In 1992, Kazakhstan proposed to start a security-based cooperation in Asia. In this sense, the establishment process of the Conference on Cooperation and Confidence Buildings in Asia (CICA) was initiated under the leadership of the Astana administration. The main goal, as the name suggests, has been to develop a platform that centers security and cooperation in Asia, similar to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which operates in Europe.
In this context, the 6th Summit of CICA took place hosted by Kazakhstan on October 13, 2022. This date also coincided with the 30th anniversary of CICA. Thirty years later, the conference made a strategic decision on the recommendation of the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Kasım-Cömert Tokayev. This decision is the gradual transformation of CICA into a full-fledged regional international organization. Thus, a special status will be given to the dialogue in the question platform in order to strengthen the organizational and institutional basis of interaction between member states.
Other important decisions of the 6th Summit held in Astana were the participation of Kuwait as a member state and the inclusion of the Eurasian Economic Union among CICA partners. All these developments increase the international authority of the conference as a multilateral mechanism in the field of regional security and cooperation.
CICA is a powerful dialogue platform that can be considered as one of the leading actors in Asia in terms of its parameters and importance. Because in addition to the twenty-eight member countries in the Asian continent; CICA, which also has observer members from outside the region such as the United States (USA), Ukraine and Belarus; It has observer membership of international organizations such as United Nations (UN), International Organization for Migration, OSCE, League of Arab States and Parliamentary Assembly of Turkish States. Besides these five organizations, CICA also cooperates with the Economic Cooperation Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. In addition to all of these, CICA countries are home to 60% of the world’s population and approximately 40% of global GDP in terms of purchasing power parity. This is very important in terms of revealing the potential of cooperation between member states.
Despite all these positive regions, CICA geography hosts the Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Russia-Ukraine War and the Kyrgyz-Tajik border conflicts. This shows that CICA has crisis areas. In this context, Mr. Tokayev stated that the region is becoming increasingly unstable and he explained the situation with the words of “The Asian continent is turning into the “main” area of geopolitical warfare”. Mr. Tokayev proposed to transform CICA into a full-fledged regional international organization in the way of reflecting Kazakhstan’s understanding of proactive diplomacy in the face of crises as a peace-making actor.
In this sense, Mr. Tokayev’s proposal aims to establish an effective mechanism centered on cooperation in terms of preventive diplomacy, peaceful resolution of conflicts and strengthening the regional security environment. There are two topics that the Astana administration focuses on related to the issues. The first one of these is the institutionalization of CICA towards strengthening cooperation and confidence-building measures in the current conjuncture. The second one is the constructive role that Kazakhstan will play in this process.
Geopolitically, Central Asia has an important place in the China-US competition in terms of both its transit location and underground resources. One of the prominent actors of Central Asia is Kazakhstan. Moreover, Kazakhstan is a key country that ensures the sustainability of stability in the region which is to be remembered with instability. Therefore, the transformation of CICA into a full-fledged international organization will further increase the prestige of Astana.
Essentially, Mr. Tokayev’s proposal is similar to the transformation of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) into OSCE. That is, it is based on an idea that can be formulated as conference-to-organization. Indeed, the CSCE eliminated conflicts in Europe during the Cold War and succeeded in resolving conflicting issues through dialogue. However, it should be noted that; Asia did not go through the processes that Europe went through. In other words, the experiences of the two continents are extremely different from each other. However, this does not mean that Kazakhstan’s initiative is unimportant. On the contrary, the peaceful perspective put forward by Kazakhstan represents a “theoretical” stance and a common search for security in terms of seeking answers to the current problems of CICA countries. Because most of the leaders attending the meeting share similar views with Mr. Tokayev.
As a result, the idea of establishing a loose structure based on security and cooperation among Asian states, proposed by Kazakhstan thirty years ago, has become an important tool used in Asia-based integration initiatives by 2022. Undoubtedly, the reached stage is the success of Kazakhstan. The warm approach of the leaders attending the summit to Astana’s proposal shows that CICA will turn into a full-fledged regional international organization in the future. The decisions taken at the summit also confirm this.
 “President Tokayev Outlines Five Priority Areas of Kazakhstan’s Upcoming Two-Year CICA Chairmanship”, Astana Times, https://astanatimes.com/2022/10/president-tokayev-outlines-five-priority-areas-of-kazakhstans-upcoming-two-year-cica-chairmanship/, (Date of Accession:: 19.10.2022).
 “юбилей в напряженной обстановке”, Stanradar, https://ia-centr.ru/experts/dmitriy-suslov/suslov-svmda-yarkiy-primer-uspekha-vneshney-politiki-astany/, (Date of Accession:: 19.10.2022).
 “Суслов: «Свмда-Яркий Пример Успеха Внешней Политики Астаны»”, IA Centr, https://ia-centr.ru/experts/dmitriy-suslov/suslov-svmda-yarkiy-primer-uspekha-vneshney-politiki-astany/, (Date of Accession : 19.10.202).