Keynote Address to the World Anti-Crisis Conference
Astana, Kazakhstan, 23 May 2013
Esteemed President Nazarbayev,
Mr. UN Under-Secretary-General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am truly humbled by the invitation to address the Sixth Astana Economic Forum and the World Anti-Crisis Conference, generously hosted by the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
At the onset of my remarks, allow me to wholeheartedly thank President Nazarbayev and his Government for the exceptionally warm welcome extended to me and my delegation.
It is a real pleasure to be back in what UNESCO has called the City of Peace. I was privileged to visit many times in my previous capacity as Serbia’s Foreign Minister. On each occasion, I have been truly struck by how fast it continues to develop. Anchored by the Baiterek and Kazakh Eli monuments, both associated with the legendary Samruk bird, it has blossomed by the banks of the river Ishim, with the Khan Shatyr and the Pyramid of Peace and Reconciliation standing out in their uniqueness amongst many symbols of an ambitious and confident capital.
Today’s Astana is the quintessence of progress Kazakhstan has achieved as a nation celebrating its own culture and traditions, while embracing innovation as a catalyst for consolidating the gains of independence.
The present generation has revived the legacy of the batyrs, and in the last two decades, crafted a modern sovereign state with no outstanding issues with its neighbors.
Home to a proud and valiant people, this beautiful country of open steppes and snow-capped mountains stands at one of the world’s most important civilizational crossroads.
Populated by more than 140 ethnic and 17 religious groups living together in harmony, Kazakhstan is a regional pillar of stability and progress. It has prioritized the education of its youth, and created a strong social and healthcare safety nets. The nation’s athletes have triumphed in successive Olympic Games, and its scientists have helped achieve significant breakthroughs in a number of areas.
The economy is developing rapidly, in no small measure due to the wise and responsible use of the riches gained from abundant hydrocarbon resources. This has facilitated growth in other sectors, such agriculture. It has also enabled funding for strategic infrastructure projects, including the construction of a Western Europe – Western China energy and transportation corridor. The ancient Silk Road that served as the main trade route across the Eurasian land mass for centuries will soon be reborn. As a result, Kazakhstan will integrate more fully into the global society, serving as a critical bridge between East and West.
Achievements at home have helped the country become an active player on the international scene. In an unprecedented demonstration of leadership, it voluntarily renounced the world’s fourth-largest nuclear arsenal, and today stands at the vanguard of efforts to promote nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
Kazakhstan also became the first post-Soviet state to preside over the OSCE and OIC. It has emerged as a champion of inter-faith dialogue, while making tangible contributions to fighting international terrorism and organized crime.
Its largest city of Almaty is naturally positioned to grow in significance as a center for UN activities in this part of the world.
As indicated in the draft Astana Anti-Crisis Declaration, the intent of this Conference is to provide additional tools for all nations to better cope and respond to the financial tumults of the future.
I look forward to fruitful discussions clustered around the three-fold aims of our gathering. The first is to promote balanced, sustained and inclusive growth through fostering a more attractive business environment. Secondly, to seek out ways to increase the stability of financial systems, as well as minimize vulnerabilities to external shocks and internal credit bubbles. And thirdly, to encourage the establishment of a more integrated, transparent, predictable, and responsible regulatory framework including more stringent oversight mechanisms and risk management practices.
It is fitting that such a Conference be held in a nation which has articulated a clear and determined vision for its future, on the basis of the groundbreaking document ‘Strategy Kazakhstan 2050 – New Political Course for an Established State.’
One of its objectives is to enhance the capacity of the G-Global communication platform.
Since its very launch, this innovative social network has brought together Kazakh intellectuals with their counterparts from all over the world. Participants have engaged in open and substantial debates on a wide range of development-related topics, leading to the publication of a number of insightful reports. They contain practical proposals on how to overcome contemporary challenges in fields such as financial regulation, debt restructuring, public administration modernization, and energy-water nexus to name but a few.
