Masimov K.K. «We create in Astana interregional and intersectoral office „Green Bridge“»

October 2, 2010 9:27

Greetings of Prime-Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Masimov K.K to participants of the 6th h Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development of Asia — Pacific region

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished participants,
Dear friends!

We are happy to host in our capital Astana such a representative forum — the Conference of Ministers of the Environment, Economy and Development in Asia and the Pacific Ocean.

For Kazakhstan, as a country hosting of the Conference is not only an honor but also an opportunity to contribute to the development of multilateral cooperation in environmental protection and development.

Asia and the Pacific is the largest regions in the world on economic and natural capital, the impact on global security, in terms of population and, unfortunately, the number of the poor — more than 2 / 3 of the poor live in this region.

In this regard, all countries of the region there are a need for economic growth and, simultaneously, safety the environment.

This is a new challenge to which we must find answers.

There is need a new development paradigm — Green Economy and environmentally sound development.

Kazakhstan after the collapse of the Soviet Union got extremely severe environmental legacy: the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing ground, the catastrophic ecological situation in the Aral Sea, degradation of the ecosystem of the Caspian Sea and Lake Balkhash, billions of tones of industrial and toxic wastes, poor environmental infrastructure.

For the last years we had been able to solve a significant part of the most pressing environmental problems. We voluntarily closed the nuclear testing ground, setting an example for a safer world. Together with neighboring countries, we were able to collaborate on cross-border basin of the Aral and Caspian Seas.
We have restored in the interests of the population and ecology of the Northern Aral Sea. In a challenging period of the state, we have rehabilitated and minimize the effects of many accumulated over decades of «historical» pollution and depressed areas.

Reclamation of millions of tons of accumulated stockpiles of uranium production is now being completed; elimination of oil wells and barns in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea is in full of process which is known to be a unique place for biodiversity.
The program of provision of  population with clean drinking water, adopted a new government program "Zhasyl Damu — Green Development successfully had been implemented.

All this is done, mainly due to budgetary funds, as well as investments in the utility sector — construction of wastewater treatment plants, rural water supply facilities and landfills for disposal.

In order to attract private sector funds, we have begun to introduce public-private partnership, and extend this scheme in the environmental sector. For the purposes of pilot testing was elected the territory of Balkhash-Alakol basin  where the Government implemented a program of sustainable development in the region.
This would solve a significant part of investment issues at the expense of existing development institutions, as this is done in many European and Asian countries, particularly Germany, Japan and other countries. To this end, we created a special fund for sustainable development "Kazyna” aimed at modernizing the economy and the country's entrance to a new level of socio-economic development.

We have approved the Concept of the country's transition to sustainable development for the period until 2024. It has set benchmarks and targets for sustainable development. Kazakhstan has also adopted a package of commitments in the context of the Millennium Development Goals and steadily carries them out. Moreover, Kazakhstan acceded to the Copenhagen agreement and adopted voluntary commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions up to 15% by 2020 and up to quarter — by 2050 with respect to 1992.

Economic Development Strategy to 2020 has also recently entered into force, based on the principles of «Green Growth», provides the creation of a system of resource saving, energy efficiency and renewable.

But all this would have been impossible without the safety of stability, ethnic harmony and our support for regional security. It is also necessary to say that the issues of regional development and security depend on the cooperation and coordinated work with neighboring countries, supporting international organizations and partner countries.

The growing global threat of climate change, threats to energy, water and food security, as well as regional conflicts require new solutions and integration efforts of the entire world community.
All countries in Asia and the Pacific, the Eurasian continent connected river basins, mountain ecosystems and the seas. Not knowing the limits of boundaries of drought, forest fires, floods and mudflows of this summer — are manifestations of the growing processes of environmental degradation.

Kazakhstan participates in joint programs to address cross-border problems around the perimeter of the border — with the Russian Federation and China, countries of Central and South Asia and the Caucasus — in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Customs Union, EurAsEC, the «Environment for Europe», the Caspian Environment Programme and many others.
Taken together, all forms of cooperation are components of the future, we hope — more organized cooperation between the countries and regions.

We see the desirability of the future of the new inter-regional and inter-sectoral collaboration on green and safe development on the principles of public-private partnership.

Kazakhstan is contributing to this process in finding solutions and integration efforts of all parties — we have proposed initiative «Green Bridge» — «the Astana Initiative» as a further development of the Seoul Initiative «Green Growth».

In deciding on the proposal of the Astana Initiative, we are guided by the conviction that cooperation between Europe, Asia and the Pacific will only give positive results and the additional benefits of the regional programs.
Exchange of best practices, experiences, and creation of mechanisms for the transfer of clean technologies, joint investment and demonstration projects for the transition to a green economy and maintain shared ecosystems — it is not an exhaustive list of possibilities for such cooperation.
The initiative also involves the full participation of the private sector, international organizations and civil society, as sustainable development issues require the involvement of all parties.

Kazakhstan, being at the crossroads of different cultures, in the heart of the Eurasian continent which has shared transboundary ecosystems and the European and Asian countries put forward the Green Bridge, as the need to strengthen cooperation in modern conditions.

We create in Astana interregional and intersectoral office «Green Bridge» which in turn will support the development of the Special Partnership Program between the two regions — Europe, Asia and the Pacific region — with emphasis on aquatic ecosystems and climate change.
The 21st century should be a century of integration — from the sub-regional cooperation in many areas — to the global, from joint action against the economic crisis to interfaith dialogue.

Astana Initiative «Green Bridge» that promotes joint efforts of the Asia-Pacific and pan-European region can be — and we hope that will be one of factors of    of global environmental security.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The important forum — the Summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will be held in December this year in Kazakhstan, and the next year — Pan-European Conference «Environment for Europe» will also be held in Astana. One of the priority issues on the agendas of these forums will be Eurasian integration — not only in the field of environmental protection, but also in a broader context.

Kazakhstan as a country chairing the OSCE advocates strengthening the OSCE, to ensure parity of different formats of security and cooperation. For Kazakhstan — both geographically and historically a transit state — support for Eurasian, and now the Eurasian-Pacific cooperation are its natural interest and moral duty.
This conference, the Summit of the OSCE, following a similar conference for the Europe region which will also held in Kazakhstan's capital, and all subsequent high-level meetings, including the Summit of Heads of State on Sustainable Development in Brazil in 2012 — all of these forums will seek answers to global challenges.
They need to consistently generate and identify ways of further development of humanity — without conflict or without destroying the natural foundations of the future economy and the life on the planet.
I hope that our conference will be a noticeable contribution to the integration and cooperation for sustainable development and conservation of our planet.

I wish you success in the work of Conference!