Executive Secretary Emphasizes Economic Integration, Cooperation in Mission to Kazakhstan

20 May 2019

ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Alisjahbana joined the high-level UN delegation at the 2019 Astana Economic Forum and held bilateral meetings with government representatives on a visit to Kazakhstan from 15 to 17 May.

At the Astana Economic Forum, the Executive Secretary spoke on the high-level panel on ‘25 Years of Eurasian Integration: from Idea to Implementation’ where she highlighted that successful integration in the subregion will depend on a sustainable approach to transport and trade facilitation, as well as strengthened cooperation.

On 16 May, Ms. Alisjahbana joined Prime Minister of Kazakhstan H.E. Askar Mamin to open the First Kazakhstan Forum for the SDGs. In her opening statement, she noted, “Kazakhstan and North and Central Asia have great potential to take the sustainable development agenda a step further. Our focus must be on strategically targeting our investments and deepening economic integration.” The focus of the Forum was on shaping long-term economic growth and social development strategies.

Ms. Alisjahbana met with key national representatives of Kazakhstan, including a bilateral with Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Beibut Atamkulov, where she expressed support for Kazakhstan’s ongoing international and regional efforts to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs through policy coherence, participation and partnerships.

She also met with the President of Kazakhstan, H.E. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. During the meeting, both leaders conveyed mutual support between Kazakhstan and ESCAP in support of the country's sustainable development initiatives and economic integration in Central Asia. She further emphasized ESCAP support for trade facilitation with approaches like digitalization and paperless trade for improved connectivity.

In a meeting with the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, H.E. Askar Mamin, the Executive Secretary highlighted Kazakhstan’s leadership in implementing the SDGs and upcoming presentation of its Voluntary National Reviews, while underscoring the need for nationalization of SDGs targets in an inclusive manner.

With the Deputy Minister of Economy H.E. Zhaslan Madiyev, Ms. Alisjahbana discussed the greater role Kazakhstan can play in supporting development of landlocked developing countries as well as its continued engagement with ESCAP on strengthening public-private partnerships and infrastructure financing networks.

During her visit, Ms. Alisjahbana also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to broaden areas of collaboration between ESCAP and the Eurasian Economic Commission. The agreement marks a continuation of strengthened partnership for sustainable development as the region becomes more closely connected.

The Executive Secretary also engaged with UN Resident Coordinator Norimasa Shimomura and the Country Team in Kazakhstan for discussions on SDG implementation at the national level with various stakeholders.