EURASIA MEDIA FORUM 2017. Win-Win Scenario or the Search for a Compromise

 

All societies are insufficiently just and there are all kinds of injustice that we must fight against
Zygmunt Bauman

This year’s topic of Eurasia Media Forum 2017, which took place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, was “Scenario for the Search for Compromise”.
The founder of EAMF and chair of its organisational committee is Dariga Nazarbayeva, Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Relations, Defence and Security of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The forum, which took place at the Congress Centre on
23–24 June, was opened with her speech and became a non-governmental discussion platform and open dialogue on most important of the current topics.
The event, which took place during the world EXPO 2017, attracted a large number of world-class politicians, business and media representatives, leading economists, experts, futurologists and public figures. The XIV Eurasia Media Forum was attended by 920 participants and 90 media representatives from 38 countries.
Invited by Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, JŪRA MOPE SEA international business magazine also attended the forum, offering its participants the special issue in five – English, Lithuanian, Kazakh, Chinese and Russian – languages.
We would like to share some of the thoughts on the topics discussed during the forum with the readers of JŪRA MOPE SEA magazine.

The search for compromise sounds hopeful

During her opening speech Dariga Nazarbayeva said that the forum traditionally would revolve around the ‘hot’ topics, which, unfortunately, keep arising. However, the approach of searching for compromise instead of hostility does give some hope.
“The current age is referred to the age of uncertainty and fear, the age of unlimited freedom. Is it really so?
Not so long ago globalisation was referred to as the peak of progress. And now it’s scary, confronted by ideas of radicalism, nationalism and refusal of integration. Who will win this dispute?
The civil war in the Middle East and increasing flows of refuges has become an unbearable burden to many of the EU countries.
The British sociologist Zygmunt Bauman was right by saying that there are two major values, which are indispensable for life. These are freedom and security. They are also impossible without one another. Freedom without security portends chaos, while security without freedom means slavery. The choice between personal freedom and its conscious limitation for security is a hard dilemma. What will the modern generation choose?
The unprecedented development of information communication technology makes us rethink the historical values and stereotypes. It shapes modern thinking, eliminating boundaries, making the world transparent and, at the same time, vulnerable.
What will the “digital revolution” and global information bring? How will it change human life and will this major achievement be used for the good of the humanity or evil?
We won’t be able to build a new harmonious world by taking narrow perspectives, keeping to negative stereotypes and pessimism. We must raise a new generation of strong people, who would march step in step with progress, unhindered by historical grievances and tragedies of the past. The new age needs new personalities, who would take what’s best from the past – the spiritual heritage and culture of their ancestors – and achieve success. What do the participants of our Forum think of modernizing the modern human consciousness? One of the traditionally ‘hot’ topics of the Forum is the situation of the mass media, always at the forefront of information wars. The issues of journalistic ethics are becoming as important as ever.
Today, those who choose a profession that is called upon to inform and educate society, have to take some kind of Hippocratic Oath, and be guided by the most important principle of healing: “Do no harm”. What does the media community think about this?” asked Dariga Nazarbayeva, Chair of the Organisational Committee.

The new world order: building bridges or walls?

JŪRA MOPE SEA magazine discussed this topic in the editorial of the first issue of 2016 – “Too Many Walls and Not Enough Bridges”.
“After the World War II, which was participated by 60 countries and took more than 62 million lives, Europe was divided once again, putting countries on different sides of the border for almost half a century. The wall symbolizing the Cold War began to crumble only in the autumn of 1989 in Berlin.
More than two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, walls are making a comeback. More than 40 countries worldwide erected fences against more than 60 of their neighbours with 15 new walls built in 2015 alone. These facts were presented at the security conference in Munich, emphasizing the threat to the border-free Schengen area.” we wrote, also reminding of the famous son of the Great Britain and scientific genius Isaac Newton, who noticed that that we build too many walls and not enough bridges even back in the 17th century.
One and a half years have passed since that article. What does the world speak of walls and bridges today?

The world in turbulence

It became clear that the modern world has been experiencing turbulence already during the first session of the Forum, moderated by Nik Gowing, the famous British broadcaster and journalist. The international community has been leaving the outdated world order into the new changing age of global integration. New leaders will take humanity into the age of multi-polar opportunities.
What should states do, facing these complex circumstances? What are the most efficient ways of entering the new growth path for the countries in Europe, America, Asia and other continents? What are the possible 21st century world development options and spheres of influence for country leaders?

