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2017 CM Kazakh FMKazakhstan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Kairat Abdrakhmanov and OSCE PA President Christine Muttonen, Astana, 14 June 2017 (Photo courtesy of Kazakh MFA)SHYMKENT, 16 June 2017 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen (MP, Austria) is wrapping up a week-long visit to Eastern and Central Asia with meetings in southern Kazakhstan today and tomorrow.

She met this morning in Shymkent with Zhanseit Tuimebayev, the Akim of the South Kazakhstan region, followed by meetings with the Association of Business Women and Commission for Women’s Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy. President Muttonen continues her visit to Kazakhstan on Saturday with a number of activities in the Otrar district.

On Thursday, the President addressed nearly 200 officials and civil society representatives at the opening of the Second Preparatory Meeting of the Annual OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum in Astana. Organized by the 2017 Austrian OSCE Chairmanship in co-operation with the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, the two-day event’s theme was “Green economy as catalyst for sustainable development, security and stability.”

In her keynote address, the President discussed the challenges posed by climate change, particularly in Central Asia where the exhaustion of fresh water and a destabilized agricultural sector pose a potential threat to food and water security.

“It is one of our most challenging security tasks within the OSCE to do everything possible to prevent irreversible climate change, to foresee possible negative effects and also manage negative developments that can no longer be prevented,” she said.

“The OSCE PA will continue to urge and push OSCE countries towards a greener economy. But this is not where our commitment ends. Parliamentarians can do more. We have a unique role to play in promoting the transition to a green economy – within the OSCE, to our governments back home, to our industries and to our citizens,” Muttonen added.

Also addressing the Economic and Environmental Forum’s opening session were Roman Vassilenko, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Kazakhstan, Ambassador Florian Raunig, Head of 2017 OSCE Austrian Chairmanship Task Force, and Ambassador Vuk Zugic, Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.

Accompanied by OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella, Muttonen met Wednesday with Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan and Head of Kazakhstan’s Delegation to the PA. The sides exchanged views on security issues, co-operation in the field, and other matters related to the OSCE. She also met with the Chairman of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nurlan Nigmatulin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kairat Abdrakhmanov.

In her meeting with Foreign Minister Abdrakhmanov, the President noted Kazakhstan’s effective leadership in numerous areas, expressing gratitude in particular for its efforts to combat climate change by promoting transition to renewable sources of energy and through greening the economy. The President and the Foreign Minister exchanged views on the impact of these topics on security, stability and prosperity.

Discussions with Kazakh officials have also focused on the emergence of Kazakhstan as a key player in the region, in particular regarding international mediation and confidence-building efforts. President Muttonen expressed gratitude for Kazakhstan’s role in hosting talks aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Muttonen was briefed on Kazakhstan’s counter-terrorism work and its efforts to enhance regional co-operation.

On Wednesday, President Muttonen participated with Ambassadors Raunig and Zugic in the opening of the OSCE pavilion at the Astana EXPO 2017 under the theme “Future energy” along with Foreign Minister Abdrakhmanov and OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings Amb. Madina Jarbussynova. Earlier in the day she also participated in the opening of the Austrian EXPO pavilion.

Muttonen’s visit to the region began on Monday in Beijing, where she met with representatives of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the International Department of the Communist Party of China.

For President Muttonen's full remarks to the OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, please click here (PDF).

Click here to read about the China leg of President Muttonen's Asia visit earlier this week.