ASTANA – A joint Eurasia Local Governments Congress and Eurasian branch of United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) project has shown Astana has the most international activity of any Eurasian city, according to the city’s website.
Astana was the overall leader in the ratings, which assessed 50 small, medium and large cities, and one of only two non-Russian cities to be recognised.
The Cities International Activity Rating (CIAR) was the first such international ranking to be conducted by the organisation. “The CIAR is aimed at stimulating cities to intensification of international activities and participation in the global processes and brings to light the cities most actively working on strengthening the international relations and promoting their image on the international arena. Nobody has made such ratings yet and CIAR is an unprecedented initiative,” according to the website of the Eurasia branch of UCLG.
The ratings were compiled by international experts who collected more than six months of data on business activity, the international activity of the population, international organisations and institutions, international events, infrastructure and socio-demographics of each city, according to the website.
“Business activity” included data on a city’s exports to international markets, foreign investment and the number of enterprises with foreign capital, among other data. “International activity of a city population” assessed the representation of the local population in the international arena and data on population migration, student exchanges and tourism. “International organisations and institutions” information included data on a city’s cooperation with international organisations and institutions and its representation in the international educational arena, including how many of a city’s universities were included in the Top 600 World Universities List, how many offered double degree programmes with foreign universities and other data. “Infrastructure” took into account visa centres, embassies and consulates, foreign airports and foreign airlines, among other topics. “Socio-demographic data” included English-language information offered by city administrations and the level of the foreign language knowledge of the city leader, among other issues.
The results of the ranking were revealed at the General Assembly of the Eurasian branch of UCLG. UCLG is a Barcelona-based international organisation that “represents and defends the interests of local governments on the world stage, regardless of the size of the communities they serve,” according to the UCLG website. The regional branch of the organisation met in Kazan, Tatarstan, in the Russian Federation, for a congress entitled “Local Solutions for Global Development: Toward Eurasian Integration,” in which the heads of more than 100 cities in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States participated, according to the Astana Akimat.
According to the Astana Akimat and Kapital.kz, winners among major cities after Astana were Khabarovsk and Yekaterinburg, both in Russia. Among medium-sized cities, Yakutsk and Stavropol in Russia and Tiraspol in Moldova had the highest rates of international activity. First among small cities were Yelabug, Magadan and Bugulma, all within the Russian Federation.