Kazakhstan in the un security council – interim results

Abstract. The article analyzes the main aspects of Kazakhstan’s activity as a non-permanent member in the UN Security Council for eleven months of 2017. The author focuses the reader’s attention on the results achieved by Kazakhstan in terms of the foreign policy strategy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2014-2020 and on the basis of the four basic principles of Kazakhstan’s activities in the UN Security Council: food security; water security; energy security; and nuclear security.

The first year of activity of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member is coming to an end. Before the presidency of our country in this authoritative body during January 2018, a body which is responsible for the maintenance of peace and security on the planet, it makes sense to sum up some intermediate results.

It should be reminded that Kazakhstan set out on its path to the key decision-making body at global level, the UN Security Council, on March 2, 1992, when it became a member of this universal organization. Since that time, the country has had the opportunity at world level not only to declare itself but also to play an active part in solving mankind’s problems.

Kazakhstan proclaimed its peaceful position through Nursultan Nazarbayev, who first spoke in 1992 at the UN General Assembly as the head of an independent state.

The world community for a quarter of a century observed not only the unprecedented voluntary rejection by the state of nuclear weapons, but its efforts, both in the sphere of nuclear non-proliferation, and in the settlement of conflict situations between countries at the regional and international levels. Since then, a peacekeeping mission has become the cornerstone of our country’s foreign policy. 25 years of independence of the Republic was also the 25th year of fruitful cooperation of Kazakhstan and the UN.

It should be noted that, thanks to the balanced foreign policy course of N. Nazarbayev, over the last quarter of a century the country has made the long journey from a debutant in international relations to an active and authoritative member of a unique global organization. This was confirmed at the beginning of 2017 by the participation of the state as a non-permanent member in the work of the Security Council.

During the first half of 2013, the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Kazakhstan conducted preparatory work for joining the specialized UN body. In September, Kazakhstan submitted its candidacy for a seat as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the Asia-Pacific region for 2017/2018, creating competition for Thailand. On June 28, 2016, at a vote at UN headquarters in New York, Kazakhstan, having won 138 votes out of 193 UN member states, was elected for the first time as a non- permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2017–2018.

It should be noted that the program Kazakhstan put forward for its candidature of the UN Security Council proved to be quite convincing, as it gathered gaining a significant majority of votes. As a result, within two years Kazakhstan will be able to influence the adoption of a number of important decisions and the preparation of documents of a geopolitical nature for UN resolutions, albeit without a veto.

Kazakhstan’s membership of the UN Security Council, according to Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, is not only the logical outcome of twenty-five years of implementation of foreign policy strategy but also naturally acts as a prologue to the qualitatively new status of Kazakhstan on the world stage in terms of the Third Modernization of Kazakhstan. In this context, the work of the ROK in the UN Security Council is seen as a nationwide project [1].

It is worth noting that Kazakhstan has joined the UN Security Council at a time when the global security system is undergoing a period of increasing instability. Today, the United Nations faces challenges that need to be responded to quickly and efficiently. The worsening of global problems is characterized by the intensification of international terrorism, the challenges to food and water security in Central Asia, conflicts in Africa and the Middle East, and the nuclear arms race. The Organization and, most importantly, the Security Council, have a substantial responsibility and, more, the need to prove their effectiveness.

At the same time, such key issues of the global discourse as sustainable development, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation of WMD, economic integration, dialogue of civilizations, peacekeeping, human rights, combating transnational challenges and threats are the areas in which Kazakhstan has great experience and high authority.

As a regional leader, a global partner in security issues and a country that makes a significant contribution to international peacekeeping missions, the Republic of Kazakhstan wants to use its unique experience and expertise to address a number of pressing issues currently facing the UN Security Council.

In addition, our country pays special attention to the settlement of the situation in Afghanistan, since without achieving lasting peace and stability in that country, it is impossible to ensure sustainable security in the Central Asian region. Kazakhstan promotes the international initiatives of the Head of State in the field of nuclear non-proliferation, combating terrorism and extremism, along with those set out in the Manifesto, “The World in the 21st century”, which are an integral part of the agenda of Kazakhstan in the UN Security Council.

