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<strong>72</strong><br />

INTERLINKING POLITICS, DIPLOMACY, BUSINESS & FINANCE<br />

ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY, CULTURAL DIPLOMACY & HEALTH<br />

HIS<br />

MAJESTY<br />

KING<br />

PHILIPPE I<br />

KING<br />

OF THE BELGIANS<br />

H.E.<br />

CHARLES<br />

MICHEL<br />

PRESIDENT<br />

OF<br />

THE EUROPEAN<br />

COUNCIL<br />

H.E.<br />

CHANDRIKAPERSAD<br />

SANTOKHI<br />

PRESIDENT<br />

OF<br />

SURINAME<br />

H.E.<br />

ZHANNA<br />

ANDREASYAN<br />

MINISTER OF<br />

EDUCATION, SCIENCE,<br />

CULTURE AND SPORT<br />

OF ARMENIA<br />

H.E.<br />

RUA AL ZADJALI<br />

AMBASSADOR<br />

OF<br />

THE SULTANATE<br />

OF OMAN<br />

H.E.<br />

AMARSAIKHAN<br />

SAINBUYAN<br />

DEPUTY<br />

PRIME MINISTER<br />

OF<br />

MONGOLIA<br />

H.E.<br />

BADR<br />

ABDELATTY<br />

AMBASSADOR<br />

OF<br />

THE ARAB REPUBLIC<br />

OF EGYPT<br />

H.E.<br />

NAWAF<br />

ALENEZI<br />

AMBASSADOR<br />

OF<br />

THE STATE<br />

OF KUWAIT<br />

Winter 2023 www.diplomatic-world.com Quarterly edition<br />

P409937 - v.u. Barbara Dietrich, Beiaardlaan 25b, 1850 Grimbergen<br />

€9 ,50


DIR_0170-2303_diplomatic_world_hd.pdf 1 7/03/16 17:43<br />

INTERLINKING POLITICS, DIPLOMACY, BUSINESS & FINANCE<br />

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since 1991.<br />

DIPLOMATIC WORLD IS A QUARTERLY EDITION<br />

OF PUNCH MEDIA GROUP<br />

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T +32 2 770 03 06<br />

www.diplomatic-world.com<br />

PUBLISHER<br />

Barbara Dietrich<br />

barbara.dietrich@diplomatic-world.com<br />

CEO AND PRESIDENT<br />

Barbara Dietrich<br />

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H.E. Vassilis Maragos | H.E. Reynaldo Velázquez Zaldívar |<br />

H.E. Thérence Ntahiraja | H.E. Soe Lynn Han |<br />

H.E. Valeria Vilaseca Chumacero | H.E. Ismat Jahan |<br />

Philippe Billiet | Max Studenikoff | Elvira Azimova |<br />

Barbara Dietrich | Ewa Kurlanda-Billiet | Jan De Maere |<br />

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ISSN 2995-3655<br />

Dear Excellencies,<br />

Dear partners,<br />

Dear readers,<br />

In this space you would normally find my editorial.<br />

On 21 September, we celebrated the International<br />

Day of Peace, but hardly anyone seemed to<br />

notice, and they cannot be blamed for that.<br />

With war, conflict and crises dominating the daily<br />

news headlines, genuine and lasting peace seems<br />

more elusive than ever. Therefore I have decided<br />

to replace my introduction with an image, which<br />

as the saying goes is worth a thousand words:<br />

The texts were written in English or Dutch and translated in the other language.<br />

Some expressions can change by the translation. To safeguard the language and<br />

tone of all authors, the author’s initial choice of spelling has been maintained as<br />

much as possible. The editorial staff has done its utmost to identify and mention<br />

sources and beneficiaries of the text and images used. The publisher has made every<br />

effort to secure permission to reproduce the listed material, illustrations and photographs.<br />

We apologize for any inadvert errors or missions. Parties who nevertheless believe they<br />

can claim specific legal rights are invited to contact the publisher.<br />

Opinions in this magazine belong to the writers and are not necessarily endorsed<br />

by <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong>.<br />

All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a<br />

retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical<br />

photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of<br />

the artist and publisher. ©2023 <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>.<br />

As always, I wish you a fruitful reading,<br />

Barbara Dietrich, CEO,<br />

<strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

3


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PHILIPPE I<br />

KING OF THE BELGIANS<br />

DOES NOT RULE, HE REIGNS<br />

Univ. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jan De Maere<br />

After the abdication for health reasons of his father, the muchloved<br />

King Albert II on July 21, 2013, his son Philippe of<br />

its origin a constitutional monarchy, inspired by a combination of<br />

instrumentality of the Crown. The Belgian monarchy was since<br />

Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (born 1960) became the seventh King these of the United Kingdom, the French Constitution, the United<br />

of the Belgians. In these ten years since, the monarch quietly<br />

States Declaration of Independence of 1776, and by the century-old<br />

traditions of Brabant, Wallonia, and Flanders. The royal<br />

explored the multiple aspects of his function, in which he grew<br />

every day, first prudently and now with confidence, authenticity prerogatives are not precisely limited in the Belgian Constitution.<br />

and authority. Princess Elisabeth assures the future of the crown<br />

in the same confident and discreet way.<br />

Therefore, King Philippe I carefully explored their frontiers in the<br />

first years of his reign. The King is the head of the dignified part<br />

Before his accession, the then Prince Philippe was badly served of the Constitution. In Belgium, the monarchy has more than a<br />

by the unfair and mean comments by the former Grand Maréchal symbolic or protocolar role. Insofar as the King’s will coincides<br />

de la Cour (Marshal of the Royal Household of the Royal Court of with that of the ministers, who alone bear responsibility for<br />

Belgium) Herman Liebaers to the press (1991). Today, the doubts political decisions. He participates in an essential manner in the<br />

about his capacity to reign while observing the Constitution,<br />

direction of state affairs. My colleague and friend baron Francis<br />

the laws of the Belgians, the country’s independence, and the Delperee writes: “to reign does not only mean to preside over<br />

integrity of its territory, are vanished. All agree, even politicians ceremonies but also to take a part in the running of the State”.<br />

and journalists, that King Philippe and Queen Mathilde fulfil their<br />

function in an immaculate manner, with efficiency and panache, King Philippe I’s flawless run should not astonish those who<br />

privileging discreetly their life as a family. The great emotional intelligence<br />

and communication skills of the Queen are an essential Saxe-Coburg and Gotha is a branch of the German noble house<br />

know the history of the Belgian royal family. The Ducal House of<br />

asset in this success, without obscuring the enormous efforts<br />

of Wettin and has its ancestral seat in Coburg. Its progenitors<br />

and self-discipline King Philippe I deploys in his function in a<br />

ruled from 1423 to 1547 as Electoral Princes of Saxony and later<br />

complicated Belgian political context. The King speaks fluently as Dukes of Coburg. The Saxon duchy of Gotha was acquired<br />

the three national languages (French, Dutch and German) and<br />

in 1826 and since that time the family bears the name of Saxesome<br />

others. In Belgium and abroad, the royal couple elegantly Coburg and Gotha.<br />

imposed their own subdued style while efficiently promoting their<br />

country.<br />

Many Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family members distinguished<br />

themselves in the 19th century. In 1866, Prussia wins the<br />

Over the last 600 years of its history, the monarchy underwent Austro-Prussian War against Austria and its German allies. Prince<br />

an evolution from the time when Kings ruled through the agency Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) masterminded the unification<br />

of ministers to the time when ministers governed through the<br />

of Germany and submitted four of Austria’s Northern-German<br />

Photos Michel Gronemberger / Royale Palace<br />

10 11


allies and forces Saxe-Lauenburg into a personal union. Through<br />

its diplomatic skills and well-conceived marriage politics, for<br />

the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the 19th century was its<br />

golden age. Up to 1918, it became one of the most significant<br />

European ruling dynasties, closely related to almost all European<br />

princely families. It procures still the sovereigns of four royal<br />

dynasties: Belgium, Great Britain, Portugal, and Bulgaria. Some<br />

of Prince-consort Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Queen<br />

Victoria, Empress of India’s nine children and 39 grandchildren<br />

ruled in the German Empire, Russia, Romania, Yugoslavia,<br />

Greece, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.<br />

In Coburg (now in Bavaria), on 16 December 1790, Leopold of<br />

Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1790-1865) was born as a Protestant,<br />

the youngest son of Duke Francis. In 1797, at only six years<br />

of age, he was given the honorary rank of Colonel in the<br />

Izmaylovsky regiment, part of the Imperial Russian Guard.<br />

Six years later, he was promoted Major-General. When<br />

Napoleonic troops occupied the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg in<br />

1806, Leopold went to Paris but left shortly after for Russia to<br />

take up his rank in the Imperial Russian cavalry. Against the<br />

French, he distinguished himself at the Battle of Kulm. By 1815,<br />

at Waterloo, he had reached the rank of Lieutenant General<br />

at 25 years of age.<br />

At a party at the Pulteney Hotel in London in February 1816,<br />

Princess Charlotte of Wales, daughter and only child of the later<br />

(unpopular) King George IV, remarked Prince Leopold, impoverished<br />

but covered in the glory of his deeds at the Battle of<br />

Waterloo. Both fell in love and married a few months later. One<br />

and a halve year after, Princess Charlotte died after given birth to<br />

a still-born boy. Much appreciated by all in the United Kingdom,<br />

Leopold was inconsolable and remained a widower until 1832.<br />

At the end of August 1830, rebels in the southern part of the<br />

United Netherlands (Dutch-Belgian kingdom) contested the<br />

Dutch rule. Their revolt in Brussels pushed the Dutch army back.<br />

International powers met in support of the independence of<br />

Belgium, but the Dutch refused to recognize it as a new state. In<br />

November 1830, the Belgian National Congress adopted a constitution,<br />

stipulating that Belgium will be a popular constitutional<br />

monarchy. The members choose Leopold as their first King.<br />

After the resignation of the regent Surlet de Choquier, Leopold,<br />

dressed in the uniform of a Belgian Lieutenant-General, swore<br />

loyalty to the constitution and became ‘King of the Belgians’.<br />

That date became Belgian’s national day. The accession ceremony<br />

took place on July 21, 1831, on the steps of the church of<br />

Saint James on the Coudenberg, Place Royale, Brussels, and<br />

was met with great patriotic enthusiasm. Less than two weeks<br />

after Leopold’s accession, on August 2, the Dutch army invaded<br />

Belgium from the North, overwhelming the small Belgian army.<br />

At King Leopold’s demand, Louis-Philippe, King of France (reign<br />

1830-1848), sent his ‘Armée du Nord’ to the border, after which<br />

the Dutch army stalled. The following year, on August 9, 1832,<br />

Leopold I married Princess Louise of Orléans (1812-1850),<br />

King Louis-Philippe’s second daughter. This forced the Dutch to<br />

accept a diplomatic mediation and the retreat to the pre-war border.<br />

Skirmishes continued for eight years, but in April 1839, the<br />

two countries signed the ‘Treaty of London’ whereby the Dutch<br />

reluctantly recognised Belgium’s independence.<br />

Leopold I’s reign was marked by an economic crisis which lasted<br />

until the late 1850s because the Dutch had closed the river<br />

Scheldt to Belgian shipping, thus making redundant the port of<br />

Antwerp. The Dutch colonies had been profitable markets for<br />

Belgian manufacturers before 1830. Now they were closed to<br />

Belgian goods. Between 1845 and 1849 in Flanders, harvests<br />

failed and a third of its population had to rely on charity. This<br />

increased the internal migration to Brussels and to the industrial<br />

areas of Wallonia.<br />

Leopold I was an early supporter of railways and industrialization.<br />

In 1835, Belgium’s first railway was inaugurated between<br />

Brussels and Mechelen, one of the first in Europe. He initiated<br />

many successful economic reforms. Nevertheless, in early 1848,<br />

a large number of radical publications appeared in Brussels,<br />

wanting to establish a Republic, since all over Europe social<br />

revolutions caused instability. Belgian troops ended this revolutionary<br />

threat by eliminating the Belgian émigrés attacking from<br />

the French border.<br />

Because of his family connections, as King of a neutral country,<br />

and through his insight in geopolitics, Leopold I was able to act<br />

as an important intermediary in European politics during his<br />

reign. He moderated relations between the hostile ‘Great Powers’.<br />

In the later part of his reign, his role in the relations between<br />

the United Kingdom and the French Empire of Napoleon III was<br />

important.<br />

Shortly after his death (1865), Prussia and its Saxony allied<br />

troops defeated the French army in the Franco-Prussian War<br />

of 1868-1871. His second son, King Leopold II (1835-1909),<br />

became acutely aware of the precarious situation of a neutral<br />

Belgium. He modernized and reformed the Belgian army.<br />

He was the founder of ‘l’État Indépendant du Congo (1885-<br />

1908)’, developed many beautiful urbanistic aspects in Brussels,<br />

Antwerp, and Ostend, still visible today. His reign created great<br />

prosperity for the Belgian economy. Although lately, revisiting<br />

history out of its timely context, ‘woke’ critics observed only the<br />

negative facts of the colonization of Congo. André de Maere<br />

d’Aertrycke published recently a more balanced evaluation of this<br />

period in ‘Le Congo au temps des Belges’. i<br />

Photos Michel Gronemberger / Royale Palace<br />

12 13


Veste Coburg (Coburg Fortress)<br />

Photo: Shutterstock<br />

Leopold II’s nephew Prince Baudouin (1869-1891) the eldest son<br />

of his son Baudouin I (reign July 17, 1951 – July 31, 1993), a<br />

of prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, died young. His brother<br />

wise and devout Roman Catholic. With this wife, the active<br />

Photos Michel Gronemberger / Royale Palace<br />

Albert, the later King Albert I (born 1875, reign 1909-1934)<br />

Queen-consort Fabiola, they became one of the strongholds of<br />

became the presumptive heir after the death of their father.<br />

the Belgian identity. At King Baudouin’s death, within hours the<br />

Palace gates were covered with flowers offered by the public. An<br />

case today. Now, as part of the European Union and interna-<br />

i<br />

André de Maere d’Aertrycke, André Schorochoff, Pierre<br />

Efficiently, Albert I, as general commander of the army (a gov-<br />

immense crowd gathered around the royal Palace. All European<br />

tional organizations, Belgium greatly contributes to progress in<br />

Vercauteren and André Vleurinck, Le Congo au Temps des<br />

ernmental prerogative), and his wife Queen Elisabeth from the<br />

monarchs attended the funeral service.<br />

all aspects of society and defends our democratic values. After<br />

Belges. Une réalité qui dérange. Bilan et Réalisations,<br />

House of Wittelsbach confronted the German attack (August 4,<br />

Belgium’s difficult birth, its monarchy was and still is one of the<br />

3e édition réactualisée, ed. Media, 2019.<br />

1914 – November 11, 1918) against a neutral Belgium, assist-<br />

His brother became King Albert II (reign August 9, 1993-July<br />

essential elements uniting the country, as my late mentor profes-<br />

ed by its Allies which had guaranteed the ‘Treaty of the XXIV<br />

21, 2013), whose wife, Princess Paola from the House of Ruffo<br />

sor Robert Senelle (1918-2013) always claimed.<br />

Articles’. The army withdrew behind the river Yser and resisted<br />

di Calabria became Queen. They have now three children (who<br />

heroically for four years. Albert I’s son, Crown-Prince Leopold<br />

have a half-sister), twelve grandchildren and two great-grandchil-<br />

The history of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha illustrates<br />

