukumov stressed that the purpose of this meeting in Astana is to deepen regional cooperation, exchange ideas, and try to find new solutions to the most serious security problems in Asia. “This forum is also a statement of Kazakhstan’s vision of peace and true cooperation,” Tukumov also noted.

Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Murat Nurtleu mentioned that the challenges that humanity faces today are truly unprecedented and pose a serious threat. But Kazakhstan, even in the current difficult conditions, remains committed to pursuing a balanced, constructive and multi-vector foreign policy, the values and principles of the UN Charter and international law. For its part, Kazakhstan regularly puts forward many initiatives aimed at ensuring the peaceful and long-term development of Asia. He also added that Kazakhstan seeks to turn Central Asia into a Eurasian transport and logistics hub by actively supporting transcontinental transport corridors in all directions, including the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (“Middle Corridor”).

Erzhan Kazykhan, Deputy Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Special Representative of the President for International Cooperation, drew attention to the fact that numerous modern challenges and threats exacerbate distrust between countries and regions, which complicates an already difficult situation and limits the possibilities for solving problems.

Vladimir Voronkov, Under-Secretary-General for the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, remarked that we live in a turbulent world where humanity faces acute challenges arising from a combination of risks and threats to peace and security. They include, in particular, terrorism, conflicts, unregulated cyberspace, as well as such revolutionary and unpredictable technologies as artificial intelligence.

Executive director of the United Nations’ Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate Natalia Gherman touched upon the topic of rehabilitation and reintegration of terrorist suspects, including returning terrorist fighters and their families.

CICA Secretary General Kairat Sarybay dwelled in detail on the priorities and principles of the interaction of countries within the CICA.

Regional cooperation, according to Director of the Institute for Strategic and Interregional Studies under the President of Uzbekistan (ISMI) Eldor Aripov, can be effective when it is based not only on common interests, but also on common values and traditions shared by all.

To conclude, Asia is becoming a key center of political and geo-economic processes in the world that is going through complex geopolitical shifts. In this regard, Kazakhstan’s undertaking and promoting diplomatic initiatives is extremely significant. And the CAF, which has brought together numerous influential people as a platform for dialogue, is one of them. Since the CAF provided space for discussion to the analysts and experts whose opinions are considered in their countries, including at the decision-making level, we can definitely claim that the event would have a real impact on strengthening regional interaction and development. Due to the fact that multifaceted challenges require comprehensive solutions, the CAF–analogue of the Munich Security Conference–will make a considerable contribution to the development of intra-regional cooperation through the exchange of ideas.

Naghi Ahmadov, a senior fellow at the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center). The article is written especially for News.Az

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