Today, work in the UN Security Council is well under way, and the Kazakh delegation is actively involved in the consideration of the entire agenda of the Security Council. And the Kazakh diplomats daily participate in discussions on the world’s most important political platform, study and analyze huge amounts of information and participate in the development and adoption of truly important international decisions.

Along with that, it should be highlighted that Kazakhstan’s major contribution to the work of the UN’s main body for ensuring peace and security was the special political appeal of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev’s speech entitled, “Kazakhstan’s Vision for Strengthening Global Partnership for Building a Safe, Fair and Prosperous World”, presented on January 10, 2017 at the open debate of the UN Security Council.

As a result, this appeal received the official status of a document of the General Assembly and the UN Security Council.

In the address of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, seven priorities for work in the UN Security Council were outlined:

  1. Achieving a world free of nuclear weapons;
  2. Preventing and completely eliminating the threat of a global war by reducing the degree of military confrontation at global and regional levels;
  3. Making Central Asia the model of a region of peace, security, cooperation and development;
  4. Fight against international terrorism and violent extremism;
  5. Efforts for national reconciliation and the restoration of peace in the African continent;
  6. The continuity of the connection between peace, security and development: joint measures to prevent wars and conflicts, protect human rights, realize the goals of sustainable development and combat climate change;
  7. Adaptation of the Council and the entire UN system to threats and challenges to humanity in the 21st century[2].

It is important to note that in accordance with national interests within the framework of the given strategy, the main foreign policy efforts will be focused on achieving the following main goals:

  1. ensuring in every way possible the national security, defense, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country;
  2. strengthening peace, regional and global security;
  3. ensuring sustainable positions and the formation of a positive image of the state in the world community;
  4. establishing a just and democratic world order with the central and coordinating role of the United Nations (UN)[3];

In accordance with the given strategy, Kazakhstan during 2017-2018 used the opportunity to contribute to the work of the Council and promote national interests in terms of peace and security as well as the interests of the Central Asian countries. One of the country’s main national interests is ensuring national security and preserving state sovereignty.

Thus, active work in the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member allows Kazakhstan to promote its international authority and strengthen national security. In addition, membership of the UN Security Council contributes to raising the status and subjectivity of a relatively young independent state in the world arena. At the same time, two visits by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres - as well as a forthcoming third - to our country since his appointment testify that the authority of Kazakhstan is recognized in this global organization.

Kazakhstan sees its important mission to promote the interests of Central Asian states on the UN SC site, which will be represented in this body for the first time in the history of the UN. Kazakhstan intends to raise important issues for the region, including regional security issues, and, in this regard, the political settlement and improvement of the social and economic situation in Afghanistan is a key factor for stability and security in Central Asia. In general, the task is to turn the region into a “zone of peace, cooperation and security”[4].

In this sense, non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council allows Kazakhstan not only to be considered as a key country in Central Asia, but also in practice to work to promote the interests of the region on the main international platform, putting forward as a priority of this work the intention to turn the region into a “zone of peace, cooperation and security”. Moreover, it is now that there is an intensification of cooperation between the countries of the region, thanks to which the achievement of this goal is possible.

In recent years, Kazakhstan has been implementing practical efforts to solve the problems of Afghanistan. Now, Astana, the head of the Afghanistan / Taliban Committee, has an opportunity to participate actively in stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan on the UN platform, which is of great importance for achieving Kazakhstan’s goals for Afghanistan. Moreover, Kazakhstan should use its position in the UN Security Council to resolve the Afghan issue.

At the same time, the resolution on Central Asia and Afghanistan which is planned to be adopted in January 2018 during Kazakhstan’s presidency of the UN Security Council will help to actualize and resolve a number of security issues in the Central Asian region. Now it will be possible to propose a program of real participation of the Central Asian countries in resolving the crisis in Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan’s activity in the UN Security Council is based on four basic principles: food security, water security, energy security and nuclear security.

