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A senior MEP has welcomed the Kazakh government’s renewed pledge to diversify its economy and develop new industries while also promoting environmental protection, writes Colin Stevens.

Latvian Socialist member Andris Ameriks was speaking after an international climate congress titled “Shape a Sustainable Future” was held in the Kazakh capital on 3-4 June.

The congress featured sessions, where climate cooperation between Kazakhstan and the European Union, the realities and prospects of industries going green, as well as issues of a circular economy and smart cities, were discussed. 

Kazakh Minister of Ecology, Geology, and Natural Resources Magzum Mirzagaliyev told participants that the country’s sustainable development includes a full assessment of the most vulnerable sectors, such as water, agriculture, forestry and civil protection.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski also took part in the event, saying that solutions to climate problems “cannot be separated” from reforms in the agro-industrial complex.

Wojciechowski told the conference that sustainable agriculture provides a viable chance for small and medium-sized farms to increase their added value and makes a significant contribution to meeting climate commitments.

The event concluded with an adoption of a resolution that reflects the proposals and recommendations of the participants aimed to aid Kazakhstan in meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Further reaction to Kazakhstan’s environmental efforts comes from Jean-Francois Marteau, World Bank Country Manager for Kazakhstan, who said: “Kazakhstan has the potential to be a climate leader in Central Asia.

“I am confident the government’s commitment to policy and institutional actions, technical measures, and associated investments can help Kazakhstan meet its 2030 targets and support a long-term strategy towards carbon neutrality by 2060.”

Several examples of such efforts include a 76 megawatt peak sola plant  in Karaganda region of Kazakhstan. The project is valued at $42.6 million.

The investment takes place under the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s €500 million Kazakhstan Renewables Framework, established in 2016 and extended in 2019, to help the country respond to the challenges of climate change.

Another project, a 100 MW wind farm in Zhanatas, southern Kazakhstan, was announced in November

A European  commission source said this month’s climate conference in Nur-Sultan – and the Cop 26 meeting, to be held in Glasgow from 1-12 November – are opportunities for the Kazakhstani government to demonstrate to the international community its commitment toward environmental protection.

“The renewable energy projects funded by the EBRD will help Kazakhstan achieve its carbon neutrality objective by 2060, but more is needed as the world is in a race against time,” said the source.

Ameriks is vice chair of the European parliament’s delegation to the EU-Kazakhstan, EU-Kyrgyzstan, EU-Uzbekistan and EU-Tajikistan Parliamentary Co-operation Committees and for relations with Turkmenistan and Mongolia.

Speaking to this website, he also welcomed ever closer ties between the EU and Kazakhstan.

He noted that the two sides celebrated the first anniversary of their Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), which entered into force on 1 March, 2020.

“The new agreement, Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) signed by the EU and Kazakhstan in 2015, replaces the previous agreement and brings our further cooperation to a next level by covering a wide range of new fields for co-operation.”

Ameriks, an economist and former deputy mayor of Riga,  said: “The EPCA creates an enhanced legal basis for EU-Kazakhstan relations, providing a broad
framework for reinforced political dialogue. It also enhances concrete cooperation in key policy areas, including in the sectors of economic and financial cooperation, energy, transport, environment and climate change, employment and social affairs, culture, education and research.”

Ameriks, an MEP since the 2019 elections, said: “The history of the relationship between Kazakhstan and the EU already counts decades and support from the European Union has been important to Kazakhstan’s development since the country’s independence in 1991.

“I would like to think that this support makes win-win situation. By this support, the EU can spread its values beyond the EU, therefore, it is important to continue cooperation for prosperity, democracy and stability in the world.”

A spokesman for the European External Action Service also welcomed such developments in particular: “The ongoing  reform and modernisation processes in Kazakhstan and the  adoption of laws on elections and  political parties.

“The EU welcomes that for  the  first  time  a  30%  quota  will  be  introduced  in  party  lists  for  women  and youth jointly.”


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