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The magazine is registered by the Federal Service for Supervision of Compliance with Legislation Governing Mass Communications and Protection of Cultural Heritage, certificate of registration ÏÈ ¹ ÔÑ77-21265 of 08.06.2005  
2022  N9-10(210-211)
PARTNERSHIP
“SKOLKOVO” ON SEA SHORE
As is known, the first Caspian Economic Forum (CEF) was held on 12 August 2019 in Turkmenistan’s Avaza national tourist zone at the initiative of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. At that time, the head of the Russian delegation, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev informed the forum participants that the next forum would be held in Astrakhan in 2021. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the second CEF was rescheduled for a later date in Moscow. As a result, the forum was held in early October 2022 at the discussion platforms of the Moscow Skolkovo Innovation Center.
So, despite the actual geographical distance, it was Moscow that acted as capital city of the Caspian region for two days. The Second Caspian Economic Forum was intended to become an important platform in the post-pandemic period for discussion of topical issues relating to cooperation between the countries of the Caspian region, as well as neighbouring friendly states. The forum discussed the pace of development of trade and economic cooperation, interaction in the field of environmental protection, transport and logistics, energy and tourism, urban infrastructure and social and humanitarian sphere.
The Republic of Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan sent their delegations to Moscow. The Turkmen delegation included representatives of the government in charge of economic issues and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Russian delegation to the forum included heads of federal and regional authorities, heads of the country’s leading companies.
In fact, the forum in “Skolkovo” brought together the business elite of the five Caspian countries who realize that the fate of the densely populated region of the planet will largely depend on the decisions made. The Caspian region unites five countries such as Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan with the population exceeding 270 million people. They account for 12.6 percent of world energy exports and 7 percent of world exports in general. In the coming years, these numbers are likely to increase exponentially.
The first day of the second Caspian Economic Forum (CEF) turned out to be extremely busy. A simple enumeration of the topics discussed at the round tables shows the breadth of interests of the business circles of the Caspian countries, including “The Caspian region as part of a larger Eurasian partnership: new challenges and development prospects”, “The Caspian region in the global climate agenda: challenges, opportunities, approaches”, “Caspian five energy projects”, “Caspian partnership – protecting health and economy from epidemics”, “Cooperation between the countries of the Caspian region in the field of tourism”, “Comfortable urban environment”, “Youth entrepreneurship: opportunities and barriers”, “Law and scientific diplomacy for the sustainable development of the Caspian region”.
Representatives of the Turkmen delegation actively participated in bilateral business meetings. The delegation exchanged views with other participants on the topic “Caspian Sea: a Eurasian transport and logistics hub”. Representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan took part in the meeting of the International Council for Business Cooperation of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the countries of the Caspian region “Business Caspian”.
It was great to see that those people that confirmed their readiness for cooperation three years ago in Avaza did not withdraw from their stand, continuing the policy of comprehensive development of partnership. For example, speaking at the forum, Governor of Astrakhan region Igor Babushkin outlined the priorities in the development of cooperation between the Caspian states. He spoke about building mutual partnerships with the Caspian neighbors in the trade and economic sphere, noting that transport and logistics tasks have come to the fore. The Governor emphasized the importance of promoting the North-South international transport corridor of which Astrakhan region is an important part. Igor Babushkin recalled that representatives of all countries of the Caspian region pay special attention to increasing the flow of goods through this corridor.
The plenary session of the forum was held with participation of Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ali Asadov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov, First Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Mokhber and Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan Khodzamurad Geldymuradov.
They discussed a wide range of topics, including energy, investments, trade relations, transport, tourism, environmental protection. There were also made proposals relating to the further strengthening of economic ties between the countries.
Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin noted the special value of the Caspian Sea, taking into account its geographical and strategic position. He called the Caspian one of the most dynamically developing regions, the crossroads of cultures. He stressed that the littoral countries can find mutually beneficial solutions even with differences of interests.
In his turn, Deputy Prime Minister of the Turkmen government Khodzamurad Geldymuradov called on the Caspian countries to remove barriers in trade and transport. He stressed that it is important to use the existing transit corridors and logistics infrastructure of the regional states and promote the introduction of best experience of public-private partnerships to expand international trade and economic development.
“Turkmenistan pays special attention to the transport and communications sector as a rapidly developing and promising segment of the national economy. In this regard, we consider it important to expand multilateral transport cooperation and intensify work to identify and eliminate barriers in the transport and communications sector,” the Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister said.
Following the exchange of views between the heads of delegations, one could say with confidence that representatives of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan jointly outlined the prospects for greater partnership in a wide range of areas. The emphasis is placed on joint projects in the field of transport infrastructure, energy, environmental protection, as well as development of interregional cooperation.
There is an important detail to note. Over one thousand participants registered for the second Caspian Economic Forum, representing not only the Russian Federation and the countries of the Caspian Five but also Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. This means that the number of stakeholders interested in development of regional partnership is growing.

Mikhail PEREPLESNIN


©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005