(later King Leopold III, reign 1934-1951) served in the army as<br />

dren. Home and abroad they represented Belgium on numerous<br />

many lessons in geopolitics, which led after the Second <strong>World</strong><br />

Corporal.<br />

trade missions and their popularity increased continuously during<br />

War to a new awareness that a lasting peace should triumph over<br />

their reign. They are still much-loved today. On July 3, 2013, for<br />

the differences in opinion between neighbouring countries. In the<br />

Even during the difficult times of the great depression (1929-<br />

health reasons, King Albert II announced to the parliament his<br />

open and free European nations respecting human rights and<br />

1932) the monarchs remained popular. After the drama in<br />

decision to abdicate in favour of his eldest son. Since then, King<br />

freedom of speech, Belgium became the seat of many European<br />

Marche-les-Dames (1934), his successor King Leopold III and<br />

Philippe I earned the respect of his compatriots and of many<br />

institutions. The Belgian national devise ‘United We Stand’ rep-<br />

Queen Astrid were acclaimed by the Belgians. After the end of<br />

beyond his realm.<br />

resents an essential value for our democracies. Even more when<br />

<strong>World</strong> War II and the Shoah (May 10, 1940 – 1945), Belgium joins<br />

these are under threat, as is the case now since the Russian<br />

NATO in 1949. The ‘Royal Question’ and the eventual return of<br />

Since the reign of Leopold I, the quality of Belgian diplomacy and<br />

aggression in Ukraine.<br />

the King created a political crisis. The King abdicated in favour<br />

its diplomats was in high esteem everywhere; and it is still the<br />

Univ. Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jan De Maere<br />

Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

14 15


PRESIDENT CHARLES MICHEL<br />

AFTER VISITING THE AREA IMPACTED<br />

BY FLOODS IN SLOVENIA<br />

From left to right: Charles MICHEL (President of the European Council), Robert GOLOB (Prime Minister, Slovenia)<br />

Copyright: European Union<br />

From left to right: Charles MICHEL (President of the European Council), Robert GOLOB (Prime Minister, Slovenia)<br />

Copyright: European Union<br />

I would like to thank you, Prime Minister Golob, for giving me the<br />

opportunity to see with my own eyes the situation on the ground.<br />

I am here to reaffirm the European Union’s solidarity. I am very<br />

impressed by the courage of the Slovenian people. I am also<br />

impressed by the focus and determination of your leadership,<br />

Prime Minister Golob.<br />

It is clear that Slovenia is facing a difficult situation, a complex<br />

situation. And we are thinking what we can do to be operational<br />

and to be concrete.You know that the European Commission<br />

made a very important promise. We will mobilise €400 million<br />

as a starting point. You can also count on the Council and the<br />

Member States.<br />

I know that very quickly many European Union members and<br />

partners, including Ukraine, decided to provide concrete support.<br />

This is not enough and one thing is absolutely clear - we are not<br />

forgetting the Slovenian people. We are with you today Prime<br />

Minister and we are with all the Slovenian people. And we will be<br />

with you tomorrow. We will not forget what happened here.<br />

We also know that is important to invest and to rebuild the<br />

country. It is also important to be better prepared because we<br />

know that in the future, probably not only in Europe, not only in<br />

Slovenia, we will face more and more natural disasters. It means<br />

that we need to be better prepared and to have money available,<br />

in case of need. So that we can act and react very quickly.<br />

Prime Minister, I am impressed by the Slovenian people, and<br />

I am impressed by your leadership. You have many friends all<br />

across Europe. Dear Slovenian people, you have many friends all<br />

across Europe. You can count on us. Today and in the future…<br />

because it will take time. We are and we will be by your side.<br />

16 17


H.E. CHANDRIKAPERSAD SANTOKHI<br />

PRESIDENT OF SURINAME<br />

“WE SHOULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO<br />

DEVELOP OUR NATURAL RESOURCES, INCLUD-<br />

ING OIL AND GAS, IN AN ENVIRONMENTALLY<br />

FRIENDLY MANNER, TO KEEP OUR STATUS AS<br />

A CARBON NEGATIVE COUNTRY”<br />

there is an expectation of commitment and political will. These<br />

are the fundamentals of this Summit, that we are willing to come<br />

together and address issues which are very important, and some<br />

of which I mentioned above. As a country or as a region alone,<br />

we cannot address these. We have to address them collectively.<br />

That is one of the lessons we have learned from COVID-19:<br />

President of Suriname, H.E. Chandrikapersad Santokhi,<br />

cooperation is essential.<br />

kindly sat down with <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> on the sidelines of the<br />

EU-CELAC Summit, held in Brussels on 17-18 July 2023.<br />

The two regions are historically connected. We have built<br />

inter-regional cooperation through people-to-people contacts,<br />

HEADS OF STATE & GOVERNMENT OF THE<br />

EUROPEAN UNION AND THE COMMUNITY OF<br />

LATIN AMERICAN & THE CARIBBEAN STATES<br />

(CELAC) GATHERED IN BRUSSELS ON 17 AND<br />

18 JULY 2023. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS<br />

FOR THE SUMMIT, IN TERMS OF OUTCOMES AND<br />

DELIVERABLES?<br />

business and trade, but I think there are still impediments in<br />

doing business and obstacles to the free movement of people<br />

and goods.<br />

But we see the opportunities also. For one, these are two blocs<br />

of countries with economic growth potential, political power<br />

and influence as well to change the global scene of inter-state<br />

relations for the better. For that reason, we need to meet and<br />

exchange views and perspectives, and engage to build a new<br />

The world as a whole is somewhat in turmoil from the climate<br />

world order.<br />

crisis, debt burden, post-pandemic economic recovery and conflicts.<br />

There is enormous uncertainty where the only planet we<br />

So my first expectation is that we will have a constructive, honest<br />

H.E. Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname<br />

have is going and what will be the fate and future of many mil-<br />

and frank debate and that we will treat each other as equal<br />

lions of people in the world. At the same time there are positive<br />

partners and built trust and confidence going forward. Second-<br />

signs in terms of the political will at the global level to revisit the<br />

ly, I expect concrete results in terms of cooperation in different<br />

For Suriname, CELAC is a useful and necessary platform for<br />

pharmaceuticals, food and energy, just to name a few areas. We<br />

existing diplomatic and financial architecture and infrastructure.<br />

areas, such as climate change, protecting and preserving the<br />

consultation and cooperation regarding political issues, econom-<br />

must develop our own capabilities and create sustainable jobs<br />

Like the recent Summit for a New Global Financing Pact hosted<br />

environment, trade and investment, agree on a way forward<br />

ic opportunities, and the development of stable, meaningful, and<br />

and production capacity.<br />

by the French President Emmanuel Macron. We support that.<br />

with regard to some pressing political issues, including the war<br />

prosperous societies. As such, we actively take part in the meet-<br />

against Ukraine, the reform of the global financial institutions and<br />

ings of CELAC at all levels. I believe that because of the positive<br />

For this our view is, and which we have shared in CELAC, that<br />

SO WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS FROM THIS<br />

HIGH POLITICAL ENCOUNTER BETWEEN THE<br />

EU AND CELAC?<br />

After 8 years, leaders of Latin America and the European Union<br />

are coming together. When you bring all these leaders together,<br />

multilateral organizations.<br />

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF SURINAME WITHIN CEL-<br />

AC? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROPOSITIONS<br />

THAT SURINAME HAS PUT FORWARD AS PART OF<br />

THIS GROUPING?<br />

financial and economic horizon and opportunities Latin America,<br />

and also the Caribbean neighbours are getting more and more to<br />

Suriname, and for that matter also our neighbour Guyana.<br />

I believe that the Latin American and Caribbean region will not be<br />

able to develop its full potential if we do not create an economy<br />

that is less dependent on distant resources and services, like in<br />

we should:<br />

• Bring our peoples closer together. That will build trust,<br />

recognition and joint opportunities;<br />

• For this we will need improved connectivity on land, in the air<br />

and via the sea;<br />

• We also favour, within the boundaries of national legislation<br />

and security, hassle free travel between our countries.<br />

18 19


Photo: Istock<br />

Photo: Istock<br />

Suriname, since 1 July 2022, opened its borders for more that<br />

that foreign companies are coming. Four companies are already<br />

our natural resources, including oil and gas, in an environmentally<br />

cherish its function as an oxygen producer and a carbon sink for<br />

90 percent of the countries in the world to travel to the country<br />

active, using modern technologies to produce food; high-yield<br />

friendly manner, to keep our status as a carbon negative country.<br />

all the people of the world.<br />

without visa or other applications;<br />

and disease-resistant crops. As a result, we are now able to<br />

Hereby, we can contribute to the region’s energy security. We<br />

• Promote intra-regional trade, so that supply chains can be<br />

export food to the Caribbean region.<br />

have signed in early July an energy agreement with the govern-<br />

Suriname is looking strategically to the future and has started<br />

shortened and be less costly;<br />

ment of Trinidad and Tobago (which could lead to natural gas<br />

with the transition to a carbon-free economy, a green economy,<br />

• And lastly, mobilize “CELAC” capital to invest in the future of<br />

Suriname also wishes to play a bridge function between the<br />

from Suriname being piped to Trinidad and Tobago) and very<br />

despite the presence of oil and gas. At present, 50 percent of<br />

the Latin American and Caribbean world.<br />

South American continent and the countries of the Caribbean<br />

soon we will sign an agreement between Brazil, Guyana and<br />

our energy comes from renewables. We are conducting feasi-<br />

Community (CARICOM). We are building a bridge between<br />

Suriname to forge an energy alliance.<br />

bility studies on biomass and wind energy. We have committed<br />

Suriname is one of the three carbon negative countries in the<br />

Suriname and Guyana, which should be ready by the first quarter<br />

to exploit our newfound natural resources, oil and gas, in a<br />

world. We are a highly forested country. We are keeping emissions<br />

low through the introduction of renewable energies (we<br />

have hydro and we are interested in developing solar) and have<br />

therefore initiated a green transition. It is important to look at how<br />

Suriname, a small country, has achieved that. But on the other<br />

side, we are impacted by climate change and global warming.<br />

We do not have the solution to that alone. So we need to cooperate<br />

in this domain under the CELAC umbrella.<br />

Another example of regional cooperation in the CELAC region<br />

concerns food security. Suriname has a large territory, pristine,<br />

with plenty of fertile land. We have made the decision to make<br />

of next year. It will also create connectivity to the north of Brazil,<br />

where a lot of production activities take place. Next to the bridge,<br />

we are setting up a shore base port facility in Suriname, the<br />

closest shore base for the North of Brazil, to bring their products<br />

to the entire world. Such examples improve regional connectivity<br />

and cooperation.<br />

Finally, we are seen as a newcomer to the oil business. But we<br />

have a history of more than 40 years in the oil production, in<br />

Suriname’s mainland. We are indeed newcomers in terms of<br />

offshore oil exploration, with international oil companies having<br />

made good discoveries off the coast of Suriname.<br />

SURINAME IS IN THE CUSP OF AN OIL BOOM<br />

AFTER THE FIRST DISCOVERIES WERE MADE IN<br />

2020. AT THE SAME TIME, IT IS ONE OF THE MOST<br />

DENSELY FORESTED COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD;<br />

ONE OF THREE CARBON NEGATIVE COUNTRIES<br />

AND IS STRONGLY BETTING ON RENEWABLE<br />

ENERGY AS WELL. HOW WILL THE COUNTRY<br />

MANAGE THE TRANSITION TO AN OIL-BASED<br />

ECONOMY AND A GREEN ECONOMY AT THE<br />

SAME TIME?<br />

sustainable, environmentally sound and friendly manner. We<br />

will follow and implement internationally adopted environmental<br />

standards. The income should be utilised for the diversification<br />

of our economy. Revenues will be reserved in a sovereign wealth<br />

fund, the Savings and Stability Fund Suriname (SSF) for future<br />

generations.<br />

At the same time, we are committed to the Paris goals on climate<br />

change, and we expect every country in the world to effectively<br />

deliver on these goals and subsequently agreed new objectives.<br />

The results so far, however, are regrettably poor, so we cannot<br />

continue to deliver nice and politically correct speeches with no-<br />

available 300,000 hectares of land free of cost to investors with<br />

Suriname is blessed with pristine forests, enormous rivers with a<br />

ble commitments and ideals. We need to act now, with commit-<br />

one condition: to come to Suriname and invest in agriculture, by<br />

This is good news for the economic development and energy<br />

rich biodiversity and rapids, and a beautiful mountainous natural<br />

ment and dedication, if we want to safeguard this world for future<br />

setting-up food production and processing facilities. And we see<br />

security of Suriname. We should have the opportunity to develop<br />

landscape. We are committed to maintain our natural beauty and<br />

generations.<br />

20 21


Suriname, faced already with financial and debt crises, and<br />

additionally confronting this loss and damage, cannot easily<br />

cope. These things were not planned or foreseen. We are forced<br />

to decrease budgets from health, security, education, to support<br />

the people in need to cover the loss and damage. This has an<br />

impact on other areas of development. Additionally, we face the<br />

bureaucracy in getting access to international finance.<br />

I hope that the agenda on “loss and damage” will progress<br />

beyond words and that concrete mechanisms of financing and<br />

compensation will be agreed on. And these resources should not<br />

be made complicated to access. Climate change has induced<br />

unexpected, unbudgeted costs to our society, and we were not<br />

even the main perpetrators for these unforeseen events of floods,<br />

mudslides, draughts, etc. to happen.<br />

We demand more justice and sustainability in the international<br />

financial architecture. The system has been unjust until now, especially<br />

the way countries are ranked in the Human Development<br />

Index (HDI). We are a developing country, but we are ranked as a<br />

medium income country, therefore missing out on a lot of opportunities<br />

for financial assistance.<br />

We will participate in the COP 28 in Dubai and repeat our views,<br />

calling for a more honest global framework for development<br />

financing, the so-called Bridgetown Initiative, but also reaffirming<br />

our commitment to protect and preserve our natural habitat.<br />

ARE CARBON CREDITS SOMETHING THAT<br />

SURINAME IS LOOKING INTO?<br />

Suriname has started to develop a carbon strategy, including<br />

mechanisms how to assess all the offers we are receiving regarding<br />

carbon credits, carbon bonds, debt-for-nature swaps, etc. It<br />

seems that carbon trading has become instantly a new and prospective<br />

investment industry. A commercialised business, was<br />

that the objective of the introduction of carbon credits to reach<br />

net zero emissions? I do not believe so.<br />

We also will make the point that a Government’s responsibility is<br />

also to take care of its social habitat, our population, and that we<br />

will follow a very balanced approach.<br />

We have to protect ourselves by making the deals that will be the<br />

best for us today and in the future. To this end, we need technical<br />

support to design a carbon credit strategy which is good for our<br />

people, the region and the world.<br />

Photo: Istock<br />

We find that the newcomers in this industry, especially in the<br />

kind of leadership to we have to express, then, with a view on<br />

developing world, should be given the opportunity to manage<br />

COP28?<br />

these opportunities in a balanced manner. It would not be fair to<br />

set a bar now, simply because those who have already benefited<br />

On one hand, we as a small country (600,000 people) lack<br />

from these resources and have built their economy and society<br />

capacity, but we have the commitment to play a role for protect-<br />

towards the future, find that it is time to limit the use of these<br />

ing the world and saving the planet. We also expect from the<br />

energy resources.<br />

international community to give us the support in developing<br />

sustainable forest management, enhancing our capacity to pro-<br />

ACCORDING TO VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE<br />

EUROPEAN COMMISSION FRANS TIMMERMANS,<br />

SURINAME CAN PLAY A LEADING ROLE IN THE<br />

FIELD OF CLIMATE CHANGE. WHAT WILL BE<br />

SURINAME’S AGENDA IN THE UPCOMING COP28<br />

TO BE HELD IN THE UAE, PARTICULARLY ON<br />

THE QUESTION OF LOSS AND DAMAGE THAT IS<br />

CENTRAL TO THE ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND<br />

STATES (AOSIS), OF WHICH SURINAME IS A PART<br />

OF? MORE GENERALLY, WHAT ACTIONS IS<br />

SURINAME TAKING IN CLIMATE MITIGATION<br />

AND ADAPTATION?<br />

tect biodiversity and protecting our coastal areas. And to give us<br />

support in case of climate-related crises.<br />

A couple of months ago, we suffered a period of extreme<br />

rainfall, causing flooding in Suriname’s interior, which led to<br />

the displacement of people. It is also leading to the alteration<br />

in people’s livelihoods. The soil where people used to plant is<br />

changing: cassava and other products can no longer grow.<br />

So now are introducing rice seeds. This requires a change in<br />

mindset and lifestyle for tribal people who have been around<br />

hundreds of years. Traditionally, people built their villages along<br />

the shores of rivers, used for transportation, drinking water, etc.<br />

Now, we need to move them to higher places, and for this, we<br />

The message from Frans Timmermans was quite clear. We are<br />

one of greenest countries, providing oxygen to the world. What<br />

need to create the necessary infrastructure.<br />

H.E. Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname with Barbara Dietrich CEO <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> and<br />

