The Congress centre of Avaza National tourist zone hosted the First Caspian Economic Forum with participation of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The agenda of the Forum included broad range of current issues related to the activation of fruitful cooperation of the coastal countries and all interested foreign partners.
It is symbolically that the day of the current forum fell on the Day of Caspian Sea, which is traditionally observed on August 12. Prime Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan Novruz Mamedov, First Vice-president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Eshaq Jahangiri, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev as well as Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov and Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov were among the participants of the forum. President of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation Rustam Minnikhanov has also taken part in the session of the forum as an honoured guest.
The forum united the delegations from different countries of the world, heads and representatives of competent international organizations including the United Nations and its leading structures, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Economic Cooperation Organization, International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, International Road Transport Union and other as well as many big financial and banking structures. Heads of diplomatic missions accredited in our country were among the participants.
Members of the Government, heads and representatives of ministries and profile departments and other relative structures participate in the work of the forum from Turkmen side.
In the morning, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov went to the Avaza Congress Centre.
Upon arrival, the Head of the State was met by the members of the Government of the country. after, Prime Ministers of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev came to the Congress Centre. Warmly welcoming high-rank Russian guest, the Head of the State highlighted that he is glad to see him in hospitable Turkmen land.
Having expressed the gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for cordial welcome, high-rank guest stated with delight the entry of international relations to new level, having confirmed invariable commitment of Russia to further development of bilateral cooperation. Having noted that new AURUS vehicle of Russian make has been presented at the International Türkmen sährasy – 2019 Motor Review under the First Caspian Economic Forum, the Head of the Government of RF told to Turkmen leader about its main features. Having familiarized with special features of the vehicle, the Head of the State noted that it is necessary to have a talk on procurement of these vehicles for our country.
After, the President of Turkmenistan and Prime Minister of the Russian Federation went to the building of the Congress Centre where President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov warmly welcomed high-rank guests who came to the First Caspian Economic Forum.
After traditional photographing at the background of official banner of the forum, the head of Turkmen State and high-rank guests went to the Conference hall and took their honoured places.
The floor is given to the President of Turkmenistan. Greeting the participants, Head of the State Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed the gratitude to all for accepting the invitation to take part in the work of the First Caspian Economic Forum.
Turkmen leader noted that Prime Ministers of Caspian and other states, representatives from dozens of countries representing the most various spheres of activity – politicians, diplomats, businessmen, ecologists, scientists and journalists, have gathered at the forum.
Caspian Sea is a unique natural complex with its own ecosystem, which requires scientific studies in natural protection sphere. Proposing the idea of Caspian Economic Forum, Turkmenistan took into account all these factors, creation of conditions for joint work by establishment of wide, permanent platform of cooperation with participation of the states, international organizations, business structures and scientific centres, the Head of the State said.
The President of Turkmenistan noted that various aspects of Caspian agenda would be discussed during coming work. The name of the forum itself, an economic one, understands special emphasis on economic, trade, investment, innovations and technologies subject.
Today, we have to focus on solution of current practical objectives of common Caspian development, the Head of the State highlighted, having outlined the attaching of powerful creative impulses to cooperation in energy sphere among the most important objectives. Big reserves of hydrocarbon materials in Caspian offshore and coastal territories are able to give strong energy impulse for dynamic and qualitative growth of national economies of coastal as well as neighbouring states, to provide the conditions for opening of new production facilities, construction of industrial objects. The energy of Caspian Sea has to become the base for dynamic development of the economy of the region.
The President continued that Caspian Sea is located on the intersection of continental routes. Territory of Caspian states, which are located close to each other, have direct access to South Asia and Asian Pacific in the east, Black and Mediterranean Sea in the west, to Middle and Near East via Iran in the south, to Baltic Sea across Russia and further to the north. Such configuration opens perspectives for creation of stable routes in all main geographic azimuths. However, for their proper operation, Caspian states have to establish good system of transport communication between themselves, to build modern port infrastructure and provide an efficient logistics.
In this context, arrangement of efficient trade relations of Caspian region with external markets receives special importance. The President highlighted that he is confident that we have something to offer to the world. These relations have to be stable, free from politicization and unfair competition, to work on clear and transparent principles. In these case, it is necessary to work more actively with the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the UN Economic and Social Committee for Asia and Pacific, the World Trade Organization and other specialized international structures, to perform on their fields from common and agreed positions. It is also appropriate to study positive practice of work of number of regional international organizations like Economic Cooperation Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Commonwealth of Independent States.
