Pandemics do not recognize political borders. Hence in times of trouble, reaching out to neighboring countries is the necessary course of action. Recent meetings of SAARC and CICA is a right step in this regard to maintain geopolitical diplomacy and carry forward a concerted effort to fight the pandemic.
- About CICA
- In news
- Initiatives by SAARC in the last summit to tackle COVID
- India attended the Foreign Minister’s meetings of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
- Represented by the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, India called on all SAARC members to “collectively resolve to defeat the scourge of terrorism which impedes the objective of SAARC to realize its full potential and hinders prosperity across South Asia.
- Pakistan made a statement on the resolution of long-standing disputes, a veiled reference to J&K issues, and India’s move to withdraw Article 370.
- It was taken into account that the delay in convening the 19th SAARC Summit and the absence of formal meetings of the SAARC Charter bodies since 2016 had greatly impacted the functioning of SAARC.
- But most countries agreed that it was not the “opportune time” to convene the summit due to the COVID-19 situation.
- All SAARC nations built a common stand on the need to cooperate in battling the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Chairmanship of CICA was transferred from Tajikistan to Kazakhstan and a new executive director was appointed.
Initiatives by SAARC in the last summit to tackle COVID:
- SAARC Leaders’ video-conference was convened by Indian PM Modi during the last virtual SAARC summit held in March 2020.
- A COVID-19 Information Exchange Platform (COINEX), a SAARC Food Bank mechanism, and the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund were launched.
- India contributed $10 million to the Emergency fund making essential drugs, COVID protection, and testing kits, amounting to $2.3 million available to SAARC nations.
- Nepal and Afghanistan pledged USD 1 million each, Maldives committed USD 200,000, Bhutan USD 100,000, Bangladesh USD 1.5 million, Sri Lanka USD 5 million, and Pakistan pledged USD 3 million to the fund.
- India had proposed a shared electronic platform for all SAARC nations to share and exchange information, knowledge, expertise, and best practices for jointly combating the coronavirus epidemic.
- The SAARC countries also adopted international travel bans, enforced strict lockdowns, announced special economic packages, and banned all religious gatherings to battle the pandemic.
- The idea of convening the CICA was first proposed by the first President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the 1992 UNGA session.
- Was established in 1999 with the Secretariat at Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
- It represents the construction industry at the world level which employs around 120 million people.
- It has 27 member countries and 8 observer states.
- Founding documents are the Declaration on the Principles Guiding Relations among the CICA Member States, 1999, and the Almaty Act (signed by Heads of States and Governments of the CICA in 2002).
- The First Ministerial Meeting was held in 1999.
- India has been a member of CICA since its inception in 1999.
- India co-chairs two CICA Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) on ‘Development of Secure and Effective Systems of Transportation Corridors,’ and ‘Energy Security’.
Structure of CICA:
Policymaking bodies are:
1) Meeting of Heads of States and Governments (Summit – the supreme authority, convenes every 4 years)
2) Meeting of Foreign Ministers (Ministerial Meeting – the body convening in accordance with the Rules of procedure every 2 years)
3) Senior Officials Committee (hold meetings no less than once a year).
Working bodies are:
1) Special Working Groups (SWG),
2) Specialized Meetings of Experts (SME)
- The CICA Board includes a Chairman and Vice-Presidents for a term of two years as well as a Treasurer. Former Presidents are ex officio members of the Board.
- The Board usually meets twice a year, alternately in Paris.
- Executive Director – Ambassador Gong Jianwei (China)
- CICA is a non-profit, voluntary, global association that represents and speaks for the construction industry on technical, legal, and political matters of international concern.
- It provides a forum for fellowship, cooperation, and interaction with member federations and linked institutions.
- It acts as a club for contractors of any size and as a lobby at the international level interacting with worldwide public organizations.
- It encourages the exchange of experiences, information, and technical knowledge.
- It promotes investment in engineering and building that enhances both our environment and the quality of life for all.
- It promotes the global construction industry, by stressing notably its fundamental impact on the economy at local, regional, and global levels.
- CICA and its member federations assist Governments, international financial institutions, and other international organizations in order to:
– Contribute to the elaboration and implementation of their infrastructure projects or action plans.
-Collaborate actively in the definition and implementation of the required policies.
- What is the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA)? Explain its relevance in today’s world.
Approach to the answer:
- Write 2-3 lines about the recent CICA meet
- Write about CICA’s origin
- Explain its functions