ASTANA (TCA) — OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen (MP, Austria) is wrapping up a week-long visit to Eastern and Central Asia with meetings in southern Kazakhstan on June 16 and 17, the OSCE said.
She met on June 16 in Shymkent in south Kazakhstan with Zhanseit Tuimebayev, the Akim (governor) of the South Kazakhstan region, followed by meetings with the Association of Business Women and Commission for Women’s Affairs and Family and Demographic Policy.
On June 15, Muttonen addressed nearly 200 officials and civil society representatives at the opening of the Second Preparatory Meeting of the Annual OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum in Astana. Organized by the 2017 Austrian OSCE Chairmanship in co-operation with the Office of the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, the two-day event’s theme was “Green economy as catalyst for sustainable development, security and stability.”
In her keynote address, Muttonen discussed the challenges posed by climate change, particularly in Central Asia where the exhaustion of fresh water and a destabilized agricultural sector pose a potential threat to food and water security. “It is one of our most challenging security tasks within the OSCE to do everything possible to prevent irreversible climate change, to foresee possible negative effects and also manage negative developments that can no longer be prevented,” she said.
“The OSCE PA will continue to urge and push OSCE countries towards a greener economy. But this is not where our commitment ends. Parliamentarians can do more. We have a unique role to play in promoting the transition to a green economy – within the OSCE, to our governments back home, to our industries and to our citizens,” Muttonen added.
On June 14, Muttonen met with Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan and Head of Kazakhstan’s Delegation to the PA. The sides exchanged views on security issues, cooperation in the field, and other matters related to the OSCE. She also met with the Chairman of the Mazhilis of the Parliament of Kazakhstan Nurlan Nigmatulin and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Kairat Abdrakhmanov.
In her meeting with Foreign Minister Abdrakhmanov, Muttonen noted Kazakhstan’s effective leadership in numerous areas, expressing gratitude in particular for its efforts to combat climate change by promoting transition to renewable sources of energy and through greening the economy.
Discussions with Kazakh officials have also focused on the emergence of Kazakhstan as a key player in the region, in particular regarding international mediation and confidence-building efforts. President Muttonen expressed gratitude for Kazakhstan’s role in hosting talks aimed at resolving the Syrian conflict within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
On June 14, President Muttonen participated in the opening of the OSCE pavilion at the Astana EXPO 2017 under the theme “Future energy” along with Foreign Minister Abdrakhmanov. Earlier in the day she also participated in the opening of the Austrian EXPO pavilion.