Rely on science and intellect is a decisive condition of success of economic development of Caspian Sea, its integration into the world economy as competitive and perspective member. Rapid technological breakthrough, which is observed today, changes usual image of geo-economics, quality and level of management solutions, content of global economic processes. To merge into these trends and, moreover, to influence them in our region are the objective, which has to be thought as one of the priorities of Caspian development, the President of Turkmenistan noted.
It is necessary to pay the utmost attention to creation of systematic and technological components, having allocated necessary resources and mobilized intellectual and organizational potential, Turkmen leader highlighted. We have to fill our cooperation with innovative thoughts that these are the one, which would outline the vectors of future development of the region, its economy and social sphere.
As the first step, the Head of the State spoke of the appropriateness to form up real base ground for technological and innovative start, having proposed to establish an international innovative and technological centre, which could be referred as to Caspian Innovative City.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlighted that all our activity in Caspian Sea has to be based on scientific studies and followed by technological developments. The Head of the State also spoke for the necessity of foundation of Digital Economy cluster under Caspian Innovative City. This is important as a groundwork for the future, which provides digitization of activity of the main spheres of economy of Caspian states.
Special role is given to science and to protection of ecological balance of Caspian Sea, to unique bio diversity of sea. In this regards, the Head of the State noted that we stand for establishment of new Caspian ecological programme as a complex of natural protection measures aimed at protection and rational use of rich natural resources of Caspian Sea. At the same time, this Programme could be able to monitor ecological situation in Caspian Sea and to make special recommendations to the Governments of coastal states.
Addressing the participants, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that speaking of the future of Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan sees it in the context of the future of entire planet and coordinates its work with the activity of the United Nations for fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals. We see Caspian Sea, both in geographic as well as social and economic aspect, as one of the directions of the UN Strategy until 2030. Stability of the economy, energy security, ecological balance are the foundations of common Caspian home, the head of the State highlighted.
We would like to see Caspian Sea as a space of cooperation, development, prosperity, free of conflicts and confrontations, place of unification of the energy of the states, international organizations, business, scientific and technological potentials. This is us who outline strategic perspective calling it a model of future for Caspian Sea, the Head of the State said.
The speech of the Head of the State has been listened with keen interest and attention and welcomed by loud applauses.
After, the floor was given to high-rank guests – heads of the delegations of Caspian states.
In his speech, Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Novruz Mamedov expressed deep gratitude to Turkmen leader for hospitality and high level of organization of the First Caspian Economic Forum. It was highlighted that Azerbaijan welcomes the initiative of the President of Turkmenistan on the CEF, which would be new format of activation of cooperation between coastal states.
After signing of the Convention on Legal Status of Caspian Sea, the issue of economic development of Caspian region received special currency. Azerbaijan thinks that Caspian Economic Forum will give additional impulse to cooperation in trade, spheres of transport, industry, energy, investments, tourism and other fields, - high-rank guest noted.
The Prime Minister of the republic of Azerbaijan defined the creation and development of international and regional transport corridors as one of the main factors, which play an important role in improvement of efficiency of the economy of the region.
Caspian Sea is an important consolidating factor supporting the intensification of the cooperation between coastal states, Mr Novruz Mamedov said, having expressed the confidence that Caspian Economic Forum would be an actual ground for discussion of current issues of the partnership, would open rich potential of the region and would bring the result for common sake.
After, the floor was given to First Vice-president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Eshaq Jahangiri. It was highlighted that August 12 is the Day of Caspian Sea, a remarkable date for all Caspian states. Signing of the Convention on Legal Status of Caspian Sea on that day in 2018 has become an important historical milestone in multilateral relations, strengthening of the partnership between coastal states.
The adoption of the Convention made good perspectives and opportunities for cooperation in all spheres, which are necessary to use, Mr Eshaq Jahangiri said. In this regard, the fact that implementation of different programs and projects would support the realization of economic, trade and production potential of the countries has been noted.
The First Vice-president of the IRI spoke for the expansion of trade and economic relations in the region, which requires an improvement of relative legal bases. At the same time, the willingness of Iran to provide its transport and transit infrastructure to the regions has been confirmed.
Having confirmed the commitment of Iran to development of productive cooperation in trade and economic, industrial and investment spheres especially with the neighbours in Caspian Sea, the First Vice-president of the IRI expressed deep gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for cordial welcome and invitation to the Forum, which importance goes far beyond the borders of the region.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin who spoke after, expressed the gratitude to Turkmen leader for the hospitality and highlighted that significant and not yet implemented potential of Caspian region gives broad opportunities for activation of efficient cooperation in perspective directions. For this purpose, high-rank guest made a proposal on taking of number of joint measures in trade and economic and investment spheres, transport section, energy and ecological areas.
