U.S.-Kazakhstan OSCE Task Force
The “U.S.-Kazakhstan Task Force: Shaping and Supporting Kazakhstan’s OSCE Chairmanship Agenda” is a joint initiative of the CSIS New European Democracies Project and the Institute for New Democracies funded through a grant from the government of Kazakhstan. The goal of the initiative is to assist Kazakhstan in shaping its OSCE chairmanship agenda, support Kazakhstan during its OSCE mandate, and strengthen U.S.-Kazakh relations. The project aims to provide expert analysis and policy recommendations for a successful OSCE chairmanship of Kazakhstan in 2010, which will benefit all parties involved - the OSCE, the member states including the United States and Kazakhstan, and the Central Asian region.
In November 2007, the OSCE designated Kazakhstan as the OCSE Chairman-in-Office for 2010. Kazakhstan became the first former Soviet republic to be given such high responsibility, thus marking the commitment of OSCE to apply a new system of incentives by assigning leadership positions to key transitional countries that are members of the multi-national organization. Kazakhstan will need to meet the challenge in two ways: by presenting a compelling agenda for its chairmanship and by consolidating ongoing democratic reforms in the country.
Washington can play a constructive role in ensuring that Kazakhstan fully prepares itself to assume its OSCE chairmanship in 2010 and receives expert and policy support during the course of the chairmanship. The U.S. administration can provide direct assistance and guidance in Kazakhstan’s commitment to establishing sound democratic practices and conducting necessary reforms to help guarantee Astana’s effective leadership of the OSCE.
CSIS and IND have organized a U.S.-Kazakhstan OSCE Task Force, which brings together policymakers, regional specialists, representatives of non-governmental organizations, representatives of former OSCE chairing countries, and business leaders to offer valuable recommendations for shaping and implementing a compelling, focused, and pragmatic agenda for Kazakhstan’s chairmanship. The Task Force addresses aspects related to all three OSCE baskets, including strengthening OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and making recommendations to the Kazakh government to implement democratic reforms and meet the Madrid Commitments.
The Task Force consists of two components a Working Group of international experts in Washington, D.C. and a Working Group of Kazakh experts and government representatives in Astana. Both groups communicate on a regular basis and complement each other’s work. Ideas generated by either Working Group are discussed by their counterpart before concrete policy formulations are decided and recommendations disseminated.
The U.S.-Kazakhstan OSCE Task Force is future-oriented and nonpartisan. It is a broad-based open structure, which includes a diverse array of experts on Kazakhstan and the region. It aims to produce policy recommendations through regular, problem-specific meetings and high-level strategic thinking among U.S. and Central Asian policy experts, politicians, and business and military leaders.
The initiative involves Task Force meetings, publication of policy briefs, conferences in Washington and Astana and the publication of a Policy Paper on Kazakhstan’s progress and challenges in the implementation of the Madrid OSCE commitment. The Policy Paper will focus on key issues during the 2010 OSCE chairmanship, examine domestic arenas where progress can be made before 2010; and offer recommendations for the American and Kazakh governments. Kazakhstan’s OSCE chairmanship will enable Astana to draw the attention of Europe and the U.S. to the importance of the Central Asian region and its numerous challenges, from security and democratization to balanced economic development.
The “U.S.-Kazakhstan Task Force: Shaping and Supporting Kazakhstan’s OSCE Chairmanship Agenda” is a joint initiative of the CSIS New European Democracies Project and the Institute for New Democracies funded through a grant from the government of Kazakhstan. The goal of the new initiative is to assist Kazakhstan in shaping its OSCE chairmanship agenda and to help strengthen U.S.-Kazakh relations. During 2009, CSIS and IND will organize a U.S.-Kazakhstan OSCE Task Force in Washington, DC to bring together policymakers, regional specialists, representatives of non-governmental organizations, representatives of former OSCE chairing countries, and business leaders to offer implementable recommendations for shaping a compelling and focused agenda for Kazakhstan’s OSCE chairmanship.