33rd session of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan held in Astana

The Assembly of the People Session

Under the chairmanship of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the session of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan (APK), titled “Unity. Creation. Progress” was held on April 25, 2024. Participants included Senate deputies from the APK, leaders and members of republican ethnocultural associations, APK volunteers, and regional delegates of the Assembly via video conference.

The President primarily focused on the government’s efforts to aid flood victims in Kazakhstan, who have been impacted by severe floods that began nearly a month ago.

On flooding in Kazakhstan

President Tokayev emphasized that the people of Kazakhstan showed unity and togetherness during the difficult days experienced by the country during the flooding.

He stated the following:

Support for the population of Kazakhstan

  • As a result of coordinated actions by the government, state agencies, specialised services, and the assistance of volunteers, more than 119,000 people, including almost 45,000 children, were evacuated in a timely manner.
  • In a very short time, the national and regional headquarters of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan were established to provide comprehensive support to the victims of flooding.
  • A large-scale campaign, “From Heart to Heart,” is underway, having already dispatched over 1,500 tonnes of food and essential goods worth approximately 770 million tenge to the disaster areas.
  • The involvement of 12,000 volunteers from ethnic-cultural associations in collecting charitable and humanitarian aid, organising evacuations, and informing citizens exemplifies the unity and mutual aid among citizens.
  • The primary task is to ensure the safety of citizens.
  • The government is taking all necessary measures, and appropriate funds have been allocated. Large companies and business representatives are also providing assistance.
  • The government will reduce budgetary expenses in favour of urgent tasks to eliminate the consequences of the floods. A regime of strict economy of state funds will be introduced in the country.
  • The government is committed to a rapid and comprehensive response to natural disasters, including compensation for damages, construction of housing, and restoration of infrastructure.
  • A significant financial commitment from the state to ensure the well-being of its citizens, with an expedited timeline of 5 months for major reconstruction efforts.
  • Affected families will receive a one-time payment and compensation for damaged or destroyed property after assessments.
  • The state will repair damaged housing and construct new homes, replacing those destroyed in the floods.
  • Large-scale construction is expected to provide new opportunities for citizens to relocate to areas with better economic and environmental conditions.
  • Flood-affected citizens will receive a three-month loan deferment, exemption from late fees and penalties, and support for small businesses and farmers, including deferments on interest payments and assistance for planting campaigns.

Tackling floods and preventing natural disasters in the future

  • There is a need to fundamentally rebuild the interaction between the state and science to create an effective system for combating natural disasters.
  • The Kazakh Hydromeliorative Construction Institute will be reestablished, and the work of the Institute of Seismology in Almaty will be enhanced.
  • There needs to be special focus on studying and mitigating climate change impacts.
  • The entire water management system will be reorganised, including modernising companies like “Kazvodhoz” and “Nurinsky Group Water Supply.”
  • Twenty new reservoirs will be constructed, and 15 existing ones will be reconstructed across 11 regions of Kazakhstan to reduce flooding risks in 134 settlements.
  • The Development Concept for Water Resources Management will be enhanced to include advanced international practices for flood prevention and impact reduction.
  • The technical resources of the Ministry of Emergency Situations will be updated and its supply of specialised equipment will be enhanced, including helicopters and airplanes.
  • The National Hydrogeological Service will be reestablished to explore and protect underground water resources.
  • Ongoing initiatives to green and clean territories across all regions, urging local community engagement to improve living conditions.

On reforms in Kazakhstan

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at the Assembly of the People Session

President Tokayev briefly touched upon the reforms in the country, noting the following:

  • All branches of power are now operating in a new coordinate system, centred on protecting and promoting the legitimate interests, rights, and freedoms of the individual.
  • Kazakhstan has begun transitioning to a new economic model based on principles of fairness, inclusivity, pragmatism, and laying a solid foundation for improving the welfare of its citizens.
  • Kazakhstan is building a country of equal opportunities, where everyone will have a decent standard of living.

On international relations and foreign affairs

In his speech, President Tokayev covered several issues related to global affairs and challenges. Key points include:

  • Citizens of Kazakhstan can visit dozens of countries without a visa, and this list is continually expanding thanks to the country’s targeted efforts. Kazakhstan is currently ranked 66th in the World Passport Index.
  • Every citizen of Kazakhstan enjoys all the privileges regardless of ethnic background, views, and beliefs. The turquoise passport of Kazakhstan symbolises the high values upon which our country is built. It is recognised worldwide as the document of a progressive, modern state.
  • Attempts to exploit international turbulence to promote radical ideologies and incite xenophobia are increasing.
  • Ethno-religious motives are being attributed to the geostrategic ambitions of states, framing them as inter-civilizational conflicts.
  • There is a rise in extremist forces and terrorist threats globally, highlighted by the recent terrorist attack in Moscow.
  • Kazakhstan has actively advocated at the UN for the condemnation of this inhumane act against civilians and emphasizes the necessity of dialogue and effort consolidation to overcome global chaos and distrust in international relations.
  • The government is committed to ensuring peace and security, ready to counter any divisive attempts or misinformation strongly.

On the work of the Assembly of the People

Founded in 1995, the assembly is a constitutional body aimed at strengthening the ethnic accord in the country and ensuring all rights and freedoms of citizens are observed regardless of one’s ethnic affiliation.

President Tokayev stated the following:

  • It is necessary to strengthen the institutional potential of the Assembly and enhance its interaction with state bodies, Parliament, and maslikhats.
  • The Assembly has transformed into an important institution of public self-organisation and the main headquarters for coordinating ethnocultural associations.
  • The role of the Assembly in state decision-making and reforms should be consistently strengthened, focusing on practical activities to identify and pre-emptively address potential ethno-social tensions.
  • The 30th anniversary of the APK next year is an opportunity to clarify and popularise the Assembly’s activities and involve citizens in strengthening national unity.
  • It is necessary to prepare a Plan of Activities for the 30th Anniversary of the Assembly, involving all state bodies, political parties, and the public, focusing on projects that demonstrate “unity in diversity.”
  • The principle of “unity in diversity” is highlighted as a fundamental and globally recognised principle associated with the UN.
  • The Assembly of People of Kazakhstan plays a vital role promoting harmony and unity across diverse societal segments.
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