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Commonwealth of Independent States

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a regional intergovernmental organization focused on cooperation on political, economic, environmental, humanitarian, cultural and other issues between a number of former Soviet Republics.

On December 8, 1991 in Minsk the Agreement on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States was signed by the heads of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

According to the CIS Charter, the Council of the Heads of State is the supreme body of the Commonwealth, which discusses and resolves fundamental issues related to the activities of member states in the field of their common interests.

Meetings of the Council of the Heads of Government, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Economic Council of the CIS are also held on a regular basis to discuss issues of interstate cooperation within the framework of the CIS.

The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS Member States holds inter-parliamentary consultations, develops joint proposals in the field of activity of national parliaments.

The CIS Economic Court was established to ensure unified application of agreements between the CIS member states and the economic obligations and treaties based on them.

The Council of Permanent Plenipotentiaries of the Member States of the CIS under the statutory and other bodies of the Commonwealth facilitates the interaction of states in matters of mutual interest.

The CIS Executive Committee is a permanent executive, administrative and coordinating body of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

An important contribution to the CIS coordinated actions is made by intersectoral councils covering economically and socially significant areas of interaction. Such bodies include the heads of the relevant state authorities of the CIS member states.

Humanitarian cooperation is coordinated by the Council for Humanitarian Cooperation and the Interstate Fund for Humanitarian Cooperation of the CIS Member States. Intersectoral councils are also active in the area of security.

The central element of the economic configuration is the CIS multilateral free trade zone with a market capacity of more than 280 million people. In October 2011 the CIS Free Trade Zone Agreement was signed. The document significantly reduced the number of exemptions from the free trade regime upon import.

The headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States is located in the city of Minsk. The department of the CIS Executive Committee responsible for economic issues is situated in Moscow.

In 2022, under the presidency of the Republic of Kazakhstan, CIS Member-States continued the work on adoption of addresses and joint statements reflecting common views of the CIS Member-States on topical regional and global problems within the framework of political interaction.

At the meeting of the Council of the Heads of the CIS Member-States, which took place in Astana (October 14, 2022), the decision on the international organization to provide support and promotion of the Russian language was made and the Concept of creation under the CIS aegis of the international organization to support and promote the Russian language was approved. Agreements on cooperation of the CIS Member-States in combating corruption and on establishment of the Advisory Council of Heads of Electoral Bodies of the CIS Member-States were signed. Decisions on cooperation in the sphere of climate and on development of cooperation in culture were made as well as on renaming the position of the CIS Chairman of the Executive Committee - CIS Executive Secretary into "CIS Secretary General" since January 1, 2023.  

A wide range of important documents were signed with CIS partner countries in 2022 in the economic, humanitarian, scientific and social spheres, including the Concept of scientific and technological cooperation and the Plan of measures for its implementation, the Concept of digital transformation of chemical industries, the Agreement on cooperation in preventing and responding to emergency situations in the field of public health, the Agreement on the Exchange of Biological Materials.

The Members approved in general the draft Agreement on free trade in services, establishment, activity and investments, which will be submitted for consideration at the next meeting of the CIS Heads of the governments.

The Concept of development of industrial cooperation and the Complex of measures on development of industrial cooperation until 2030 will serve as the basis for work on defining the list of priority industrial cooperation directions.

At the initiative of the Republic of Belarus, a working group was set up in 2022 to monitor the economic situation in the Commonwealth. The group has developed and adopted a list of joint measures to respond to emerging problems (approved by the CIS Economic Council on June 10, 2022), which provides for the promotion of mutual investments, deepening of industrial cooperation and cooperation in agriculture, simplification of customs regulations, formation of new logistical chains and introduction of digital technologies.

The CIS Economic Council decided to elaborate the issue of establishing a permanent high-level working group of representatives of the ministries and departments of the CIS Member-States with the involvement of chambers of commerce and industry and business communities in order to analyze the incoming claims of obstacles to mutual trade.

The CIS Member-States continued to work on the implementation of the concept of military cooperation until 2025 and the program of cooperation in strengthening border security on the external borders for 2021-2025.

In 2023, the presidency of the CIS passed to the Kyrgyz Republic.

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