The food crisis may turn out to be more urgent than the financial crisis, since it threatens the emergence of social unrest around the world. Given the great potential of Kazakhstan’s agricultural sector, Kazakhstan can confidently ensure not only domestic food security but also contribute to global food security. It should be noted that Kazakhstan is one of the top ten largest grain exporters in the world and one of the top five in terms of exports of flour. Annually, up to 6 million tons of wheat is supplied to Asian countries and up to 2 million tons to European Union countries. In general, Kazakhstan exports to over 70 countries [5].

Despite huge reserves of hydrocarbon raw materials, coal and uranium, Kazakhstan intends to develop “green energy”, realizing what harm to the environment these types of energy resources can do. Accordingly, energy security has become another important priority and this fits with the international exhibition Expo-2017, successfully held in Astana and dedicated to the development of green energy. In line with this policy, the International Exhibition Center for Green Technologies and Investment Projects “Energy of the Future” is planned to be created on the basis of the Exhibition infrastructure under the auspices of the United Nations. It is worth emphasizing that this initiative was supported by 86 countries and 15 international organizations [6].

In the field of water security, the Republic of Kazakhstan is pursuing a policy of uniting the efforts of all the states of Central Asia for the joint rational use of water and energy resources, including the revitalization of the Aral Sea. At the same time, the conflict potential around the use of water of transboundary rivers has been growing in the Central Asian region. Experts estimate that in the foreseeable future, water will become one of the main types of raw materials, after oil and gas. It seems that the conflict potential in Central Asia itself will tend to grow. Therefore, Kazakhstan as a representative of the region in the UN Security Council, directly interested in maintaining stability, uses a specific political leverage to prevent tensions in the region. Kazakhstan will have to draw the attention of the United Nations to the threat of a conflict over water in the region.

An important area in which Kazakhstan makes its significant contribution is the resolution of major crises in the world. In particular, it would be worth noting the Astana negotiating platform and the role of the leader of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in engaging the “irreconcilable” opponents involved in the Syrian conflict. It was the Astana platform that provided a constructive approach to agreeing on the provisions on a joint operational group for monitoring the cease fire regime in Syria, as well as the signing by the guarantor countries of a memorandum on the establishment of deescalation zones in Syria. Moreover, this format allowed the representatives of the government of Syria and the opposition to gather at the same table of negotiations, and also managed to separate the moderate paramilitary opposition from such terrorist groups as ISIS and “Djebhat- an-Nusra.” In general, this platform acts as a supplement to the Geneva talks and it is obvious that without Astana it would be difficult to accomplish practical tasks.

Nuclear security is the main and traditional theme in Kazakhstan’s foreign policy. Our country voluntarily renounced nuclear weapons, offered its mediation on the Iranian nuclear program, established a low-enriched uranium bank in Kazakhstan under the auspices of the IAEA, and joined the G-8 Global Partnership against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In 2006, Kazakhstan ratified the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon Free Zone - a legally binding commitment not to manufacture, acquire, test or possess nuclear weapons. Moreover, on December 7, 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted on the initiative of Kazakhstan the Universal Declaration on Building a World Free of Nuclear Weapons. And on March 31, 2016 the Head of State put forward the Manifesto “Peace. XXI century”, calling for the world community to joint forces for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. As a result of these commitments, the country has been held up as a model for international disarmament and atomic security.

The issues of ensuring energy, food and water security, which are of great importance for Central Asia, can also be attributed to the acquired valuable competence. In the region, the formation of an effective mechanism for solving such problems both within individual countries and within the framework of interstate interaction has long been one of the urgent tasks [7].

At the same time, Kazakhstan has the resources, experience, and political will to actively participate in solving the global security problems facing the UN Security Council.

