Strengthening ties for future development: UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator's visit to Kazakhstan

January 26, 2024
Photo: Press Office of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Between January 21 and 24, Nick Hartmann, Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS at UNDP, conducted his official visit to Kazakhstan. The visit, punctuated by constructive dialogues and specific plans, didn't just symbolize a continuation of partnership but signaled a dynamic expansion of collaborative efforts in the areas of low-carbon growth, regional development, the gender equality agenda, and digital transformation, framed by the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda. 

During discussions with the Vice-Speaker of the Senate, Olga Perepechina, Hartmann extended UNDP’s commitment to enhance support for the localization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country. In its role as the Integrator for SDGs at the country level, UNDP has been providing expert and methodological support to the Parliamentary Commission for Monitoring the Implementation of National Goals and Targets in the field of Sustainable Development. This assistance includes access to global expertise to facilitate integration of SDGs into the state planning and budgeting systems. 

Photo: Press Office of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan

In the meeting with the Vice Minister of National Economy, Abzal Abdikarimov, the discussion centered around the substantial efforts undertaken by the Government in the pursuit of sustainable development. These efforts are now receiving crucial reinforcement through the endorsement of necessary measures and support from the Parliament. The ongoing integration of sustainable development principles into budgeting, norm-setting, and regional development processes not only promises incremental progress but heralds a qualitative breakthrough for the nation. Looking ahead to the next six years, this collaborative approach stands as the linchpin for achieving the development goals for 2030. It establishes a robust foundation for enduring positive change and comprehensive development, marking a transformative journey toward a sustainable and prosperous future for the country.

During the meeting with Perepechina, parties also touched upon Kazakhstan's progress in gender agenda. He specifically highlighted the latest Presidential Decree's impact on gender equality, advocating for the gender certification program’s role in educating both governmental and private sectors. This programme, crucial in fostering gender analysis mechanisms and preventing workplace sexual harassment, signifies a significant step towards gender parity.

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan

The same topic dominated the meeting with Aida Balayeva, Minister of Culture and Information. The discussion centered on the implementation of a certification program for achieving gender equality in the private sector (GES). The Minister expressed support for this initiative. The Ministry itself has already begun implementing GES standards. Following the successful experience with this initiative, there are plans to expand the program to other government organizations. 

Another crucial agenda item discussed during the meeting was the development of creative industries. UNDP and the Ministry reached an agreement to establish a joint action plan aimed at promoting creative industries in Kazakhstan. This initiative will also contribute to the new regional programme to be implemented in the Jitysu, Abai, Ulytau, and Kyzylorda regions. The discussions included plans for attracting international experts to conduct trainings and exchanging experiences in the sector. 

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan/Batyr Aubakirov

The visit of the Deputy Regional Director was also focused on exploring the avenues for scaling up existing partnerships on digitalization, that impacts every aspect of development today.  His meeting with the Minister of Digital Development, Innovations, and Aerospace Industry, Bagdat Mussin, underlined Kazakhstan's remarkable progress in digital governance. Hartmann's acknowledgment of Kazakhstan's position as a regional leader in this sphere, and his assurance of UNDP’s ongoing support in taking an inclusive and rights-based approach to leave no one behind. 

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan/Batyr Aubakirov

In Kazakhstan, UNDP harnesses digital instruments to amplify development outcomes in all areas of work. Using this potential to safeguard the unique biodiversity was one of the topics for the meeting with Erlan Nyssanbayev, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. Discussions on regional cooperation in energy, water management, and low-carbon development initiatives underscored the need for collective action in addressing climate change. 

The visit concluded with Hartmann's guest lecture at Nazarbayev University, timed with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, addressing gender disparities in STEM fields. Here, Hartmann introduced the STEM4ALL initiative, aimed at bolstering the role of women and girls in science, a clear testament to UNDP's commitment to bridge the gender gap in STEM.

Photo: UNDP Kazakhstan/Batyr Aubakirov