Home > Middle East > The Istanbul Process in urgent need of more devotion | www.sipri.org

The Istanbul Process in urgent need of more devotion | www.sipri.org

by Richard Ghiasy

Last week Beijing hosted the postponed fourth ‘Heart of Asia’ ministerial conference in the framework of the Istanbul Process. Inaugurated in 2011, the Process is unique as it is the only multilateral vehicle led by Afghanistan, thus permitting the country a greater say in its own affairs. Its objective is to facilitate Afghanistan’s reconstruction through interregional collaboration. To this end and in a short period of time, the Process has successfully managed to commit 14 participating members, some of which previously had difficulty coming together, to cooperate. However, the Process is beset by a number of internal and external challenges that necessitate attention. Newly elected Afghan president Ashraf Ghani and his administration will have to designate ample human resources and diplomacy efforts to guarantee the process’ effectiveness and sustainability.

An outer circle of 28 supporting members (mostly traditional donors to Afghanistan’s reconstruction) buttresses the inner circle of participating members. Through this process, members have created six confidence-building measures (CBMs) to instil trust and cooperation among members of the inner circle to support the planning, coordination and implementation of their work.

Arguably the sheer number of members involved in the process dilutes its effectiveness. The Beijing ministerial conference, somewhat overshadowed by Ghani’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, was no exception. While a number of action plans were discussed they were foremost the product of China’s efforts within the Process.

In its wake, the most recent ministerial conference has again left other participating members wondering in what way the Istanbul Process benefits them. Such concerns have been amplified by the notable diminished ranking of delegation officials attending the inner circle’s last two ministerial conferences in Beijing and Almaty, respectively; it is no longer the case that states send the top ranking representation to the conference.

For more on this story, visit: 3 Nov. 2014: Afghanistan – The Istanbul Process in urgent need of more devotion — www.sipri.org.

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