Fostering dialogue to build trust and building trust to lay the groundwork for efficient partnerships between the countries of Europe and Asia, is the idea behind this year’s international conference of speakers of parliaments of Eurasian countries, in Nursultan.
The former city of Astana has only been the capital of Kazakhstan for 22 years.
But in this short period of time, it has developed from a small provincial city into a metropolis of over a million inhabitants.
The 4th international conference of speakers of parliaments of Eurasian countries
Delegations from more than 60 countries and a host of parliamentary organisations gathered for the fourth edition of the event. This year’s host is the Chairman of the Parliament of Kazakhstan.
‘Today, the role of parliamentary dialogue is growing throughout the world. Such meetings, such forums, allow us to find common ground for different countries in the development of their economies.’ explains Chairman of the lower house of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, Nurlan Nigmatulin.
The main topics debated are issues of digitalisation, environmental issues and the use of artificial intelligence:
“I think that these meetings help keep an open dialogue which is very important today, in these difficult times,’ says Nurlan Nigmatulin.
Sustainable development in Europe and AsiaIn the panel sessions, as well as in these bilateral meetings the parliamentarians discussed ways of ensuring safe and sustainable development in Europe and Asia.
‘We all have dreams of peace and security and welfare for everybody,” says Nathalie Goulet, the Member of the Senate for France.
“My topic is food waste, to prevent to waste food! Because you know: half of the people are starving and at the same time half of the planet is on diet, so there is something wrong in this world!”
So, what is the ideal outcome on the topic of food waste;
‘My best wish would be that each MP goes back to their countries and then puts the topic on the top of the agenda of his parliament and then try to save people from starving!”
A multilateral approachThe basis of many discussions here has been how humanity is increasingly faced with issues that need a multilateral approach.
Malaysia has a long history of regional cooperation with neighbour states, an experience the speaker of the Malaysian Parliament is eager to share with his counterparts.
“The world has become so interconnected, we cannot focus only on one country or two countries, it’s got to be broader,” says Mohamad Ariff Speaker of the lower house of the Parliament of Malaysia.
But what are the topics he really cares about when he represents Malaysia at this kind of meeting?
“We have sustainable development goals – which is a good platform. The idea of ‘leave no one behind’, is a powerful idea! Because if we leave someone behind, everyone will be left behind.”
“So, let’s have a zone of peace, of cooperation, of dialogue.”
“Forget about wars and conflicts! Have a dialogue, and we can resolve all these issues. Principally, people want to be happy, on the basis of shared opportunities and shared prosperity.”
The next meeting of the Speakers of the Eurasian Countries’ Parliaments, the fifth of its kind, will be held next year, in Indonesia.