Central Asian Security: Two Recommendations for International Action

Policy Report | April 26, 2010

An Experts’ Group on Euro-Atlantic Security, convened by the EastWest Institute as part of a larger Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative, is pleased to offer its first series of policy recommendations—an international Central Asian security initiative. Given the Kazakh chair-in-office of the OSCE, this is an opportune time to engage in concrete issues in the region.


In the first recommendation, members of the Experts’ Group propose launching a comprehensive multi-year OSCE Central Asia Security Initiative aimed especially at countering the spillover threats from Afghanistan, such as northward flows of narcotics and violent extremists. A Security Initiative could begin as a new, intensive dialogue in the OSCE with its Central Asian members.  It might focus on how to improve situational awareness about threats and how to assist regional members to carry out concrete measures to enhance security and lessen vulnerabilities. It is hoped that this recommendation be considered as a potential agenda item for the possible OSCE summit that Astana is seeking to hold while it is chair. 

A second recommendation is also offered—one that seeks a larger role for organizations already having a strong presence in the region (notably the CSTO and SCO). While noting that the Kazakh chair-in-office is a unique opportunity, this recommendation does not prescribe a leading role for the OSCE. Instead, it proposes an international action plan to coordinate the efforts of the countries of the region themselves, international organizations with a presence in the region, and leading neighboring powers in the spheres of economic development and external security.

The Experts’ Group is composed of diplomatic, military, and policy officials as well as experts from NATO states and Russia. The group was first convened in the 2009 to discuss broadly discuss visions for Euro-Atlantic Security. The results of those discussions were published in a short policy paper Euro-Atlantic Security: One Vision, Three Paths. Earlier this year, the group was reconvened to undertake a series of discussions to come up with concrete policy suggestions that could contribute to the stabilization of international security interactions among Euro-Atlantic states by catalyzing new confidence building mechanisms and strategies. The group meets regularly to discuss major issues in the Euro-Atlantic security realm. Additional recommendations will be forthcoming that we hope will also be items that could usefully put on an OSCE summit agenda, as well as discussed throughout the relevant capitals.