Eurasian Media Forum to focus on today’s most pressing issues

Frank and open dialogue has never been more important in today’s world. The challenges we face are ever more complex and no longer affect only individual states or societies but ripple across the globe. Climate change, international terrorism, migration and the strains – and benefits – from globalisation are just some of the most pressing topics requiring the widest possible discussion to help us reach the right solutions.

Providing the platform for these informed conversations is the aim of the Eurasian Media Forum, which will again take place in Astana on June 22-24. Approximately 600 delegates from 60 countries will gather in Kazakhstan’s capital to join in the important debates.

The agenda goes to the heart of the foreign policy challenges faced by the international community if we are to spread peace and prosperity. Delegates, for example, will discuss the big changes in the world order and what this means for how countries can work together.

It recognises that the last few years have seen a major transformation in the international order. There are now many more countries and regions with influence on the global stage and whose views and interests must be carefully considered when decisions are made.

Asia is now a continent of serious economic and political power. India seems set to join China in global influence. In its own way, too, Kazakhstan’s growing stature shows the increasing role of fast-developing nations in international affairs.

How the global economy can grow in a sustainable way is another challenge for which  we must collectively find answers. Green energy must be a central part of any solution. This year the Eurasian Media Forum is being held as part of EXPO 2017 with its theme of “Future Energy.” Kazakhstan’s decision to make this topic the focus of the prestigious international event reflects the country’s desire to promote sustainable development.

Kazakhstan is fortunate to have large fossil fuel reserves which have, up to now, been the springboard for the country’s development. But the government, with a clear eye on the future, is determined that Kazakhstan helps lead the move to a green economy. The forum will hear from Kazakh and outside experts how oil-rich states can best manage the switch to a green economy smoothly.

The forum is, of course, international in its scope and will focus as well on immediate challenges to global stability and security. None is more pressing than the continuing Syrian crisis which has caused human suffering on a devastating scale and has fuelled extremism and terrorism.

Kazakhstan is already playing its part in helping to resolve this terrible conflict. The Astana Process has already seen the capital host four rounds of talks, with the next scheduled for July. Despite progress, there remains a great deal of work to, first, end the violence and, second, reach a political solution to the crisis.

The discussions on Syria during the media forum won’t themselves, of course, lead to the breakthrough needed. But any dialogue can only help by increasing understanding of the fears and ambitions of all sides. It will be especially interesting to hear from the experts how the Astana Process can continue to help the international community edge towards a fair and lasting resolution of the conflict.

The forum also provides the opportunity to consider how best to spread the benefits – and manage the risks – from the digital revolution. This has already had a huge impact on our lives but we are only at the beginning of the opportunities this will bring in everything from economic progress to individual health. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has already called for his country to be in the forefront of the adoption of this technology to cultivate new industries and improve the performance of existing sectors.

Dr. Dariga Nazarbayeva, the chair of the forum’s organizing committee, said it aims “to seek solutions to the most significant issues affecting the Central Asian region.” But the agenda also shows that themes reflect the challenges faced by every region and country. This is an event staged in Kazakhstan but increasingly with a true global significance.