It should be reminded that the agenda of the Security Council consists of 53 active and 15 “sleeping” country and regional issues, mainly on conflicts in Africa and the situation in the Middle East, as well as thematic issues of WMD non-proliferation, fighting terrorism, armed conflict, peacemaking and world stability. The UN Security Council has more than 30 subsidiary bodies, the management of which is distributed among the member countries.

Taking into account the authority of Kazakhstan and a solid track record, Kazakhstan was entrusted with chairing the Security Council Committees on Afghanistan / Taliban (Committee 1988), on IGIL / DAIS / Al Qaeda (Committee 1267/1989/2253) and Somalia / Eritrea (Committee 751 / 1907) [8].

The Afghanistan / Taliban Committee monitors the sanctions imposed by the UN against individuals or organizations supporting the Taliban movement. In addition to monitoring, this committee is also involved in the inclusion or exclusion of an appropriate sanction list. The monitoring and analytical work teams of the committee provide and review travel data and conduct research on incoming information. In addition, there is joint work with Interpol [9].

The Committee on ISIS / DAISH / Al- Qaeda became the next committee headed by Kazakhstan. The sanctions imposed on these organizations include asset freezing, arms embargoes and travel bans. In addition to monitoring the implementation of sanctions, the units of the committee also provide and disseminate to Member States reports on the global threat from ISIS / DAISH and Al-Qaida and related individuals, groups, enterprises and organizations [10].

The Sanctions Committee for Somalia and Eritrea monitors compliance with sanctions imposed on the East African States of Somalia and Eritrea. The reasons for imposing sanctions were the activities of Islamist militants in Somalia, the criminal activity of the rebel groups, the facts of supporting these movements by Eritrea and the military conflict with the State of Djibouti [11].

Africa is one of the most unstable regions in the world, where for decades military conflicts have continued and new ones have been breaking out. As a result, almost 70% of the UN Security Council’s agenda falls precisely on Africa. This is part of the global responsibility of Kazakhstan and its perception as a significant international actor, ready to work in all directions, if it is necessary to ensure peace and security.

A significant result of Kazakhstan’s activity in the UN Security Council was the initiative put forward at the session of the General Assembly on the establishment of a regional center or a UN committee on preventive diplomacy in Central Asia, with the headquarters to be located in Kazakhstan.

As a result, by consolidating its initiative, Kazakhstan is working on the creation of the Regional Hub of the UN multilateral diplomacy in Almaty, which will pay special attention to the issues of sustainable development, humanitarian assistance, disaster reduction and stability in the region and beyond [12].

The bulk of the terrorist attacks that many member states of the Security Council have encountered are perpetrated by radical Islamists, most often members of the ISIS/ DAISH. At the same time, the leadership of this very committee dealing with the issues of combating terrorism and religious extremism, our country, has valuable experience in countering this threat and allows us to work out mechanisms for international cooperation in the fight against such challenges. Thus, international terrorism can be defeated only within the framework of the coordinated struggle of the states of the world.

The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, stated that international terrorism has already acquired a “catastrophic scale”. “Today, any point of the globe can be the object of destructive attacks. Since the beginning of the third millennium, the number of terrorist attacks, as well as the number of deaths, has increased ten-fold. In 2016, terrorist attacks occurred in 104 countries. That’s more than half of the world. That is, according to geography and scale, we are virtually in a third world war. In the war against terror”, he said [13].

In this sense, Kazakhstan’s decision to make a special contribution to the United Nations Trust Fund for Combating Terrorism amounting to 300,000 US dollars is an important contribution by Kazakhstan and a role model for other states. These funds will be used to implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, in particular, the third phase of the project “Supporting the implementation of the UN Global CounterTerrorism Strategy in Central Asia”. As a result, Kazakhstan became the first donor country of the program in the region, providing more than 10% of the total project financing.

It should be noted that Kazakhstan working in the Security Council acquires valuable experience and detailed information on the forms and methods of resolving key security problems. In particular, it gains the practical knowledge on the comprehensive combat with terrorism, within the framework of the promotion of the entire anti-terrorist strategy.