Globalisation, crises, populism, nationalism and disinformation building today’s reality

The first to begin the Forum was José Manuel Barroso, ex-President of the European Commission: “Globalisation is not something that we’ve made up. It is an organisation form of the global community, dictated to us by reality.” Upon listing the points of conflict of interests on the world’s political map – North Korea, Palestine and Israel, Ukraine – Mr Barosso stated that the solution to these conflicts is possible only through even deeper conflict. He encouraged learning openness and focusing on solving global issues, faced by the global society.
Bill Richardson, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, defined the global populist tendencies and nationalistic moods within countries, such as the Brexit or US elections, as the features of the modern-day society’s development. He also sees the relations between Russia and the USA as a risk to the international cooperation. The speaker encouraged to use the opportunities of all types of media and expressed his opinion that despite various predispositions, the advantages of globalism eventually outweigh the possible risks.
Abdullah Gül, 11th President of the Republic of Turkey, encouraged to take a look at the situation from the perspective of ordinary people: since the world has become more transparent, seeing problems and injustice makes people angrier. “Politicians face a huge responsibility and they shouldn’t use people’s emotions to achieve their own political goals.” noted Mr Gül.
Gideon Sher, former Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Israel, drew attention to the issue of manipulation of information. “This is the real situation, which doesn’t make any of the conflict parties proud. However, all interested parties purposefully use their media to spread disinformation about their opponents and try to put themselves in the best light. This is the responsibility of the media in the global world.” stated the speaker. Mr Sher also called for a focus on the development of effective instruments, which would help to adjust acute international problems that hinder the development of the humanity: climate change, space exploration, legal regulation of social media and technological development.

Syrian crisis: can we see the end of the war?

