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Astana Star Galaxies

21 December 2017

“Search for solutions of complex challenges of the world economy and geopolitics facing the world requires participation of as many international experts and practitioners from all over the world ...”

From the speech of N.A. Nazarbayev, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan at Cambridge University in 2012


“Search for solutions of complex challenges of the world economy and geopolitics facing the world requires participation of as many international experts and practitioners from all over the world ...”

From the speech of N.A. Nazarbayev, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan at Cambridge University in 2012

The modern life of the capital of Kazakhstan cannot be imagined without its resonant discursive space which has turned Astana into one of the centers of international dialogue on the multifaceted issues of the global agenda. The president of “Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists” Association Murat Karimsakov shared with us the opinion why stars of world science gather in the galaxy in Astana, and why without their participation the discussions would not be so bright and meaningful for the world.    

- Murat Ratovich, this year is exactly 10 years from the day of a memorable speech of the Head of the State at St. Petersburg Forum, where the idea to create Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists in Astana was voiced. How much did this project prove effective in implementing the tasks for which it was originally oriented?

- To put it briefly, EECSA is an international integration platform based on synergy of efforts of representatives of world science, social forces and international organizations in solving economic development issues and assisting the world community in finding answers to the global challenges of our time. For this reason, in 2008 broad scientific and expert discussion started in Astana at AEF. Analyzing and summarizing results of the forum allows to conduct effective work on early detection of future financial and economic shocks and, equally important, to develop packages of recommendations for leaders of G-20 countries and Governments. To date, EECSA includes 23 Nobel Prize winners, world-renowned scientists economists, politicians, representatives of business and international organizations from 147 countries. We have an extensive partner network including such world institutions as the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, World Economic Forum, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Madrid Club, Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, G-20 Research Group, BOAO, Islamic and Asian Development Banks, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Red Crescent, EBRD, UNIDO, WTO, ITC and others. Among these organizations the Association has established itself as a reliable partner. Therefore, today the Club of Scientists has the status of general advisor to UNECOSOC and UNCTAD.   

Based on the accumulated experience of cooperation with countries and organizations around the world, we serve to assist our Government in attracting potential investors and foreign direct investment including customers for activating innovative activities and implementing social and economic projects in the country. To do this we organize and conduct business forums and conferences, exhibitions, B2B and B2G meetings both in the country and abroad. Thus, the scope of our tasks is not limited solely to making recommendations for countries forming the global agenda.

One of the main projects of the Club of Scientists is Astana Economic Forum. Seven forums were held with our direct organization. And, if you remember, during these seven years the forum has grown from a local event to one of the world's main interactive field focusing on problems and challenges of global economic practices that lead the world to all kinds of upheavals, from stagnation to bankruptcy of entire economies. The scientifically sound proposals of AEF for the UN member states, G-20 group and other leading international organizations have become the basis for making more balanced political decisions. Let me remind that a distinctive feature of AEF from other well-known world forums is its impressive scientific and expert potential, capable of considering economic aspects of development from a professional point of view.

Starting from 2012 for development of the above recommendations resources and capabilities of G-Global Internet platform, created on the initiative of the Head of the State with the Club's own resources, were used. This contributed to more effective work on their preparation and qualitative expansion of the experts. In the period from 2013 to 2014, in order to implement the initiative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists together with the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan have carried out much work to organize and hold I and II World Anti-Crisis Conferences. The main result of this work, with the support and participation of the UN General Assembly, was the approval by all participants of the concept of the World Anti-Crisis Plan, which was included in official documents of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly. The World Anti-Crisis Conference was the main international event held in the year of the 70th anniversary of Bretton Woods system, aimed at drafting and adopting a draft World Anti-Crisis Plan for the United Nations. Based on democratic principles, it aims at developing effective measures to overcome financial and economic crisis, as well as preventing future recessions, ensuring long-term balanced economic growth, creating an effective and globally coordinated policy and a new world financial architecture.

As for the economic impact, it should be noted that the AEF has made a significant contribution to the industrial and innovative development of the country, as memorandums and agreements with the amount about $ 18.9 billion were signed within it.