Finally, Kazakhstan during the presidency of the UN Security Council in January 2018, as the main event, plans to convene an open debate on international peace and security issues with the participation of the Head of State, Nursultan Nazarbayev, which will form the basis for the work plan for the second year of Kazakhstan’s membership in the UN Security Council. In addition, it is planned to hold a ministerial-level debate on Central Asia and Afghanistan, as well as quarterly debates on the Middle East at the ambassadorial level.

Thus, summing up the work done for the year of its non-permanent membership, it can be stated that Kazakhstan has done a tremendous job, putting forward really relevant initiatives to resolve conflicts and preserve peace and security on the planet. Kazakhstan’s peacekeeping activities will have a positive cumulative effect and impact on international security now and in the future. Actively working and interacting with the world’s leading powers in the UN Security Council throughout the term of nonpermanent membership, Kazakhstan can move towards realizing the goals of its Security Council agenda: complete nuclear disarmament and elimination of the threat of a global war.



  1. выступление министра иностранных дел Рк к.абдрахманова на правительственном часе на тему: «О приоритетах членства Республики казахстан в совете безопасности ООн в 2017-2018 годы //http://mfa.gov. kz/ru/kazakhstanun/content-view/commentary-of-the-press-service-of-the- ministry-of-foreign-affairs-of-the-republic-of-kazakhstan-on-the-results-of-the- meeting-on-syria-in-astana-on-february-6-2017.
  2. Ibid. http://mfa.gov.kz/ru/kazakhstanun/content-view/commentary-of-the- press-service-of-the-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-of-the-republic-of-kazakhstan- on-the-results-of-the-meeting-on-syria-in-astana-on-february-6-2017
  3. концепция внешней политики Республики казахстан на 2014 – 2020 годы //http://mfa.gov.kz/ru/erevan/content-view/koncepcia-vnesnej-politiki-rk- na-2014-2020-gg// 21 января 2014.
  4. мид Рк разъяснил приоритеты казахстана в сб ООн //https://www. zakon.kz/4837346-mid-rk-razjasnil-prioritety-kazakhstana.html// 3 января 2017.
  5. казахстан вносит ощутимый вклад в обеспечение глобальной продовольственной безопасности - н. назарбаев //http://www.inform.kz/ ru/kazahstan-vnosit-oschutimyy-vklad-v-obespechenie-global-noy-prodovol- stvennoy-bezopasnosti-n-nazarbaev_a2791199//27 июня 2015.
  6. создание международного центра зеленых технологий в астане поддержали 86 стран //https://www.zakon.kz/4875245-sozdanie- mezhdunarodnogo-tsentra.html//28 августа 2017.
  7. т.каукенова итоги первой четверти: как прошли шесть месяцев казахстана в совбезе ООн // https://informburo.kz/stati/itogi-pervoy-chetverti- kak-proshli-shest-mesyacev-kazahstana-v-sovbeze-oon.html// 28 июня 2017.
  8. выступление министра иностранных дел Рк к.абдрахманова на правительственном часе на тему: «О приоритетах членства Республики казахстан в совете безопасности ООн в 2017-2018 годы» //http://mfa. gov.kz/ru/kazakhstanun/content-view/commentary-of-the-press-service-of-the- ministry-of-foreign-affairs-of-the-republic-of-kazakhstan-on-the-results-of-the- meeting-on-syria-in-astana-on-february-6-2017.
  9. https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/ru/sanctions/1988
  10. https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/ru/sanctions/1267
  11. http://www.un.org/ru/sc/repertoire/subsidiary_organs/sanctions_and_ other_committees.shtml
  12. Глава мид казахстана выступил на Генассамблее ООн // http://24.kz/ ru/news/social/item/197741-glava-mid-kazakhstana-vystupil-na-genassamblee- oon//22 сентября 2017.
  13. н. назарбаев, «будущее – за «большой евразией» // http://abctv.kz/ru/ news/budushee-za-bolshoj-evraziej // 13 ноября 2017
Year: 2017
City: Almaty