The “Civic Asia” Almaty Declaration was adopted at the VIth international “Insights into Regional Development” conference held on June 2-3, 2015 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The signing of the “Civic Asia” Almaty Declaration was an important event for civil society leaders, acknowledging their commitment to a common goal, as well as defining the role and significance of civil society organizations’ input into regional development, and thus into the elaboration of new concepts and guiding principles, innovative approaches, and instruments in the field of regional development and cooperation.
The Resolution of the VIIIth International “Insights into Development” Conference, June 28-29, 2017, Almaty is an agreed strategy for action of the “Civic Asia” Almaty Declaration for civil society organizations (CSOs), for more than 200 participants from the Central and South Asia region, Caucasus and other countries, experts and civic activists.
“СIVIC ASIA” Аlmaty Declaration – Call for Action!
Adopted on June 29, 2017, Almaty, Kazakhstan
We, the more than 200 representatives from Central Asian, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan civil society organizations are , demonstrating our commitment to the values and ideas of the “Civic Asia” Almaty Declaration, striving for a world where diversity is maintained, and social cohesion, intercultural dialogue and understanding, tolerance, mutual respect, gender equality, innovations, entrepreneurship, as well as cultural identity, security and dignity of all people are enhanced, by setting ourselves the following strategic priorities:
Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement:
We believe that social integration and inclusive governance are critically important for addressing pressing social challenges faced by our societies; eradicating poverty; and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The constructive engagement of all stakeholders, including private sector, civil society, public movements and state bodies are key to tackling the sustainable development of communities and achieving the SDGs at the national level.
Our actions will contribute to the eradication of poverty and the sustainable development of communities, and will reinforce the social impact of local development programs, through cooperation with international organizations and local governments for the implementation of innovative projects on sustainable communities’ mobilization and development; will contribute to inclusive planning using the Territorial Approach to Local Development (TALD), and local self-governance.
Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative:
Sharing a common concern that climate change poses a direct and far-reaching threat to people and communities all over the world, and leads to irreversible consequences, we express hope for the Paris Agreement that defines a global action plan on global warming.
We will ensure that care for people’s needs is at the heart of our strategy; giving special attention to the development of healthy and environmentally sustainable communities and vulnerable groups including women and children, people with low income, and people living in high-risk areas. These groups are particularly vulnerable and have much less ability to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.
Our cooperation and network interaction will focus on implementing projects and programs aimed at improving local communities’ practical knowledge and skills in the conservation of natural ecosystems; the rehabilitation and conservation of biological, genetic, water and energy resources; the introduction of adaptation measures, mechanisms and green technologies; and the mitigation of adverse effects of climate change. CCRI – the Community Conservation Resiliency Initiative – may serve as an example, this initiative is successfully being implemented in a number of countries.
Promotion of Gender Equality:
On the global level, the adoption of SDG 5, the goal to achieve gender equality and justice, prevent violence against women and children, and empower all women and girls, is a testimony to the global commitment to eliminate barriers and involve women and girls in all spheres of life.
Our common efforts will aim at promoting the equal rights of men and women, empowering women by expanding their political and economic participation, their access to and control over natural resources, as well as access to financial resources. Gender will be at the heart of our programs.
Our capacity building programs, innovative approaches and social projects will allow women to overcome legal, social and economic barriers; develop women entrepreneurship; and fight poverty in the context of climate change and economic downturn.
Youth Leadership Development:
We acknowledge that youth and children are active change agents playing an important role in the accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and national strategies for achieving the SDGs.
We consider our projects as investments in youth and children, especially those from remote areas and vulnerable groups.
We will mentor youth and support youth initiatives focusing on the protection of vulnerable groups; public engagement and advocacy; the prevention and countering of violent extremism; the introduction of innovative approaches and instruments of knowledge expansion and management; mentorship; and other.
Our efforts will be important for addressing comprehensive youth issues, strengthening the links between generations, and promoting the prosperity of countries.
Today we are witnessing a global phenomenon of growing numbers of refugees and migrants fleeing from violent conflicts, human rights violations, poverty, food insecurity, terrorism, natural disasters, and adverse effects of climate change.
In Central and South Asia, the flow of refugees and labor migrants is often linked to unemployment connected with a challenging socio-economic situation, previous violent conflicts, or the aftermath of environmental and natural disasters within their home countries. Therefore, the protection of the rights of and assistance to refugees and migrants, including female heads of households and their families abandoned as a result of labor migration, is one of the regional cooperation of Central Asian CSOs strategic priorities. Our efforts will aim at raising the awareness and education of migrants on their labor rights, obligations, and their social protection within the recipient countries. In the countries of origin, our programs and projects will aim at reducing the flow of internal and external labor migration through education and technical assistance for the development of family and women entrepreneurship, organization of self-help groups and communities, promotion of women’s rights on property and inheritance, access to finances, and women employment in the real sector of the economy.
Conflict Prevention and Countering Violent Extremism:
Conflict prevention and countering violent extremism is a priority objective for regional security, the educational sector, and the political and socio-economic life of a society as a whole. It is a complex socio-psychological issue that has currently become critical for every country around the world.
Our common efforts will aim at raising the awareness and knowledge of CSOs about conflict resolution and mediation, measures to prevent and counter extremism, case studies, experience sharing, and the development of training programs and guidelines for the activities of CSOs in this field.
Expansion of Favorable Space for Civil Society Organizations:
We highlight that in many places of the world, including Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan CSOs are operating in a setting of shrinking democratic space due to the changing political and technological environment.
Our efforts will aim at developing a peaceful, fair and inclusive society that provides equal access to justice and is based on government recognized respect for human rights, including the right for development, rule of law, and freedom of association.
In this regard, we will start to intensely study, introduce and widely disseminate civil society innovations through cross-border cooperation, sharing of best practices, training, sharing of informational and technical capacities across the region, and active and constructive dialogue with our governments.
Specific attention will be given to strengthening the expert capacity of civil society, expanding a platform for the development of networking, and expanding the capabilities of public initiatives in achieving their goals on the local, regional and global levels.
We are setting ourselves the strategic objectives to interact with our governments, promoting good, transparent, accountable governance, and strengthening the expert capacity of civil society in the monitoring and evaluation of programs; public policy; civic participation; and advocacy in various thematic fields.
Our efforts will aim at building partnerships and constructive dialogue with governments, including assisting with the implementation of international conventions and SDGs; improving the access of vulnerable groups to quality social services; increasing the effectiveness of public consultative councils and state support mechanisms of CSOs; and the introduction of innovations.
A public dialogue and consensus will facilitate expanded opportunities for CSOs and government to exchange ideas, take account of the needs of communities, and ensure effective civic participation in the decision making processes and introduction of innovations.
We strongly believe that even one joint action of ours defending the rights of disadvantaged groups, or eradicating poverty, preventing conflicts and countering violent extremism, or mitigating the adverse effects of climate change, can make a difference and put an end to future social injustice.
This is an open document to any interested party. You are welcome to join us!
Adopted on June 29, 2017