G-Global initiative to play vital role in sustainable human development – Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev


G-Global initiative to play vital role in sustainable human development - Kassym-Zhomart TokayevToday Senate Speaker of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev has participated in a conference dedicated to G-Global initiative at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty. During the conference Mr. Tokayev took the floor to talk about sustainable human development and security and the role of G-Global initiative in that process.

“The theme of this conference is very acute. Contemporary challenges create the need for a new paradigm of global development. That is why Kazakhstan helps to tackle this problem. President Nursultan Nazarbayev launched the G-Global initiative that aims at uniting efforts of the international community to establish just and secure world order.

This initiative offers an absolutely new form of global discussions. There is no doubt about the accomplishments of the elite G8 and G20 groups yet we believe that the world should listen to the views of other countries and hear their proposals on current development. In our opinion such redistribution of global roles is more consistent with the principles of democracy, inclusive responsibility and pays due regard to the needs of a multipolar world.

The G-Global project envisages open dialogue of the community of nations willing to make a worthy input into the promotion of stability and sustainable development of humankind. This means that the principles of equality and mutual respect must prevail in international relations.

It is our firm belief that while overcoming the Cold War stereotypes, fostering trust based on global interaction and enhancing multilateral cooperation we can steer the economy out of the vicious cycle of crises and recessions.

The main principles of the world order in the 21st century set out in the G-Global initiative will build a solid foundation of cohesive multipolar world,” the Senate Speaker stressed.

“Expectations that at the end of the Cold War the world would become a safer place to live in melted away. The world community is jam-packed with new threats to global security whereas international relations have strained to the point that reasonable concerns about the return to the Cold War emerged.

The 21st century is witnessing again political and economic instability, regional conflicts, extremism, terrorism and organized crime. The world is still jeopardized by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the resumption of high-tech arms race. Social and demographic problems are significantly growing in scope: widening gap between rich and poor countries, rising migration flows, overpopulation on the Earth, pandemic diseases, mounting hunger and fresh water shortage. Morals and ethics are eroding; globalization is amplifying the risk of ideological, cultural and religious conflicts. Anthropogenic action has brought humankind to the line beyond which the future existence of the human race may become questionable.

In view of these pressing challenges we should ponder over existing paradigm shift to ensure sustainable human development and security.

It is necessary to adjust priorities in the very essence of economic activity. The ultimate goal of economic development is not only and not so much achieving quantitative growth but also tackling issues related to the quality of life, that is science, health, education and culture. Sustainable economic growth should be measured by technological efficiency and safety, high quality of goods and services, sound consumption standards and resource friendly approach.

GDP per capita is not the only economic success indicator. Wealth distribution, social well-being, compliance with international living standards, the rule of law and respect for human rights and freedoms should also be taken into account,” he noted.

It is essential to reassess environmental factor in the new paradigm of sustainable development. 60% of life-critical ecosystems on the Earth are under the threat of destruction. Global warming caused by greenhouse effect resulting from anthropogenic activity may lead to universal catastrophes. Since 1980 the number of natural disasters has increased fivefold, over the past 15 years overall damage reached USD 100 billion.

Attempts to achieve economic growth by increasing natural resource consumption are eventually a dead end. Mankind use natural resources 50% faster than they are renewed.

Environmental preservation and reproduction should be a prerequisite for sustainable human development,” Mr. Tokayev added.

In his words, human capital plays crucial role in sustainable development. Its potential depends on the quality of education, healthcare and social well-being.

“In this regard the United Nations Millennium Development Goals are extremely important. The MDGs helped many countries, including Kazakhstan, to improve their quality indicators of development. Although not all the goals would be achieved by 2015 the experience gained worldwide is indispensable to future sustainable human development. The Millennium Development Goals Plus will be built on this experience,” K. Tokayev said.

“The widening gap between rich and poor poses a major challenge to sustainable development and undermines global stability.

According to Oxfam International, fighting against poverty, 85 richest people on the planet own USD 1.7 trillion, the wealth of half of the world’s population or 3.6 billion poorest people.

The contrast between multibillionaires and people living on USD 1 a day or even less is a source of despair, hatred and radicalization in the latter group. Social stratification gives rise to public protests and may hinder the world economic growth.

Corruption corroding morality and undermining domestic security only aggravates social inequality. According to the Tax Justice Network, crooked business people working with corrupt officials have embezzled USD 30 trillion over the last 15 years – or 40% of the current world’s gross domestic product. Between 2000 and 2011 USD 1.2 trillion ran from the European Union to secret offshore financial havens, while USD 4 trillion disappeared from China and USD 1 trillion waned from Russia.

The new concept of sustainable human development should outline measures to overcome this situation by bridging social inequality gaps at the global level,” he underlined.

According to him, social inequality is deepening with the growth of world population that reached 7.2 billion people and by 2100 will increase to 12.5 billion. Nowadays over 80% of the world population does not have enough food, job and appropriate living conditions.

“Demographic growth provokes the threat of hunger that in turn requires more rational use of agricultural resources.

The UN estimates that roughly one-third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption gets lost or wasted globally which is about 1.3 billion ton per year. It is unaffordable luxury undermining global stability as almost one billion people on the planet are starving.

Unemployment problem has worsened with technological progress. According to the UN, in 2014 the number of unemployed is expected to increase to 203.2 million people worldwide; the number of working people earning less than USD 2 a day will grow to 840 million people. Young people are confronting unemployment problems; nearly 75 million people under the age of 24 years are unemployed. People looking for a job often have to migrate to other countries and the number of these persons is close to 235 million.

We should focus on the shortage of drinking water. The UN estimates that currently 750 million people lack access to safe drinking water. Acute water shortage inflamed 37 interstate conflicts over the past 50 years. According to foreign estimates, by 2030 water scarcity will deteriorate to the extent that social instability and armed conflicts may sparkle in some parts of the world. This problem is also relevant to our region.

Therefore, great attention must be paid to developing and poor countries provided that they will make efforts to embark on the path to sustainable development including economic reforms and transformations of political institutions,” Tokayev pointed out.

“New approaches should be applied to the balance between national culture and universal values. Changes in the global way of thinking should take into consideration the diminishing Eurocentric influence and strengthening “non-Western” views. Asian cultural values became popular due to the rapid economic rise of Asia. The concept of a new world order should reflect the principles of cultural polycentricity bearing in mind the equal value of each culture to the world civilization.

A good example of this approach is Kazakhstan’s policy to ensure interethnic and interfaith peace and harmony underpinned by the principle of “unity in diversity”. On the initiative of our country the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022),” he stressed.

In conclusion, K. Tokayev noted that Kazakhstan is interested in strengthening international cooperation to ensure global sustainable development. The Kazakhstan-2050 Development Strategy proposed by President Nazarbayev reflects Kazakhstan’s vision of ways of long-term development and it should be minutely studied by foreign experts.