OSCE PA delegation’s visit to Kazakhstan highlights urgency of enhancing regional co-operation on climate change, water security and clean energy



100424 KZ chairmanOSCE PA delegation meeting with Kazakhstan's Senate Chairman Maulen Ashimbayev, Astana, 9 April 2024ASTANA, 10 April 2024 – On the second leg of a three-country visit to Central Asia, an OSCE Parliamentary Assembly delegation was in Kazakhstan this week to learn more about the experience of Central Asian countries and foster greater co-operation in addressing the multifaceted impacts of climate change, enhancing the joint management of water resources, and promoting accessible clean energy resources. Gender issues, promoting the effective participation of women and youth in all levels of political life, and strengthening parliamentarism were also in focus.

The high-level OSCE PA visit was led by Special Representative on Central Asia Farah Karimi (Netherlands) and included OSCE PA Vice-President and Special Representative on Climate Change Pere Joan Pons (Spain). They were joined by Ainur Argynbekova (Kazakhstan), Mirgul Temirbaeva (Kyrgyz Republic) and Dilorom Fayzieva (Uzbekistan) with the objective to strengthen exchanges and mutual learning throughout the visit.

In meetings in Astana and Almaty, the OSCE PA delegation learned about the severe impacts of the Aral Sea disaster on the health of the local populations and the environment as well as the initiatives planned by Kazakhstan under its three-year presidency of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea. The need to engage with Afghanistan over the construction of the Qosh Tepa Canal was also raised, with interlocutors stressing the drastic consequences for the water supply to a number of Central Asian countries. Kazakhstan has also developed an ambitious plan to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, but must still overcome reliance on fossil fuels, it was stressed. The 2021 environment code was also welcomed as a step in the right direction.

The expertise and capacity development of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana and the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities in the area of water management, disaster risk reduction, environmental governance, and gender issues was highlighted, as well as areas where OSCE PA support would be welcomed.

“Learning about the significant challenges facing this region has underscored the need to enhance democratic participation and the involvement of all segments of society as well as regional co-operation,” Special Representative Karimi said. “Kazakhstan has made notable progress in building norms and setting targets in an effort to meet international agreements on adapting and mitigating effects of climate change. However, there is a need for additional and clear measures to ensure implementation of the Paris agreement.”

Special Representative on Climate Change Pons highlighted the need for dialogue and co-operation to address joint challenges such as the multifaceted impacts of the climate crisis. “The leadership of Kazakhstan in fostering regional co-operation is commendable, and I welcome the creation of a new Ministry on Water Resources and Irrigation, as well as the government’s initiative to adopt a new water code to encourage the use of water saving technologies,” Pons said. “To mitigate climate change we need to reach not only ambitious global agreements but also local, regional, national, and individual commitments, and Kazakhstan’s efforts in this respect are exemplary.”

100424 photo 2Special Representatives Farah Karimi and Pere Joan Pons meet with Vice Foreign Minister Roman Vassilenko in Astana, 8 AprilThe high-level PA delegation also welcomed Kazakhstan’s achievements in the area of promoting the effective participation of women and youth in political life. They welcomed the upcoming debate in the Senate on the criminalization of domestic violence as a stand-alone offence, noting that more complex measures would most likely be needed to tackle this serious issue.

The Central Asia visit kicked off last week in Turkmenistan, and follows months of engagement and discussions between Special Representative Karimi and Central Asian parliamentary delegations, Central Asian Permanent Missions in Vienna, as well as the OSCE field operations with the aim to ensure that the OSCE PA understands what issues are important in the region. This was the first time that members of parliament from Central Asia joined a high-level PA delegation.

Meetings were held in Astana on 8-9 April with representatives of Kazakhstan’s parliament, including Chairperson of the Senate Maulen Ashimbayev, Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Olga Perepechina, Vice-Chair of the Mazhilis, Daniya Espayeva, Chair of Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security of the Mazhilis Aigul Kuspan. The governmental interlocutors included the Minister of Healthcare Akmaral Alnazarova, deputy ministers of foreign affairs, water resources and irrigation, energy, and ecology and natural resources as well as representatives of the ministry of culture including the national commission on women, family and demographic affairs. The delegation also met with Dr. Volker Frobarth, Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Astana, and representatives of the international community.

The Central Asia visit continues tomorrow in Uzbekistan, where the delegation will be joined by Gudrun Kugler (Austria), Rapporteur of the OSCE PA’s economic and environmental committee.

Photos of the visit are available for public use on Flickr.

For more information on the work of the Special Representative on Central Asia, please click here.

For more information on the work of the Special Representative on Climate Change, please click here.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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