Central Asia is a region the size of 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 commitment 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 European states, Kazakhstan is participating in the establishment of the Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs (ECFA).  The first Honorary President of the Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs is H.E. Erlan Idrissov, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs has been modelled on the highly successful 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 Eurasian Council on Foreign Affairs will become a valuable and independent source of high-quality research, publications and information that will keep Europe fully abreast of the fast-changing development of 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 the ECFA’s Occasional Papers can be found here.

The formal launch of the ECFA took place in Brussels on November 12th, 2014.   The event was led by the Council’s Honorary President, H.E. Erlan Idrissov and was attended by many of the distinguished members of ECFA’s Advisory Council.   The distinguished audience included a number of senior representatives of the European Commission, the OSCE, NATO, the European Action Service, and others.

On December 2nd 2015, the ECFA held its Second Annual Meeting in Vienna, Austria, and a Third Annual Meeting is scheduled for October 2016, at Cliveden House, UK, in the presence of H.E. Erlan Idrissov, Members of the ECFA Advisory Council, and distinguished guests from British and European politics, business and finance, media and academia.

The ECFA’s Director, Zhanbolat Ussenov, will share his thoughts on the region and the happenings at the Council in his Blog.  You can subscribe to ECFA’s publications here.