On the Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2020-2030
1. To approve the attached the Concept of foreign policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2020-2030 (hereinafter - the Concept).
2. The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan within three months should take measures to exercise the Concept.
3. Control over the implementation of this Decree shall be assigned to the Executive Office of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
4. To recognize as invalid the Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated January 21, 2014 No. 741 “On the Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2014-2020”.
5. This Decree shall enter into force from the date of its signing.
President of the Republic of Kazakhstan K. Tokayev
Nur-Sultan, Akorda, March 6, 2020
Approved by Decree
of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
of March 6, 2020
of the foreign policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2020-2030
Chapter 1. Analysis of the current situation
The modern international relations system is undergoing a complex transformation, the main features of which are:
a crisis of confidence and increased conflict, in part because of a decrease in the functionality of multilateral security and institutions that promote dialogue, the low efficiency of preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution mechanisms;
erosion of the fundamental principles of international law, a global collision of two main trends - globalism and nationalism, which poses serious risks for medium and small states;
aggravation of traditional security challenges and threats, such as terrorism, extremism, an arms race, including missile, nuclear and space, climate change and a number of other factors;
the emergence of new factors influencing geopolitics and geo-economics, including those related to the development of information and communication technologies, the phenomena of hybrid and cyber warfare;
erosion of the modern model of globalisation and the international trading system, the widening gap in economic and technological development between countries and regions, the vulnerability of the global financial system, the tightening of trade and currency wars, and the sanctions standoff.
Against this background, the global community is aware of the need to form a more stable system of international relations, as the following factors demonstrate:
the growing interdependence of countries and regions;
accumulated experience in solving global and regional problems, and searching for joint answers to the challenges of our time;
the absence of a pronounced ideological confrontation between leading states and military-political blocs;
recognition of the lack of alternatives to a market economy.
These factors have a serious impact on conceptual and practical approaches in the field of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy.
Since independence, our country has strengthened its position in the international arena, has established itself as a peaceful and open state, a reliable partner in global and regional affairs. Kazakhstan is implementing a multi-vector, pragmatic and proactive foreign policy, makes a significant contribution to the formation and implementation of the global and regional agenda in the field of security, cooperation and development. At the same time, the main focus is on comprehensively and resolutely upholding the national interests, and constructively promoting foreign policy and foreign economic priorities.
In the meantime, as Kazakhstan is entering a new stage of state development and forming a new economic course, Kazakhstan’s foreign policy is facing new realities and challenges.
Firstly, against the background of increased interstate competition for political and economic influence, international markets and investment flows, Kazakhstan needs to consolidate its status as a responsible participant in the world community, a key contributor to the system of geopolitical and geo-economic coordinates of the Eurasian continent, and a leading state in the Central Asian region.
Secondly, in the context of a dynamically changing global and regional situation, it is important to ensure a more efficient and systematic promotion of Kazakhstan’s international initiatives, based on pragmatism and a methodical analysis, in order to obtain concrete results for the country and the world.
Thirdly, in accordance with the concept of a “listening state”, and taking into account the strategic task of joining one of the top thirty most developed countries in the world, the emphasis should be on promoting and protecting the interests of the state, business, and every citizen on the external perimeter. This is a key condition for building a strong, harmonious and socially responsible state, which is organically integrated into the modern system of international relations.
The rationale for adopting this document is the need to align the system of foreign policy views and diplomatic tools with long-term realities.
The Concept of foreign policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2020-2030 was developed taking into account the goals and objectives reflected in the Strategy for Long-term and Sustainable Development until 2050, the Plan of the Nation “100 concrete steps to implement the five institutional reforms” and the President’s annual addresses to the people of Kazakhstan.
Chapter 2. International experience
The development of foreign policy concepts (hereinafter – FPCs) is widely used in international practice.
A review of FPCs of foreign countries has demonstrated the following:
1. The global states are aware of the importance of having balanced and realistic FPCs in order to successfully implement national interests and pursue an effective international strategy.
2. FPCs are a reflection of both long-term and current interests of states that stem from their objective capabilities, place and role in the international relations system.
