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Astana Calling

Issue No 265 FRIDAY, 10 AUGUST 2012 www.mfa.kz

A bi-weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Team Kazakhstan Wins More Olympic Golds

Kazakhstan Close to WTO Membership

Three more gold medals and two bronzes added to the total

The country is approaching the goal it was working towards since 1993

Kazakhstan’s 20 Years of Partnership with UN ESCAP

Things to Watch

Educational Reform Drives Strategic Change Also in the News

Minister Zhumagulov’s article on current education reforms is published

Focus on Health in the Society of Universal Labour

Kazakhstan Calls On the Global Community to Support Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Kazakhstan’s Health Ministry wants to increase medicines awareness

MFA releases statement to mark the 67th anniversary of atomic bombing of Hiroshima

ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 265 /1


Team Kazakhstan Wins More Olympic Golds Team Kazakhstan continues its winning streak at the 2012 London Olympics, claiming three more gold medals in recent days, to add to three secured earlier by cyclist Alexander Vinokourov and weightlifters Zulfiya Chinshanlo and Maiya Maneza. Reigning Olympic champion Ilya Ilyin set two new world records when he once again took the under-94kg men’s weightlifting gold. The 24-year-old maintained his unbeaten record in international competition with a total of 418kg, and broke the clean and jerk record with a lift of 233kg. Olga Rypakova cleared her closest competitor by 18 cms to take gold in the women’s triple jump. The 27 year-old former heptathlete and long jumper, who won silver at last year’s world championships, jumped 14.98 meters. Kazakhstan’s third gold for women’s weightlifting was claimed by Svetlana Podobedova, after an epic battle in the women’s 75 kilogramme final. Podobedova and Russia’s Natalya Zabolotnaya lifted equal total weights of 291 kilogrammes but Podobedova’s lower body weight clinched the gold medal. She also achieved Olympic records in the clean and jerk and the total of the two routines. Danyal Gajiyev secured a bronze medal for Kazakhstan in the men’s 84 kilogramme Greco-Roman wrestling. Marina Volnova brought a second bronze medal after a women’s 75 kilogramme semifinal boxing match. Back to Contents Ilya Ilyin, Olga Rypakova, Svetlana Podobedova, Danyal Gadjiyev and Marina Volnova add 3 gold and 2 bronze to the count

ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 265 /2


The official logo of the World Trade Organization

the World Trade Organisation will be a crucial step in this process. WTO membership will accelerate Kazakhstan’s integration into the global economy and enable the country to move smoothly on to the next stage of economic development. More information on Kazakhstan’s path to WTO membership can be found on the Prime Minister’s website: www.pm.kz Back to Contents

Kazakhstan’s 20 Years of Partnership with UN ESCAP By Nikolay Pomoshchnikov

Kazakhstan Close to WTO Membership Kazakhstan is finally approaching the goal of WTO membership that it has been working towards since 1996. There has been substantial further progress since the Working Group on Kazakhstan’s accession last met in April 2012 to discuss the final draft document outlining Kazakhstan’s trade and economic regime and set out the conditions and commitments of WTO membership. Kazakhstan has now agreed on bilateral conditions for access to the commodity and services market with 30 other WTO members: these include the country’s biggest trading partners, the EU and the US, as well as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, India, Israel, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Republic of El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland and Turkey. Negotiations are nearly finished with the European Union on the application of exports tariffs by Kazakhstan related to sensitive products. Multilateral talks are well advanced and the pace is set to increase in the coming weeks: negotiations with members of the Working Group are due to conclude by October 2012, clearing the way for adjustments to goods tariffs which will be necessary to meet commitments set by the Customs Union. At the same time, bilateral negotiations between Kazakhstan and the EU on Kazakhstan’s application of export customs duties on sensitive items for the EU are drawing to a close. Meanwhile, negotiations on state measures to support agriculture (which began in May this year) are expected to conclude in September 2012, to be followed by multilateral negotiations until November. Once this last piece of the complex preparation is in place, the final version of the Working Group’s draft report on Kazakhstan’s accession to the WTO will be written. The package of signed documents will be ratified at a later date. President Nazarbayev has set Kazakhstan on course to become one of the world’s 50 most competitive economies and joining