Alberto Turkstra, project manager <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

22 23


H.E. ZHANNA ANDREASYAN<br />

MINISTER OF EDUCATION, SCIENCE,<br />

CULTURE AND SPORTS OF ARMENIA<br />

The main understanding of our education strategy<br />

is that every child is talented, and the goal of the education system<br />

is to discover those talents and provide opportunities<br />

for their development<br />

COULD YOU COMMENT ON THE CULTURAL<br />

HERITAGE PROTECTION EFFORTS OF THE<br />

GOVERNMENT OF ARMENIA, INCLUDING<br />

THE COOPERATION WITH INTERNATIONAL<br />

PARTNERS LIKE UNESCO? HOW DO YOU<br />

ASSESS THE THREAT TO THE CULTURAL<br />

HERITAGE OF NAGORNO-KARABAKH?<br />

This is a very important question, especially nowadays that we<br />

are facing many challenges and difficulties regarding the preservation<br />

of Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh. After<br />

the war in 2020, we applied to UNESCO to send an observation<br />

mission to the region to understand the situation of our cultural<br />

heritage there. We have very valuable pieces of cultural heritage<br />

in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is part of the universal<br />

H.E. Zhanna Andreasyan Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport and Barbara Dietrich<br />

culture, therefore for us it is very important to have an understanding<br />

that there are international mechanisms to keep all<br />

those monuments safe.<br />

But unfortunately, we did not succeed in sending the mission<br />

to the region during these three years. And what we have in<br />

the end is more than 50 monuments destroyed or demolished<br />

by Azerbaijan. After the September 19 attack by Azerbaijan on<br />

Nagorno-Karabakh, we have even more concerns. We are now<br />

talking about more than 5,000 items of cultural heritage in the<br />

territory of Nagrono Karabakh, among them are the Amaras<br />

Monastery, home of the first Armenian school; Gandzasar and<br />

Dadivank Monasteries, to name a few, all part of the universal<br />

Christian heritage.<br />

We think that it should be the task or first priority of international<br />

organizations which have this mandate to preserve this cultural<br />

heritage. You mentioned UNESCO, we are actively working with<br />

them, we hope it would be possible to send a mission to the<br />

region to undertake concrete steps to preserve cultural heritage<br />

and ensure their safety.<br />

missions. Especially because after the September 19 attack, we<br />

see new cases of demolition of cultural heritage.<br />

WHAT ARE THE MAIN PILLARS OF THE NEW<br />

EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT PLAN UNTIL 2030,<br />

WHICH WAS ADOPTED EARLIER THIS YEAR?<br />

We have quite ambitious goals for our education strategy. Of<br />

course our first priority is to ensure high-quality education, fully<br />

accessible for all our citizens in all our regions, cities and villages.<br />

We are bound to transform our education system. Globally there<br />

are various understandings that formal education is in crisis, we<br />

need to understand what could be the new forms and mechanisms<br />

how to organise education to be more in tune with the<br />

changing world and high-speed transformation of our societies.<br />

In this regard, education reforms have no alternative. We need<br />

to think about reforming education and making it more flexible in<br />

terms of changes and creating some sort of symbiosis of formal<br />

and non-formal education.<br />

At the moment we see there are some missions by UN organisations<br />

to Nagorno-Karabakh and we have applied to our<br />

system that is providing opportunities for each of our children to<br />

For us it is very important, through these changes, to create a<br />

international partners, international organisations, to join these develop their individual talents. The main understanding of our<br />

Alberto Turkstra, H.E. Zhanna Andreasyan Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport and Barbara Dietrich<br />

24 25


Alberto Turkstra, Marina Hakobyan Director National Gallery of Armenia, Barbara Dietrich and<br />

H.E. Zhanna Andreasyan Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport<br />

H.E. Zhanna Andreasyan Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport<br />

education strategy is that every child is talented, and the goal of<br />

tion for them into the educational system. The right scenario is<br />

a contemporary environment for our universities and research<br />

regard that are connecting scientists from abroad with Armenian<br />

the education system is to discover those talents and provide<br />

that all these people have the possibility to return back to their<br />

institutes to operate.<br />

scientist to conduct joint projects.<br />

opportunities for their development.<br />

homeland and have the opportunity to live safely, with their rights<br />

ensured. But otherwise, if that is not possible, we in Armenia are<br />

If we look at the numbers, we have more than doubled the state<br />

Aside from Horizon, we are part of different projects implemented<br />

Today, apart from the implementation of the education strategy,<br />

ready to support as much as we can.<br />

funding for science in recent years and we have new pro-<br />

by the EU, such as the Erasmus + programme, and in the field of<br />

we are also in a situation in which we need to ensure the right for<br />

grammes for the financing of young scientists, having achieved<br />

culture we are part since last year of the Creative Europe<br />

education for the children who have fled Nagorno Karabakh to<br />

Armenia: 30,000 kids, out of which 21,000 in schooling age, are<br />

all now in Armenia. We are trying to ensure their school education,<br />

but we are struggling with integrating them in our school<br />

system. In some regions – Kotayk, Ararat and Armavir – there<br />

COULD YOU COMMENT ON ARMENIA’S LONG<br />

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE IN THE FIELDS OF<br />

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY?<br />

tangible progress. Of the grants provided last year to our scientists,<br />

over 70 percent went to young scientists. Additionally, there<br />

is a plan to gradually increase the salaries of scientists in order to<br />

make science more attractive for young people.<br />

Programme, additionally to bilateral programmes with EU<br />

Member States.<br />

The last EU budget support programme – which aims to increase<br />

the competitiveness of the Armenian education system, and<br />

is greater pressure on schools, but we are trying to locate the<br />

We have a very ambitious project in this regard, which is called<br />

We are working intensively in terms of internationalization,<br />

focused in particular on improving the quality of STEM<br />

students more proportionately across the country. We are also<br />

Academic City. One of the main goals is to have better con-<br />

actively participating in Horizon programmes of the EU, both in<br />

(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teaching and<br />

trying to create support mechanisms for university and college<br />

nected and integrated higher education and science. Our main<br />

the previous iteration, Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), and currently in<br />

earning, bringing together formal and innovative non-formal<br />

students from Nagorno-Karabakh.<br />

priority is to make all our universities research-based, with a<br />

Horizon Europe (2021-2027). Our researchers and scientists have<br />

education to make high quality educational services more<br />

strong science component delivering high-quality research. We<br />

been able to obtain funds from these frameworks.<br />

accessible in rural communities – was signed and ratified this<br />

We have also special programmes for teachers from Nagorno-<br />

have started the process of reforms. Our student body is not so<br />

year, and is aligned with our Education Strategy 2030.<br />

Karabakh, for them to enrol in schools and continue their profes-<br />

big but the number of universities in Armenia is quite large. One<br />

So our research capacities are developing year-by-year and our<br />

sional work in Armenia. Many of them have already applied, and<br />

of the directions of our work is merging universities, connecting<br />

scientific work is becoming more competitive in the process.<br />

Photos: Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports<br />

we are committed to ensure a smooth and supportive transi-<br />

them with research institutes and creating a new Academic City,<br />

Additionally, we have very important grant programmes in this<br />

of the Republic of Armenia<br />

26 27


DIR_0170-2303_diplomatic_world_hd.pdf 2 7/03/16 17:43<br />

DONATION OF ARTWORK<br />

TO THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ARMENIA<br />

During the working visit of <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> to Armenia, from<br />

16 to 20 October 2023, CEO Barbara Dietrich donated the<br />

artwork “Lachende” (100 x 200 cm, photo technique on polycarbonate,<br />

acrylic and oil with lime) by the artist Ulrike Bolenz, to<br />

the National Gallery of Armenia, in the framework of <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong>’s work in the field of cultural diplomacy, building bridges of<br />

understanding between countries and societies through art and<br />

culture.<br />

are the human ideals of peace and freedom. Bolenz’s works of<br />

art contain highly aesthetic images of women who express joy<br />

through their posture and laughter. The artist preferred women as<br />

her motifs because they, especially as mothers, have to convey<br />

joy of life, optimism and courage to their children. Thus, women<br />

essentially introduce a new member of human society to peaceful<br />

enjoyment of life and harmony between races, cultures and<br />

religions.<br />

The work was officially presented on October 17 to H.E. Zhanna<br />

Andreasyan, Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport<br />

of the Republic of Armenia and Marina Hakobyan, Director of the<br />

National Gallery of Armenia.<br />

Through her work, the German-Belgian artist Ulrike Bolenz<br />

connects and reconciles people. At the centre of this artistic idea<br />

The National Gallery of Armenia is the major fine art museum in<br />

Armenia and the largest in the world with its Armenian fine arts<br />

collection. Established in 1921, the Gallery includes more than<br />

40,000 highly valuable works of Armenian and foreign fine art<br />

and those of decorative-applied art.<br />

Photo: Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports<br />

of the Republic of Armenia<br />

28 29


H.E. VASSILIS MARAGOS<br />

EU AMBASSADOR TO ARMENIA<br />

The EU aims at supporting Armenian resilience,<br />

institutional development and reforms, while supporting<br />

the country’s very statehood and independence<br />

in the current challenging circumstances<br />

AS THE NEW HEAD OF THE EU DELEGATION TO<br />

ARMENIA, WHAT PRIORITIES WILL YOU PURSUE<br />

DURING YOUR TENURE?<br />

enhance our cooperation and reinforce ties. We already have the<br />

Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreement, which facilitates<br />

the issuance of visas for short-term trips to the EU for Armenian<br />

citizens, and we have just negotiated an ambitious agreement<br />

Many thanks for the opportunity of this interview, and many<br />

of cooperation with EUROJUST, which is a key for our judicial<br />

thanks for the question. It is a great honour but also a very<br />

cooperation in criminal matters, notably when it comes to com-<br />

demanding challenge to serve as EU representative in Armenia<br />

bating serious crime.<br />

in particular now, in these difficult times when Armenia faces important<br />

challenges. Following the military operation by Azerbaijan<br />

Focusing on the full implementation of CEPA but also further<br />

against the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh and the<br />

expanding our partnership, and promoting EU’s role as a key<br />

massive exodus to Armenia, the EU focus is now on to support-<br />

partner in strengthening Armenia’s political, institutional and<br />

Syunik, which has already mobilised more than EUR 120 million<br />

together to accelerate this process. We will also accelerate work<br />

ing the government of Armenia to cater to the immediate needs<br />

economic reform will be crucial.<br />

– while new connectivity projects and trade routes can also be-<br />

in areas which are key for the Armenian economy and regional<br />

and the economic integration.<br />

come possible following a peace agreement boosting economic<br />

connectivity such as air safety, nuclear safety and upgrading of<br />

The EU aims at supporting Armenian resilience, institutional<br />

development and people to people contacts and reconciliation.<br />

electricity transmission systems.<br />

Armenia is a country with which we share democratic values and<br />

a commitment to a rules-based international order. In the context<br />

of the significant geopolitical challenges of this region following<br />

notably Russia’s war against Ukraine, and the EU’s engagement<br />

with all partners in the Eastern Partnership region, relations with<br />

Armenia stand out.<br />

Back in 2017 the EU signed a very ambitious agreement with<br />

development and reforms, while supporting the country’s very<br />

statehood and independence in the current challenging circumstances<br />

in Armenia and the region. These reforms will only produce<br />

the necessary results when they respond to the high expectations<br />

of citizens but also help address important challenges in<br />

relation to climate change, green energy and the digital transition.<br />

An important area of cooperation is also innovation and research,<br />

fields where Armenia’s competitive advantage is a real one.<br />

An important focus of the EU’s work in Armenia is our care for<br />

people. Our projects, investments and actions on the ground<br />

aim at exploring craftsmanship, talent, entrepreneurship and<br />

innovation to help the Armenian economy grow and the society<br />

to become more resilient. I am also going to promote inclusion,<br />

protection of human rights, including labour rights, the rights<br />

of people belonging to vulnerable groups and minorities, and<br />

HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE CURRENT STATE<br />

OF THE ARMENIA-EU PARTNERSHIP? HOW<br />

SPECIFICALLY IS THE EU FACILITATING THE<br />

REFORM PROCESS IN ARMENIA IN THE SPHERES<br />

OF THE ECONOMY, PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION,<br />

CIVIL SOCIETY AND OTHERS?<br />

Armenia, the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agree-<br />

promote freedom of expression and media freedom, as well as<br />

As mentioned, EU-Armenia relations are based on CEPA, which<br />

ment (CEPA), which has been termed “a blueprint for reforms”.<br />

Another key element of my mandate is to encourage negotiations<br />

media literacy.<br />

entered into force on 1st March 2021. CEPA supports Armenia’s<br />

One of the key priorities during my tenure will be to promote and<br />

to advance the peace process with Azerbaijan, promote and<br />

comprehensive reform agenda, based on democracy, transpar-<br />

accelerate the implementation of this agreement to ensure its<br />

support the EU’s role as a facilitator in this respect, and support<br />

The civil society will be an important partner in this respect, mak-<br />

ency and rule of law and the introduction of far reaching reforms<br />

numerous benefits can reach all people in Armenia.<br />

confidence-building initiatives. Let me also stress the presence<br />

ing sure nobody is left behind, including people with disabilities,<br />

in areas related to environment, energy, consumer protection,<br />

of the EU Mission to Armenia, whose role is to observe and<br />

LGBTI persons and persons from unfavourable social environ-<br />

digitalisation, competition and trade. Armenia’s focus and com-<br />

I also expect that together with the Armenian authorities we can<br />

report on the security situation along the Armenian side of the<br />

ments. Working with youth, consulting and sensitising young<br />

mitment in realising the potential of CEPA is indeed remarkable<br />

improve monitoring of its implementation as well as showcasing<br />

international border with Azerbaijan. It will contribute to human<br />

people across the country will also be an important priority.<br />

taking also into account the challenges faced by the country.<br />

the reforms already implemented while working together to pro-<br />

security in conflict-affected areas in Armenia and contribute to<br />

mote further reforms in line with the aspirations of the Armenian<br />

build confidence between Armenia and Azerbaijan.<br />

And in the current context, integrating the care for refugees in<br />

Let me stress in particular the results achieved already when it<br />

people. To that effect, together with my team we are actively<br />

the way we work in Armenia will be certainly key for our partner-<br />

comes to the reform of the judiciary, education, social protec-<br />

engaging not only with the authorities, but also with the civil<br />

Despite the current challenging context (made even more difficult<br />

ship. President von der Leyen has already announced redoubled<br />

tion, while also a comprehensive anti-corruption toolbox has<br />

society, social partners and businesses to ensure they are also<br />

following the events of last month) it is important to prepare the<br />

efforts to implement the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan<br />

also been introduced and is being implemented with significant<br />

actively involved in the process and help shape relevant reforms.<br />

ground for the “peace dividend”, notably when it comes to the<br />

which has the ambition to provide in the next few years up to<br />

results. The EU has been actively fostering policy dialogue and<br />

economic boost a country gets from peace, security and stability.<br />

EUR 2.6 billion to be used for investment in infrastructure, private<br />

committing substantial financial resources in technical and<br />

While CEPA remains the basis of our cooperation, both on<br />

In that respect we try to promote resilience and post-conflict<br />

sector development, notably for small and medium-sized enter-<br />

budget support that facilitates the implementation of planned<br />

the EU and the Armenian side we have the ambition to further<br />

recovery with our significant “Team Europe Initiative” for resilient<br />

prises and the green and the digital transition. We have to work<br />

reforms. Additionally, the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan<br />