3. When developing the FPCs, there is a tendency to gather and use the accumulated experience of states and their international activities, the tendency to maintain a certain continuity.
4. As a whole, FPCs of foreign states are based on the interconnection of foreign, domestic and economic policies.
Given the status of Kazakhstan as a mid-power in the region, of particular interest was the analysis of FPCs of foreign countries in a similar international category. The following regularity was noted: the main influence on the formation of foreign policy concepts of mid-power states is exerted by systemic factors (events and trends at the global and regional levels that are directly reflected in the foreign policy agenda).
Overall, this Concept accumulates the existing positive experience of the world practice of developing foreign policy documents and adapts it to the modern conditions of Kazakhstan’s development.
Chapter 3. Basic foreign policy principles
The Republic of Kazakhstan is implementing its foreign policy on the basis of the following basic principles:
1) The continuity of the foreign policy of the First President - Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev at a new stage in the development of the country;
2) The promotion of building a stable, fair and democratic world order; equal integration into the global political, economic and humanitarian space; effective protection of the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of Kazakh citizens and compatriots living abroad;
3) The promotion of the external openness of the state, the creation of favourable external conditions for increasing the welfare of Kazakh citizens, the development of the political, economic and spiritual potential of the country;
4) Multi-vector, pragmatic and pro-active policy, which means the development of friendly, equal and mutually beneficial relations with all states, interstate associations and international organisations of practical interest to Kazakhstan;
5) Multilateralism aimed at creating a collective vision and effective approaches of the international community to solving a wide range of global and regional problems on the basis of multilateral consultations and agreements;
6) The inextricable nexus between security and development at the national, regional and global levels, which involves the development of integrated approaches of the international community to respond to cross-border security challenges and threats, conflict resolution, peace building in post-conflict countries.
Chapter 4. Goals and objectives of the foreign policy
Kazakhstan’s foreign policy strategy is aimed at achieving the following strategic goals:
1) Strengthening the independence, state sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, maintaining the independence of its foreign policy;
2) Consolidation of leading positions and promotion of long-term interests of Kazakhstan in the Central Asian region;
3) Positioning Kazakhstan as an active and responsible member in the international community, making a significant contribution to ensuring international and regional stability and security;
4) Maintaining friendly, predictable and mutually beneficial relations with foreign states in both bilateral and multilateral formats, the development of integrated cooperation with interstate associations and international organisations;
5) Full use of the foreign policy potential in order to increase the competitiveness of the national economy, the level and quality of life of Kazakh citizens;
6) Assistance in preserving and strengthening the unity of the multiethnic people of Kazakhstan through foreign policy methods;
7) Raising the practical interests of citizens of Kazakhstan and national business to the forefront of the state’s foreign policy.
Achieving the goals determines the direction and implementation of the following tasks:
1) Increasing efforts to form a politically stable, economically sustainable and secure space around Kazakhstan;
2) Continuation of the course on strengthening international peace and cooperation, increasing the effectiveness of global and regional security and interaction systems;
3) The development and implementation of new approaches to key foreign policy issues at the bilateral and multilateral levels, taking into account the promotion and protection of the long-term strategic interests of the state;
4) Ensuring a new level of “economisation” of the foreign policy, further strengthening the position of Kazakhstan in the system of the global economic relations;
5) Realisation of “humanitarian diplomacy”, popularisation of a positive image of the country in the world community;
6) Establishing an effective system of communication with the public of Kazakhstan on foreign policy issues;
7) Improvement of work to ensure the protection of personal and family rights of citizens, the legitimate interests of individuals and legal entities of the Republic of Kazakhstan abroad.
Chapter 5. Trends and Vision of Foreign Policy Development
The above goals and objectives determine the following key priorities of the country in the international arena.
