Central Asia is a region larger than Western Europe and contains five countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Blessed with some of the richest and most diverse resources anywhere in the world, over the last twenty years the region has shown its desire to become a reliable, long-term partner of the West.
Kazakhstan is Central Asia’s engine for economic growth, and the Government of Kazakhstan has taken the lead in developing relations with the European Union.
In its commitment to the process of deepening political and economic relations with the European Union, Kazakhstan is participating in the establishment of the Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs (ECFA), which is a new and dynamic think tank working at the heart of the European Union. The first Honorary President of the Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs is H.E. Erlan Idrissov, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Watch his Introductory Video here.
The Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs has been modelled on the Council on Foreign Relations in the US, the United Kingdom’s Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House and the EU’s own European Council on Foreign Relations. It is envisaged that over time, the ECFA will become a valuable and independent source of high-quality research, publications and information that will keep Europe fully abreast of fast-changing development in the Central Asian region. This is a work-in-progress, and it will require dedication and commitment from the ECFA’s team of researchers and writers.
The grant for the establishment costs and first-year programme of the ECFA has been provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The ECFA and its staff are grateful for this generous donation and thank the MFA. It is envisaged that, as with similar institutions in other countries, governments in the region as well as corporate sponsors and private individuals will over the longer-term join the funding base of the ECFA.
A list of upcoming publications can be found here. We are delighted to announce the publication of our first Research Paper, entitled “Kazakhstan: A Global Energy Security Partner in Turbulent Times?”. Kazakhstan possesses world-class conventional energy resources, and is a valued energy security partner of the West and neighbouring countries. Despite this, the country is deeply committed to developing an environmentally-sound economy through diversifying and developing alternative energy sources, as this paper seeks to explore.
The formal launch of the ECFA is currently planned for November 2014, by which time we anticipate the establishment of a distinguished Advisory Council. The Director, Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, will provide regular news updates on the region in his Blog, and you can subscribe here to receive all news updates as well as the ECFA’s regular newsletters and bulletins.