- They say, without climbing the mountain, one cannot recognize “height” of the sky. How do you think, how serious is the world perceiving us as a pole of constructive ideas?   

- There are a lot of ideas in the world, but not every one of them is becoming an international project, provided with comprehensive support from the world community. In this regard, Kazakhstan has a capacious potential of universally recognized and implemented international projects. Each of them marks a new milestone in the upward trend of the image of our country and its capital. The first project of Kazakhstan - a nuclear-free world and a peaceful atom - started with the idea of the ​​President Mr. Nazarbayev and today it is provided with the support and participation of all states of the world. In 2010, the UN officially proclaimed Kazakhstan as the leader of the global anti-nuclear movement, and the IAEA Nuclear Fuel Bank is already operating in the country. Further, there were the initiatives of Conference on Confidence Building Measures in Asia, OSCE Summit in Astana - the only meeting of the leaders of 56 countries in this format in this century, which initiated a new view of the Eurasian security system. The consistent implementation of other large-scale projects of the Head of the State - the Astana Economic Forum, Congress of World Religions, CICMA, Green Bridge Partnership Program, International Exhibition EXPO-2017 "Future Energy" and others gradually brought the capital of Kazakhstan to the level of one of the major centers of dialogue on a wide range of issues of regional and global development.

Today, the whole spectrum of problems and ways to solve them, from global security, a nuclear-free world, a dialogue of cultures and religions to the energy and ecology of the future is being actualized here. That is the international dialogue in Astana is a wide discursive space that exerts its influence on the stabilization of the world development processes through comprehensive scientific analysis and development of optimal proposals for making global decisions. It is in this capacity that Astana importance as an inclusive crossroads of cultures and civilizations cannot be overemphasized in the face of escalating threats of the modern multipolar world on the one hand, and realization of the sustainable development goals, on the other hand.

- How were the first contacts with the world science authorities established and how is the AEF interesting for them as one of the world's dialogue platforms?  

- As you know, we have an Astana club of Nobel Prize winners, which unites over 20 of the world's greatest science names. Among the first members of this Club - Robert Mundell, a well-known author of the euro concept, and Edmund Phelps, outstanding economist, who once engaged in scholarly polemics with John M. Keynes. In 2009, we invited them to participate in the work of the second AEF. We went to the United States to negotiate with them, where at that time even the most outstanding scientists knew little about Kazakhstan. We got an appointment with Robert Mundell only at the third attempt, with Mr. Phelps - from the second. And, perhaps, our attempts to reach them would have been unsuccessful, if we had not previously sent them for review the latest articles of Mr. Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, "Keys from Crisis" and "The Fifth Way" in English version. Only after acquaintance with these works the American scientists gave us the go-ahead to meet them. In the beginning of the conversation with Mr. Mundell the head of Institute for economic research Serik Nugerbekov showed him the President's speech at the St. Petersburg forum, where an initiative was raised to combine scientists at the site of the Eurasian Economic Club. He explained the essence of this idea, figuratively to “father of Euro”, as in “when economy is unwell, then no policy instruments will help – we need experts, moreover a Council of prominent scientists of the world.

"One of them is you, Mr. Mundell," we said, "that is why we came to you with a proposal to take part in finding answers to current economic challenges."

"It's interesting, even more than that," he said, and asked: "And President Mr. Nazarbayev, is he a Soviet scientist?"

“No, he is an outstanding practitioner.”

"So he is more than a practitioner if he undertook such a mission," Mundell said thoughtfully. "Indeed, politicians today are least worried about the problems of the economy and opinions of scientists, especially economists, who substantiated key development trends ...” 

