About Heart of Asia– Istanbul Process:
The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process is a regional initiative of Afghanistan and the Republic of Turkey, which was launched on 2 November 2011 in Istanbul, with the motto “İSTANBUL PROCESS ON REGIONAL SECURITY AND COOPERATION FOR A SECURE AND STABLE AFGHANISTAN”. The process aims to promote regional security, economic and political cooperation centered on Afghanistan through dialogue and confidence building measures (CBMs).
The conference was inaugurated by the presidents of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Turkey with the foreign ministers of the participating countries, delegations of supporting countries and regional/international organizations in attendance.
The next conference was held in Kabul on 14 June 2012 and the participating countries prioritized 6 areas for regional cooperation and confidence building measures. The participating countries voluntarily assumed the role of lead and co-lead for each CBM with other nations expressing their interest to act as supporting countries for each CBM. Afghanistan is the permanent Co- Chair and coordinator of the process with the support of other participating countries.
Since its inception in 2011 the HOA – IP has held 7 ministerial conferences hosted by different countries of the Heart of Asia region.
Goals and Objectives/ Focus Areas:
The Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process aims to promote and strengthen peace, security, stability and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region through Confidence building and regional cooperation amongst 15 regional countries. Since its inception the process has become a cardinal element in regional cooperation and has created a platform for Afghanistan’s near and extended neighbors, international supporters and organizations to engage in constructive dialogue and to address the existing and emerging regional challenges through regional cooperation with Afghanistan at its core. The process has three main pillars stated as:
The political consultation was created in recognition of the need to build and strengthen trust in the region. It is an integral element of the HOA - IP as it creates a platform for the regional participating countries, supporting countries and international organizations to engage in continuous and constructive dialogue that could result in a joint effort to address regional priorities with Afghanistan at its center.
Confidence Building Measures (CBMs)
As a result of the 2nd HOA - IP conference held in Kabul, the Participating Countries of the process prioritized 6 areas of cooperation as confidence building measures. A Confidence Building Measure (CBM) provides a framework for a specific issue that is a regional priority, each CBM has a dedicated focal point responsible for the coordination of efforts towards reaching and adopting an Implementation Plan by the lead and supporting that specific CBM. The focal point is based in Afghanistan and is within the Regional Cooperation Directorate of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Generally a CBM is platform for the experts of the HOA – IP nations to engage in a constructive dialogue and to find solutions and address the challenges within the Heart of Asia region. Each CBM should have two Regional Technical Group Meetings (RTGM) planned in one year. Table 1 reflects the summary of HoA-IP CBMs and Relevant States and Organization.
Cooperation with Regional Organizations
The heart of Asia – Istanbul Process emphasizes on creating synergy with other regional organizations and their efforts in the areas of security, economic cooperation and people – to – people relations, however the process does not intend to substitute any of the regional organizations or their efforts but rather support and complement their work when necessary and particularly when it relates to Afghanistan.