The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) which President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be attending this week in Shanghai, China is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.
It is a forum based on the recognition that there is close link between peace, security and stability in Asia and in the rest of the world. The Member States, while affirming their commitment to the UN Charter, believe that peace and security in Asia can be achieved through dialogue and cooperation leading to a common indivisible area of security in Asia where all states co-exist peacefully and their peoples live in peace, freedom and prosperity.
Sixteen Asian states joined the CICA at the time of its inception. Presently CICA has twenty four Member States accounting for nearly ninety percent of the territory and population of Asia. Eight countries and four multi-national organizations, including United Nations, have the observer status. For becoming a member of CICA, a state must have at least a part of its territory in Asia.
CICA member states include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Republic of Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
The idea of convening the CICA was first proposed by H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, on 5 October 1992, at the 47th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The moving spirit behind this initiative was the aspiration to set up an efficient and acceptable structure for ensuring peace and security in Asia.
The two founding documents of CICA are Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations among the CICA Member States adopted at the First Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held in Almaty on 14 September 1999 and Almaty Act, the charter of the CICA, adopted at the First Summit Meeting held in Almaty on 4 June 2002.
The highest decision making organ of CICA is the Meeting of the CICA Heads of State and Government. The CICA Summit is convened every four years in order to conduct consultations, review the progress of, and set priorities for CICA activities.
The First CICA Summit was held in Almaty on June 4, 2002 with participation of sixteen member states and ten observer states and organizations. The Summit adopted the most important constitutive document of CICA – the Almaty Act, which acts as the Charter of CICA.
The Second CICA Summit was held in Almaty on June 17, 2006. Republic of Korea was admitted as the eighteenth member of CICA. The Summit adopted the Statute of CICA Secretariat and Declaration of the Second CICA Summit. The Declaration of the Second CICA Summit reflected the general view of the member states on key problems of security and cooperation in Asia and in other parts of the world.
The Declaration also reiterated the desire of the member states to continue the efforts to move forward CICA process to achieve its shared objectives; and noted with satisfaction that the establishment of CICA Secretariat in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan was an important milestone in the evolution of CICA process.
The Third CICA Summit, presided by H.E. Mr. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey, was held in Istanbul on 8 June 2010 with participation of twenty one member states, eleven observer states and organizations and twenty guest states and organizations. Republic of Kazakhstan, which headed CICA from the time of its inception, passed on the Chairmanship to the Republic of Turkey.
The Summit adopted the declaration titled, ‘Constructing cooperative approach to interaction and security in Asia’. The declaration reflected CICA’s stand and views on important issues of security and cooperation in Asia and other parts of the world including terrorism, disarmament, illicit drugs, global financial crisis, environment as well as situation in Afghanistan and Middle East.
The forth summit which is being held in Shanghai focuses on the ‘building up self- confidence of Asia’.
In view of the diverse profile of the member states, and realities typical to Asia, it was decided to begin with the realization of Confidence Building Measures in fight against new challenges and threats and economic, environmental and human dimensions.
To enhance co-operation through elaborating multilateral approaches towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia; eradicate the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; combat illicit drug production and trafficking; promote trade and economic cooperation for the prosperity and stability in Asia are among the objectives of the CICA.
It also focuses on the cooperation on all issues relating to environment; prevention of proliferation and eventual elimination of weapons of mass destruction; develop measures to address humanitarian issues; promote mutual respect, understanding and tolerance in the relations among civilizations; facilitate implementation of Confidence Building Measures among Member States.