1. Priorities in the maintenance of international peace and security
1.1. Facilitation of restoring and strengthening the atmosphere of trust in international relations on the basis of the goals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations (UN), promoting multilateral interaction on the basis of equality and compromise;
1.2. Application of an integrated approach to the resolution of interstate conflicts and disputes, civil conflicts in adjacent regions with an emphasis on the possibility of preventive diplomacy and mediation;
1.3. Promoting strategic stability, countering the use and threat of using nuclear weapons for any purpose; continued efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD), support for the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones;
1.4. Participation in international efforts to prevent the arms race of conventional and new types of weapons, supporting measures to maintain and promote international control regimes of conventional and new types of weapons;
1.5. Intensification of the search for integrated approaches to solving key issues of Asian security, including through the transformation of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) into a regional organisation for security and development;
1.6. Promotion of united global and regional efforts in countering international terrorism and extremism, including through the creation of a broad international anti-terrorism coalition; engagement with external partners in the fight against organised crime, drug trafficking and other types of criminal activity;
1.7. Assistance in ensuring international information security, combating cyber terrorism and the use of information and communication technologies for illegal purposes, including those that pose a threat to international peace, security and stability.
2. Priorities in the field of economic diplomacy
2.1. Attraction of international resources and potential to the processes of structural transformation of the national economy, including as part of the implementation of industrialisation programmes and the development of the “economy of simple things”;
2.2. Expanding international cooperation to attract high-quality foreign investment in main sectors of the economy: engineering and instrumentation, agribusiness, light industry, construction materials, mining, transport and logistics, healthcare, education, tourism, petrochemicals and oil refining, oilfield services, agrochemical industry, non-ferrous metallurgy;
2.3. Facilitating the transfer of advanced foreign technologies to Kazakhstan as an important part of the innovation and industrial process. Promotion of the Kazakhstan brand as an open jurisdiction for international partnership in new high-tech industries, including as part of the State Programme “Digital Kazakhstan”, the development of the sectors of “artificial intelligence”, “big data” and other related areas;
2.4. Providing favorable external conditions for the implementation of the “Concept on the transition of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the ‘green economy’” in order to increase the efficiency of use of water, land, biological and other resources;
2.5. Promotion of the integration of the most competitive sectors of the economy of Kazakhstan in international and regional production chains;
2.6. Assistance to Kazakh investors and producers in the implementation of projects in foreign markets, counteraction of their discrimination by state bodies of other countries;
2.7. Assistance in expanding the nomenclature, volumes and geography of national exports, primarily non-primary ones, while taking into account the priorities of the established “State Trade Policy Programme until 2025” and its subsequent versions. Participation in the development and implementation of international quality standards, assistance in the removal of tariff, non-tariff and protective measures that impede the export of Kazakh goods and services;
2.8. Continued efforts to turn Kazakhstan into a transcontinental transit and logistics hub on the East-West and North-South trunk routes, relying on the potential of the Nurly Zhol state programme, introducing an “open sky” regime and infrastructure initiatives of foreign partners;
2.9. Development of trade, economic and investment cooperation at the regional and local levels, including on the basis of the Forum for Interregional Cooperation of Kazakhstan and Russia, the International Centre for Cross-Border Cooperation "Khorgos", the Centre for Trade and Economic Cooperation “Central Asia”;
2.10. Assistance in strengthening regional and global energy security, achieving a balance of interests of producing countries, transit countries and consumers of energy resources, establishing diversified, stable and safe routes for their export;
2.11. Promotion of the Astana International Financial Centre with a view to further integrate it into the global financial system. Attraction of large foreign companies to the management of commodity exchanges of Kazakhstan;
2.12. Promoting the effective functioning of the international trading system based on the principles of the World Trade Organisation;
2.13. Participation in international efforts to ensure regional food security, including utilising the potential of the Islamic Organisation for Food Security;
