The success of any major event is judged not only by the number of its visitors or how well it is organised, but also by its legacy. Major events can be a significant catalyst for positive change, elevating the host’s global stature and turbocharging its economic, political and social development. A truly successful international event can even have a positive influence far beyond the host nation’s borders.
Now that a few months have passed since EXPO 2017, it is worth analysing the legacy of this major event. While it is too early to comment on the successes of the long-term legacy of EXPO, it is certainly possible to examine the near-future impact of the event on Kazakhstan and the world.
Firstly, it is most welcome news that the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), the international centre for green technologies and the international IT start-up hub are expected to start operating in 2018 on the territory of EXPO 2017. Often, unfortunately, the site of a major event ends up being unused after the event has finished. This certainly isn’t the case with EXPO 2017.
Each of the organisations that will be located at the EXPO site will contribute greatly to Kazakhstan and the region. For example, the AIFC will transform Astana into a financial hub in Eurasia and help to attract more foreign investment and capital. In addition, its establishment will help to enhance international cooperation, as the financial centre will partner with the NASDAQ, Dubai and the Shanghai stock exchanges.
Meanwhile, the establishment of the Astana Hub international IT start-up park, which will also be registered at the AIFC, is an important step towards the development of information and communication technologies, which have become a major engine of world trade, services and data exchange.
While attracting investment to Kazakhstan was undoubtedly an important element of organising EXPO 2017, it is well known that one of the main aims of the event was to promote sustainable development and green energy. To ensure that the Astana EXPO can be considered a success, it will be important for Kazakhstan to continue to push for development of a green economy in the country and beyond.
Steps are being taken in this direction already. The establishment at the EXPO site of the Future Energy International Centre for the Development of Green Technologies and Investment Projects will promote the transition to a green economy by creating a sustainable framework to advance renewable energy, clean technologies and sustainable development. The establishment of this organisation will also lead to partnerships and collaborations with other countries, which will be beneficial not only for Kazakhstan, but for our partners as well.
In the long term, EXPO 2017’s legacy will be judged on whether the event has managed to contribute to global sustainable development. Many scientists are suggesting that the recent floods and hurricanes in many parts of the world are a symptom of climate change. Unfortunately, global warming, through the release of carbon-dioxide pollution into the atmosphere, will cause the seas to rise further and the storms to intensify even more. Now, more than ever, it is necessary to take action to tackle climate change and adopt sustainable living and a green economy. In the short term, EXPO 2017 has certainly contributed towards this goal. Hopefully, its long-term legacy will also lead to such necessary changes not only in Kazakhstan, but also globally.