30 31


has established a collaborative platform with international finan-<br />

ing on providing tools for accelerating the reform process and<br />

cial institutions (IFIs) to enhance its impact.<br />

making it more focused on the needs of the Armenian economy<br />

and society, while showcasing the results already achieved and<br />

This coordinated effort has already yielded a cumulative mo-<br />

engaging with civil society on CEPA implementation issues.<br />

bilisation of investments exceeding 400 million euros. These<br />

investments are specifically directed towards promoting sustain-<br />

Secondly, we have agreed with the government to enhance<br />

ability, innovation, and resilience, underscoring the EU’s commit-<br />

our engagement with all government bodies involved in CEPA<br />

ment to fostering positive economic progress. I want to stress in<br />

implementation and to upgrade policy dialogue. To that effect we<br />

particular the particularly favourable ecosystem when it comes to<br />

have agreed to work together to identify a set of short- to medi-<br />

start-ups in the area of new technologies but also to sector with<br />

um-term priorities expected to have an impact on the economy<br />

added value linked to new technologies.<br />

and society.<br />

One of the challenges is related to administrative capacities, and<br />

But this is not all, through the implementation of projects (our<br />

we have recently discussed with our Armenian counterparts on<br />

current portfolio is more than EUR 300 million in grants) we aim<br />

how we can scale up support to public administration reform.<br />

at implementing on the ground projects, which make a differ-<br />

A new strategy is now on the table and we are currently explor-<br />

ence for all people in Armenia. Let me give you an example:<br />

ing together on how we can further support its implementation,<br />

EU4Sevan. A couple of weeks ago I met with several farmers that<br />

following up on an earlier engagement in this sector.<br />

have benefited from the EU4Sevan actions, and I could witness<br />

the exceptional crop of potatoes and broccoli that they managed<br />

The objective would be to have better streamlined procedures,<br />

by using innovative green technologies and in this way contribut-<br />

including when it comes to further strengthening links between<br />

ing to the environmentally friendly social-economic development<br />

conception and implementation of policies and on how we can<br />

of the Lake Sevan surroundings.<br />

concretely and practically help government agencies become<br />

more transparent, efficient and be at the service of citizens. The<br />

Thanks to these new methods they could save millions of cubic<br />

current challenge with the integration of refuges may provide an<br />

meters of water while enhancing the environmental protection of<br />

additional incentive towards the successful implementation of<br />

Lake Sevan, the most significant source of freshwater, irrigation<br />

these plans.<br />

water and aquaculture for Armenia.<br />

WHAT IS THE PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTA-<br />

TION OF THE EU-ARMENIA COMPREHENSIVE<br />

ECONOMIC AND PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT<br />

(CEPA), WHICH ENTERED INTO FORCE IN 2021?<br />

WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?<br />

HOW DO YOU SEE THE ROLE OF THE EU IN<br />

FACILITATING LONG-TERM SUSTAINABLE PEACE<br />

IN THE REGION AND THE NORMALIZATION<br />

OF RELATIONS BETWEEN ARMENIA AND<br />

AZERBAIJAN?<br />

As already mentioned significant reforms have already been im-<br />

Since its very beginning, European integration has been a “peace<br />

plemented within the context of our partnership. I want to stress<br />

project” – this is what has been very much in the origin of the<br />

in particular significant results already achieved when it comes<br />

first bold steps towards European integration back in the 1950s;<br />

working through its EU Special Representative whose role is<br />

Despite setbacks such as the recent use of force in Nagorno-<br />

to justice, in particular on arbitration and alternative dispute<br />

probably you recall that the declaration of the 9th of May starts<br />

to contribute to a peaceful settlement of conflicts in the region,<br />

Karabakh (which was clearly condemned by the EU) and the<br />

resolution, which has improved access to justice and streamlined<br />

with the words “La paix…”. Reconciliation, solidarity, concrete<br />

notably by engaging with the parties to achieve peace and<br />

more than 100,000 new refuges from this region who arrived in<br />

its delivery.<br />

steps to build together lasting peace, have been taken and over<br />

normalisation. But even more importantly, the President of the<br />

Armenia, but also the non-holding of the planned five-way meet-<br />

the following decades lasting peace has been built on European<br />

European Council Charles Michel has personally engaged to<br />

ing in Granada as one of the parties did not join, the EU remains<br />

I wish to stress the reform of the police with the creation of a<br />

soil.<br />

facilitate the advancement of the peace and normalisation<br />

committed to the peace process and we work relentlessly to<br />

patrol police service which is bringing police closer to citizens,<br />

process between Armenia and Azerbaijan.<br />

promote the “peace dividend” among all actors.<br />

while bringing migration management within the system of the<br />

The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union in<br />

Ministry of Interior has also helped to improve processes and se-<br />

2012 “for over six decades contributed to the advancement<br />

We should also not forget the Eastern Partnership as a concrete<br />

The EU Member States are united in this and we are ready to use<br />

cure a more integrated approach to migration. Education reforms<br />

of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in<br />

form of regional cooperation which aims at bringing together<br />

all EU tools to further promote peace and reconciliation.<br />

have also been introduced which have helped, i.a., to develop an<br />

Europe”. Our global strategy and our commitment to a rules-<br />

the governments and people in this region to address common<br />

ecosystem which nurtures innovation and high-tech.<br />

based multilateral legal order aims also to promote peaceful<br />

challenges, such as for instance in the area of environment,<br />

Photos: EU Delegation to Armenia & <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

resolution of conflicts and this is the main objectives of our<br />

green and digital transition, connectivity and economic develop-<br />

Yet, we now realise that the potential of CEPA is larger and to<br />

various peace-building efforts around the world.<br />

ment, and it thus also contributes concretely to building lasting<br />

realise this we are doing two things: Firstly, back in April we<br />

peaceful relations across the region.<br />

launched a EUR 7 million technical support programme focus-<br />

In the region of South Caucasus, the European Union is mainly<br />

32 33


H.E. ERIC DE MUYNCK<br />

AMBASSADOR OF BELGIUM TO ARMENIA<br />

We must safeguard the territorial integrity<br />

and sovereignty of Armenia and this is<br />

what will guide our action<br />

WHAT IS THE RATIONALE FOR THE OPENING<br />

OF A FULL-FLEDGED EMBASSY OF BELGIUM<br />

IN YEREVAN AT THIS POINT IN TIME?<br />

On the economic front, our agenda is to develop our cooperation<br />

with Armenia in different areas. In October we had the Wallonia<br />

Export-Investment Agency (AWEX) economic mission supported<br />

by the Belgian Armenian Chamber of Commerce in Yerevan.<br />

The geopolitical context has profoundly changed with a particular<br />

This is the opportunity to identify sectors of common interest, as<br />

risk of increased destabilisation in countries close to the EU. The<br />

health, IT, logistics, energy, just to cite of few.<br />

government of Belgium came to the conclusion that we needed<br />

to reinforce our presence in the South-Caucasus and as a result<br />

So, there are many reasons why Belgium decided to be the right<br />

that we needed to have a resident Embassy in Armenia. This de-<br />

moment to open an Embassy. I should also mention the signifi-<br />

cision was taken by the Council of Ministers in June of this year.<br />

cant Armenian community in Belgium, 30,000 to 40,000 Belgians<br />

We have diplomatic relations with Armenia since more than thirty<br />

of Armenian origin. This is also a strong motivation for us to have<br />

years. It was expected by the Armenian authorities for a long<br />

an Embassy here, to help further connecting this diaspora with<br />

time that Belgium would establish a permanent representation<br />

Armenia, and to develop joint projects on many fronts: academic,<br />

here in Yerevan.<br />

cultural, economic, among others.<br />

Ambassador of Belgium to Armenia Eric de Muynck presented his credentials to President Vahagn Khachaturyan<br />

Photo: Office of the President of Armenia<br />

Moreover, we observe see for the moment that there is a huge<br />

appetite by Armenian authorities for Europe. This was reiterated<br />

by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at during this his intervention<br />

on October 17 during at the plenary session of the European<br />

Parliament in Strasbourg where he declared: “the Republic of<br />

Armenia is ready to be closer to the European Union”. They wish<br />

HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE CURRENT STATE OF<br />

ARMENIA-BELGIUM TIES, AND WHERE/IN WHICH<br />

AREAS AND SECTORS DO YOU SEE ROOM FOR<br />

THEIR EXPANSION AND ENHANCEMENT?<br />

cooperation in the framework of the Francophonie (Armenia is<br />

a full-fledged member of the Organisation Internationale de la<br />

Francophonie since 2015). We need now to connect the dots<br />

between Armenia and Belgium to develop new bilateral projects.<br />

burns (at the Queen Astrid Military Hospital in Neder-over-<br />

Heembeek, Brussels). This was a concrete action, a sign of<br />

solidarity to the Armenian authorities in this difficult time.<br />

to diversify their alliances, to be more connected to Europe, and<br />

we support this ambition. We want also to show our support to<br />

the various diplomatic initiatives that have been taken to find<br />

peace and stability in the South Caucasus, as for instance meditation<br />

mediation process that is supported by President of the<br />

European Council Charles Michel.<br />

The bilateral relationship between Belgium and Armenia is excellent.<br />

As proof of this, I can cite the recent visit of the Minister<br />

of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Mrs. Hadja Lahbib, to Armenia last<br />

August, during which the Minister had the opportunity to discuss<br />

the situation in the region with wide set of interlocutors including<br />

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.<br />

WHAT KIND OF HUMANITARIAN SUPPORT IS<br />

BELGIUM PROVIDING TO THE 100,000 ETHNIC<br />

ARMENIANS WHO HAD TO FORCIBLY FLEE<br />

NAGORNO KARABAKH?<br />

On a broader scope, Belgium is contributing to the general<br />

funding of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC),<br />

and UN agencies. As part of our peace-building efforts, Belgium<br />

has supported a medical and reintegration centre for wounded<br />

soldiers and we currently consider other initiatives to respond to<br />

this crisis.<br />

It was very peculiar to arrive in Armenia just a few days before<br />

I also strongly believe that since the Velvet Revolution in 2018,<br />

As a new Ambassador I am regularly paying visits to members of<br />

the military operation on Nagorno-Karabakh occurred (Septem-<br />

The Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have the right to live in<br />

Armenia is engaged in democratic process, and we want to<br />

the Government, and each time I visit a Minister, new ideas are<br />

ber 19), an offensive that Belgium, with the European Union, has<br />

safety, with dignity and respect for their identity, and this includes<br />

stand by the Republic of Armenia as important reforms are being<br />

coming up to reinforce this relationship. We are not really begin-<br />

condemned. One of the first actions I was involved in was the<br />

the right of return for displaced persons. Over the last weeks, Ar-<br />

implemented in this direction.<br />

ning from scratch, we already have projects implemented here,<br />

medical evacuation of severely burnt patients of the fuel ware-<br />

menia had has to absorb a huge influx of 100,000 people coming<br />

but we do not have a lot of cooperation agreements with the<br />

house explosion in Stepanakert on 25 September.<br />

from Nagorno Karabakh. This creates a lot of challenges for the<br />

On the economic front, our agenda is to develop cooperation<br />

Ministries. We definitely need to figure out what are our competi-<br />

Armenian authorities to cope with. Belgium is closely monitoring<br />

with Armenia in several areas. In October, we had the Wallonia<br />

tive advantages to provide the best experiences possible for our<br />

I coordinated this evacuation with B-FAST (Belgian First Aid and<br />

the Armenian coordination efforts towards a collective response.<br />

Export-Investment Agency (AWEX) economic mission taking<br />

Armenian interlocutors.<br />

Support Team, an interdepartmental structure which organizes<br />

But what I have learnt from Armenia’s history is the resilience of<br />

place in Yerevan. This event is supported by the new Belgian em-<br />

the dispatching of Belgian emergency assistance abroad) and<br />

the Armenian people, so I have no doubt that they will be able to<br />

bassy and by the Belgian Armenian Chamber of Commerce. This<br />

For instance, I recently had a meeting with the Minister of<br />

the <strong>World</strong> Health Organisation (WHO) in close cooperation with<br />

