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.
Narcotics Trade or drug trafficking is the new epidemic in the heart of Asia region and all the Participating Countries are addressing this issue, however individual struggles of each Participating Country has resulted In a limited success. The HOA – IP aims to gather all the nations in this region to reach a consensus on a startegy to channel their efforts to fight Narcotics more effectively. Therefore, the subject matter experts of each participating country gather twice a year to share their knowledge, experience and latest methods of fighting narcotics and drugs trafficking in the region. This CBM is being led by Russian Federation and Republic of Azerbaijan.
The National Focal Point for Counter Narcotics in Afghanistan is the Ministry of Interior of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Terrorism is a regional challenge that primarily claims victims from Afghan people, however the recent incidents proves that it is fast growing towards other countries in the region and if not addressed has the potential to heavily affect other nations in the region. Counter Terrorism CBM aims to gather the regional experts form different participating countries to share their expertise, experience and views on how to combat terrorism more effectively in this region. This CBM is jointly led by Afghanistan, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.
The National Focal Point for Counter Terrorism in Afghanistan is the office of National Security Council.
Culture and education is an important aspect of regional cooperation in a culturally rich heart of Asia region. Focus on region wide cultural and educational programs can present a unique opportunity for the nations to come closer. This CBM is being led by Islamic Republic of Iran.
The National Focal Point of Education and Culture CBM in Afghanistan is the Ministry of Higher Education.
In a region such as Heart of Asia where different countries are inter- dependent of each other’s natural resources, products and services the need for regional infrastructure has just become more evident. It has been proven times and again that regional infrastructure can lead to better economic and political cooperation and can bring the nations closer. This CBM intends to create a platform to better plan and execute regional infrastructure projects and is being led by Republic of Azerbaijan and Republic of Turkmenistan.
The National Focal Point of Regional Infrastructure CBM in Afghanistan are Ministry of Transport and Directorate of Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Heart of Asia Region is prone to natural disasters with many disasters such as tornadoes, earth quakes and droughts being the most frequents of all. Such disasters cause huge financial and fatal consequences to different countries of the region. With the temperatures on the rise and possibilities of more frequent disasters ascending the need for regional cooperation on disaster management is just more evident than ever. This CBM intends to provide a platform for the regional experts to find more effective and efficient solutions to this problem. This CBM is being led by Republic of Kazakhstan and Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
As per the decision of foreign ministers in the 8th ministerial conference of Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process , the mandate of this CMB was amended to cover environmental protection as well, hence the name of this CBM has been changed to Disaster Management and Environmental Protection.
The National Focal Point of the Disaster Management CBM in Afghanistan is the State Ministry for Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs.
It is said that it was trade that laid the foundation of modern human civilization with traders being the primary couriers of science and culture. Each nation in the Heart of Asia region present a unique opportunities for trade and investment , the need for trade and investment is highly felt and can be a cause of regional cooperation and connectivity. Therefore the TCIO CBM is of critical importance to regional cooperation where experts can share their views on trade and investment opportunities. This CBM is being led by Republic of India.
The National Focal point of Trade, Commerce & investment Opportunities in Afghanistan are the ministry of Commerce and Industries and the Directorate of Economic Cooperation of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
7) Agriculture Development (AD-CBM):
Agriculture stands as one of the pillars of economies in Heart of Asia region, as the region produces, consumes have considerable trade of agricultural products among the region countries. Thus, developing agriculture in the HoA region boosts prosperity and livelihood of the humans living in this region.
The 8th MC Declaration of Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process endorsed the implementation plan for Agriculture Development Confidence Building Measures (AD-CBM) proposed by the co-chairs and adopted by the foreign ministers. It also welcomed Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan’s willingness to lead of this CBM. Hence, the new CBM started functioning as of 9th December 2019.
8) Women's Empowerment(WE-CBM):
Empowering women to participate fully in economic growth of the region is essential to build stronger economies and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities. The Women's Empowerment Confidence Building Measure (WE-CBM) is one of the eight CBMs that will provide a forum for key stakeholders to coordinate and collaborate on establishing practical solutions and enabling environment for the realization of the empowerment of women in the Heart of Asia Region. The National Focal Points of Women Empowerment CBM in Afghanistan are the Ministry of Women Affairs and the Directorate General of Human Rights and International Women Affairs of Afghanistan.