In light of the global pandemic, launching of a biological weapons control system is becoming more acute than ever, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said at the General Debate of the 75th session of the UNGA “The future we want, the UN we need: Reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism” on September 23.
“Kazakhstan proposes to establish a special multilateral body – the International Agency for Biological Safety – based on the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and accountable to the UN Security Council,” he said.
The nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament crisis is looming right behind the pandemic. “Kazakhstan has been the role model of a responsible state by willingly abandoning its nuclear arsenal and shutting down world’s biggest nuclear test site.
However, continuous erosion of the non-proliferation regime leaves us in a dangerous position,” he said.
Kazakhstan urged all Member States to join its appeal to nuclear powers to take necessary and urgent measures to save the humankind from a nuclear disaster.
“In this respect we appreciate an active role played by relevant UN institutions including the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization. We believe that legally-binding negative security assurances should be given to every non-nuclear-weapon state. That is why we urge all P5 countries to ratify the respective Protocols to the Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaties, including Semipalatinsk Treaty,” he said.
According to the Kazakh President, the international community needs to do more to combat the health crisis following the coronavirus outbreak.
“Firstly, to build a strong global health system priority must be given to upgrading national health institutions through timely and coordinated support from developed countries and UN agencies,” he said. “Secondly, we must take the politics out of the vaccine. It is not too late for reaching a COVID-19 vaccine trade and investment agreement that would protect global production and supply chains. Thirdly, it may be necessary to revise the International Health Regulations to increase the World Health Organization’s capacity, and to develop national capabilities in preventing and responding to diseases. Fourthly, we suggest that the idea of a network of Regional Centres for Disease Control and Biosafety under the UN auspices be closely examined. Kazakhstan stands ready to host such a regional centre,” Tokayev said.
Turning to the global economy, Tokayev urged the UN delegates to step up urgent concerted efforts for a truly global economic recovery. “I join the Secretary-General’s call on rescue package amounting to 10% of the world economy and share his view that the response to the pandemic should be based on a New Global Deal to create equal and broader opportunities for all,” he said.
Tokayev called for the suspension of debt repayments by the poorest countries to help reduce uncertainty. International financial institutions need to implement innovative solutions like debt-to-health system swaps.
“I hope that the upcoming High-Level Meeting on Financing for Development will produce concrete measures. Landlocked developing countries have been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19 which has severely damaged trade and supply chains,” Tokayev said.
As the current Chair of the LLDC Group, Kazakhstan has proposed a UN Roadmap to reinvigorate implementation of the Vienna Programme of Action, he said.
“The highest expectation of our people is practical deliverables within Agenda 2030.
We need prompt and well-coordinated steps to get back on track for an accelerated SDG Decade of Action – probably the most critical decade of our generation. The very basic target, zero hunger is to be provided unconditionally. In this context, we note the importance of convening a Food Systems Summit in 2021,” he said.
The Kazakh President said the Islamic Organization for Food Security, initiated by his country is ready to assist the international humanitarian campaign through the creation of food reserves. “We should renew our commitment to leave no one behind, especially women, youth, children, elders, persons with disabilities, disproportionately affected by the crisis. The largest disruption of education systems in history should be stopped from becoming a generational catastrophe. Civic engagement and private sector involvement are also critical for solving current pressing problems. During past months we have witnessed strong solidarity all over the world through volunteering.
To acknowledge the role of volunteers, I propose the United Nations to proclaim an International Year of Mobilising Volunteers for Development. In Kazakhstan I announced the current year as a Year of Volunteers,” he said.
Turning to climate change, Tokayev said it’s an existential crisis for the world civilisation. “The climate emergency is a race we are losing. But the post-COVID recovery gives us unique opportunity to put environmental protection at the forefront of international agenda. We must unite around the UN’s six climate positive actions.
Kazakhstan is very vulnerable to the various effects of the climate change. The tragedies of Aral Sea and Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, the rapid melting of glaciers, and desertification threaten not only Kazakhstan and Central Asian region, but also the entire world,” he said.
Although Kazakhstan is highly dependent on fossil fuels and has a long way to go to meet Paris 2030 targets, the countru’s commitment to develop a decarbonised economy has no alternative, he said. “We will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2030 through economic overhaul and industrial modernisation. And yet, in next five years we will plant more than two billion trees,” he said.
Due to the immensely growing demand for confidence-building, Kazakhstan aims to transform Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia into a full-fledged organization for security and development in Asia, he said.
Tokayev invited all countries to join the Code of Conduct for Achieving a World Free of Terrorism. “Kazakhstan was among the first to repatriate our women and children from war-torn Syria and Iraq. It was not an easy decision, but absolutely necessary one.
It is our strong belief that the United Nations must lead the global effort to overcome the pandemic, accelerate recovery and improve prospects for global governance,” he said.
Turning to the national level, Tokayev said Kazakhstan is determined to build an economically strong, democratically advanced and human-oriented “Listening State”.
“Therefore, we conduct political and economic reforms that are expected to give a boost to the development of our society to meet up the expectations of our people.
We have decriminalised defamation, adopted new laws on political parties and on the peaceful mass meetings,” he said, adding that the country has reduced the gender Inequality Index value by two times and have introduced a mandatory 30% quota for women and youth in election party lists. “We have helped 4.5 million fellow-citizens who temporarily lost their income during pandemic having allocated for this goal 1.1 billion dollars. Over a million people have received food and household packages. It was an unprecedented measure in our part of the world,” he said.
Tokayev noted that regional cooperation has always been Kazakhstan’s main focus and commitment. Central Asia is undergoing rapid transformation through significant expansion of regional cooperation in various fields. “No doubt that a prosperous, strong and united Central Asia is beneficial both for regional and global stakeholders.
As to regional stability, the rational use of transboundary water resources is instrumental. We thus propose the establishment of a Regional water and energy consortium,” he said, adding, “To coordinate development agenda in the region we intend to institutionalise a UN-led regional SDGs Center in Almaty”.