find ways to absorb these refugees by integrating children and<br />

is the opportunity to identify sectors of common interest,<br />

Education, H.E. Zhanna Andreasyan, and many ideas came<br />

the Ministry of Health of Armenia. At the moment, three patients<br />

students in the education system, for instance.<br />

as health, IT, logistics, energy, just to cite of few.<br />

up on supporting the exchange of students and strengthened<br />

including two teenagers are being treated in Belgium for their<br />

34 35


MARKUS RITTER<br />

HEAD OF MISSION, EU MISSION<br />

IN ARMENIA (EUMA)<br />

The EUMA has three lines of operation:<br />

security awareness patrols alongside<br />

the international border;<br />

human security patrols in the villages and towns<br />

& confidence-building measures<br />

HOW DOES BELGIUM INTEND TO FACILITATE<br />

LONG-TERM PEACE IN THE REGION AND<br />

NORMALISATION OF RELATIONS BETWEEN<br />

ARMENIA AND AZERBAIJAN?<br />

WITH ITS RICH CULTURE AND HISTORY, DO<br />

YOU THINK ARMENIA WOULD MAKE FOR<br />

A CANDIDATE FOR FUTURE EDITIONS OF<br />

EUROPALIA?<br />

IN ORDER TO FAMILIARISE OUR READERS WITH<br />

THE MISSION AND MANDATE OF THE EUROPEAN<br />

UNION MISSION IN ARMENIA (EUMA), AND ITS<br />

DELIVERABLES SINCE BEING FORMALLY<br />

LAUNCHED IN FEBRUARY 2023 – PARTICULARLY<br />

WITH REFERENCE TO THE STABILITY AND<br />

REDUCTION OF TENSIONS IN THE BORDER<br />

AREAS; CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES AND<br />

ENHANCED HUMAN SECURITY FOR THE LOCAL<br />

POPULATION – DIPLOMATIC WORLD SPOKE WITH<br />

HEAD OF MISSION MARKUS RITTER DURING OUR<br />

VISIT TO YEREVAN IN OCTOBER 2023.<br />

Monitoring experts were temporarily deployed by the EU in<br />

October 2022 along the Armenian side of the international<br />

an initial mandate of 2 years) are to contribute to stability in the<br />

border areas of Armenia, building confidence on the ground,<br />

and ensuring an environment conducive to normalisation efforts<br />

between Armenia and Azerbaijan supported by the EU.<br />

On 20 February 2023, EUMA was launched, the new mission with<br />

three lines of operation: (1) security awareness patrols alongside<br />

the international border; (2) human security patrols in the villages<br />

and towns in the conflict-affected areas near the border and (3)<br />

confidence-building measures. In those days it was the idea, and<br />

it still is, to have a liaison office of the mission in Baku, to act as<br />

a hotline between us and Azerbaijan in case that some incidents<br />

arise, and to facilitate small projects between Armenia and<br />

Azerbaijan in the border areas to build confidence.<br />

We believe that only a political and diplomatic option can lead to<br />

I believe that Armenia is like a precious stone with many facets<br />

border with Azerbaijan following an agreement reached at a<br />

For the first line of operations I mentioned, we have launched<br />

real peace, as the use of force only feeds instability in the long<br />

and would be for instance a wonderful candidate for Europalia<br />

quadrilateral meeting in Prague between President Aliyev, Prime<br />

over 1,000 patrols, we are directly at the border every day. When<br />

term. Belgium is supporting the peace processes in the region.<br />

(a major international arts festival held every two years in Belgium<br />

Minister Pashinyan, French President Macron and President of<br />

and where necessary patrols are escorted either by the Armenian<br />

We know the EU is truly involved in trying to help the dialogue<br />

to celebrate one invited country’s cultural heritage).<br />

the European Council Michel. The first monitors were operational<br />

military or the Armenian border guards, depending on who has<br />

between parties and to find a solution to this long-lasting conflict.<br />

on the ground as of 20 October.<br />

the responsibility at the border. These patrols are planned one<br />

We have an excellent expert in Belgium on Armenia, Professor<br />

week in advance.<br />

We support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Armenia<br />

Bernard Coulie, who focusses on ancient Armenian manuscripts,<br />

In the beginning it was a mission with 40 monitoring experts de-<br />

and that is a strong message that we are defending. By opening<br />

which embody the unique character of the Armenian culture and<br />

ployed from the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia<br />

an Embassy here we have a permanent and direct contact with<br />

the Armenian alphabet (dating from the 5th century). Of course,<br />

(EUMM Georgia), which was decided to ensure monitors are<br />

Armenian authorities to show our support in that. For the future<br />

there are other reasons: Armenia’s gastronomy and wine-making<br />

rapidly deployed on the ground. During the two months this first<br />

of Armenia, for the future of the region, we definitely need stabil-<br />

tradition, but also architecture, dance and vocal polyphony, to<br />

EU monitoring Capacity mission was in Armenia it conducted<br />

ity and peace.<br />

name a few.<br />

more than 175 patrols on the Armenian side of the internationally<br />

recognised border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and reported<br />

Also, a European Union civilian observer mission (EUMA) was<br />

The current edition of Europalia is devoted to Georgia, and Spain<br />

to the EU on the situation on the ground, thus contributing also<br />

deployed in Armenia at the beginning of this year and is carry-<br />

will be the guest country in 2025, but in future editions Armenia<br />

to stabilisation between the two countries.<br />

ing out numerous observation missions on Armenian soil along<br />

could be a great candidate and we would support this.<br />

the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. This mission, in which Belgian<br />

After the successful end of this mission and following a request<br />

experts take part, makes it possible to assess the situation on<br />

by Armenia the EU decided to Establish a civilian European<br />

the ground but also, through its presence, to prevent larger-scale<br />

Union Mission in Armenia (EUMA) under the Common Security<br />

incidents that could lead to a resumption of hostilities.<br />

and Defence Policy (CSDP). The objectives of the Mission (with<br />

36 37


What are we essentially doing? Our presence on the ground is to<br />

serve peace. We are observing, we are doing regular patrols or<br />

going to the so-called hotspots. We park our vehicles in places<br />

visible to both sides. The vehicles are clearly marked with the EU<br />

flag. We are unarmed civilians, but wearing blue vests and caps<br />

so everybody sees that we are there. Our presence in Armenia<br />

has clearly had a positive effect.<br />

Besides these escorted patrols, we also carry out unescorted<br />

patrols, because by now, having been there for eight months, we<br />

know the terrain, the border lines and where to go. Our findings<br />

and observations are put in patrol reports which are sent<br />

exclusively to Brussels in line with the rules about such civilian<br />

missions. We do not report our findings to the Armenian side or<br />

anybody else.<br />

We also conduct human security patrols visiting villages in border<br />

areas and talking to the people in case they have seen any<br />

incidents. These patrols aim also at informing people about our<br />

presence and the scope of our mission. Having direct contact<br />

with local people is essential as expectations from our mission<br />

have been and continue to be very high. We currently have 103<br />

international staff from the EU Member States, all civilians from<br />

different backgrounds: some are police officers, such as myself,<br />

others come from civil society. Soon two Canadian experts will<br />

also join.<br />

The third pillar concerns confidence-building measures. This<br />

summer I was invited to the South Caucasus Regional Dialogue<br />

Forum in Kachreti, Georgia, an event promoted and facilitated by<br />

the EU, whereby Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani students<br />

came together for a week. This was the first time I had the<br />

change to present our mission and mandate to an Azerbaijani<br />

audience.<br />

We have six Forward Operating Bases, staffed with eight<br />

monitors each and located in Ijevan, Martuni, Jermuk, Goris,<br />

Yeghegnadzor and in the south in Kapan. The EUMA has a<br />

standard two-year mandate, which will end in February 2025.<br />

Lastly, concerning the current humanitarian situation derived<br />

from the inflow of ethnic Armenians fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh,<br />

let me stress that from day one of the exodus, we have closely<br />

monitored the situation. Now, during our human security patrols,<br />

we have had many encounters with refugees and facilitated also<br />

the identification of needs and delivery of humanitarian and other<br />

emergency support.<br />

My personal role is to lead operations on the ground while the<br />

Civilian Operation Commander is Stefano Tomat, EEAS Managing<br />

Director of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability in<br />

Brussels. Let me stress as well that we work very closely with<br />

the EU Delegation to Armenia and the EU Ambassador Vassilis<br />

Maragos, that is providing political guidance to the Mission here<br />

in Armenia.<br />

Photos: EU Mission in Armenia (EUMA)<br />

38 39


ARA KHZMALYAN<br />

DIRECTOR, MATENADARAN<br />

MESROP MASHTOTS INSTITUTE<br />

OF ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS<br />

The older our heritage and culture is,<br />

the newer the approaches should be towards<br />

its preservation and popularization<br />

Matenadaran is a unique library, depository, museum and re-<br />

cooperate with our international colleagues, scholars from all<br />

search centre for ancient manuscripts, archival documents and<br />

over the world. We are also included in international educational<br />

early printed books, and the largest one of Armenian manu-<br />

programmes, being in constant contact with the Armenian chairs<br />

scripts. It contains academic and academic-technical depart-<br />

in different universities. And we want to bring this collaboration<br />

ments where restoration, digitization, research and translation<br />

to a higher qualitative level. Additionally, let me mention that<br />

works are carried out.<br />

we have Master’s programmes here which we intend to actively<br />

develop.<br />

The Matenadaran contains about 23,000 manuscripts, most of<br />

which are of religious content (Bibles, gospels, ritual books), but<br />

We also want to develop new mechanisms to improve the acces-<br />

they also include all the fields of science including astronomy,<br />

sibility of our ancient and medieval written heritage. Especially<br />

law, philosophy, historiography, medicine, etc. The Matenadaran<br />

taking into consideration that the written heritage kept at Mate-<br />

also holds manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Greek, Ethiopian,<br />

nadaran does not only have national value but essential interna-<br />

Syriac, Latin, and other languages. Many originals, lost in<br />

tional significance. Out of 23,000 manuscripts that we hold in our<br />

their original languages have been saved from loss thanks to<br />

depository, approximately 4,000 are in foreign languages.<br />

Armenian translations of the texts. Additionally, Matenadaran<br />

holds approximately 500,000 archival documents, ranging from<br />

In addition to the manuscript collection, we have a very rare and<br />

Ara Khzmalyan, Director, Matenadaran<br />

Photo: Matenadaran<br />

ecclesiastical documents, letters to decrees.<br />

unique archival collection. The basis of our archives is the collection<br />

of patriarchs, among it we have many international decrees<br />

YOU ARE LEADING THE MATENADARAN INSTI-<br />

TUTE SINCE JULY. WHAT WILL BE THE PRIORITIES<br />

OF THE INSTITUTE UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP<br />

TO BOLSTER THE INSTITUTION’S CORE MISSION<br />

– PRESERVING AND RESEARCHING ANCIENT<br />

MANUSCRIPTS?<br />

The first thing that I would like to mention is that we would like<br />

to make Matenadaran more modern. When we speak about the<br />

– the decree of Napoleon, for instance, and other Emperors,<br />

which speaks to its international value. Matenadaran also has the<br />

richest collection of early printed books in Armenia.<br />

YOU MENTIONED THAT THERE ARE 23,000<br />

MANUSCRIPTS IN MATENADARAN. WHAT ARE<br />

THE OLDEST ONES? WHAT ARE SOME UNIQUE<br />

FEATURES OF ARMENIAN MANUSCRIPTS?<br />

writing or printing), which was not very widespread at the time,<br />

sometimes the scribes erased the text and wrote a new one,<br />

what we call palimpsests – manuscripts with two layers. Now<br />

we are implementing a very interesting project with German colleagues,<br />

with special digitization techniques we can recover the<br />

first layer of the text, which we cannot read with our own eyes,<br />

but through such image processing we discover the original<br />

layers.<br />

We also want to start using Artificial Intelligence techniques es-<br />

which we organise. At the end of October we hosted a very<br />

important textological conference at Matenadaran, as we feel it<br />

is important to have tight connections with international scholars<br />

and with their help and expertise train our young professionals.<br />

Next year we are planning a major Armenological conference in<br />

Syunik, dedicated to the 650th anniversary of the establishment<br />

of the University of Tatev, which will be a great occasion for<br />

everyone to learn about our rich cultural heritage.<br />

21st century it is impossible not to speak about advanced technologies,<br />

specially knowing how interlinked they are to palaeography,<br />

textology and source studies.<br />

If we speak about what I am going to do as a director, first of all,<br />

I think about Matenadaran as a palaeographical and textological<br />

The oldest complete manuscript that we possess in our depository<br />

belongs to the 7th century, the Vehamor Gospel, donated to<br />

Matenadaran by Patriarch Vazgen I. In addition to this complete<br />

manuscript, we also have fragments which are older and date<br />

back to the 5th- 6th centuries.<br />

pecially when we speak of preparing critical editions. Previously,<br />

for instance, it could take 15 years to prepare the critical edition<br />

of one work because there may be hundreds of manuscripts by<br />

the same author or same work; but now with AI we can shorten<br />

this time which can be very helpful for us. The older our heritage<br />

and culture is, the newer the approaches should be towards<br />

WITH THE SIZEABLE ARMENIAN DIASPORA<br />

AROUND THE WORLD, DOES THE INSTITUTE<br />

REGULARLY RECEIVE DONATIONS OF MANU-<br />

SCRIPTS FROM THEM?<br />

centre, this is why it is very important to prepare young profes-<br />

There was another interesting feature in medieval Armenia. Due<br />

its preservation. We actively host international scholars, both<br />

In general, the role of Armenians in the diaspora is huge in re-<br />

sionals who can work with the texts, and in this regard we actively<br />

to lack of parchment (animal skin which has been prepared for<br />

through educational programmes or international conferences<br />

plenishing the collection of the Matenadaran. Let me give you a<br />

40 41


concrete example. A few days ago we received a huge donation<br />

from one of our Armenian compatriots from the diaspora, who<br />

donated us ancient fragments in Syriac and Coptic languages,<br />

and also rare archival documents.<br />

in auctions or in private collections. In this regard, very soon we<br />

will publish a catalogue where manuscripts not present here at<br />

the Matenadaran will be listed.<br />

It is not a secret that Armenia’s history is quite tough, and that<br />

relates to the manuscripts too! Behind every manuscript there is<br />

a history of sacrifice and survival. It is only due the huge respect<br />

towards the written heritage that these manuscripts survived and<br />

come down to us passing through difficult roads. In our restoration<br />

department you will see burnt and damaged manuscripts<br />

and you will see the traces they had, the history they had to go<br />

through to reach us.<br />

For example, during the 1915 genocide, Archbishop Hovhannes<br />

Hyusyan, alongside saving people, also organised the salvation<br />

of manuscripts. What is worth mentioning is that he saved not<br />

only manuscripts in Armenian but also in foreign languages and<br />

belonging to other religions, such as Qurans, with the same<br />

sense of responsibility and care that he did for Armenian manuscripts.<br />

When today we speak of cultural diversity and tolerance,<br />

we see that our ancestors were great examples demonstrating<br />

these qualities.<br />

While we continue to receive many donations from diaspora,<br />

manuscripts and archival documents, there are still many manuscripts<br />

whose whereabouts are unknown and sometimes appear<br />

CONCERNING THE PRESERVATION OF THIS<br />

WONDERFUL HERITAGE FOR THE FUTURE<br />

GENERATIONS, ARE YOU REACHING OUT TO<br />

SCHOOLS IN YEREVAN AND ACROSS THE<br />

COUNTRY, SO THAT CHILDREN BECOME<br />

ACQUAINTED WITH IT FROM AN EARLY AGE?<br />

We implement numerous educational programmes here at the<br />

Matenadaran. Our exhibitions are hard to comprehend, especially<br />

when we speak about children, that is why we have developed<br />

various specific educational programmes to help them understand<br />

better how, for example, the parchment was prepared,<br />

comprehending the peculiarities of miniatures, etc.<br />

Matenadaran itself is the result of a very long educational process:<br />

there were scriptoria adjacent to the monasteries where<br />

archbishops and church doctors taught and translated these<br />

manuscripts and what we have today is the result of all this. And<br />

today, the educational mission of Matenadaran resumes.<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

