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Remarks of the Executive Director of the CICA Secretariat Ambassador Kairat Sarybay at the virtual conference “How to build stronger confidence in Asia and make CICA more responsive to the challenges of the 21st Century” 2 April 2021

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Remarks of the Executive Director of the CICA Secretariat

Ambassador Kairat Sarybay at the virtual conference

“How to build stronger confidence in Asia and make CICA more responsive to the challenges of the 21st Century”

2 April 2021 United Nations Headquaters, New York



Ladies and gentlemen,


I welcome all participants and guests of today's event on behalf of the Secretariat of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia - a multilateral forum uniting 27 Asian states with headquarters in the heart of Eurasia - the City of Nur-Sultan. CICA aims at creating an effective mechanism for multilateral cooperation, preventive diplomacy and peaceful settlement of disputes to ensure regional and global security.

Today, CICA region stretches from the Pacific to the Mediterranean and from the Ural to the Indian Ocean, with more than 50 percent of the world's population.


The CICA process was launched at the high rostrum of the UN General Assembly. The United Nations, was chosen as the most appropriate venue for that, because CICA was founded on and acts in full compliance with the UN principles and goals. The UN Charter has become the starting point for the development of fundamental principles governing relations between the CICA Member States, such as sovereign equality, non-use of force or the threat of force, territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes, non-interference in internal affairs, disarmament and arms control, economic, social and cultural cooperation, human rights and fundamental freedoms.


Distinguished colleagues,


The world is witnessing significant and sharp changes in geopolitics. Today, multilateralism and inclusiveness have become the only possible approach to ensuring global peace, security and stability. The times of unilateralism and mentorship in international relations have gone, the world has become multi-polar and it cannot be made safe without involvement of all global and regional actors. At the same time, most of the global political and economic changes are occurring in Asia, thereby indicating that the Asian continent has a new critical role to play.

Asia, as the largest region in the world with the potential of becoming the driving force of the global progress, will inevitably become a strong commonwealth of nations on its own, free of its old relicts, pursuing common goals, independently addressing its internal issues and contributing to global peace and security.

On this background, CICA, as the largest intergovernmental forum in Asia, is the most appropriate platform in the hands of all Asian people to consolidate the collective wisdom of all nations of Asia for peace, co-operation, security and development.

CICA’s principles and approaches make it unique for Asia - a highly diverse continent, as CICA works on principle of promoting interactions among states in order to create a conducive environment of confidence, which is the main prerequisite for establishing full-fledged cooperation. Further, the close and mutually beneficial cooperation ensures a high level of security, which is an essential condition for sustainable development.

CICA’s working approach is to work from simple to complex, from creating trust to building bridges. These principles and approaches enabled CICA to gather 27 countries at one table, including the countries with diverging views. All CICA Member States continue to reaffirm their readiness to strengthen the CICA process in view of the current geopolitical context.

CICA Member States have already established a well-functioning institutional structure of the forum, including governing bodies, the Secretariat and other institutions. CICA continues to develop, and further strengthening of the forum is a natural next phase in its evolution.

At the same time, CICA, as a very relevant and living platform, is evolving together with its Member States, it will not remain unaffected by global and regional trends, and has to further define its constructive role towards promoting common aspirations of Asian nations.


Dear colleagues,


The CICA forum is now gaining a new momentum under the Kazakh Chairmanship in 2020-2022, which has identified a number of new priorities, as outlined today by His Excellency Mr Nuryshev, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan.

The CICA Secretariat actively assists the Chairmanship in implementing specific actions to achieve the stated priorities. The priority of transformation of CICA into a full-fledged organization with the aim of building a common, indivisible and comprehensive security architecture in the region is under a major focus of the Secretariat.

To that end, I am holding consultations with Member States, with a view to gathering their views and vision on the role of CICA, future of our forum and directions for further strengthening the forum, in order to assist the Chairmanship in shaping an optimal approach to putting the idea of transformation in practice.

