Confidence Building Measures under the Istanbul process
4 September 2013
Record of Meeting
1) The 2nd Regional Technical Group meeting on Disaster Management Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) under the Istanbul process was convened on 4 September 2013 in Astana, Kazakhstan as the technical level follow-up of the ‘Heart of Asia’ Ministerial Conference held on 26 April 2013 in Almaty, Kazakhstan under the Istanbul Process.
2) The meeting was attended by representatives of the two lead countries (Kazakhstan and Pakistan), representatives of participating countries (Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan), representatives of supporting countries (Japan, Norway, Poland, Sweden, UK, USA) and representatives from three international organizations (European Union, NATO, UN offices (UNDP, UNISDR, UNOCHA).
3) The meeting agenda included the following points: progress made on implementation of the DM CBMs Plan, list of activities planned for the second half of 2013 and 2014, financial support to DM CBMs activities, and the next meeting of the group.
4) Participants highlighted the significant progress of implementing the DM CBMs Plan, despite its fairly recent adoption at the Ministerial Conference on 26 April 2013 in Almaty. Some participants mentioned that some activities had already been implemented before the formal adoption of the Plan.
5) Representatives of supporting countries (Norway and Poland) and UN agencies (UNDP, OCHA, ISDR) confirmed their readiness to implement practical activities within the Plan in the second half of 2013.
Japan confirmed their intention to organize a workshop in February 2014 (fiscal year 2013 in Japan)
The Pakistani side also expressed their readiness to organize some activities in 2013.
6) Participants emphasized the importance of the Centre for disaster response and risk reduction in Almaty, and its role as an effective part of implementing the DM CBMs Plan and in providing regional cooperation in the field of disaster response. The centre could assist the Afghani Government in strengthening the national disaster response system. The Kazakhstani side informed that on 17 May 2013 in Almaty, the Governments of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan signed the bilateral agreement creating this Centre in Almaty. The agreement is now in the process of ratification by the two sides. It was highlighted that this agreement is open-ended for other countries, especially countries of the region, to join.
Participants recognized that tasks of the Centre coincide with the tasks of the DM CBMs Plan.
The representative of UN OCHA asked the donor countries and international organizations to contribute to the activities of the Almaty Centre and informed that UN OCHA stands ready to support the Centre with the development of a regional information management portal for disaster response and risk reduction.
The Kazakhstani side informed that the package of documents regarding the Almaty Centre was sent to the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA). ANDMA is considering the opportunity of joining the Centre.
7) The NATO representative confirmed the organization’s willingness to participate in implementing the DM CBMs Plan through supporting the Almaty Centre for disaster response and risk reduction. The NATO Civil Emergency Planning Committee intends to cooperate with the Almaty Centre. NATO also backs the initiatives of supporting countries Norway and Poland. In addition, NATO representative pointed out that the organization is willing to consider any requests or suggestions from key stakeholders in implementing the Plan.
8) The European Union representative reiterated organization’s willingness to promote efforts made by sides in implementing the Plan through various projects, particularly DIPECHO projects implemented in collaboration with UN agencies. The EU can support the DM CBMs Plan though financial contributions to the Almaty Centre and strengthening the cooperation with the Almaty Centre in 2014.
9) The UN OCHA representative proposed to establish a small working group of technical experts for elaborating practical ways of implementing the DM CBMs Plan. This group is to take into consideration the outcomes of the various studies already undertaken on vulnerabilities and capacities in the region, and identify key focus areas for supporting countries depending on their strengths and capabilities. UNISDR floated the idea of hiring a consultant (pending donor support) to lead this working group. The group is to regularly report back on progress made to the co-lead countries, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. The idea of getting up a small working group of experts, led by a UNISDR consultant, was supported by all participants in the meeting.
10) The Swedish representative confirmed her country’s participation towards implementation of the Plan in coordination with her Norwegian counterparts.
11) The UNDP representative highlighted the importance of identifying achievements of implemented activities within the Plan to inform the further implementation and development of the Plan.
12) The UN representatives clarified that UNISDR will be responsible for the coordination of UN support towards implementation of the Plan.
13) The ANDMA representative pointed out the necessity of taking into consideration the actual tools and equipment used by Afghani rescuers during training events held by supporting countries and international organizations, and called all participants to consider this issue. The ANDMA representative also asked all sides to support ANDMA with basic equipment, and informed on the needs of the ANDMA office, including technical advisers to deal with emergencies.
14) Participants discussed financial matters regarding the implementation of the DM CBMs Plan. Particularly, the establishment of a Trust Fund.
The Japanese representative sated that it is advised to use existing frameworks rather than creating a new fund system.
The Polish representative stated the importance of paying attention on transparency matters in controlling money, and pointed that the solution of financial problems depends on the readiness of participating countries to accept a new funding mechanism. Poland admitted that such new funding system would not be as effective as existing ones.
The Pakistani side proposed to determine the list of activities needed and present them to the supporting countries for financial support.
15) All the participants re-affirmed their support towards implementation of the DM CBMs in order to take the Istanbul Process further.
16) This record of meeting was prepared and distributed among the ‘Heart of Asia’ participating countries, supporting countries and international organizations.
17) It was decided to present this record of meeting on the DM CBMs to the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) of the ‘Heart of Asia’ Countries, scheduled to be held on 23 September 2013 in New York.
18) The participants expressed their gratitude to the Republic of Kazakhstan for hosting this important second follow-up technical level consultation meeting after the Almaty Ministerial Conference and commend its leadership and commitment to take the Istanbul Process forward in the interest of lasting security and confidence building in the region.
19) The detailed list of participants of the meetings can be found in the Annex.