42 43


BELGIAN ECONOMIC MISSION<br />

TO ARMENIA<br />

Five Belgian companies signed up for this mission:<br />

• Buzon: manufacturer of building materials<br />

• Lotronic: light and sound equipment<br />

• Medaro: aromatic and medicinal herbs<br />

• JGI Hydrometal: recycling of non-ferrous metal waste<br />

• Citadel Real Estate: real estate development<br />

• Craft and special beers: large assortment at Parma<br />

Supermarkets and Houl<br />

• Lubricants from Bardahl, available at Autosan.<br />

• Fancy jewellery from Ice-Watch, available on-line and at the<br />

Dalma Garden Mall<br />

• Modern Cutlery from Eternum, available at Complex Bar<br />

On September 26, Mr. Eric De Muynck presented his credentials<br />

Armenia) and 94th supplier (2nd within the EU-27) (EUR 136.2<br />

Participating companies will be looking for partners to import<br />

In addition to the above-listed companies, more breweries and<br />

to the President of the Republic of Armenia, H.E. Vahagn<br />

million worth of Armenian goods have been exported to<br />

and distribute their goods, find suppliers, as well as to invest in<br />

pharmaceutical companies are currently negotiating collabora-<br />

Khachaturyan. This ceremony marked the start of the engage-<br />

Belgium in 2022). Since 2020, trade between Belgium and<br />

Armenia.<br />

tion agreements with partners in Armenia.<br />

ment of Mr. De Muynck as the first resident ambassador of<br />

Armenia has almost tripled and is expected to exceed EUR<br />

Belgium to Armenia. One of the objectives of this presence is the<br />

300 million in 2023. For the past few years, the trade balance<br />

Here are a few original Belgian products already present on the<br />

Contact: Eric Blétard, Trade & Investment Counsellor<br />

strengthening and the expansion of economic relations between<br />

has been in favour of Armenia. Trade is dominated by precious<br />

Armenian market:<br />

e.bletard@awex-wallonia.com, T. +7 925 464 3898<br />

Armenia and Belgium.<br />

stones and metals (such as zinc), chemicals, and pharmaceuti-<br />

• Chocolate to produce top-quality confectionary<br />

cals. Sectors like IT and logistics are also promising.<br />

(Cargill Chocolate)<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

With the support of the Belgian-Armenian Chamber of Commerce,<br />

the Wallonia Export & Investment Agency (AWEX) is<br />

At the official press conference of the economic mission, Valery<br />

bringing a delegation of Belgian companies to Yerevan on<br />

Safarian, Chairman of the Belgian Armenian Chamber of Com-<br />

October 19 and 20. Wallonia is the French-speaking region of<br />

merce, additionally mentioned that Armenia has enterprises<br />

Belgium. AWEX has arranged the individual meeting programs<br />

specialised in nano-technology, one domain where cooperation<br />

of the representatives of the Belgian companies and acts as the<br />

with Belgium and Wallonia in particular (where one can also find<br />

main sponsor of the event, including the official reception held<br />

world-class companies in this domain) could be sought, through<br />

on October 19.<br />

joint ventures, for example. More generally, Belgium could be an<br />

interesting destination for Armenian companies to install them-<br />

Armenia is Belgium’s 121st customer (7th within the EU-27)<br />

selves and prospect the European market.<br />

(EUR 86 million worth of Belgian goods have been exported to<br />

44 45


TEACH FOR ARMENIA<br />

TEACH FOR ARMENIA ENVISIONS<br />

AN ARMENIA WHERE ALL CHILDREN HAVE<br />

ACCESS TO QUALITY EDUCATION<br />

On October 18, Teach For Armenia welcomed a delegation from<br />

Belgium to its headquarters in Yerevan. The delegation included<br />

the Ambassador of Belgium to Armenia Eric De Muynck; Valéry<br />

Safarian and representatives of Triangle Partners; Armine<br />

Hareyan,Vice-President of the Committee of Armenians in<br />

Belgium; Aleksandra Tonkikh of the Walloon Export and Foreign<br />

Investment Agency (AWEX) and <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> represented<br />

by CEO Barbara Dietrich and Project Manager Alberto Turkstra.<br />

During the meeting, guests learned about Teach For Armenia<br />

and Triangle Partners’ generous support of its program. Teach for<br />

Armenia is an Armenia-based non-profit organization that works<br />

to increase educational opportunities nationwide. Since 2021,<br />

Triangle Partners has sponsored two school communities as a<br />

Teach For Armenia Nation-Builder. Thanks to their generous support,<br />

Teach For Armenia has placed teachers in Araks Secondary<br />

School and Hushakert Secondary School in the Armavir region of<br />

Armenia. Nation-Builders is Teach For Armenia’s two-year school<br />

sponsorship program for committed individuals from around the<br />

world to invest in the development of Armenia through education.<br />

Through the program, donors sponsor a school and receive<br />

a deep and unique engagement experience with school communities.<br />

Guests also discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis. Since<br />

September 19, over 100,000 Armenians have been forcibly<br />

displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. Of those,<br />

21,000 are school-age children. These children have endured a<br />

10-month-long blockade that harmed their health and disrupted<br />

their education. Teach For Armenia is mobilizing a coalition of<br />

organizations to deliver an emergency response of wraparound<br />

support to forcibly displaced students: food security, health care,<br />

housing, and education. As part of the coalition, Teach For<br />

Armenia is recruiting a team to implement an Education in<br />

Emergencies program that addresses the social, emotional,<br />

and learning needs of forcibly displaced students.<br />

In the fall of 2022, Teach for Armenia launched a new Master’s<br />

in Teacher Leadership with Yerevan State University. The degree<br />

equips university graduates and professionals with the necessary<br />

skills, knowledge, and mindsets to serve as public education<br />

teachers in the 21st century. The program focuses on educational<br />

equity in the Armenian context, emphasizing the need for system-wide<br />

transformation through innovative teaching practices<br />

and leadership in the classroom. Currently, it is open for Teach<br />

for Armenia Teacher-Leaders, but will eventually be open to all<br />

teachers.<br />

ABOUT TEACH FOR ARMENIA<br />

Teach For Armenia envisions an Armenia where all children have<br />

access to quality education. Its mission is building a movement<br />

of leaders who increase educational opportunities in Armenia.<br />

Teach For Armenia does this by recruiting and training recent university<br />

graduates and professionals to teach in rural communities<br />

for a period of two years. Its program participants are called<br />

Teacher-Leaders. Currently, Teach For Armenia reaches over<br />

30,000 students, through 130 Teacher-Leaders, in every region<br />

of Armenia. It has a network of 342 Alumni-Ambassadors.<br />

Change-Based Learning is Teach For Armenia’s signature approach<br />

to teaching which aims to foster agency in our students<br />

by cultivating innovative thinking and collective leadership.<br />

Students identify opportunities in their community and work<br />

collaboratively to design and implement community innovation<br />

projects that spark civic engagement, local ingenuity and global<br />

connectivity. Since launching in 2020, students have designed<br />

and implemented over 200 such projects. Teach for Armenia<br />

has worked with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture<br />

and Sports to disseminate the curriculum to classrooms nationwide<br />

and the methodology has become part of Armenia’s new<br />

Education Development Strategy up until 2030.<br />

For further details or inquiries, please reach out to Marketing,<br />

Communications, and Engagement Manager Tatev Kaplanyan:<br />

tatev.kaplanyan@teachforarmenia.org.<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

46 47


H.E. AMARSAIKHAN SAINBUYAN<br />

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER<br />

OF MONGOLIA<br />

We are grateful to the EU for including Mongolia<br />

in its Forest Partnership Scheme<br />

WHAT WERE THE MAIN OUTCOMES OF THE<br />

22ND ANNUAL JOINT COMMITTEE BETWEEN<br />

MONGOLIA AND THE EU, HELD IN BRUSSELS<br />

IN JULY 2023?<br />

Thanks to <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> magazine for inviting me to talk and<br />

warm greetings to its readers. It is a pleasure to talk with you<br />

soon after the 22nd session of the Mongolia-European Union<br />

up its cabinet. During the past spring session, the State Great<br />

Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia made an amendment to the<br />

Constitution and increased the number of seats from 78 to 126,<br />

which we believe will strengthen the classic feature of the Parliament,<br />

respect human rights, improve representative democracy<br />

and good governance. It also amended laws on Elections and on<br />

Political parties so the parliamentary elections scheduled for next<br />

year will be held on a mixed electoral system.<br />

AT A TIME OF GREAT GEOPOLITICAL SHIFTS,<br />

WHAT ROLE DOES THE EU PLAY IN MONGOLIA’S<br />

THIRD NEIGHBOUR POLICY?<br />

that the implementation the Agreement on Partnership and<br />

Cooperation and the opening of the EU Delegation in Mongolia<br />

have provided an essential impetus in our bilateral interactions<br />

and exchanges.<br />

Joint Committee meeting, which is the annual and very important<br />

Mongolia has been maintaining cooperative relations under<br />

mechanism where we discuss the state of our bilateral relations<br />

the framework of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with<br />

We are grateful to the EU and its Member States for their stead-<br />

in detail. Thus, my government has decided to upgrade its level<br />

its immediate neighbours like the Russian Federation and the<br />

fast support and assistance given since the beginning of dem-<br />

of representation. With Gunnar Wiegand, Managing Director for<br />

People’s Republic of China; in addition to strategic partnerships<br />

ocratic transformations, socio-economic reforms in Mongolia in<br />

the Asia and the Pacific at European External Action<br />

with Japan, India, USA, Germany and the Republic of Korea, and<br />

the early 1990s. The EU has been together with us and rendered<br />

Service (EEAS) and H.E. Axelle Nicaise, Ambassador of the EU<br />

expanded partnerships with Canada and Australia.<br />

its support at challenging times and continued its interaction. We<br />

to Mongolia, as well as with other officials of the EEAS, we had<br />

are equally thankful to the EU for its support in overcoming the<br />

an exchange of views on a wide range of issues of our bilateral<br />

The EU is our important “third neighbour”. With the EU we con-<br />

COVID-19 pandemic.<br />

relations and cooperation and of our mutual interests.<br />

cluded the Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation in 2013,<br />

which entered into force on November 1, 2017. This is indeed a<br />

We are actively working together with our friends and partners to<br />

Then we pointed out that thanks to efforts by both sides, the<br />

fundamental document for widening our bilateral relations and<br />

increase economic growth and reducing the impacts of exter-<br />

relations between Mongolia and the EU have been successfully<br />

cooperation in all areas including political, economic, industry, IT,<br />

nal shocks. Let me illustrate with one example. Mongolia is a<br />

growing based on common principles and values, including de-<br />

science, infrastructure, education, environment and energy. We<br />

vast country with continental climate: this means six months of<br />

mocracy, human rights and rule of law. We also briefed and dis-<br />

accord particular significance in its effective realization. Under<br />

sub-zero temperatures. We have five distinct geographic zones:<br />

cussed about the implementation of our respective policies and<br />

this Agreement the relations between Mongolia and the EU have<br />

western, central, southern, eastern and the Altai-Uliastai, with<br />

programs. In a nutshell, the Joint Committee meeting was useful<br />

been expanding in areas of our reciprocal interests.<br />

centralized energy systems. 81.1 percent of our energy source<br />

in further intensifying Mongolia-EU relations and cooperation.<br />

is provided by coal-fired power stations and some 20 percent<br />

The Mongolian government stands for the intensification of the<br />

of the electricity demand is met by imports. The role of renewal<br />

Taking this opportunity, I would like to say that the overall<br />

implementation of this Agreement in accordance with new and<br />

energy is increasing and sources are growing year by year. Cur-<br />

political and socio-economic situation in Mongolia is stable. We<br />

ever-changing circumstances. One of our foreign policy priorities<br />

rently, 18.3 percent of the installed capacity is provided by solar<br />

had parliamentary and local elections in 2020, the Mongolian<br />

is to further reinvigorate the constructive relations and cooper-<br />

(Mongolia has over 250 sunny days per year), wind and hydro<br />

People’s Party (MPP) won the majority in parliament and formed<br />

ation with the EU and its Member States. I have to underscore<br />

power stations. Since January 11, 2007, when the Mongolian<br />

48 49


Parliament ratified the law on Renewable Energy, the produc-<br />

Desertification (UNCCD) in 2026. Preliminary work for the organi-<br />

tion of renewable energy is growing and at present eight solar,<br />

zation of this conference has already started and we hope the EU<br />

three wind and six hydro stations are supplying their outputs<br />

will support us in this regard. Mongolia has also recently jointed<br />

to the central electricity grid. With the pace of socio-economic<br />

the Global Methane Pledge.<br />

development, the energy demand is also growing rapidly so that<br />

energy security, decrease of greenhouse gas emissions and the<br />

We have implemented a number of projects under the FAO-<br />

adoption of ecologically friendly technology are high priorities in<br />

EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT)<br />

our sustainable development policy, similar to other countries.<br />

Programme. The EU-sponsored project Sustainable resilient and<br />

ecosystem and agriculture management (STREAM) is also being<br />

WHAT IS THE PARTICIPATION OF MONGOLIA IN<br />

KEY INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS OF THE EU,<br />

SUCH AS THE GLOBAL GATEWAY STRATEGY AND<br />

THE FOREST PARTNERSHIPS?<br />

implemented. The project aims to increase capacity of Mongolian<br />

communities to implement innovative and sustainable long-term<br />

landscape management to address food system challenges and<br />

climate stresses. In March 2023, we organised a stakeholders’<br />

meeting for ascertaining the possibility for continuing the project.<br />

Within the framework of the UN Convention on Climate Change<br />

and Paris Agreement Mongolia is contemplating to reduce<br />

Greenhouse gas emissions by 22.7 percent by 2030. In a bid to<br />

make the energy sector more environmentally friendly we are<br />

intending to increase the role of renewable energy in centralized<br />

electricity grid in a way of not causing a negative impact on its<br />

reliable and continuous operation. We are working to upgrade<br />

renewable energy presence to up to 30 percent within our overall<br />

installed energy system by 2030. Therefore, in the country’s five<br />

western provinces we have begun the construction of a hydro<br />

AFTER THE PANDEMIC, ONE OF THE KEY PIL-<br />

LARS OF MONGOLIA’S RECOVERY HAS BEEN A<br />

STRONG EMPHASIS ON DEVELOPING THE DIGITAL<br />

ECONOMY. HOW WILL SUCH AN APPROACH CON-<br />

TRIBUTE TO MONGOLIA’S DEVELOPMENT, JOB<br />

CREATION, AND ENHANCING COMPETITIVENESS,<br />

GROWTH AND RESILIENCE OF THE MONGOLIAN<br />

ECONOMY?<br />

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our economy contracted by<br />

5.3 percent. However, it regained growth by 1.4 percent in 2021<br />

the tourism sector and announced the years of 2023, 2024 and<br />

2025 as the “Welcome to visit Mongolia” years.<br />

power station in Erdeneburen; solar power plant and battery<br />

Mongolia has set forth a task to become a “Digitized Nation”<br />

and 4.8 percent in 2022. The Government actively undertakes<br />

storage power station stations in Zavkhan province; a solar<br />

and based on Estonia’s experience we have successfully been<br />

mid- and long-term development policies known as Economic<br />

Last year, Mongolia traded with 160 countries for a total trade<br />

station and windmill in Gobi-Altai province and a solar station in<br />

developing “E-Mongolia” application to deliver the state servic-<br />

Recovery Policy and Vision 2050 to reinvigorate the country’s<br />

turnover of USD 21.2 billion, of USD 12.5 billion in exports and<br />

Khövsgöl province.<br />

es. Currently, some 650 state services have become available in<br />

economic growth.<br />

USD 8.7 billion in imports. Total trade turnover increased by<br />

online form.<br />

32.1 percent vis-a-vis the previous year – exports by 35.7 per-<br />

Major targets of the “New Economic Recovery policy” mid-term<br />

Vision 2050 defines the development policy for the next 30 years<br />

cent and imports by 27.2 percent.<br />

programme and the “Vision 2050” long-term development policy<br />

We are attaching increased attention to promote cooperation in<br />

and is geared to turn Mongolia into one of the leading countries<br />

are in a line with the priorities of the EU’s Global Gateway strat-<br />

areas such as innovation, information technology, cyber secu-<br />

in Asia in terms of social progress, economic growth and welfare.<br />

Apart from tourism, agriculture, light industry, telecommunication<br />

egy; and we are determined to expand our collaboration based<br />

rity, education and science as well. The Parliament of Mongolia<br />

The Economic Recovery Policy is the targeted mid-term pro-<br />

sectors have significant growth potential. The Government is<br />

on them. For instance, we proposed to explore the possibility to<br />

has debate and approved the Law on Digital Signature; Law on<br />

gramme aimed at strengthening the economic independence and<br />

consistently supporting the business community and individual<br />

undertake a joint project for accomplishing concrete outcomes in<br />

Cyber Security; Law on Transparency of Public Information and<br />

self-reliance of the country, reduce the negative implications of<br />

entrepreneurs’ interests to learn from the experiences of the<br />

expanding the use of renewable energy in consonance with the<br />

Law on Privacy Protection.<br />

the pandemic, quickly resolve hindering factors for the develop-<br />

EU Member States and adopt European standards.<br />

priorities of the EU’s Global Gateway strategy.<br />

ment and build up prerequisites for the effective implementation<br />

Experience sharing and interaction with foreign partners, particu-<br />

of the Vision 2050, and enhance the efficiency of economy, infra-<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

