A Сonversation with Kazakhstan’s UN Resident Coordinator

Amina Shaidullina

September 22, 2021

On 16 September, Ms. Michaela Friberg-Storey, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan visited us during her first trip to the Mangistau Region. 

The following interview was taken by the MUNNISA Head of  Written Press, Amina Shaidullina.

Interview Transcript

[A] -How are you today?

[M] -I’m very well! Thank you for having me!

[A] -Could you please tell us about your role and responsibilities as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan?

[M] -So, in Kazakhstan there are over 20 agencies from the United Nations, that are inside the country and another 7 that are based outside of the country working with Kazakhstan all the time. These 27 agencies have together signed a strategic document with the government on all the things we want to do together, to deliver on the sustainable development goals. My job – is to try to make it easier for all these UN agencies to work together, so that our joint impact can be even stronger than if we worked one by one. So, it’s about bringing the UN family together.

[A] -Since you were appointed to this position, what kinds of changes have you seen take place in our country?

[M] -When I came to Kazakhstan, [erm…] during the pandemic, and I think that during this time, we have like everywhere else in the world, being on the beat of a pandemic cuff, where we see that we’ve taken one step forward, one step back, two step forwards as we are managing this pandemic. But, I also see that there was a lot of engagement from the public, from the regional administrations, and from the central government to advance the Agenda of Sustainable Development, of democratization, and of Sustainable AVANT. So, a lot of good decisions are being made for moving forward.

[A] -Thank you. In 2015, world leaders have adopted the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. Do you think it is realistic to achieve all of these goals by 2030?

[M] -I think we have seen a setback as a result of the pandemic. What is important, is not to look at exactly each and every one of this individually, but to look at the overall challenges we have faced. Realistic or not, we cannot let go of the focus of doing all we can, to reach as far as possible on every single one of the goal, when we get to 2030.That is why, we now have what we call “The Decade of Action”, that we need to accelerate to enhance, to be more engaged (with) them ever to deliver on SDGs, making sure that we leave no one behind, as we do that.

[A] -Thank you. Talking specifically about Kazakhstan, what kind of fields and which of the SDGs require more attention?

[M] -Well, it’s very important to recognize that the SDGs are all about bringing the different development dimensions together. So, it’s not about saying “this particular SDG is more important than another”, because they’re all interlinked. However, giving the remarkable economic development and prosperity that the journey that Kazakhstan has made over the last 30 years since independence, a lot of that is of course based on the extracting industries and greening the economy, and making sure that beautiful Kazakhstan is part of the future as well, in its sustainable green economy is absolutely essential.

[A] -Thank you. This year the theme of our MUNNISA conference is about Food Security. What can you say about the importance of food security from a global perspective?

[M] -Well, food security is one of those dimensions that really has been heavily impacted by the pandemic as well. We see that malnourishment increasing globally and we see that there are millions more at risk of falling down into the challenges of not having enough food and nutrition. The world needs to produce the food we eat and consume in a more sustainable way. We need to enhance the production and be greener in the production. And we also need to make sure that there is enough to cover for everyone. Here, Kazakhstan is of course an example where food security is not the challenge for the individuals living in Kazakhstan, but that Kazakhstan can really contribute through its very strong agriculture, making sure that it’s also green and sustainable for the future. 

[A] -Thank you! I also would like to ask you some questions about Model United Nations. Why do you think participation in MUN is important for students?

[M] -I think participating in MUN is important for students, but it’s also important for the United Nations that this exists. Because these challenges we are facing together, as the world we can only face together and we know that a lot of the decisions that have been made in the past are now having consequences for those that would be in the future. So, making sure that youth are engaged in the Sustainable Development Goals, that their voices are heard and that they have an opportunity to see the challenges is a prerequisite, is something that must happen for us to join to be able to deliver on the SDGs for the future. So, the Model United Nations is really a tool for enhancing collaborative multilateralism from relatively early stage in students’ advancements as leaders. 

[A] -Thank you! My final question is what is your purpose of the visit to the Mangystau region and what kind of fields require attention to work on?

[M] -This is my first visit to the region. Being a resident coordinator, I wanted to make sure I have a stronger understanding, and I need to have good understandings of the challenges that Kazakhstan is facing, of the opportunities that are embedded in the future and how we, as the United Nations can support the people of Kazakhstan and the governmental Kazakhstan to move forward. So, I am here to understand a little bit more about some of the challenges and opportunities that are here, in this beautiful and important region. 

[A] -Thank you, Ms. Michaela Friberg-Storey!  Thank you for coming to our region and for taking the time to speak with me today!

[M] -Thank you so much!

You can find the interview by following the link: https://youtu.be/XuLhcO-ZOMk

For more information about the United Nation’s mission in Kazakhstan, please visit 

https://kazakhstan.un.org/or follow their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @uninkazakhstan

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