Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA

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Leadership in conflict resolution 0

Posted on December 25, 2011 by Alex

Kazakhstan’s stewardship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reinvigorated the search for peaceful solutions to frozen conflicts. The country is continuing its leadership role as chair of the body’s Forum for Security Cooperation, which will carry on its work on conflict resolution – particularly in former Soviet countries. By Nora FitzGerald

Kazakhstan has seen a banner year in foreign affairs after its successful chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the premier regional security organization on the Eurasian continent. The country was the first post-Soviet republic to chair the 56-nation organization and it went on to host the first OSCE summit in 11 years, which culminated in a two-day meeting held in Astana in December. Kazakhstan, as OSCE chair, also had a major role in alleviating a violent uprising in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, and brought some largely forgotten conflicts in the former Soviet Union back onto the international agenda.

“We realize that the way to a true Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian community with united and indivisible security will blong and thorny,” said Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev. “We intend to raise the level and quality of security and understanding between our states and peoples.”

Kazakhstan’s push for the chairmanship of the OSCE was backed by Germany, Russia and Spain, despite some initial skepticism about the ability of a fledgling democracy of 16 million people in Central Asia to handle the responsibility. By the end of 2010, as Kazakhstan was handing over the chairmanship to Lithuania, there were widespread plaudits for its skillful diplomacy, which came to the fore during the Kyrgyz crisis – a conflict that threatened to descend into civil war.

Kazakhstan – working with the US and Russia – was critical to a negotiated settlement between the then-president Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Roza Otunbyeva, who led the revolt against him and subsequently became president. Kazakhstan also helped to organize the dispatching of a group of unarmed police officers, hailing from across the OSCE, to continue monitoring events on the ground in Kyrgyzstan.

Julie Finley, a former US ambassador to the OSCE who initially opposed Kazakhstan’s bid, said she was impressed with the country’s stepping out as a major player in international affairs. “Kazakhstan has knocked my socks off,” she said at a conference at the Center for Security and International Studies in Washington DC. “It has been open and outgoing in its leadership. It has been centered on what has been going on in Kyrgyzstan. It has been solid and professional from the get-go.”

Kazakhstan held more than 150 events associated with its chairmanship, and the country’s Foreign Minister and OSCE chairperson-in-office Kanat Saudabayev made more than 40 visits to various countries and regions.

The crowning glory of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship was the summit in Astana, the country’s glittering capital. The summit did not reach a final agreement on conflict resolution, an effort that Kazakhstan focused on the so-called frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union. Before the summit, Chairman Saudabayev had visited the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, as well as the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the separatist region of Transdniestr in Moldova.

Despite Kazakhstan’s best efforts, the positions of some of the other member states were too intractable to allow for a diplomatic breakthrough. There were stand-offs between the US and Russia over Georgia, and between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. Nonetheless, Kazakhstan’s efforts gave new life to the search for peaceful solutions to these protracted and debilitating conflicts. This year, Kazakhstan will build on its leadership role within the OSCE as chair of the body’s Forum for Security Cooperation, which will continue the country’s work on conflict resolution, particularly in the former Soviet Union.

President Nazarbayev also tabled a series of less contentious proposals, such as creating an ecological forum  and a body to help fight transnational crime – items that will form part of the OSCE’s agenda in 2011. Kazakhstan will remain deeply involved in the OSCE’s leadership group as a member of the Troika, which also includes the current chair, Lithuania, and the 2012 chair, Ireland.

President Nazarbayev says Kazakhstan’s chairmanship of the OSCE was a rich experience, not only for the country’s leaders and diplomats, but also for its people. “The OSCE summit in Astana has positively influenced Kazakhstan. It has united our nation, strengthened belief in our ability to resolve incredibly difficult challenges and achieve our highest goals,” he says.

Kazakhstan also focused on security in Afghanistan, and increased its role in assisting the international coalition led by the US. Kazakhstan expanded its post-2001 grant of over-flight rights to include military supplies and personnel, not just non-lethal cargo. And in November, it agreed to send a contingent of troops and instructors to Afghanistan. This year, Kazakhstan is continuing its international leadership role as it assumes the chairmanship of the Ministerial Conference of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). This position again places the country in a leadership position to help resolve some of the most contentious international debates in the period after the ‘Arab Spring’. As a largely Muslim nation, Kazakhstan will continue to stress – as it did during its OSCE chairmanship – the need for inter-regional and inter-faith dialogue. Therefore, at the OIC Ministerial meeting on June 28-30, 2011, the Organization changed its name to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. At the meeting, President Nazarbayev shared his vision for the Islamic countries to stay on the path of peace, modernization, scientific and technological development and education. He said that to ensure long-term peace, the Islamic world should learn to confront religious fundamentalism as a political ideology and establish an open and honest dialogue with the West.

