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UN Economic Commission for Europe

The cooperation between Kazakhstan and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) includes cooperation in energy, environmental protection, efficient use of water resources, transport and trade. Kazakhstan became a member of the UNECE on 31 January 1994.

In recent years joint activities of Kazakhstan with UNECE has been further developed, both in bilateral and multilateral formats within the expert group meetings, the UNECE Committees and the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA).

Representatives of government authorities of Kazakhstan, scientific and public institutions take an active part in various meetings, sessions and conferences of UNECE in Geneva. UNECE Delegations regularly participate in Astana Economic Forum (Mr. Ján Kubiš, Executive Secretary — 2009/10, Mr. R.Dobrynski, UNECE Director of the Committee on Economic Cooperation and Integration — 2012, Mr. Sven Alkalaj, Executive Secretary — 2013).

Signed in 2010 a Memorandum of Cooperation between the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS) and the UNECE contributed to enhancing bilateral cooperation in this area. As a result of it on 9-15 December 2010 in Almaty was held donor conference on the Aral Sea, the results of which was adopted by the 3rd program “Improvement of the environmental and socio-economic situation in the Aral Sea region and to assist the Aral Sea region countries for 2011-2015”.

In 2010, the Government of Kazakhstan has made a voluntary contribution of 20 thousand US dollars in the SPECA budget for costs associated with the activities of the Project Group on Inland Transport. Kazakhstan is still contributes to the activities of the Project Group and plans to increase the level of contributions.

In January 2012 former UN Under Secretary General — Executive Secretary of UNECE Ján Kubiš was awarded the Order “Dostyk” of the second degree for contribution to the development of relations between Republic of Kazakhstan and the UNECE.

One of the achievements of cooperation between ECE and the Kazakhstan could be mentioned the preparation by the ECE Secretariat of the “Review of innovation activity in Kazakhstan “, on which the work began in 2011. Presentation of the UNECE project “Review of innovation activity in Kazakhstan” took place during the V session of the Team of Specialists of Innovation and Competitiveness Policies, held in April 2012. The presentation of the Review also held in Astana.

On 14-15 November 2012, Almaty hosted the UN conference dedicated to investment in advanced technologies for fossil fuels.

Kazakh delegation headed by Mr. Dzhaksaliev, Vice-Minister of Energy participated in the Workshop on the production of clean energy, as well as the 10th session of the Expert Group for the production of clean energy from fossil fuels on 20-21 October 2014 in Geneva.

On 25-27 November 2014 the new UNECE Executive Secretary Cristian F.Bach visited Astana to participate in the 25th session of the Energy Charter Conference. During the visit there were organized bilateral meetings with Mr. Karim Massimov, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Erlan Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Vladimir Shkolnik, Minister of Energy, Mr. Asset Issekeshev, Minister for Investment and Development.

At the 66th session of the UNECE on 16 April 2015 Republic of Kazakhstan was unanimously elected to the post of Chairman of the UNECE and the Executive Committee for two years.

In the light of the chairmanship Kazakhstan outlined next priorities in following areas: transit-transport potential, sustainable development after 2015 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), environment and water resources, sustainable energy.

The UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy at its twenty-fourth session welcomed and supported the offer by Kazakhstan to host a ministerial conference and the Eighth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development (the Eighth Forum) on 11 June 2017 in Astana. In consequence, the Governments of Kazakhstan has been collaborating with the sustainable energy subprogramme under the oversight of the Bureau to develop a concept, process and draft outcome document to support the energy ministerial to be held on 11 June 2017, on the second day of EXPO 2017 “Future Energy” and on the first day of the Eighth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development, kindly hosted by Kazakhstan in the framework of EXPO 2017 “Future Energy”.

The Eighth Forum begin with a ministerial event with the title “Meeting the challenge of sustainable energy”. It is jointly organized by the Government of Kazakhstan and the United Nations Regional Commissions. Other organizations, including, but not limited to, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Energy Charter, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the World Energy Council (WEC), and the United Nations Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative will be approached to partner.

The expectation is that ministers participating in the energy ministerial at the Eighth Forum on 11 June 2017 will commit to concrete actions to accelerate achievement of the energy-related Sustainable Development Goals.

Member States of the UNECE and the Committee have already been invited to engage in a process that could lead to an endorsed statement and outcome document in support of the ministerial meeting.

On the 7th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, which was held in Budapest on 17-19 November 2015, it was decided to hold the 8th session of the meeting of the parties in Kazakhstan. The obligation to hold the next session of the Meeting of the Parties opens up opportunities but also responsibilities, in particular, the chairmanship of the Convention in the 2019-2021 years. Three years of Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the Water Convention will be of strategic importance not only for the global opening of the Convention, but also to strengthen its role as a “United Nations House on transboundary waters.”

On 8-11 March 2016 the Kazakh delegation headed by Mr. Arman Shakkaliev, Director General of the “Kazakhstan Institute of Standardization and Certification” took part in (WP.29) World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (168th session). During the session the Kazakh delegation met with the management and experts of the UNECE Inland Transport Committee to discuss the normative regulation of the transport infrastructure. The parties agreed to hold a thematic seminar in Astana.

On 30-31 March 2016, Mr. Yelzhan Birtanov, Vice-Minister of Health and Social Development participated in the “International UNECE PPP Forum Implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda through effective, people-first Public-Private Partnership. The Forum also addressed the main challenges in the development of PPP standards, the role of Project Teams, the coordination with each other, and their responsibilities, with the aim to discuss actions to accelerate the production of the standards and the action plan for going forward. Vice Minister presented the projects that are implemented with the participation of PPP in Kazakhstan, and invited members of the UNECE PPP Business Advisory Board to hold workshop on the use of PPP instruments.

On 24 June 2016, there was held an official meeting of Mrs. Zhanar Aitzhanova, the Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva with Mr. Christian F. Bach. During the meeting were discussed the further prospects of cooperation and Kazakhstan’s chairmanship in the UNECE.

On 14 September the delegation of Kazakhstan took part in the 77th session of the Housing and Land Use Committee of the UNECE, where was approved the decision to hold the country review on housing and land management issues in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

14-16 September Mr. Jean Todt, the UN SG’s Special Envoy for Road Safety visited Astana to participate in the IV Forum of Mechanical Engineers of Kazakhstan. During the visit there were organized bilateral meetings with Mr. Askar Mamin, First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Mr. Zhenis Kassymbek,  Minister for Investments and Development, Mr. Asset Issekeshev, Mayor of Astana, Mr. Bauyrzhan Baibek, Mayor of Almaty.

At the 25th session of the Committee on Sustainable Energy of the Mr. Ramazan Zhampiisov, Executive Director of KAZENERGYAssociation was elected as a Vice-Chairman of the Bureau of the Committee.