Uniting to battle terrorism and put an end in the Syrian war are the most important issues on the agenda at almost every global summit. Although this process involves world’s largest countries, nobody can solve this issue and change the situation in Syria so far. Political circles in various countries have their own goals and interests, yet lack a common goal and vision on fighting the global evil and are unable to work together. Political regulation of the conflict could resolve this issue, but so far it’s hindered by divergences between European, US and Russian views and foreign policy.
Thus, the issues discussed by the participants of the Eurasian Media Forum both agitated and worried the audience. The Syrian issue was one of the hottest discussions of the Forum, moderated by Sophiko Shevardnadze, journalist for the Russia Today TV.
All speakers noted Astana’s effort in organising the negotiation on the Syrian issue. The capital of Kazakhstan used to welcome diplomats on this issue before as well. The Astana Process became a place to coordinate the issues of stopping the war in Syria.
Kairat Abdrachmanov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, reminded that the first negotiation regarding the Syrian issue took place in the capital of Kazakhstan by the initiative of the Russian and Turkish Presidents, immediately supported by Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev. This became a logical continuation of Kazakhstan’s effort to settle the conflict. “In 2015 Astana welcomed the Syrian opposition group to negotiate the end of the war in Syria two times, providing the opposition with an opportunity to state their position. The negotiations were supervised by representatives of the UN, USA and Jordan. We believe that the UN has a particularly important role in settling this conflict. The multilevel peaceful settlement plan features points regarding ceasefire, implementation of a constitutional reform, as well as formation of a transitional government. Astana supplemented Geneva’s agenda by organising negotiation on fighting terrorism. Kazakhstan has demonstrated its position as a peaceful country and a fair intermediary in this process.” stated the Minister. He also emphasized that by delegating a supervisor, the USA showed its serious intentions to start a peaceful process.
Commenting on the possibility to introduce a Kazakhstani-Kyrgyz peacekeeping contingent into Syrian separation zones, the Minister explained, that this concern is related to the memorandum regarding the de-escalation zones in Syria. “There are no official negotiations regarding introducing Kazakhstani peacekeepers to Syria.” ensured the Minister. Kazakhstani military forces could participate in this process only under the resolution of the UN Security Council and its relevant mandate. “There is no reason to worry that we could become hostages of this situation. According to the Syrian opposition, Kazakhstan makes its contribution in seeking for peace thanks to the President Nursultan Nazarbayev and our common effort.” noted Mr Abdrachmanov.
The attempt of the Syrian Kurdish army to return the control to the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) capital of Rakka (ar Raqqah), raised a question regarding the emergence of independent Kurdistan and Turkey’s attitude towards this issue. Answering this question, Turkish ex-President Abdullah Gül noted that ISIL has professional terrorist leaders, but among them there large numbers of people, who simply got caught in the struggle in order to defend their families, villages and cities. “Military solutions are useless without political effort and we have to work with the causes of the conflict. The major question is what we will do after we destroy the terrorists. I am convinced that in order to avoid revanchist sentiment in the future, we must consider Syrian political and territorial integrity. We are friends with the Kurds, but there are many enemies of our state among them that are closely related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. I believe that they would like to expand and consolidate their territory and then push out Arab and other ethnic groups. I will repeat one more time – the territorial and political borders must remain the same.” emphasized the speaker.
Another implacable position regarding a compromise with the current Syrian government was expressed by Salim Hudhaifa, political representative of the Free Syrian Army: “Any political process with Assad and his entourage is impossible – they are the main reason for the current bad situation”. Mr Hudhaifa also drew attention to the conflict of interest of the main participants of the negotiations: “All big countries, standing behind the fighting sides, seek to support their interests. These countries are engaged in controversial relationships and play with Syrian blood to achieve their own interests. They use the weak Syrian and mercenary spirit. And, finally, Syria and ISIL is the trunk and the shadow that it casts.”
Syrian journalist Alaa Ebrahim emphasized the necessity to analyse the phenomenon of radical groups. “They didn’t appear out of thin air – there are reasons. These are the mistakes of the current government and wrongly estimated possible consequences. We won’t be able to solve this problem without finding the source.”
The answer to the question how Iran could help find a peaceful solution was answered by Kaihan Barzegar, Director of the Institute for Middle East Strategic Studies. “Iran and Russia are trying to hasten the political decision. The compromise cannot be unilateral and only from Iran’s side, because it’s related to the threat to the national security. We must think of the situation after Assad, because there is a possibility of terrorists regaining their power. I believe that Saudi Arabia and America should join in.” stated the speaker from Iran.
Shahida Tulaganova, producer of the Cries for Syria documentary, offered to take a look at the war from the perspective of women and children. She asked the participants of the discussion and the audience, who could be referred to as a terrorist. Could a fourteen-year-old boy under ISIL influence be regarded as a terrorist? Or his mother, who took her son out of Rakka by giving him sleeping pills in order to protect him from war?