Foreign Minister Saudabaev says international cooperation can only succeed through the “constant exchange of ideas” across borders. Indeed, as President Nazarbayev noted at the end of the Astana OSCE summit: “Winston Churchill famously said: ‘To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.’”

SOURCE: Invest in Kazakhstan, 2011, p. 43-44

Kazakhstan Convenes Third OIC Health Ministers Conference in Astana 0

Posted on October 09, 2011 by Alex

Astana Calling, Sept 30, 2011

Under the umbrella of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Ministry of Healthcare of Kazakhstan is hosting the Third Session of the Ministers of Health of the OIC in Astana from September 29 till October 1.

“This year Kazakhstan chairs the globally influential Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation. Kazakhstan has been consistently demonstrating its interest in strengthening regional and international security, enhancing economic, social and cultural links between Islamic countries. Today, due to the processes of globalisation of the economy, a number of ongoing conflicts in the world, and changes in the climate, the issues of public health are becoming some of the most prioritised in international relations,” President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s said in a welcoming address to the conference, delivered by Kazakhstan’s Secretary of State Kanat Saudabayev.

“Kazakhstan’s Chairmanship comes at a crucial time for the Ummah. This year witnessed substantial political and socio-economic challenges in North Africa and the Middle East, the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, as well as new developments in the establishment of an Independent State of Palestine,” Chairman of the 38th Council of Foreign Ministers of the OIC, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan Yerzhan Kazykhanov said addressing the conference. “But all these important issues should not distract our attention from our strategic goal: achieving sustainable and comprehensive human development, which is impossible without properly developed healthcare systems in the OIC Member States,” Kazykhanov added.

Addressing health-related issues of concern of the OIC member countries, the ministers of health are focusing on four main areas. The first field of discussion is the cooperation among OIC member states towards achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG), particularly reducing child mortality, and improving maternal health. The second area is the global eradication of polio. The third is related to achieving self-reliance in supply and production of drugs, including vaccines. The fourth area of discussion concerns the fighting against such diseases as the HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.

“Health care is a field where success can be achieved only by joining efforts and working as a team,” Vice-Minister of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mansour Alhowasi said at the session. “At this conference we will discuss many issues, including the development of prevention and medical management. But first we will discuss the impact of infectious diseases in the Islamic countries.”

In total, more than 400 delegates from 57 member states of the OIC, observing states, and international organisations are attending the event.

The working sessions include statements by heads of delegations, as well as presentations on various subjects by representatives of international organisations, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Global Polio Eradication Initiative (WHO/GPEI), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“The healthcare sphere is a rather new area of cooperation for the OIC,” Kazykhanov said. “The Ten Year Plan of Action adopted in 2005 laid the foundation for our joint activities in the health sector, including a programme for combating diseases and epidemics and taking effective measures in order to eradicate polio amongst children.”

The conference will also elaborate on and discuss a number of documents, including a report of the Third Meeting of the Steering Committee on Health, a Draft of the Strategic Health Programme of Action of the OIC Member States for 2012–22. Participants will also review a Report of the Secretary General of the OIC on Implementation of the Ten Year Plan of Action in the Health Sector and Implementation of the recommendations of the First and the Second Islamic Conferences of Health Ministers, the first of which took place in Malaysia in June 2007, and the second in March of 2009 in Iran. At the end of the Conference, the ministers are expected to adopt a declaration and a number of resolutions.

“I believe the Third Islamic Conference of Health Ministers will be a substantial leap forward in this direction, that allows us to take stock and share our experiences in combating dangerous diseases and child mortality, and improving maternal health and the provision of medication, as well as to adopt meaningful and efficient resolutions,” Kazykhanov said in conclusion. “I also encourage you to fully make use of the opportunity provided by this meeting to make progress in the elaboration of the Strategic Health Programme of the OIC Member States for 2012-22,” he added.

The Islamic Conference of Health Ministers convenes once every two years to discuss the priority health issues of Muslim communities and review different aspects of the health status. The Conference has established a Steering Committee under its authority and guidance in order to monitor and follow-up the implementation of the framework for action identified from the outcome of the Conference, and prepare progress and evaluation reports in this regard.

SOURCE: http://www.kazakhembus.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=782&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01returnid=201

 



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