3 April 2017The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, Mr Kaiarat Abdrakhmanov, affirmed the importance of UNESCO for peace, security and sustainable development during a meeting with Director-General Irina Bokova on 29 March 2017. Stating that cooperation with UNESCO is a priority for President Nazarbayev carrying strategic stakes, the Minister asserted the country’s continued commitment to the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), and to enforcing Security Resolution 2347 on the protection of cultural heritage in conflict, unanimously adopted in New York on 24 March.
In this regard, as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, the Minister recalled his country’s strong support to the Resolution and pledged to continue conveying its message, in particular during further talks on the settlement of the Syria crisis. He noted that Kazakhstan had already raised the issue of securing world heritage sites during the recent rounds of peace talks on Syria held in Astana.
The Director-General expressed appreciation for Kazakhstan’s important role in policy mediation, conflict settlement and bridge building. “Against a backdrop of pressures on the multilateral system, we need countries like Kazakhstan to play a leadership role,” she said, congratulating the Minister upon the upcoming 25th anniversary of the country’s membership in UNESCO and recalling President Nazarbayev’s visit to UNESCO in 2015. She noted the importance of joint action around prevention and work with youth, to respond to the threats of violent extremism to which no one is immune.
Thanking Kazakhstan for its support to Security Council Resolution 2347, she drew attention to the country’s multifaceted contribution, referring to its frontline role and support to the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures, the significance of the joint inscription, together with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, of the “Western Tien-Shan” on the World Heritage List in 2016, and the establishment of the Central Asian Regional Glaciological Centre in Almaty as a Category 2 centre. “You are federating countries across Central Asia around a common sustainable development agenda,” she said.
The Minister shared Almaty’s ambition to be a hub for United Nations diplomacy in the region, noting that the city already accommodates 18 different UN entities. In the context of efforts to build peace and stability, and to foster rapprochement, he evoked Kazakhstan’s increasing assistance to education in Afghanistan, in particular for girls and women’s empowerment, as well as to water security across Central Asia, and scientific cooperation. “This is all about peace, security and sustainable development,” he said.
As part of EXPO-2017, the Minister referred to Kazakhstan’s hosting of the first Organization of Islamic Cooperation Summit on Science and Technology, on 10 September. The Director-General confirmed her attendance, underlining the importance of this event for strengthening cooperation to advance sustainable development.