In the heart of Central Asia, a nation renowned for its rich cultural diversity, multi-ethnic society, and spiritual traditions has emerged as a global beacon of interfaith harmony and understanding. Over the past two decades, Kazakhstan’s Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions (The Congress) has played an instrumental role in promoting dialogue, forging unity, and advocating for peace among diverse faiths worldwide. Rooted in Kazakhstan’s deep spiritual heritage and wisdom, this initiative has evolved into a symbol of international cooperation and tolerance. As we reflect on its remarkable journey and look ahead to its future under the leadership of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, it becomes evident that the Congress is poised to make even greater strides toward fostering global harmony and unity.
Exactly 32 years ago, on August 29, 1991, Kazakhstan, then part of the Soviet Union, made a historic decision that would alter its fate. On that day, Kazakhstan permanently closed the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, defying the central government in Moscow. This marked the start of Kazakhstan's transformation from a nuclear-armed state, possessing the fourth-largest nuclear arsenal at the time, to a non-nuclear-weapon state. Kazakhstan's audacious move to eliminate its nuclear weapons was rooted in a profound commitment to global disarmament, setting an inspiring precedent.
As the international community gears up to commemorate the 20th
anniversary next year of the opening up of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) for signature, a group of eminent persons (GEM) has launched a concerted campaign for entry into force of a global ban on nuclear weapon testing.
IPS Editor in Chief Ramesh Jaura talked to UNDP Assistant Administrator Izumi Nakamitsu, Director of the Crisis Response Unit in Sendai, Japan, at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) on 17 March 2015, to learn what the Unit is tasked with, the challenges the U.N. Development Programme is facing and its role in disaster risk reduction. The conference concluded 18 March 2015
declaring the participants' determination "to enhance efforts to strengthen disaster risk reduction to reduce disaster losses of lives and assets worldwide".
IPS Editor in Chief Ramesh Jaura talked to Margareta Wahlström - head of UNISDR, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General - in Sendai, Japan, at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) from 14 to 18 March 2015, exploring the outcome of the conference and its implication for funding and transfer of technology, the future of official development assistance (ODA) and the crucial role of the civil society in general and faith-based organisations in particular in reducing disaster risk.
Women play a critical role in reducing disaster risk and planning and decision-making during and after disasters strike, according to senior United Nations, government and civil society representatives.
As the world inched towards a crucial United Nations Conference in Sendai, Japan, Margareta Wahlström, head of the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
(UNISDR), assured that there was “general agreement” on the need to “move from managing disasters to managing disaster risk”.