2.14. Contributing to the efforts of the international community to provide official development assistance.
3. Priorities in the field of human rights, humanitarian diplomacy and environmental protection
3.1. Strengthening constructive and equal cooperation in the protection of human rights and freedoms, the development of civil society, taking into account the peculiarities of historical development and cultural values of the global states;
3.2. Assistance in the development of intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, including through the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, initiatives within the framework of the “International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures”, participation in the UN Alliance of Civilisations and other international initiatives;
3.3. Participation in the efforts of the world community to counter hate crimes, racial discrimination, religious confrontation, extremism and nationalism;
3.4. Participation in strengthening international cooperation in the fight against illegal migration and human trafficking;
3.5. Adherence to multilateral conventions and concluded bilateral agreements on liberalisation of visa procedures and regimes;
3.6. Conclusion of bilateral agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal and civil cases, extradition and handover of convicted persons;
3.7. Expansion of international cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral levels in the field of education, science, culture, sports and youth policy;
3.8. Popularisation of the rich historical and cultural heritage of the Kazakh people, including within the framework of the programme “Rukhani Zhangyru”;
3.9. Expanding the use of digital diplomacy to achieve foreign policy goals, promote international initiatives, and develop cooperation with foreign countries;
3.10. Informing the world community about the approaches and initiatives of Kazakhstan on regional and global politics and economics, including through the use of the Astana Economic Forum, the Eurasian Media Forum and the Astana Club;
3.11. A systematic explanation to the Kazakh public of the tasks and priorities of the country’s foreign policy, and specific results and benefits for Kazakh citizens, in order to increase the foreign policy competence of society and strengthen resistance to negative external influences;
3.12. Support for the development of the Kazakh language and culture in places of widespread Kazakh communities abroad, their ties with their historical homeland, including through the World Association of Kazakhs and the Otandastar Foundation;
3.13. Protection of the rights and legitimate interests of Kazakh citizens residing abroad, as well as Kazakh children adopted by foreigners abroad;
3.14. Harnessing the potential of “parliamentary diplomacy” to promote political, economic and humanitarian ties;
3.15. The use of “public diplomacy” tools, interaction with the Kazakh non-governmental sector in the field of foreign policy;
3.16. Expansion of international cooperation in the field of environmental protection, prevention and relieving the consequences of natural and man-made emergencies;
3.17. Continued work to improve, together with neighbouring countries, the legal framework, instruments and mechanisms in the field of equitable and rational use, sustainable management and protection of transboundary water resources;
3.18. Cooperation with foreign partners and donors in the rehabilitation of the territories of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site and the Aral Sea, as well as in combating desertification;
3.19. Practical implementation, together with the Caspian countries, of the provisions of the “Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea” and its protocols;
3.20. Participation in international cooperation in the field of health, including with a view to counteracting epidemics and pandemics.
4. Priorities in regional and multilateral diplomacy
4.1. Providing the UN Hub in Almaty with the status of an inter-regional UN centre in Kazakhstan for the Sustainable Development Goals, and promoting its activities in Central Asia and Afghanistan;
4.2. Further development of allied relations with the Russian Federation, comprehensive strategic partnership with the People’s Republic of China, expanded strategic partnership with the United States of America, strategic relations with Central Asian states, expanded partnership and cooperation with the European Union (EU) and EU member states;
4.3. Continued close cooperation with the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the areas established by the Treaty on the EAEU. Optimisation of approaches to the negotiation process within the EAEU, in order to fully take into account the long-term national interests of Kazakhstan;
4.4. Development of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States in order to strengthen multilateral dialogue in the political, trade, economic and humanitarian fields, as well as in the field of security and counteraction to new challenges and threats;
4.5. Expansion of multilateral dialogue and cooperation in the Central Asian region, the importance of which is steadily increasing in Eurasian and global processes. Strengthening the existing formats of interaction of Central Asian states with external partners;
4.6. Maintaining stability and expanding cooperation in the Caspian region on the basis of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, as well as taking into account the long-term interests of Kazakhstan in the field of energy, transport, environmental protection and security;
4.7. Enhancement of mutually beneficial relations with leading European countries outside the EU. Continuing the course on expanding cooperation with multilateral organisations in the field of politics and security in Europe and Eurasia – the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and other institutions;
4.8. Strengthening relations with countries of East, Southeast and South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Active participation in the activities of international organisations in the Asian region, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the CICA, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation, and the Asia-Europe Meeting interregional dialogue process. Expansion of relations with regional organisations where Kazakhstan is not a participant – the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the League of Arab States, the Gulf Cooperation Council and other structures;
4.9. Development of cooperation with the countries of the Americas, the Caribbean and Africa, as well as regional organisations with their participation, in order to more fully utilize the potential of political and trade-economic cooperation;
4.10. Strengthening cooperation with international and regional economic and financial organisations – the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Development Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and other institutions.