Due to intensive development, the negative impacts on the envi-<br />

larly EU Member States, are highly valuable for intensifying the<br />

structure and state for the initial phase of ten years.<br />

ronment caused by human actions are escalating so every nation<br />

digital transition in a sparsely populated country like Mongolia.<br />

is required to make its own contribution in resolution of these<br />

These programmes are intensifying the economic growth and<br />

major challenges. In order to make Mongolia’s contribution to the<br />

common endeavour against desertification and climate change<br />

the President of Mongolia initiated the nation-wide campaign to<br />

plant and grow one billion trees until 2030. Encouraging Mongolia’s<br />

initiative against desertification and climate change, the EU<br />

decided to involve us in its Forest Partnership scheme. Taking<br />

this moment I express the gratitude to the EU for its remarkable<br />

gesture.<br />

Furthermore, Mongolia will host the 17th Conference of the<br />

Parties (COP17) of the United Nations Convention to Combat<br />

MONGOLIA’S ECONOMY IS HEAVILY RELIANT<br />

ON ITS MINING SECTOR, WHICH CONTRIBUTES<br />

SIGNIFICANTLY TO ITS GDP AND EXPORTS. AT<br />

THE SAME TIME, MONGOLIAN GOVERNMENT IS<br />

ACTIVELY WORKING TOWARDS DIVERSIFYING<br />

THE ECONOMY AND ATTRACTING INVESTMENTS<br />

IN OTHER SECTORS. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE<br />

PROMISING INDUSTRIES AND SECTORS THAT<br />

ARE OPEN FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT?<br />

giving their results within short time: GDP has grown up by 7.4<br />

percent by the end of the second quarter of 2023. The <strong>World</strong><br />

Bank projects our economic growth to be 6.4 percent in 2024.<br />

We expect that thanks to the effective implementation of the<br />

Economic Recovery Policy GDP growth will remain steady at<br />

6 percent while per capita GDP will grow twofold. We accord<br />

much importance in collaboration with foreign partners and invite<br />

investors to co-work with us. We want to diversify our economy,<br />

reduce our dependency on the mining sector. In this regard, the<br />

Government is paying special attention to the development of<br />

50 51


BRIDGING HORIZONS<br />

A CULTURAL ODYSSEY<br />

FROM CENTRAL ASIA AND MONGOLIA<br />

TO THE EUROPEAN UNION<br />

On September 19, the European Parliament unveiled the exhibition<br />

“Bridging Horizons: A Cultural Odyssey from Central Asia &<br />

Mongolia to the EU”, showing unique elements of the traditional<br />

life and culture of the peoples of the region, as well as modern<br />

painting and images of natural beauty. Hosted by MEP Tomáš<br />

Zdechovský, Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation for<br />

cooperation with Central Asia and Mongolia, the exhibition aimed<br />

to bolster EU-Central Asia-Mongolia relations through shared<br />

cultural heritage.<br />

From the times of the Greco-Bactrian and Kushan kingdoms, the<br />

Turkic Khaganate, Khorasan and Maverannakhr, the Gaznevid,<br />

Timurid and Baburid empires, Central Asia has been closely<br />

linked by reliable trade arteries with Europe and other regions,<br />

and served as a bridge between the Middle East, Europe and<br />

China, witnessing an infusion of ideas, art, and philosophies and<br />

fostering an active dialogue between civilizations.<br />

The contacts between peoples of the region paved way to a<br />

vibrant intellectual and spiritual progress. As a result, the world has<br />

gained such outstanding scholars and thinkers as Al-Khorezmi,<br />

Al-Fergani, Al-Farabi, Beruni, Avicenna and many others who<br />

predetermined the development of scientific and philosophical<br />

thought for several centuries to come. This exhibition provided<br />

a glimpse of that historic intertwining.<br />

“Today, as we stand beneath the dome of the European<br />

Parliament, we are reminded of the rich tapestry of history,<br />

culture, and shared human endeavours that have interwoven<br />

our destinies for millennia. This exhibition symbolizes not just<br />

an artistic endeavour but a profound message of unity, collaboration,<br />

and shared legacy”, said Turkmenistan’s Ambassador to<br />

Belgium and the EU, H.E. Sapar Palvanov.<br />

“However, the beauty of our shared heritage lies not just in the<br />

past, but in the promise it holds for our future. As the world<br />

grows increasingly interconnected, we recognize the imperative<br />

of mutual understanding. The motto of unity in diversity that the<br />

European Union upholds finds a parallel in Turkmenistan’s own<br />

values. We believe that it is through platforms like this exhibition<br />

that we can foster a stronger bond, mutual respect, and synergized<br />

cooperation, transcending beyond just trade and politics,<br />

touching the very soul of our nations”, he added.<br />

Ambassador of Uzbekistan Dilyor Khakimov noted the work being<br />

carried out nowadays to revive this significance of the Central<br />

Asian region and pointed to common efforts to strengthen relations<br />

of trust, good neighbourliness and partnership in the region,<br />

and between Central Asia and its international partners. As an<br />

example, the fifth consultative meeting of the Heads of State of<br />

Central Asia held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, is clear testament to<br />

the unity and dynamic development of the region. Thanks to<br />

joint efforts, in recent years Central Asian states have made<br />

serious progress in resolving vital issues and filled the regional<br />

cooperation with qualitatively new content. Political contacts<br />

and inter-parliamentary exchanges have become regular.<br />

Various Central Asian platforms for dialogue and cooperation<br />

have been launched. Stability and unity are strengthening in<br />

Central Asia. The region is becoming one of the important<br />

centres of economic growth and investment activity, once<br />

again regaining its historical role as a transport hub connecting<br />

West with East and North with South. At the regional level,<br />

Uzbekistan has put forward an initiative to establish the International<br />

Media Platform “History and Culture of Central Asia: One<br />

Past and Common Future” to create shared content to strengthen<br />

our regional identity. Uzbekistan also consider it essential<br />

to establish regional scientific and educational grants and<br />

scholarships for the talented youth of our countries in honour<br />

of great Central Asian thinkers, scientists, and philosophers<br />

52 53


as Al-Khwarizmi, Farabi, Jāmī, Magtymguly, Chingiz Aitmatov,<br />

among others.<br />

Summit next year in Uzbekistan. This will undoubtedly open a<br />

new historical page in the relations between the two regions.<br />

This exhibition is also reflective of the strengthened Central<br />

Asia-EU partnership. Central Asia sees the EU and its Member<br />

States as reliable and valuable partners in promoting regional<br />

unity, identity, and the cultural civilizational heritage of Central<br />

Asia in the world; and combining efforts in the areas of climate<br />

and ecology, science, education strengthening people-to-people<br />

connections.<br />

At the second meeting of the Heads of State of Central Asia and<br />

the EU, held in Kyrgyzstan in June 2023, leaders agreed to meet<br />

on a regular basis, aiming to hold their next meeting as a first<br />

Returning to the theme of unity, Ambassador of Turkmenistan<br />

Sapar Palvanov shared some beautiful regional sayings. A<br />

Turkmen proverb goes like this: “Those who lean on each other<br />

will not fall”. The Mongolians say: “Under together-held hands,<br />

water will not leak”; the Tajiks have a saying that goes like this:<br />

“Many twigs bundle to make a strong rope”. The Kazakhs say:<br />

“Unity is a treasure-chest without a key”; the Kyrgyz: “When<br />

hearts are united, mountains turn into plains”, and lastly, the<br />

Uzbeks: “One cannot clap with one hand”.<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

54 55


H.E. RUA AL ZADJALI<br />

AMBASSADOR OF THE SULTANATE OF OMAN<br />

TO THE KINGDOM OF BELGIUM & HEAD<br />

OF MISSION TO THE EU<br />

The inclusion of women in diplomacy is not just a matter<br />

of equality but also a strategic imperative<br />

COULD YOU ELABORATE ON OMAN’S PLANS<br />

TO BECOME A MAJOR PLAYER IN THE GLOBAL<br />

GREEN HYDROGEN MARKET AND HOW IT WILL<br />

HELP OMAN ACHIEVE GOAL OF ZERO CARBON<br />

EMISSIONS BY THE MIDDLE OF THE CENTURY?<br />

IS THERE POTENTIAL OF TRANSPORTING GREEN<br />

HYDROGEN TO EUROPE BEING EXPLORED?<br />

producer and exporter of renewable hydrogen and ammonia,<br />

all while enhancing the proportion of renewables in its energy<br />

mix. The recently released International Energy Agency (IEA)<br />

report, the first of its kind to assess the potential of renewable<br />

hydrogen in a producer economy, highlights the manifold advantages<br />

this transition will bring, including increased investments,<br />

reduced reliance on natural gas, and significant reductions in<br />

The government has set objectives to manufacture a minimum of<br />

1 million tons (1 Mt) of renewable hydrogen by 2030, up to 3.75<br />

million tons (3.75 Mt) by 2040, and up to 8.5 million tons (8.5 Mt)<br />

Photo: Royale Palace<br />

Planning’s comprehensive transformation approach, aligning with<br />

Oman Vision 2040’s commitment to sustainable urban development.<br />

CO₂ emissions as Oman moves toward a net-zero economy.<br />

by 2050. Attaining these goals would transform renewable hydro-<br />

In 2022, Oman unveiled an ambitious goal to achieve net-zero<br />

gen into a substantial and valuable export commodity. Meeting<br />

Sultan Haitham City serves as a blueprint for future sustainable<br />

emissions by 2050, coupled with a commitment to significantly<br />

Oman’s hydrogen target for 2040 would equate to 80 percent<br />

cities, encapsulating modern living while resonating with the as-<br />

increase the domestic production of hydrogen using renewa-<br />

of the current LNG exports in terms of energy equivalence, and<br />

pirations of Oman’s youth. Spanning 14.8 million square meters,<br />

ble energy sources. The nation is well-suited for the generation<br />

achieving the 2050 target would nearly double these exports.<br />

the city embodies sound urban planning principles, emphasizing<br />

of substantial quantities of renewable hydrogen and hydro-<br />

2.9 million square meters of green spaces.<br />

gen-based fuels, such as ammonia, thanks to its abundant<br />

high-quality renewable energy resources. Moreover, Oman<br />

boasts ample land for large-scale project development and possesses<br />

existing fossil fuel infrastructure that can be repurposed<br />

or utilized for low-emission fuel production.<br />

Five green hydrogen projects have been signed recently with a<br />

total investment of USD 30 billion, producing 750,000 tons, with<br />

agreement duration of 47 years – 7 for development and 40 for<br />

operation. One of these projects is in Duqm, Oman, between OQ<br />

(Omani company) and DEME (Belgian company). Another strate-<br />

AS PART OF ITS TRANSITION INTO SUSTAINABLE<br />

URBAN DEVELOPMENT, OMAN HAS UNVEILED<br />

AMBITIOUS PLANS FOR A NEW SMART CITY –<br />

SULTAN HAITHAM CITY – OUTSIDE THE CAPITAL<br />

CITY, MUSCAT. COULD YOU TELL OUR READERS<br />

WHAT IS ITS MISSION AND VISION, AND HOW IT<br />

WILL INCORPORATE THE LATEST FEATURES ON<br />

SUSTAINABILITY, ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND<br />

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES?<br />

The city’s ambition extends to meeting 12 international standards<br />

of luxury, welfare, affordability, integrated utilities, and sustainability,<br />

all integral to its master plan. Its internal transport network<br />

ensures easy access to facilities, catering to both public and<br />

private vehicles.<br />

Recognizing the challenges of climate change and future<br />

growth, the city’s infrastructure is adaptable and cost-effective.<br />

It embraces cultural diversity, welcoming all social and<br />

cultural backgrounds, while offering easy access to social<br />

gic partnership is with Fluxys company, this partnership is solid-<br />

‘Sultan Haitham City’ emerges as a forward-looking urban<br />

and recreational facilities.<br />

ified by signing an MoU that explores cooperation with Oman’s<br />

masterpiece, envisioned as a precious legacy from His Majesty<br />

hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure development. By the end of<br />

to future generations and all segments of society. This ambi-<br />

Beyond a city, it represents a thriving ecosystem, an inclusive<br />

this decade, Oman has the potential to become a competitive<br />

tious project is the result of the Ministry of Housing and Urban<br />

community, and a united society, embodying the belief that true<br />

56 57


Aerial view of Sultan Haitham City<br />

Aerial view of Sultan Haitham City<br />

generosity toward the future starts with giving our best in the<br />

potential areas to explore in the future especially in trade and<br />

between the two nations. Initiatives such as student exchange<br />

table, which can greatly enhance the effectiveness of internation-<br />

present. Tomorrow belongs to those who prepare today.<br />

investment. This may involve identifying sectors with growth<br />

programs, cultural festivals, and language courses can promote<br />

al relations.<br />

potential in Oman, such as renewable energy, tourism, and<br />

people-to-people connections.<br />

OMAN AND BELGIUM ENJOY EXCELLENT<br />

RELATIONS AT ALL LEVELS. WHICH AREAS ARE<br />

YOU EXPLORING TO ELEVATE AND PUSH<br />

BILATERAL RELATIONS TO GREATER HEIGHTS?<br />

manufacturing, where Belgian companies could invest or provide<br />

expertise. Collaboration in the field of technology and innovation<br />

can lead to mutual benefits. This might include partnerships in<br />

research and development, technology transfer, and sharing best<br />

practices in digitalization and emerging technologies.<br />

Other sectors which are worth exploring as well is in Healthcare<br />

and Pharmaceuticals. Oman looks forward to build a strong<br />

relation between both countries in the healthcare sector. Both<br />

can mutually benefit in pharmaceutical research, healthcare<br />

infrastructure development, and the exchange of medical exper-<br />

First and foremost, diversity in diplomacy leads to more comprehensive<br />

decision-making. Women often approach problem-solving<br />

with a different lens, focusing on collaboration, empathy, and<br />

long-term sustainable solutions. These qualities are invaluable in<br />

addressing complex global challenges, from conflict resolution to<br />

climate change.<br />

It is important to recognize that the nature and extent of cooper-<br />

Oman and Belgium have so far successfully build up a solid<br />

tise, especially in light of the global health challenges after the<br />

ation will depend on the interests and priorities of both countries<br />

foundation in bilateral relations in field of Sustainable Develop-<br />

pandemic.<br />

The government policy for the role of women is to involve her in<br />

at any given time. <strong>Diplomatic</strong> channels and ongoing discussions<br />

