Kazakhstan takes over United Nation Security Council chairmanship
Tuesday, 02 January 2018
In January 2018, Kazakhstan takes over the chairmanship of the United Nation Security Council, UNSC, for a one-month period. This large central Asian country thus gets its chance to make its voice heard in the UN even louder, implement its agenda and work towards strengthening peace, sustainable development and security.
The former Soviet Union Republic was elected to UNs Security Council in June 2016, beating Thailand in a second round of voting to join Sweden, Ethiopia and Bolivia for a two-year term in 2017-2018.
Kazakhstan aims to bring its unique experience and expertise to bear on some of the pressing challenges currently facing the UNSC. Its bid is based on four key issues: food security, water security, energy security and nuclear security.
Since the admission to the UNSC is a first for any Central Asian country, Kazakhi authorities have made it clear of their intentions to represent the interests of all the states from this complex region. Therefore, the cornerstone of Astana’s chairmanship will be the Security Council adoption of a new “resolution” or “special statement” regarding Central Asia and Afghanistan.
Special focus will be on Afghanistan, which faces numerous challenges, including increased terrorism, drug production and trafficking, and recently the presence of so-called “Islamic State”.
Kazakhstan is currently supporting peace in Afghanistan through humanitarian assistance and transport infrastructure investments. Astana has provided over 1,000 scholarships to Afghan students in Kazakhi universities in the faculties of medicine, agriculture and engineering. Kazakhstan’s agency for international aid and development, KazAID, works with other countries in various humanitarian projects to strengthen the Afghan economy and develop the society of this war-torn state.
Kazakhstan also stresses the importance of close economic cooperation between the countries of the region in facilitating the involvement of Afghan citizens in peaceful activities and, thereby, reducing the number of those joining armed groups and participating in drugs production, adding that this would positively influence the security both within the country as well as across the region.
Of course, the list of urgent issues in Central Asia is not limited to Afghanistan. There are a whole tangle of concerns, including aspects of food and energy security, conjunctive water use issues and undefined borders. For each of these issues, Kazakhstan has given its attention and outlined possible solutions.
Traditionally, Kazakhstan pays attention to global initiatives. Astana proposes the establishment of a unified global network to counter international terrorism and extremism, under the auspices of the UN. To achieve this objective, the new Security Council’s member offers to adopt a comprehensive document to the United Nations to combat terrorism.
The emphasise in the proposal is focused on social development to oppose the current worldwide trend of increased military spendure. Thus, Kazakhstan invites UN members to annually transfer 1 percent of their defense budgets to a Special United Nations Fund for sustainable development, which will deal with poverty alleviation and combat hunger – the main basis of radicalization.
In order to fulfill its functions, the Security Council established a number of subsidiary bodies that deal with specific issues. According to the established practice, each of the non-permanent members of the Security Council presides over the subsidiary bodies of the Council, dedicated to any thematic or country direction.
Taking into account Kazakhstan’s knowledge of the region, its strong bilateral relations with all stakeholders and serious intention to fight terrorism and poverty alleviation, the country has been entrusted to chair in several Security Council Committees, such as on the Taliban movement, the ISIL (Da’esh)/Al-Qaeda and the Somalia/Eritrea conflict.
Another important priority for Kazakhstan in the UN Security Council is to further reinforce support to the UN “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative – a global effort led by the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon to achieve universal energy access, improve energy efficiency, and increase the use of renewable energy.
Further confirmation of Kazakhstan’s international intentions was testified with the organisation of Expo 2017, an international exposition which took place in Astana last summer. Looking to the future and using the infrastructure put in place for the Expo, Kazakhi authorities will now transform it to open an international centre for the development of green technologies and investment projects under the auspices of the UN.
Astana also puts emphasis on nuclear disarmament. Kazakhstan was the first country to close a nuclear test site, and renounced all the nuclear weapons on its territory, at the time holding the world’s fourth largest nuclear arsenal. Thereby, contributing to the creation of a nuclear weapon free zone in Central Asia. Now Kazakhstan insists on establishing more nuclear-free zones in other regions of the world, particularly in the Middle East.