Speaking of the first direction, Mr Askar Mamin noted that economic development is closely related to the expansion of investment potential. In this case, the states of the region would be able to become a point of attraction of foreign investments. It is necessary to focus the efforts on creation of favourable ecosystem and to organize permanent exchange of best practices, to activate work for provision of financial services. In this regard, Kazakhstan side proposes to use the capabilities of Astana International Financial Centre.
At the same time, joint work of five coastal states is required for qualitative provision of transport services, attraction of direct foreign investments, mechanisms of government and private partnership and implementation of new technologies. In this regard, it is suggested to take necessary measures, which would support the development of Caspian international corridors and transformation of the region into big transport and logistic centre.
High-rank guest has also outlined tourism industry among priority vectors of cooperation. Having highlighted the subject of the partnership in energy sector, Mr Askar Mamin made proposal on consolidation of efforts for efficient implementation of available potential including for use of alternative sources of energy as well as for development of coordinated policy and strategy in this sphere. High-ranking guest has also spoken for the improvement of ecological collaboration under strategic initiative of sustainable Caspian Sea.
After, the floor was given to Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. The Head the Government of the Government of the RF highlighted that the Forum has special objective to supplement multilevel system of cooperation under Caspian Five with efficient and timely mechanism of business, trade and economic partnership, to strengthen important political solutions with specific beneficial projects including with participation of the third countries. This is a reason why guests and heads of the Governments representing other states participate in the forum as Caspian region has to be fully open for economic cooperation. Balanced internationally recognized legal base has already been formed for its development.
The high-rank guest said that Caspian region has always been the intersection of geopolitical and economic interests of many leading states, political and business circles, different ethnic groups and confessions and recently, has become one of the main regions of global policy. First of all, it is provided by its natural resources. Together with the countries of the Persian Gulf it forms so-called energy ellipse, which contain more than 70 percent of the world reserves of oil and 40 percent of natural gas. For Caspian states, this is a strategic advantage and one of the most important direction of cooperation.
Optimal transport infrastructure, high technology and safe production facilities, stimulating measures for investors, unique tourist production, this is the way Caspian region of XXI century has to look like. In this context, Prime Minister of Russian Federation confirmed the willingness of Russia to joint work in these directions.
Speaking of transport infrastructure, Caspian region is indeed an intersection of the world communications. Reliable and profitable transcontinental routes are very important for international trade, formation of big regional markets, - high-rank guest highlighted. Many things have been done for the last few years for development of transport and logistic potential of the region. The work on the project of five-side Agreement on Cooperation in the sphere of maritime transport is carried out. Its purpose is to create unified and competitive conditions of transit across Caspian Sea, Dmitry Medvedev said, having noted Russia pays specia attention to this subject.
Having stopped at the second direction of cooperation – the development of resource sectors, which have to become new points of growth in Caspian region, Russian Prime Minister stated the presence of wide opportunities of Caspian states for this, which is indicated by the Exhibition of innovative technologies held under the forum.
Continuing his speech, Mr Medvedev has focused on such important component of cooperation as ecology. The Prime Minister of the RF informed that Russia takes active measures for protection of biological resources Caspian Sea.
Having highlighted tourism sphere, which turns into one of the most important branches of global economy high-ranking guest highlighted that beautiful nature, richest history and culture, all of these allow Caspian region to take a deserving place among the most popular tourist directions. In the end of his speech, having highlighted consolidating factor of Caspian Sea for Europe and Asia, five Caspian states, their partners and people who live on its coasts, high-ranking guest invited everybody to Astrakhan where it is planned to hold the second Caspian Economic Forum.
After, the President of Turkmenistan and high ranking guest answered the questions.
One of the questions addressed to Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Novruz Mammedov was about the cooperation in Caspian – Black Sea line and further measures for bringing the partnership in this direction to practical implementation.
Answering the question, the Head of the Government of neighbouring state highlighted its currency and importance, having expressed the opinion that all what was said has a purpose to develop such cooperation. In this aspect, the First Caspian Forum is the first step in this direction. The high-rank guest noted that there was an idea at one of his meeting with President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov that it is necessary to make a bridge across Caspian Sea and after that everything would be good.
As is known the Day of Caspian Sea is observed on August 1 every year. This is a day when the Framework Convention of Protection of Marine Environment of Caspian Sea, which was signed in Tehran on November 4, 2003, has entered into force. In this regard, the next question related to the main objectives of Caspian countries in ecological sphere was addressed to First Vice-president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Eshaq Jahangiri.
