Sixth Astana Economic Forum and World Anti-Crisis Conference Conclude for 2013
May 29. PRNewswire. ASTANA
This year’s 2013 Sixth Astana Economic Forum (AEF), along with its much-anticipated companion World Anti-Crisis Conference (WAC), brought an array of new perspectives to the global stage-and many new visitors. On May 22-24, record-setting attendance at the three-day event greatly exceeded earlier predictions, as over 12,000 participants from 132 countries assembled for a global dialogue consisting of 73 separate panel sessions, roundtable discussions and other presentations aimed toward a common goal: finding new, collaborative strategies for identifying and addressing the complex challenges faced by national, regional and global economies in the 21st century.
The grand scope of the event was reflected in a grand guest list; delegates to 2013’s AEF and WAC included 35 current and former heads of state, 10 Nobel laureates and over 40 prominent leaders of international organizations, corporations and businesses. While delegates’ expertise was to be found everywhere within the larger forum, their specific contributions to the World Anti-Crisis Conference took special priority this year, as they worked to advance WAC’s mission to “avoid and mitigate the effects of future financial crises.” Participants could certainly sense an atmosphere of immediacy about the conference, for reasons that Republic of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev-WAC’s original initiator-made clear in an opening Plenary Session address:
“[The] protracted nature of the global financial crisis, among other things, is also the crisis of trust among global financial institutions and national economic systems…as well as persons involved in other areas of the relationship,” he cautioned. “All of this involves the creation of new principles of development and new forms of global coordination of actions among all actors of the global economy.”
As seen in many ensuing discussions, the need for concerted effort among actors was a prime focus at WAC. On the conference’s first day, session speaker Dominique Strauss-Kahn emphasized the need for international cooperation in addressing unprecedented levels of unemployment in Europe, now 50 percent higher than five years ago. According to the former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, a solution involves nations attacking the problem of debt, rather than continuing with unemployment-fighting strategies that “reduce and undermine” job-creating infrastructure projects. “To save Europe,” Strauss-Kahn said, “it is required to coordinate urgent actions and solve debt problems, which are underestimated by the Europeans.”
This theme of coordinated action was echoed in another WAC roundtable discussion, “The New Global Economic Landscape,” that featured, among others, Yale University’s Institute for Global Affairs Senior Fellow Domingo Cavallo, UN Conference of Trade and Development Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi and Nobel Laureate of Economics Robert Mundell. Participants discussed prospects for creating a new system of global economic governance that can meet changing 21st-century demands by remedying the financial system imbalances that led to global crisis in 2008, and still continue to stunt healthy economic development worldwide.
Along with the strong global emphasis, regional concerns specifically regarding Central Asia and Kazakhstan were addressed, both at WAC and within the larger AEF. As man-made climate change becomes an accepted reality, forum guests and moderators discussed the logistics of transitioning to “green civilization,” including a proposed three-fold integration of sound economic, environmental and ethical decisions within developing nations such as Kazakhstan. Another panel session addressed the country’s “new energy landscape,” with participants exploring novel approaches to improving the efficiency of existing oil and gas operations, while simultaneously committing to investment in sustainable-and regionally marketable-solar and wind energy technologies.
By the end of the Sixth Astana Economic Forum, business-related events had yielded about 80 signed agreements and memoranda on future alignments and cooperation, totaling over $2.7B (U.S.). Perhaps even more significant, however, are the AEF’s collaborative, ideological accomplishments in 2013. This first-ever World Anti-Crisis Conference resulted in adoption of the Astana Declaration and its associated World Anti-Crisis Plan. This set of strategies and recommendations will be submitted at the 2013 G-20 Summit, held September 5-6, in St. Petersburg, as well as to the G-8, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the United Nations.
The World Anti-Crisis Conference brings together monetary and fiscal decision-makers from over 50 countries to develop a Global Anti-Crisis Plan designed to avoid and mitigate the effects of future financial crises.
The Astana Economic Forum believes that the Age of Globalization requires global action. Only through extensive and democratic dialogue in solving global challenges will the international community go from endless debate and conflicting opinions to consensus and real action.