The most recent bilateral consultations I held in Moscow and Dubai, and in Dushanbe at the 9th Ministerial Conference of the forum “Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process”, as well numerous discussions with Ambassadors and representatives of Member States in Nur-Sultan and in other capitals, show that there is broad support to the Chairmanship’s idea on transformation. A widely shared view is that the approach should be smooth and gradual, without revolutionary changes and based on agreed fundamental principles of CICA, first of all consensus-based decision-making and voluntary nature of implementation of confidence-building measures by Member States.   


The Chairmanship priorities also include establishment of a Council of Eminent Persons and a CICA Fund for financing joint projects; transformation of the CICA Forum of Think Tanks into a permanent platform; and revitalization of implementation of Confidence Building Measures, etc.

 The Secretariat is currently developing a concept and draft regulations on the Council of Eminent Persons, taking on board initial views and comments received from Member States on the first presentation of the idea through a non-paper of the Chairmanship.

We are currently developing a concept and draft regulations on the CICA Fund, with proposals on principles and modalities of its functioning. We expect that the establishment of the Fund will strengthen the financial basis of our forum and diversify project activities. The Secretariat is also working on developing modalities for a permanent platform for the Forum of Think Tanks in the CICA region, following the approval of this proposal by the Member States.

The Secretariat continues to build its capacity, trying to make best use of the existing regulatory framework, and within available resources. We continue to call on Member States to more actively second Professional Personnel to the Secretariat.


One of the key areas of the Secretariat’s work is updating the Catalogue of CICA Confidence Building Measures - the main instrument of CICA. Following careful analysis of the Catalogue and related CICA documents and consultation with the Chairmanship, the Secretariat has circulated the first draft of the updated Catalogue to all Member States today.

The recent introduction of a new CBM on Epidemiological Safety, Public Health and Pharmaceuticals” and the transfer of humanitarian assistance to three Member States to combat COVID-19 pandemic clearly shows that CICA forum is responsive to new challenges, continues to be a useful tool for its Member States for addressing emerging needs.

The Secretariat puts all efforts to assist the Chairmanship and Member States in their deliberations on all issues on the CICA agenda towards key decisions expected at the CICA Meeting of Foreign Ministers in October 2021 and the Meeting of Heads of State or Government at the end of 2022 – the year of the Thirtieth Anniversary of CICA.

We believe that Ministerial and Summit decisions on shaping the future of CICA and updating the Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures would represent a new historic stage in the development of CICA.


Ladies and gentlemen,


An important priority for CICA and its further development is strengthening the dialogue with international and regional organizations and fora.

The wide range of partnerships testifies to the recognition and credibility of our forum. In 2007, General Assembly Resolution 62/77 granted observer status to CICA at the UN General Assembly. The UN has an observer status with CICA, and the Secretary-General of the UN is entitled to address meetings of CICA governing bodies. Based on fundamental principles and objectives of CICA as enshrined in its funding documents, CICA may be considered a regional arrangement under Article VIII of the UN Charter.

CICA is a welcome guest and participant in important fora of many large UN institutions and agencies, such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which is our partner organization, or International Organization for Migration, which is our observer.

CICA’s partner organizations are also the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (SCO RATS) and the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK).

Along with 8 countries (Belarus, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Ukraine, USA), CICA granted observer status also to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), League of Arab States (LAS), and Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries (TURKPA). All this confirms the relevance of and demand for the CICA platform.

While developing cooperation with existing partners, CICA is open to further expanding interaction with other multilateral fora in order to strengthen security and sustainable development in larger Euro-Asia area. For example, the forum is interested in establishing cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), ASEAN and other organizations.

In this context, I wish to stress that CICA is unique for its broad agenda and its own understanding of security. In its cooperation with other organizations, CICA focuses on development of synergies with other fora, does not compete with anyone in any way and acts on the understanding that there is no alternative to multilateralism in achieving peace, security and prosperity, especially in geographic areas where conflicts, tensions or divergence of views still persist.

In this regard, we will continue contributing to the further development of the global multipolar architecture of relations between world powers, regional actors and organizations, which is essential in today's geopolitical reality.

I thank you!