Foreign Policy Implementation Tools
In accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the President determines the main directions of the country’s foreign policy and represents Kazakhstan in international affairs.
In accordance with the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Yelbasy”, the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Leader of the Nation, by virtue of his historical mission, has the right for life to address the people of Kazakhstan, state bodies and officials with initiatives on major foreign policy issues.
The Parliament, being the highest representative body, within the framework of its constitutional powers carries out legislative work on the ratification and denunciation of international treaties.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter referred to as the MFA), which is the authorised body in the field of foreign policy, carries out the development of the main directions of foreign policy and the implementation of international initiatives of the Head of State, as well as submits relevant proposals to the President and the Government, coordinates the activities of central executive bodies in relations with foreign states, interstate associations and international organisations.
The Government, which heads the system of executive bodies, ensures the development of relations with foreign states, international and regional organisations, develops measures to implement foreign economic policy and finance foreign policy events.
State bodies carry out on a regular basis work on the implementation of international treaties and obligations of the country, within their competence and with the coordinating role of the MFA, develop tactical approaches and concrete proposals in the foreign policy field. The adoption by government bodies of decisions of an internal nature, potentially capable of having foreign policy consequences, must be coordinated with the MFA.
A key component of the unified system of diplomatic services led by the MFA is the overseas agencies of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Their activities are aimed at protecting and promoting the national interests of Kazakhstan, its citizens and legal entities in countries of accreditation, interstate associations or international organisations.
Intergovernmental commissions (committees, councils, forums) on trade and economic cooperation with foreign countries are the main tool for promoting the interests of Kazakhstan, the interaction of business and the state, and solving problems of mutual interest together with foreign partners.
Programmes and plans are being developed to implement the agreements and obligations arising from international treaties and decisions of intergovernmental commissions (committees, councils, forums).
In order to implement specific priorities in the field of foreign policy and economy, interdepartmental commissions and working groups are created.
The Public Council on the activities of the MFA ensures engagement with civil society, informing the public and conducting public expertise.
Chapter 6. Stages of implementation and expected results
In order to increase the predictability of the doctrinal foundations of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, the Concept has been extended to 10 years. The implementation plans of the Concept are approved by the decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and are updated every two years.
The implementation of the Concept will contribute to:
1) The consolidation of state independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan, its international authority in line with the strategy of foreign policy continuity;
2) Strengthening of the national, regional and global security;
3) The formation of a favorable external environment, the strengthening of friendly, equal and mutually beneficial political and economic relations between Kazakhstan and all interested states and international organisations;
4) Achieving a higher level of integration of Kazakhstan into the international community and world economic relations, including through the diversification and digitisation of the national economy;
5) The enhancement of international cooperation in the cultural, humanitarian, scientific, educational and relevant fields;
6) Strengthening of the protection of personal and family rights of citizens, business interests of individuals and legal entities of the Republic of Kazakhstan abroad;
7) Raising the level of awareness among the general public of Kazakhstan and foreign countries about the long-term priorities, practical steps and specific results of the state’s foreign policy;
8) As a result, the state, national business and the people of Kazakhstan will receive specific benefits from the foreign policy activities.
Chapter 7. The list of regulatory legal acts,
by which the implementation of the Concept is supposed
1. The Constitutional Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated July 20, 2000, “On the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – Yelbasy”.
2. The Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated March 7, 2002, "On the Diplomatic Service of the Republic of Kazakhstan."
3. The Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated May 30, 2005, “On International Treaties of the Republic of Kazakhstan”.
4. The Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated January 6, 2012, “On the National Security of the Republic of Kazakhstan”.