The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) holds a special place in the foreign policy priorities of Kazakhstan.
The CICA has 26 member states, among which are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.
Observe members of the organisation are Belarus, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and USA, as well as a number of international organisations, involving the United Nations, OSCE, League of Arab States and Parliamentary Assembly of the Turkic Speaking Countries (TURKPA).
The People’s Republic of China is chairing the organisation in 2014-2016.
The administrative body of CICA is the Secretariat, located in Almaty.
The idea of convening the CICA was first proposed by Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, on 5 October 1992, at the 47th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
The President stressed the core idea of the initiative was to set up an efficient and universal structure for ensuring peace and security in Asia. Unlike other regions in the world, Asia did not have such a structure at that time and earlier attempts to create a suitable structure had not been very successful.
The relevance of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s proposal was reinforced by the fact that the most populated region of the planet was burdened by numerous conflicts and mutual distrust between severaal states. The fear of nuclear proliferation, illegal migration, sharp deterioration of environment issues, extremism and drug trafficking was gaining momentum in Asia,.
That is why the initiative to convene CICA was supported by a number of Asian countries and international organisations, including the UN, OSCE and LAS.
Against the background of global development, the institutional establishment and strengthening of CICA was preceded by serious discussions, debates and a painstaking search for common ground. The first meeting was held in April 1993, the second - in August and September 1993, the third - in October 1994. As a result of the third meeting, a decision was made to establish an Ad Hoc Working Group to prepare appropriate documents for the Conference.
On September 14, 1999 at the 1st Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs the Declaration was signed to regulate relations between member states of the Conference, which laid the foundations of draft legal basis of the new security architecture on the Asian continent.
The Declaration Along with the Almaty Act, the charter of CICA adopted during the first summit, is the main document of the Conference. These two documents were the key to the further evolution of the CICA process.
The first CICA Summit was held on June 4, 2002. It was attended by the Presidents of Kazakhstan, Russia, China, Pakistan, Turkey, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan, prime ministers of Azerbaijan and India, as well as the responsible officials of Iran, Egypt, member countries and observer organizations. Representatives of Palestine and Israel attended the summit as well.
On October 22, 2004, the second meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs took place, which adopted the Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures, Rules of Procedure and the Declaration of the Second CICA Ministerial Meeting.
In the Catalogue, the confidence-building measures were included in five major dimensions, involving politico-military, fighting against new challenges and threats, economic, environmental and humanitarian.
All the confidence-building measures are applied on the basis of gradual and voluntary involvement.
On June 17, 2006 the second summit of the Conference was held, which was attended by the leaders of China, Russia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the Prime Minister of Thailand, as well as high-ranking delegates of the governments of Turkey, Israel, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, India, Iran, Palestine and Egypt.
The summit made an important contribution into the further coordination of the CICA member states’ efforts to strengthen security in the region and establish an efficient economic cooperation. In order to implement these tasks the CICA is establishing a strong network of partnerships with a wide range of international and regional organizations, including the UN, SCO, OSCE, ASEAN, APEC, EAEU and others.
The third meeting of Heads of State and Government of the CICA member countries was held on 8 June 2010 in Istanbul. It was the first summit that was held outside Kazakhstan. During the summit the chairmanship of the organisation was transferred from Kazakhstan to the Turkish Republic, for the first time in the history of the organisation. The summit was attended by Heads of State and Government, Vice-Presidents, Speakers of Parliament and deputy prime ministers, as well as foreign ministers and special envoys. Representatives of 16 international organizations attended the event. That year Kazakhstan also chaired the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. On June 7, 2010 a special event dedicated to the theme “Cooperation in the field of economy and security in the 21st century” was held under the auspices of the OSCE in Istanbul.
The CICA meeting dedicated the 20th anniversary of the organisation and the 4th meeting of ministers of foreign affairs of the Conference was held on September 12, 2012 in Astana. In his welcoming speech, Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed the importance and effectiveness of the CICA. The president said it enabled different cultures and civilizations to establish pan-Asian dialogue.
The 4th Shanghai CICA Summit, held in May 2014, was a milestone in the evolution of the Conference. The main outcome of the meetings was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the CICA. In addition, the Declaration of the 4th Summit was adopted. The leaders of CICA member states welcomed Bangladesh and Qatar as new members of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.
Thus, in more than two decades the CICA proved its relevance and viability in strengthening the regional security architecture.