VI Astana Economic Forum: Technical, commercial and socioeconomic challenges will take time, investment and commitment to develop, with huge challenges ahead – Lord Waverley
May 23. KAZINFORM. ASTANA
One of the VI Astana Economic Forum participants is John-Desmond, Viscount Waverley, an independent member of the House of Lords. He chairs the six All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Central Asia, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, in addition to heading the regional Central Asian Group – a position held since the foundation of the Groups. Lord Waverley is an advisor to the Chairman of KazMunaiGaz and to the Chairman of the CCC Group, is a Chairman of the New Silk Road Forum.
On May 22 Mr. Waverley made a speech at the session – “The Concept of the Republic of Kazakhstan’s entry into the Top 30 Developed Countries”.
“I am delighted to be back in Astana. I am electing to link Kazakhstan’s internal advances to a regional leadership role as evidence of development.
When asked as to how I find Kazakhstan, I see it as a country on the run….in my experiences in addressing targeted priorities areas with Kazakhs, it is never enough; and delivery is never quick enough.
Admirable traits that should be recaptured elsewhere in the West.
Kazakhstan is a geopolitical lynchpin which is evidenced by its prominence and influence in regional affairs, together with events that effect the global stage; this at a time when ominous grey clouds are gathering on the regional horizon.
As a brief introduction to myself, I regularly tour the region in my capacity as Chairman of the Central Asia All party Parliamentary Group and have experienced first-hand the priority concerns of Kazakhstan, both internally and externally, over the years.
Geo strategists place due weight on the views and work alongside Astana; as will become more necessary as time goes by.
There are three issues particularly that I am progressing and believe add a contribution to this panel’s deliberation.
The first two relate to bringing about greater understanding of the essential role of Parliaments, which will increase in importance given that Governments have sometimes boxed themselves into a corner and need the legitimacy of parliamentary debate and support.
Firstly, the signing of a MoU between the Group the Majilis of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Cooperation with the Parliament of Great Britain and the British Kazakhstan All-Party Parliamentary Group at Westminster, this in recognition of the desire to strengthen Parliamentary cooperation and being committed to political, economic and social understanding and development, which includes, amongst other points, the increasing of investment and trade amongst the list of strategic issues of common interest.
This MoU can also serve as a template for global inter parliamentary relations but certainly what it does do is to addresses a missing link in bilateral relationships.
Contents range from cooperation to facilitate inter-parliamentary dialogue to broadening the area of democratization and effective governance, to questions of regional security and stability; and deepening of economic development, trade and inward investments….and everything in between.
Secondly, I have developed agreement on a joint project to provide parliamentarians and civil society in emerging and aspiring democracies with a resource to bring greater understanding as to how the Majilis in Astana and the Westminster arenas work.
Issues that will have been responded to include the roles of Parliamentary institutions, how laws are made and scrutinized, the role of representatives and how Parliament works day to day.
And in addition, for the first time, there will be for the world to see what all strategic Parliamentary business is being undertaken, updated monthly.
For those interested all this is under the banner of www. parliamentrevealed.org , where Kazakh content has already been added and can be viewed.
I have just come away from a meeting with the Speaker of Majilis and have agreed a forward plan to advance a joint initiative to advance…we will be preparing a full presentation of the Majilis, which will join those of other strategic countries.
So that addresses the Parliamentary arena…..I wish now to offer the view that recognizing local content development is a subject about which global industry and governments are exercising their minds.
That is certainly the case in Kazakhstan where I, and the Chairman of KazMunaiGas, the Kazakh National oil company, were the architects of what culminated in the Aktau Declaration.
Industrialization is linked to development…..
Background is as follows:
Measures and mechanisms that increase cooperation agreements between those with the necessary technology to partner those in all new energy economies, is a process that stakeholders should embrace in a new world order.
There is good pragmatic reason to do so, beyond economic.
The importance of social and corporate responsibility by investors and suppliers is paramount, and they have a moral and legal imperative to put this into practice. Foreign legislation is more increasingly demanding it.
Helping to create a culture of legacy beyond investment, development and profits should be embraced as a norm that would protect that investment, and for which recipient countries should encourage and reward.
Employment creation creates an environment for stability. This enhances the confidence that protects the very investments necessary for the development of those national assets.
The underlying challenge is to contribute to the strengthening of professional skills and the industrial base by maximizing opportunities for local companies and citizens to benefit directly.
This developing of indigenous capabilities, in partnership with external professionalism and experience, will become a winning formula.
I had been given the task to unify the fragmented approach towards local content development endeavors of lead oil and gas operators in Kazakhstan.
I invited them and their partners to London to determine common ground and agree necessity in what we labeled the “London Process”, and which culminated after complex discussions in a Declaration a year on.
Operators agreed a strategy and the content of a forward engagement plan with ministries, regulatory authorities and industry bodies concerned with local content development.
Delivery by stakeholders contained six key components:
firstly, training and skills development with fast-track programmes to address critical skills shortages and long-term skills capacity building;
secondly, an industrial register as a source of reference to identify current and potential capacity in the oil and gas sector, and, importantly, the non-oil and gas sector;
thirdly, the principle of harmonisation of standards, specification and code of practice;
fourthly, enterprise development to stimulate the promotion, growth and new development of local companies, including access to management expertise and funding;
fifthly, an inward investment programme to contribute to the commercial environment and identify opportunities to accelerate and expand domestic manufacturing and supply;
and, sixthly and lastly, research and development to anchor specific technology development programmes to create new high-value business opportunities within domestic and regional markets.
The technical, commercial and socioeconomic challenges will take time, investment and commitment to develop, with huge challenges ahead.
These priorities can be delivered within existing contractual arrangements and international treaties with foresight, respect and innovation.
The forward plan is to further the aim of the “London Process” by encouraging a global unifying document signed up to by lead IOC’s and Operators in the autumn.