31 July 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s accession to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). ESCAP is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region and has 62 member states. It is the largest UN body serving the Asia-Pacific region. For over 50 years ESCAP has pursued the development of modern infrastructure across the Asia-Pacific region, through improving capacities in many areas, including transportation, energy, information and communication technology (ICT) and water resources. In recent years, ESCAP has seen tangible returns on its efforts to encourage cooperation between Asia-Pacific countries on transportation issues, with work well advanced on the Integrated Asian Land Transport Infrastructure Development (ALTID). Energy issues are increasingly at the top of the ESCAP agenda, which includes developing the Asia-Pacific response to the UN initiative “Sustainable Energy for All”. During 20 years of close cooperation with ESCAP, Kazakhstan has hosted key ESCAP events such as the 63rd Session of the Commission (2007) and the 6th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (2010). In 2011 Kazakhstan was selected for the launch of ESCAP’s flagship publication – “Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific – 2011”. The trust placed in Kazakhstan was further confirmed, and its progress in developing as an independent counDr. Nikolay Pomoshchnikov, Head ESCAP Subregional Office for North and Central Asia in Almaty

President Nazarbayev has set Kazakhstan on course to become one of the world’s 50 most competitive economies and joining the World Trade Organisation will be a crucial step in this process. ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 265 /3


During 20 years of close cooperation with ESCAP, Kazakhstan has hosted key ESCAP events such as the 63rd Session of the Commission (2007) and the 6th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (2010). try recognized, when ESCAP chose Almaty as the location for its Subregional Office for North and Central Asia (SONCA). SONCA covers Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan participates in the activities of SONCA as a member of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) and SONCA also serves as a UN office for SPECA. In its day-to-day work, SONCA addresses priority challenges of the subregion. Key areas of focus include regional cooperation in transportation, trade and investments, energy, disaster risk reduction, sustainable use of water and energy resources and environmental protection. SONCA and Kazakhstan also work closely together with the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea (IFAS). Under the chairmanship of Kazakhstan, IFAS has developed a comprehensive program to save and replenish the Aral Sea and SONCA is supporting the implementation of several related projects. The author is the Head of the ESCAP Subregional Office for North and Central Asia in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Back to Contents

Focus on Health in the Society of Universal Labour Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan has set up a Working Group to increase awareness in society of how to use medicines effectively. This forms part of the Ministry’s implementation of the new program set out by President Nazarbayev in July 2012: “Social Modernization of Kazakhstan: 20 Steps to a Society of Universal Labour”. The central idea of the Society of Universal Labour is to build a modern economy that is resilient in the face of crisis and has social justice at its core. The health sector in Kazakhstan was entirely state-controlled during the Soviet era and the transition to an effective public/private sector balance continues. While progress has been made and state expenditure on health reached 4.5% of GDP in 2009, work remains to be done to ensure access to high quality healthcare for all citizens. For example, rates of infant and maternal mortality, though lower than in other Central Asian republics, are higher in Kazakhstan than in western countries, while life expectancy also remains

“The new Working Group examined a detailed plan covering legislation, information and reference materials and adopted various measures to enhance the population’s basic understanding of medicines.” −Yerik Baizhunusov, Vice Minister of Health

The Ministry of Health is studying the positive effects of the public information work conducted in the UK and Germany.

low compared with the West (in 2010 this was 63 years for men and 74 for women according to World Health Organization statistics). The World Health Organization supports Kazakhstan in its drive to improve the efficiency of the healthcare sector and its 2010/11 Biennial Collaborative Agreement with Kazakhstan defines three top priorities of (i) strengthening the health system, (ii) improving mother and child health and (iii) strengthening surveillance and treatment of communicable diseases including HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and vaccine preventable diseases. The Ministry of Health is studying the positive outcomes achieved by the UK and Germany in medical provision for the population, including their public information work. At a recent meeting chaired by Vice Minister of Health Erik Baizhunusov, the new Working Group examined a detailed plan covering legislation, information and reference materials and adopted various measures to enhance the population’s basic understanding of medicines. Action approved by the Working Group includes the setting up of advisory centres to counsel the population on responsible self-treatment and the safe use of medicines. Proposals are also being considered for more input from the regional councils, using the Healthy Lifestyle Centres in Astana and Almaty and using modern communication methods to inform the population about medicines. Back to Contents