The G-Global initiative seeks to empower individuals to participate in discussions on how to achieve what a recent UN Report defined as a “more participatory system of global economic governance.”
Such reasoning has influenced my choice of topics for the thematic debates taking place during the current Session of the General Assembly.
One of them was held on April 15th, and examined the issue of the “UN and Global Economic Governance.” It focused on how significant economic actors, including IFIs as well as informal groupings such as the G20, may interact with the rest of the world in the future. One of the conclusions of the event was that the General Assembly can provide a unique platform for all developed and developing countries to exchange views and share information on common economic concerns.
I am pleased to announce that another thematic debate will be convened on September 10th. It will focus on the role of credit-rating agencies in the international financial system, recognizing their influential position in evaluating risk and external debt sustainability.
I believe this will help advance the overall aims of the Anti-Crisis Conference.
Our increasingly globalized and interdependent world is beset by one of the most profound, all-encompassing periods of transformation ever to occur in peacetime.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented pivot towards a more democratized system of international relations, in which nations aspire to greater empowerment and freedom of action. This will necessitate a grand re-organization of human affairs.
It is against such backdrop that world leaders came together last June in Rio de Janeiro to adopt the historic “Future We Want” document, which set the core principles of the post-2015 agenda.
For the first time, UN Member States agreed to comprehensively integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development namely economic, social, and environmental into a single, fully coherent whole.
In Rio, the General Assembly received additional mandates. In essence, it was given the strategic task of crafting a new, ambitious universal framework that will define much of the UN’s work for decades to come.
According to the terms set in Rio, the General Assembly has but one thousand days to carry out these assignments. They include conceiving and adopting the Sustainable Development Goals; creating a workable arrangement for monitoring their implementation; and establishing an Intergovernmental Process to Propose Options for an Effective Sustainable Development Financing Strategy.
This last one is perhaps the most complex and sensitive of the workstreams to emerge from the Rio+20 Conference, for in my view, the post-2015 agenda will only become a reality once the world agrees on mechanisms to fund its enactment.
I appointed my very good and trusted friend, Ambassador Byrganym Aitimova, Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations, as one of the two co-facilitators for achieving this critical objective. I place great confidence in this country’s unique capacity to serve as an honest broker between East and West, North and South.
I hope that the outcomes of the Astana Anti-Crisis Conference can provide practical inputs for the Intergovernmental Process, as well as the other workstreams of the post-2015 agenda.
Before coming to the end of my remarks, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate President Nazerbayev for committing Kazakhstan to become the first post-Soviet state to start the transition to a green economy despite its gigantic hydrocarbon reserves. This will place the country at the vanguard of the global paradigm shift towards sustainable development.
The Rio+20 Concluding Document has already singled out Kazakhstan’s role in advancing the post-2015 agenda, having welcomed the Green Bridge Partnership Program. This practical mechanism, which encompasses all Central Asian nations and is open to every UN Member State, aims to promote cutting-edge technology transfers and environmental management best practices. It also seeks to improve legal, economic, and institutional conditions to encourage a new wave of green industries across the world.
I am confident that the results of these initiatives will feature prominently in Astana’s Expo 2017, whose theme is “Future Energy: Action for Global Sustainability.”
I expect that the Anti-Crisis Conference will play a significant role in charting a course towards more balanced world economic and financial systems.
I look forward to your deliberations, and hope they will draw upon the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, which states the United Nations should “employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all.”
In a landmark address, President Nazerbayev called on his people to embrace the opportunities of the post-2015 agenda, by “[arming] themselves with eternal qualities diligence, industry, and purposefulness,” enabling them to “stand firm and provide [the] Homeland with a deserved future.”
As the driving force behind the remarkable transformation of Kazakhstan over the past two decades, his vision commands profound respect.
Let us join together in common purpose to bequeath to the coming generations a world that is safer, more peaceful, and economically better off than the one we inherited from our predecessors.Thank you very much for your attention.
* * *
(Please check against delivery)