Statement by Ms. Natalia Gherman, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Central Asia, Head of the UNRCCA at the Conference “Central Asia: One Past and a Common Future, Cooperation for Sustainable Development and Mutual Prosperity
10-11 November 2017, Samarkand
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to express my gratitude to the Uzbek side for excellent organization of the Conference and warm hospitality.
I am happy to take part in my capacity as a co-organizer and would like to thank all the participants for a very enthusiastic response to our invitation.
The initiative on the International Conference in Samarkand under the auspices of the UN was one of the tangible outcomes of the visit of the UN SG Antonio Guterres to all five CA states in June 2017. The SG came to the region to support the positive regional dynamics and advanced cooperation between 5 CA counties that we continue to witness today.
This process is combined with economic complementarity, cultural and civilizational proximity of the countries concerned.
Therefore, we are strongly convinced that this forum will facilitate the consolidation of effective mechanisms and tools promoting stability and sustainable development of the region.
We all share the view that nowadays, more than ever before, we have to prioritize Prevention. In the UN context in particular, we’ve heard too many statements and reports in the past decades about how many prevention opportunities have been lost because of lack of trust within the states and among the states.
Let me quote the UN SG in this regard: “International cooperation for prevention, and particularly translating early warning into early action, depends on trust of the Member States, and their relations with the United Nations”.
“International cooperation for prevention, and particularly translating early warning into early action, depends on trust of the Member States, and their relations with the United Nations”.
The Central Asian states became nowadays more committed to enhance trust, through dialogue and cooperation. In this context, we aspire for a possibility of a regular high-level regional consolations’ mechanism owned by 5 CA states. I hope, our Conference and side events will be conducive towards this goal.
Demonstrated efforts of CA partners to adapt and modernize domestic institutional settings to the new realities and challenges deserve appreciation and steadfast support. In particular, I would like to refer to the host country – Uzbekistan, that in accordance with the National Strategy for Development 2017-2021 has notably contributed to revitalizing the regional dialogue with neighboring countries on important issues. This includes delimitation and demarcation of borders, transboundary water management, combating radicalization, facilitating economy and trade, transportation routes.
These processes were encouraged and supported by the UN, and our dialogue today is at the level of openness and interaction unseen before.
I am honored to lead one of the UN’s special political missions – the UNRCCA, that was established 10 years ago at the initiative of 5 CA states to use the UN platform inside the region in order to address existing and potential threats to regional peace and security. They refer to terrorism, organized crime, drugs and human trafficking. Another important part of our mandate is devoted to assisting the countries in establishing an effective model of use of common transboundary water resources.
In addition, dealing with socio-economic challenges, mitigation and prevention of interethnic terrorism, as well as spillover effect of the situation in Northern part of Afghanistan on the regional security and stability.
Throughout these years, the UNRCCA and the CA states has developed genuine partnership, our good offices and mediation proved to be useful in different situations, suffice is to recall the events in Osh in June 2010, when the Centre played an important mediation role.
We have been supporting all foreign policy initiatives of the CA states aimed at enhancing good-neighboring relations and emerging tensions by means of negotiations.
Responding to some of the most urgent necessities of the region, the UNRCCA will continue to support the countries in facing threats and radicalization, violent extremism, and provide coordination for the implementation of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy and the specific Action Plan for Central Asia.
At the initiative of 5 CA states, the General Assembly is about to adopt a Resolution on the 10th Anniversary of the UNRCCA. This is a clear proof of appreciation of the Centre’s important role for the region and we are grateful for this initiative.
As we all know, political will of the states concerned is key to achieving progress on contentious issues and creating environment for sustainable development.
Let us hope, that our Conference will encourage all stakeholders to enhance trust through dialogue and display political will in order to arrive at important solutions.