Educational Reform Drives Strategic Change Kazakhstan’s Minister of Education, Bakytzhan Zhumagulov, outlined the focus of the current education reforms in an article published by US-based Education News on July 30. Below is a summary of the article. Since Kazakhstan gained independence in 1991 the economy has more than doubled in size and basic economic indicators are far ahead of other Central Asian countries; socio-economic development continues to gain momentum and the time is right to focus on education as a high priority. In 2011 Kazakhstan embarked on a ten-year programme to overhaul the entire education system. With 30 per cent of the population aged between 15-30 years and almost one-third under 15 years, educational reform offers a platform to achieve rapid and far-reaching results. ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 265 /4


Improving the status of teachers in society and attracting young people into education and research are key targets. More than 120,000 teachers will complete additional training in the next few years through a program for continuous learning. Kazakhstan has always placed a high priority on both the pure science and applied research sectors. State funding for research has grown rapidly over the past two years, working towards a target of one per cent of GDP by 2014. A new research management model, based on consultation with national research councils, has re-focused research on the needs of the new economy. Efforts are also underway to increase private sector involvement in scientific research and to coordinate education, research and innovation in line with best global practice. The full text of the article is available at: http://educationviews. org/educational-reform-in-kazakhstan Back to Contents

Kazakhstan Calls On the Global Community to Support Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Bakytzhan Zhumagulov, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Education

With 30 per cent of the population aged between 15-30 years and almost one-third under 15 years, educational reform offers a platform to achieve rapid and far-reaching results. While rich in natural resources, Kazakhstan is seeking to reduce dependency on raw material exports and focus on the development of innovative industries. President Nazarbayev has defined a new national goal of improving living standards by achieving a qualitative leap in economic growth. Educational reform will help to achieve this goal by fuelling the innovation required to drive a knowledge-based economy. Since the earliest days of independence, Kazakhstan has sought to co-operate with leading international universities. The ‘Bolashak’ international scholarship programme established in 1993 has enabled over 6,000 students to attend universities abroad; many ‘Bolashak’ graduates now occupy leading positions in the state and private sectors of Kazakhstan. In 2011, Kazakhstan committed to the Bologna process, designed to ensure comparability in standards and quality of higher education throughout the “European Higher Education Area”. Nazarbayev University, founded in 2010, is leading the way by introducing best international practice to the curriculum and conducting high-level research in energy, life sciences and educational policies. Kazakhstan’s partnership with the international education community has brought positive change to a higher education system encompassing 600,000 students across 143 universities. Corporate management techniques, multilingual education and the promotion of academic mobility have set new benchmarks. A new PhD programme will equip the next generation of academics with the skills to develop cutting edge knowledge and integrate into the global academic community.

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the following statement on August 6 to mark the 67th anniversary of the atomic attack on Japan: “August 6 1945 will forever be recorded in the history of humankind as a day of tragedy for the Japanese nation, which suffered from the atomic attacks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For almost 70 years now, this has been a day of remembrance and sorrow. The people of Kazakhstan, being the first to experience the tragedies of nuclear tests, can empathize with the pain and suffering that the Japanese nation had to endure. From 1949 to 1989, over the 40 years that the Semipalatinsk test site was in operation, there were more than 450 nuclear explosions which affected more than one million people. On August 29th 1991, by the will of the nation and the decree of President N. Nazarbayev, the test site was closed forever. We are grateful to the Japanese nation for the help they gave us in eliminating the effects of nuclear testing. Hiroshima and Semey have become not only symbols of tragedy, but also of the struggle against nuclear threats. Together with Japan and other members of the global community, Kazakhstan is actively and consistently conducting a policy aimed at freeing human kind from nuclear weapons and strengthening the nonproliferation regime. In 2009, on Kazakhstan’s initiative, a resolution was adopted at the UN General Assembly to make August 29th the International Day of Action Against Nuclear Tests. Each year on this day events are held to remind the world of the terrible effects of nuclear tests, and that they must not be allowed to take place again in the future. As a country at the forefront of the global anti-nuclear movement, Kazakhstan calls on the global community to adopt the General Declaration of a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World, so that all states can show their commitment to move towards a world free of nuclear weapons. The Declaration will become the next impor-

“We believe that the only guarantee for the Hiroshima tragedy never again to be repeated anywhere on the planet is to rid the earth of nuclear weapons once and for all.” ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 265 /5


tant step towards adopting a convention on nuclear weapons. We believe that the only guarantee for the Hiroshima tragedy never again to be repeated anywhere on the planet is to rid the earth of nuclear weapons once and for all.” Back to Contents