As a result, they became interested in Kazakhstan and decided to participate in the Astana Economic Forum. As part of the forum, the Nobel Prize winners traditionally met with the Head of the State to discuss a range of issues that are being updated at the forum. After these meetings with the President we tried to show them our traditional hospitality and organized the dastarhan directly at home. It should be noted that it is not so easy to gather all Nobel Prize winners. They are the world's science names. And each of them has not only charisma, but also “Jupiter” mass for reducing any signs of attention to the absolute value - zero. So, at these moments the scientists, still impressed by the meeting with the Head of the State, were especially sincere in their opinions about our country, the forum, the conversations with the President and the colossal efforts that he is making in fight against the world crisis. A wife of the outstanding economist and Nobel Prize winner Edmund Phelps said that when he was going to the forum in Astana, he strongly doubted about security in Kazakhstan, believing that our country is somewhere near Afghanistan. He was worried about the fact that he might not be met at the airport or settled in some gray and dull hotel with windows resting on a dilapidated clay wall, covered with bullet holes. In general, they let their imaginations run wild. But when we saw off the scientist and his wife at the airport, in our conversation he said: "I was struck here by two things. First, it is your delightful capital, built in the vast steppe. I saw the steppe from the height of a beautiful hotel, which was blue in the distance and beckoned with its immensity and infinity, like the magic sign of Pi. This amazing sight and feelings is difficult to convey in words. Secondly, I am impressed by the meeting with the President Mr. Nazarbayev. For the first time I saw the Leader of the state who is so deeply in economic science and looks at the root of global problems...”.    

-Murat Ratovich, after our interview I will urgently rush to the countryside, to sit on the hillock, contemplating the panorama of our nature. But going back to the present, I would like to know what projects the Club of scientists is implementing now, what tasks it solves by harnessing its scientific potential?

-The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan is the main organizer of AEF since 2015. Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists participates in this work as the organizer of the plenary session attended by the head of the State, selected thematic sessions and events of the forum. In this regard, I would like to note that in past years at AEF we actively raised the topics on improving WEF GCI and Doing Business ratings. During the relevant sessions we actively held debates and discussions about the main instruments of economic policy, in particular the State program of the infrastructure development "Nurly Zhol" for 2015 – 2020, and the strategy "Kazakhstan-2050". It was defined that the potential for further improvement of the institutional environment will be implemented through building an effective mechanism of interaction between State authorities and business and population. Unfortunately, after "Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists” Association handed the forum organization to the Government, the GCI and Doing Business themes had fallen in lower priority. As a result, today the GCI and Doing Business indicators of Kazakhstan started to decline.

    In general, the Association initiated the start of activities of many public organizations, which actively work today and help the state to solve the key issues of social and economic development. Thus, we have created the Alliance of Volunteers of Kazakhstan, the international organization "Expo&Women", The Silk Road Academy.  We have held the first International forum of joint innovations of the Silk Road countries within the framework of Expo-2017 , as well as a number of research and practice conferences on the "Energy revolution", "International policy and economics in the sphere of environmental protection" and themes and others.

Current year, the Association is included in the members of the permanent Organizing Committee of the AEF. Today we are participating in preparation for the XI Astana Economic Forum, which will be held from May 17-18, 2018. Taking into account the urgency of the development of new drivers of economic growth and world trade, as well as the positioning of Kazakhstan as a rapidly growing hub between Europe and Asia, the proposed topic of the forthcoming forum is "New Eurasia: increasing trade and investment from Shanghai to London."

Within the XI AEF, it is planned to hold Global Silk Way International Forum dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the project "One Belt - One Way", Scientific and Practical Conference "One Belt, One Way", International Scientific and Practical Symposium “G-Global Platform”, Panel session together with KTZ and “Samruk Kazyna” NWF on transport and logistics potential and the implementation of the Silk Road.

    During the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Astana, we plan to conduct a broad presentation of all international projects of the Head of the State at the International Scientific and Practical Symposium "G-Global Platform" with a demonstration of main stages of their progress - from idea to global practice.

- And finally, what are the important tasks to be carried out in the future?

- As of today, challenges posed by the Head of the State to promote initiatives of G-Global: the Board of Trustees of G-Global as well as Institute of prognostics are not created yet. Therefore, in the coming time, we need to make efforts to implement these tasks.

- Thank you for the interview.

Interviewed by Doszhan Nurgaliyev

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