The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. It is a forum based on the recognition that there is a close link between peace, security and stability in Asia and in the rest of the world. The Member States, while affirming their commitment to the UN Charter, believe that peace and security in Asia can be achieved through dialogue and cooperation leading to a common indivisible area of security in Asia where all states co-exist peacefully and their peoples live in peace, freedom and prosperity.
The idea of convening CICA was first proposed by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Elbasy H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, on 5 October 1992, at the 47th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The moving spirit behind this initiative was the aspiration to set up an efficient and acceptable structure for ensuring peace and security in Asia. Unlike other regions in the world, Asia did not have such a structure at the time and earlier attempts to create a suitable structure had not been very successful. This initiative was supported by a number of Asian countries who felt that such a structure was the need of the time.
The two founding documents of CICA are Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations between the CICA Member States adopted at the First Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held in Almaty on 14 September 1999 and the Almaty Act, charter of CICA, adopted at the First Summit held in Almaty on 4 June 2002. These two documents became the stepping stone towards the future evolution of CICA.
Following the spirit of the founding documents, CICA pursues its policy based on the principles of sovereign equality, non-interference in internal affairs of the Member States and economic, social and cultural cooperation to achieve its main objective of enhancing cooperation through elaborating multilateral approaches towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. All decisions within CICA framework are taken by consensus.
To be a member of CICA, a state must have at least a part of its territory in Asia. Fifteen states meeting this criterion signed the Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations between the CICA Member States at the First Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in 1999 and became founding members of CICA. Presently CICA has twenty-eight Member States accounting for nearly ninety percent of the territory and population of Asia. Nine countries and five multi-national organizations, including the United Nations, have observer status.
The highest decision making organ of CICA is the Meeting of the CICA Heads of State and Government (Summit). The CICA Summit is convened every four years in order to conduct consultations, review the progress of, and set priorities for CICA activities. The Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs is required to be held every two years. The Ministerial Meeting is the central forum for consultations and examination of all issues related to CICA activities. The Senior Officials Committee meets as often as necessary, but not less than once a year to follow-up on previous CICA decisions, carry out consultations on the current CICA issues, oversee the work of the Special Working Group and coordinate the work of other meetings. The Special Working Group studies specific issues, carries out the tasks mandated to it and submits reports to the Senior Officials Committee.
Creating an environment of confidence among Member States is central to the basic objectives of CICA. The CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures describes various measures and the Cooperative Approach for the Implementation of the CICA CBMs lays down the procedures for implementing the confidence building measures. Within the framework of the Catalogue, confidence building measures are categorized under five broad domains: economic dimension, environmental dimension, human dimension, new challenges and threats, and military-political dimension.
In view of the diverse profile of the Member States, and realities typical to Asia, it was decided to begin with the implementation of Confidence Building Measures in the new challenges and threats, economic, environmental and human dimensions. Realization of confidence building measures in these areas would create sufficient goodwill and strengthen mutual relations between the Member States and would eventually be the stepping stone for the realization of confidence building measures in the military-political dimension.
The process of implementation of confidence building measures within CICA framework has already commenced. Fifteen Member States have volunteered to act as coordinating or co-coordinating countries for implementing specific projects of confidence building measures in the human dimension; new challenges and threats (terrorism, border control management, human trafficking and transnational crime); development of secure and effective systems of transportation corridors; combating illicit drugs; natural disaster management; information technology; energy security; development of small and medium enterprises; tourism, agriculture, finance and sustainable development. Concept papers and/or action plans in the human dimension, new challenges and threats, combating illicit drugs, environmental dimension, agriculture and tourism have been adopted and concept papers in other areas are under consideration.
External relations of CICA are governed by the Guidelines for CICA’s External Relations. CICA seeks to establish contacts and ties with the United Nations and regional and international organizations in support of its efforts to enhance peace, security and economic development in Asia. CICA was conferred observer status by the United Nations General Assembly at its 62nd session in 2007. In pursuance of its efforts to establish relations with other organizations, CICA has signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Assembly of People of Kazakhstan (APK) , Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO RATS) and the Shanghai Institute for International Studies , The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).
The CICA Secretariat - administrative body of CICA - is located in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Secretariat consists of the Secretary General nominated by the Chairing country, as well as the Deputy Secretary General and Professional Personnel seconded by the Member States.
5 October – CICA Day