Also in the News: • On August 3 Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov met in Astana with Herman Nackaerts, Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). During the meeting, the Minister noted the positive dynamic of cooperation between Kazakhstan and the IAEA. The Minister said that Kazakhstan’s eagerness to cooperate with the IAEA has been spurred on by Nursultan Nazarbayev’s meetings with Yukiya Amano - the Director General of the IAEA – at the Washington and Seoul Summits on Nuclear Safety, and also by the Director General’s visit to Kazakhstan in 2011 to participate in the ‘Nuclear-Free World Forum’. •O  n August 7 during the Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan, Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov met with the representative of the diplomatic corps of Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The Minister wished the foreign diplomats a holy Ramadan and a happy Oraza Ait after the fast, saying that “at this significant time for every Muslim, it is especially important to emphasize the high moral values and human principles of Islam, and to highlight the meaning of unity amongst Muslims”. • The biography of the first President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, was printed by “Delovoy Mir Astana” publishing office. This is the first time an official historical and biographical account of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s life and work has been written. The focus is on his political biography presented through a historical retrospective of the dramatic events that took place during Kazakhstan’s development at the turn of the 20th century. A large amount of research for the book was carried out on the basis of the documents from the Central State Archive, the President’s Archive, the First President’s Museum, the Presidential Administration and other archives in Kazakhstan’s regions. • According to current data, on July 1 2012, the population of Kazakhstan reached 16.79 million people – an increase of 1.6 % over one year. Astana remains the leading city in Kazakhstan for population growth –up 17,500 from the beginning of the year to 760,500 on July 1st. In the first six months of this year, Almaty’s peopulation went up to 1.46 million– an increase of 9,900. The fastest-growing part of the country is still South Kazakhstan Region that saw a population increase of 30,300 in the first half of the year, taking the total to 2.65 million people. Next in line is the Almaty Region – an increase of 18,800, taking the total to 1.93 million people, and then the Mangistau Region – an increase of 11,900, taking the total to 557,600 people. • Last week marked the successful official opening of the Second

Film and Culture Festival, Kazakhsan: Kaleidoscope of Movies, in the prestigious Directors Guild of America building in Los Angeles, where a sumptuous reception was held. The guests included the world-renowned Hollywood actor, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (he played the main role in ‘Mortal Combat’); the Hollywood producer and honorary consul of Kazakhstan in Los Angeles, Steven-Charles Jaffe (his films include and ‘Ghost’ and ‘K-2’); the accomplished screenwriter, Sid Ganis (he headed the Oscars Academy for four years); President of Riley Studios, Michael Moore, and many other Hollywood stars as well as business representatives and representatives of the Kazakhstani diaspora. •B  erik Aryn, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan in Cairo and Asit Kaya, Charge d’Affaires of the Republic of Turkey, presented Nabil Al-Arabi, the Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS) with an official invitation from Kazakhstan’s and Turkey’s Foreign Ministers, Yerzhan Kazykhanov and Ahmet Davutoglu, to take part in the fourth meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). The meeting will take place on September 12 2012 in Astana, coinciding with the 20-year anniversary of the founding of the organization. Back to Contents

Things to Watch: • The Eighth International Film Festival ‘Eurasia’, will take place on September 17-22 in Almaty. This year films from countries in Central Asia, the CIS, the European Union and Asia will be shown. The program will include an international competition for featurelength films, a Central Asian panorama, the program ‘Dynamic Kazakh Cinema’ and also other programs that are not part of the competition. Juries of the prestigious film critics FIPRESCI and NETPAK will work alongside the international judges. • On August 13-15, Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov will take part in the Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers and the Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. • The International Conference for a Nuclear-Weapon-Free World will take place on August 27-29 in Astana, Kurchatov and Semey. The events in which national representatives from different countries will take part, will give a powerful impetus for widespread international support of Kazakhsan’s initiative. The main organizers are Kazakhstan’s Parliament (Majilis) and the Nazarbayev Center. Back to Contents

ASTANA CALLING is a bi-weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Please send your requests and questions to pressa@mfa.kz ASTANA CALLING / ISSUE 265 /6

Astana Calling #265  

A weekly online publication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan

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