Energy of the Future: the power of a green economy

Racing for new technology countries and governments focus more and more attention of production principles that fit under the concept of ‘green economics’. Rearrangement of economic models, reformation of well-established market mechanisms and preparing systems for the shift to alternative energy resources – these are only a few of the updates, necessary to drive the global community towards the ‘green economics’. The sun, wind and water take an increasing part in the energetics of developed countries. So, what energy of the future and what future awaits the countries sitting on oil?
The moderator Andrey Levchenko, presented of the Russian RBC TV channel, opened the session on “Energy of the Future: the Power of a Green Economy” by mentioning the recycling container at the entrance to the Congress Centre. “It’s only a little thing, yet it shows that Kazakhstan’s plans to switch to the green economy are quite real.”
The main issues, discussed by the speakers, were related to battling stereotypes of the green energy as requiring huge investments and posing hardly predictable risks, and attracting investments to renewable energy resources.
During the discussion Arman Kashkinbekov, Director General of the Association of Renewable Energy of Kazakhstan, expressed his opinion that green energy is an inevitable future. “We hope that after the EXPO, Kazakhstan will adopt new amendments, creating favourable conditions for the country’s transition to alternative energy. Now its share in the domestic economy is about 1 %, which is at the start-up level. But we have the goals of the Strategy for the transition to a green economy and will take all necessary measures to ensure that this strategy is consistently implemented.”
Talking of the terms of transition to renewable energy sources, Kashkinbekov emphasized the need for a compromise with technology companies in the metallurgical and oil industry to enable them to increase their capacity and maintain the pace of innovation development. Moreover, the speaker noted that the experience in Spain and China showed that a sharp transition to alternative sources could also cause interruptions in the traditional energy supply. The company of the Ereymentau 45 MW wind farm joins forces with Chinese investors, which will enable to increase the park’s capacity to 300 MW.
Speaking of the issue of the world’s transition to alternative energy sources, Bill Richardson, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, noted that it was the question for the future. The speaker also called for including oil companies into the development of the industry and attracting investments.
Natalia Alekseeva, Head of the UNEP office in Central Asia, referred to the green economy the only possible future for the planet Earth. She noted that only the green economy has a future and meaning and that all countries of the world can use it evenly and equally. Talking about investments, the speaker gave the example of Creon and Lukoil, which are already working in the field of alternative energy sources, thereby diversifying their activities already today, thus building a great foundation for the future.
The discussion was also attended by the Scientist from India, the Nobel Prize winner Rajendra Pachauri. In his speech he emphasized the importance of the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change. According to him, today traditional energy is comparable to the cost of alternative energy. “This is a matter of long-term priorities. It is better to build solar panels than the wall between Mexico and America.”
The scientist announced that in recent 100 years the level of the world ocean has grown by more than 19 cm and if this pace won’t slow down, in 2100 this number will increase to 1.3 m. According to predictions, an increase in global temperature of at least 1 degree will lead to catastrophic consequences – large-scale climate change on the planet and melting glaciers. Maintaining the current volume of carbon dioxide emissions, by 2050 the temperature of the planet will increase by 2 degrees. In order to avoid a catastrophe, by 2050 the amount of emissions should be reduced by 40–70 per cent, compared to 2010.
“Human influence on climate change is obvious. The more we influence the climate, the more severe and irreversible these changes will be. We have tools to reduce the impact on the climate, and we need to use them to build a sustainable future.” said Pachauri.
During the discussion, the speakers expressed a common opinion on the need to review the current practice of excessive consumption, shifting towards a more economic and sustainable consumption with minimal risks to people and their environment.
David Applefield, special representative of The Financial Times encouraged the journalists to promote exemplary situations of breaking negative stereotypes against the development of alternative energy resources and implementation of innovative projects not only in business, but also public life overall.

Increasing numbers of the “Asian Tigers”?

The turbulence of the global economy results in significant losses on behalf of many of the leading countries. Struggling to survive and support the stability of the global financial system, global markets experience the period of structural transformations. Such background highlights the “Asian Tigers” that have made colossal economic achievements in a very short time. The particularly rapid development of China and other industrial Asian countries attract as much political, academic and public attention as the global crises.
What is the secret behind such impressive rise of the Asia’s role in the planet’s economy? This was the core of the discussion at the session on “Secrets of the Asian Economic Miracle”, moderated by Todd Baer, Global Director at Bloomberg Media.
Kazakhstan is intending to become one of the “Asian Tigers” together with Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. This was announced to the participants of the Forum by Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). He noted that the AIFC has set the goal and strategy to occupy a position among the 15 best financial Asian hubs in the next 15–20 years. According to Kelimbetov, they are going to use the advanced practices from all over the world: “The driving force is the best experience from around the world, not just the model of Singapore. We follow only the best models.”
According to the speaker, the concept documents and state programs that were adopted by the initiative of the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, are also an important positive factor. “As an oil-producing country, we realized, especially after the recent fall in commodity prices, that it was a good wake-up call. We need to more actively engage in diversifying the economy so as not to depend on any particular raw materials. Not because of the fall in oil prices, but because of the change in the whole paradigm of the global economy as a whole which means the transition from hydrocarbons to more sustainable ways of development.”
“In Kazakhstan, there are all opportunities for an abrupt transition to a new stage of development, especially using geopolitics. We are part of the “One belt – one road.” The global economic centre is shifting from Europe to Asia and there is potential for the development of specialized services and institutions. Our country has every chance to become a kind of portal to connect China and Eastern Europe, using the flow of goods and services. In China, there soon will be a situation when 300 million people will become middle class. All these people will want to travel and visit interesting places. Kazakhstan can become a regional hub, both in the financial sector and other types of services.” concluded Kelimbetov.

Prepared according to JŪRA MOPE SEA and EAMF information.

 

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International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been published since 1999
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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

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