Answering the question, the Head of the IRI delegation highlighted that ecology of Caspian Sea, protection of its flora and fauna are very important subject, which Caspian states have to pay great attention.
After, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov answered the question about the differences between the policy of our country on restoration of the Silk Road and the belt and Road Initiative project implemented by the Government of China, which are obviously based on common historical base.
The Head of the State noted that the Silk Road was a historically transcontinental route in all ages. Following this, we started to restore the Silk Road, Turkmen leader said, having noted that in his speech, he highlighted that it is necessary to modernize relative infrastructure in the context of modern realities.
Regarding the project of Chinese partners Belt and Road Initiative and policy of Turkmenistan on restoration of the Silk Road, these two economic strategies are required as they are to serve to prosperity and wealth of the nations of all our counties, the President noted.
The next question was addressed to Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. Historically, Caspian Sea played special role for Russia. Mainly, it was Caspian Sea where the establishment of Russian as a great Eurasian power has been going on. Today, this role is also important. In this regard, the issue was related to the evaluation of perspectives of Russian part of Caspian Sea.
Volga River and Caspian Sea are important arteries of Russia’s life and that is why, great attention is paid to this subject, Mr Dmitry Medvedev said. The programme of ecological improvement of Volga River, which is aimed at protection of its importance as a transport route and unique eco-basin, is under implementation. Of course, we hope that our efforts will be our contribution to total collection of Caspian development.
After, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin answered the question about the work for practical implementation of the Convention on Legal Status of Caspian Sea adopted in 2018.
The Head of the Government of Kazakhstan noted that indeed, signing of the above-mentioned Convention was held in Aktau one year ago. The work on Convention lasted for almost 25 years. At present time, Prime Minister Askar Mamin noted, ratification of the basic documents by all states is under completion. Three countries – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, have already ratified it. According to the Prime Minister of the RF, Russian plans to ratify the convention in this year. We also expect relative solutions of these issue from our Iranian friends, high-rank guest said.
At the same time, it was highlighted that the First Caspian Economic Forum and events under its framework are already practical implementation of the agreements.
After, the President of Turkmenistan and high-ranking guests left the hall.
On the same day, the Head of the State has number of bilateral meetings.
After, the First Caspian Economci Forum continued its work in the format of plenary session.
It started from the event that became the evidence of international recognition of the merits of Turkmenistan in such important sphere as modern world development as ecology and environment protection.
Unique event – ecological lesson with participation of 3,000 people organized by the Government of Turkmenistan, was held in Turkmenbashy on August 8. It was by right entered to the Guinness Record Book as the most mass event of ecological and educational direction.
In this regard, representative of the Guinness World Records Sheida Subashi Gemici awarded the Certificate of the “Biggest Lesson of Ecology was given by the Government of Turkmenistan in Turkmenbashy on August 8, 2019”.
After, plenary session was continued by the speeches of its participants, which included the United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe Olga Algayerova, Chairman of the Executive Committee – Executive Secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent States Sergey Lebedev, Secretary General of Shanghai Cooperation Organization Vladimir Norov, Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organization Hadi Soleymanpur, President of International Federation of freight Forwarding Associations Babar Badat, President of the International Road Transport Union Umberto de Pretto, Deputy General Director of the UNESCO, Executive Secretary of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanography Committee Vladimir Ryabinin as well as Deputy Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Zamirbek Askarov, Acting Governor of Astrakhan Region, Russian Federation Igor Babushkin, Acting Head of the Kalmyk Republic, Russian Federation Batu Hasikov, Deputy Head of the State Energy Department of the People’s Republic Of China Li Fangrong.
Practical importance of the First Caspian Economic Forum, which is to make solid foundation for development of broad international cooperation in Caspian basin, to become an efficient ground for discussion of joint projects and programme has been highlighted. As a fact, this is about the formation of integrated strategy of cooperation with participation of the states, international organizations, business structures and scientific circles.
During plenary session, priority directions of beneficial partnership including trade and economic sphere, transport and communication sector, energy, industry, business relations were the subjects of interested discussion. It was noted that strategic importance of Caspian Sea and this region in regional, interregional and global geopolitical processes, its role as an important transit, transport and logistic hub provide the necessity of activation of productive cooperation on long-term basis.
In the afternoon, the First Caspian Economic Forum was continued in the format of topical sessions “Trade and Economic Cooperation in Caspian Region”, “Energy Potential of Caspian Sea”, “Development of Industry in Caspian Region”, “Green Economy for Caspian Sea”, Cooperation in the Sphere of Scientific Studies in Caspian Sea”.
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