ment signing multiple agreements on Green Hydrogen which we<br />

all aspects of life and work through empowerment, and enhanc-<br />

between the governments of Belgium and Oman will play a crucial<br />

role in identifying and pursuing these opportunities for future<br />

cooperation.<br />

I was officially appointed as the Ambassador to Belgium since<br />

February 2023, and remember my conversation with His Majesty<br />

the King who was happy about the development of the relations<br />

look forward to commence soon.<br />

This promising project will involve joint initiatives in renewable<br />

energy, and maybe waste management, and environmental<br />

protection. Hopefully with such collaboration we could explore<br />

further on in port development, airport management, and transportation<br />

networks as well.<br />

ON OCTOBER 17 WE CELEBRATE OMANI<br />

WOMEN’S DAY. AS AN ACCOMPLISHED FEMALE<br />

DIPLOMAT YOURSELF, COULD YOU GIVE US<br />

YOUR VISION ABOUT THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN<br />

DIPLOMACY?<br />

ing global cooperation, furthermore; when young girls see that<br />

they are growing up in a country that is supportive and empowers<br />

them to be leaders and see live examples through women<br />

in leadership roles in diplomacy, they are more likely to aspire to<br />

such careers themselves, thus contributing to a more diverse and<br />

inclusive diplomatic workforce in the future.<br />

between the two countries. Since then I have been exploring new<br />

The inclusion of women in diplomacy is not just a matter of<br />

Photos: Embasssy of Oman<br />

areas of cooperation to help strengthen ties between Sultanate<br />

Part of the government ambition is to promote Education and<br />

equality but also a strategic imperative. Women bring a unique<br />

of Oman and Kingdom of Belgium. While specific opportunities<br />

Cultural Exchange through expanding educational and cultur-<br />

set of skills, experiences, and perspectives to the diplomatic<br />

can evolve over time, the government still believe there are some<br />

al exchange programs that can foster better understanding<br />

58 59


H.E. BADR ABDELATTY<br />

AMBASSADOR OF EGYPT<br />

TO BELGIUM & LUXEMBOURG,<br />

HEAD OF MISSION TO THE EU & NATO<br />

It is high time for European companies to grasp<br />

the opportunity and invest in Egypt<br />

BILATERAL RELATIONS BETWEEN BELGIUM AND<br />

EGYPT ARE POSITIVE AND FRIENDLY, BUT AT<br />

THE SAME TIME THERE IS ROOM FOR FURTHER<br />

GROWTH AND EXPANSION. HOW CAN BOTH<br />

SIDES MAKE THE MOST OF THE POTENTIAL,<br />

ESPECIALLY IN THE ECONOMIC AND COMMER-<br />

CIAL SPHERE?<br />

an Sea in Egypt. The first phase of the project is planned to<br />

produce 800 megawatts (MW) of solar energy and 700 MW of<br />

wind energy. The first phase will set a carbon dioxide limit of<br />

600,000 tons. Additionally, the Belgian partnership intends to<br />

construct a 500 MW electrolysis equipment close to Gargoub<br />

Port in Marsa Matrouh, with the export of its output to Europe.<br />

organized the first post-Covid trade mission to Egypt. The trade<br />

Photo: Royale Palace<br />

In addition, diplomatic ties between Belgium and Egypt have<br />

Also, a Belgian Trade mission paid a visit to Egypt in October<br />

mission included Business to Business (B2B) and Business to<br />

extended beyond trade, economy, and culture. Both nations<br />

Relations between Belgium and Egypt stand out as a notable<br />

2022 to further advance business relationships and private<br />

Government (B2G) meetings, along with seminars to discover the<br />

collaborate on various international issues, including climate<br />

example of distinguished diplomatic ties and as a model for<br />

sector projects in Egypt. Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT),<br />

investment opportunities in Egypt.<br />

change, energy security, food security, and regional stability. Our<br />

effective bilateral cooperation. Belgium and Egypt’s diplomatic<br />

in partnership with Brussels Agency for Business Support (hub.<br />

diplomatic discussions contribute to global efforts to address<br />

history dates back to the early 20th century as the diplomatic re-<br />

brussels) and Wallonia Export-Investment Agency (AWEX),<br />

It is worth mentioning that Egypt has many advantages and ele-<br />

international challenges.<br />

lations were established in 1922. Thereafter, the relationship has<br />

ments in the field of infrastructure. Egypt has achieved historical<br />

progressively expanded to encompass a wide range of sectors,<br />

including, but not limited to, trade, investment, cultural exchanges,<br />

and political dialogue.<br />

and unprecedented achievements in the field of infrastructure<br />

projects, as these projects contribute to making Egypt one of the<br />

most important countries in the Middle East and Africa. So I do<br />

encourage Belgian companies to grasp the opportunity and in-<br />

WHAT ABOUT THE BILATERAL RELATIONS<br />

BETWEEN EGYPT AND LUXEMBOURG?<br />

Economic cooperation between Egypt and Belgium has strength-<br />

vest in Egypt, especially in the sectors of transportation, electrici-<br />

There is a current momentum in the bilateral cooperation be-<br />

ened over the years. President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met on the<br />

ty, renewable energy, green hydrogen, petroleum and natural gas.<br />

tween Egypt and Luxembourg on the political, economic, and<br />

sidelines of his participation in the European Union-African Union<br />

On the cultural side, Her Majesty Queen Mathilde and Crown<br />

cultural levels. The year 2022 witnessed numerous high-level<br />

Summit in February 2022 with a consortium of Belgian CEOs and<br />

Princess Elisabeth paid a visit to Egypt last March to follow the<br />

visits between Egypt and Luxembourg, which reflects the mutual<br />

company officials and discussed deepening cooperation with<br />

same itinerary as that followed by the late Queen Elisabeth and<br />

interest to continue strengthening bilateral cooperation.<br />

Egypt, especially in energy, infrastructure, and defence.<br />

the then Crown Prince Leopold a century ago, in 1923. The<br />

royal visit to Egypt was intended as a tribute to the late Queen<br />

The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, participated in<br />

We also have the DEME Group, Fluxys, and Antwerp Port collab-<br />

Elisabeth, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the historic<br />

in COP 27 in Sharm El-Sheikh in November 2022.<br />

oration that established a feasibility study for the project of green<br />

visit of the great-grandmother Queen Elisabeth, wife of King<br />

hydrogen production and storage facility along the Mediterrane-<br />

Photo: Embassy of Egypt<br />

Albert I, to Egypt.<br />

60 61


In addition, Egypt’s Foreign Minister visited Luxembourg in<br />

June 2022 to participate in the Association Council between<br />

Egypt and the European Union. Minister Sameh Shoukry met<br />

with Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, as well as the Foreign<br />

Minister, Minister of Environment, and the President of the<br />

Luxembourg Parliament.<br />

WHEN COMPLETED, THE GRAND EGYPTIAN<br />

MUSEUM IN GIZA WILL BE THE NEW CROWN<br />

JEWEL OF EGYPT, AND ONE OF THE LARGEST<br />

MUSEUMS IN THE WORLD. WHAT CAN VISITORS<br />

EXPECT?<br />

The Grand Egyptian Museum, which lies on the Giza Plateau<br />

LAST YEAR, EGYPT HOSTED THE COP27 UN<br />

CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE, A WATERSHED<br />

MOMENT. WHAT ARE EGYPT’S EXPECTATIONS<br />

TOWARDS THIS YEAR’S COP TO BE HELD IN<br />

DUBAI? HOW CAN COP28 BUILD ON THE SUC-<br />

CESS ACHIEVED AND INITIATIVES LAUNCHED<br />

DURING THE COP27 IN SHARM EL SHEIKH?<br />

next to the Pyramids, will be one of the largest and most modern<br />

museums dedicated to one civilization in the entire world. One of<br />

the first artefacts to be transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum<br />

was the enormous 3,200 year old statue of Ramses II at the<br />

Grand Egyptian Museum’s main entrance.<br />

The Grand Egyptian Museum will host about 100,000 ancient<br />

artefacts, including the most precious 5,000 artefacts of the<br />

famous King Tutankhamun. The Grand Egyptian Museum is<br />

COP27 and COP 28 will embody the pioneering roles of Egypt<br />

expected to welcome around 15,000 visitors per day, roughly<br />

and UAE in driving the process of sustainable development and<br />

three times the number of people who visit the current museum<br />

climate action. Both countries support the international climate<br />

daily. That will amount to more than 5 million visitors per year. It<br />

action efforts, noting the significance of the hosting of COP27 in<br />

is expected that the inaugurating of the Grand Egyptian Museum<br />

Egypt and COP28 in the UAE.<br />

will take place earlier next year.<br />

COP27 achieved a breakthrough agreement to provide loss<br />

and damage funding for vulnerable countries hit hard by floods,<br />

droughts and other climate disasters. This was widely lauded<br />

as an historic decision because for the first time, countries<br />

recognized the need for finance to respond to loss and damage<br />

associated with the catastrophic effects of climate change, and<br />

agreed to the establishing of a fund and the necessary funding<br />

arrangements. Building on COP27, it is important to strike<br />

balance between the main issues pertaining climate change such<br />

as adaptation, mitigation and finance, noting that the issue of<br />

WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF ITS NEW ADMIN-<br />

ISTRATIVE CAPITAL (NAC), EGYPT JOINS THE<br />

GLOBAL SMART CITY REVOLUTION. WHERE DOES<br />

THE CITY STAND IN ITS DEVELOPMENT? WHAT<br />

KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES IS EGYPT OFFERING<br />

TO INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS AND COMPANIES<br />

THAT ARE INTERESTED IN CONTRIBUTING TO THE<br />

DEVELOPMENT OF THE NEW CAPITAL?<br />

Photo: Embassy of Egypt<br />

finance is imperative to ensure just transition.<br />

The New Administrative Capital is a large-scale project of a new<br />

capital city that has been under development since 2015 on 700<br />

20 specialized international companies will get an opportunity to<br />

The depth of relations between Egypt and the European Union<br />

It is worth mentioning that COP27, held in November 2022, came<br />

square kilometres of land located approximately 45 km east of<br />

transfer their expertise to the local side.<br />

was also reflected in the current frequency of the high-level<br />

amidst many challenges, including the economic crisis and en-<br />

Egypt’s capital city, Cairo. Quite impressively, the New Adminis-<br />

bilateral visits between the two sides. The European Union High<br />

ergy and food shortages, which required further action to ensure<br />

that all parties meet their obligation pledges at COP26, most notably<br />

those related to ways of adapting to climate change. Egypt<br />

announced the theme of COP27 to be “Implementation Conference”,<br />

which focused on the actual implementation of policies<br />

for the planet’s interest and offering solutions to the challenges<br />

we face.<br />

trative Capital will be the largest urban community in the world.<br />

In the latest update, the Government District of the New Administrative<br />

Capital is almost complete. Furthermore, its implementation<br />

rate exceeds 98 percent as well as the third residential<br />

district (R3).<br />

The New Administrative Capital is a smart and green city. It has<br />

attracted a number of prestigious international universities, and<br />

EGYPT AND THE EUROPEAN UNION RELATIONS<br />

HAVE WITNESSED GREAT MOMENTUM OVER THE<br />

PAST FEW YEARS. HOW DO YOU SEE THE PROS-<br />

PECTS OF COOPERATION BETWEEN EGYPT AND<br />

THE EU IN LIGHT OF THE ONGOING BILATERAL<br />

PROJECTS BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES?<br />

Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-<br />

President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, visited<br />

Egypt in June 2023, and met with His Excellency, the President<br />

of the Arab Republic of Egypt.<br />

In addition, General Robert Brieger, the Chairman of the European<br />

Union Military Committee (EUMC), visited Egypt last June, in<br />

a first visit of its kind, as he met with the Minister of Defence and<br />

We value the partnership between Egypt and the UAE. I believe<br />

the Government has already moved to run from the new Capital.<br />

I do agree with what you mentioned regarding the current<br />

Military Production. The meeting tackled the latest developments<br />

that hosting COP27 in Egypt and COP28 in the UAE will enable<br />

The New Administrative Capital will become the new administra-<br />

momentum of the bilateral relations between Egypt and the<br />

at the regional and international levels, efforts aimed at ensuring<br />

the two countries, as part of the Arab Group, not only in terms of<br />

tive and financial capital of Egypt, housing the main government<br />

European Union, which is embodied in the EU-Egypt Association<br />

security and stability in the region as well as means of boosting<br />

negotiations or whatever concerns Arab and developing coun-<br />

departments and ministries, and foreign embassies. It will have a<br />

Agreement, in force since 2004. Egypt has successfully managed<br />

relations in the security and defence domains.<br />

tries but also in terms of creating new investment partnerships<br />

population of 6.5 million people and it is estimated that the figure<br />

to convene all the Agreement’s Sub-Committees, marking Egypt<br />

with the private sector. COP27 and COP28 will continue the<br />

could rise by half a million to 7 million.<br />

as the first EU Partner to finalize all Sub-Committees meetings,<br />

The cooperation between Egypt and the EU covers numer-<br />

pioneering role of Egypt and the UAE in driving the process of<br />

as well as the Association Committee, which preludes to holding<br />

ous domains including but limited to counter terrorism, illegal<br />

environmentally friendly sustainable development.<br />

The New Administrative Capital project will feature the implemen-<br />

the Association Council later this year.<br />

migration, energy security, and climate change. Egypt and the<br />

tation of a number of huge technology ventures. As a result, over<br />

European Union co-chair the Global Counterterrorism Forum<br />

62 63


INVESTMENT IS ONE OF THE MAIN DOMAINS<br />

OF COOPERATION BETWEEN EGYPT AND TH<br />

EUROPEAN UNION. COULD YOU ELABORATE<br />

SOME INSIGHTS ON THE PROSPECTS OF<br />

COOPERATION IN THIS REGARD?<br />

Indeed investment is one of the key issues of cooperation between<br />

Egypt and the EU. Egypt and the EU are currently collaborating<br />

to convene an Investment Forum in Egypt, with an aim to<br />

attract additional European investments in the Egyptian market,<br />

increase exports to Africa, and boost economic cooperation.<br />

The Investment Forum is expected to be held in the first semester<br />

of the next year. Egypt and the EU intend to endorse investment<br />

opportunities for European companies in Egypt, in addition<br />

to offering investment incentives to European investors. Through<br />

the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, Egypt has a capacity<br />

to become a centre for manufacturing European products<br />

and a channel to markets in Africa.<br />

Photo: Istock<br />

(GCTF), which underscores their collective commitment to continue<br />

fighting this global scourge. As Co-Chairs, Egypt and the<br />

EU recognize the importance of driving global counterterrorism<br />

efforts and preventing and countering violent extremism conducive<br />

to terrorism, including through addressing the root causes<br />

of terrorism and countering terrorist narratives and ideologies.<br />

Throughout our tenure, Africa will be a key priority. Egypt and the<br />

EU are determined, throughout their tenure, to focus our attention<br />

on new and emerging threats.<br />

In addition, Egypt has been among the first ten countries exporting<br />

LNG to Europe, by virtue of the trilateral agreement with<br />

the EU Commission and Israel to export gas to the EU, in June<br />

2022. Egypt has huge reserve of gas in East Mediterranean: two<br />

big LNG facilities for transferring gas into LNG. Egypt managed<br />

to triple its LNG exports to Europe last year. Also, one main pillar<br />

of cooperation with the EU is to export our electricity generated<br />

from renewable sources to Europe via two big cables, one to<br />

Greece and another one to Italy.<br />

In light of our determination to combat climate change and<br />

environmental degradation, Egypt and the European Union are<br />

engaging in establishing a long-term partnership on renewable<br />

hydrogen while fostering sustainable development, energy<br />

security and a balanced and just green transition. Egypt and the<br />

European Union signed a Memorandum of Understanding laying<br />

out the pillars of EU-Egypt cooperation on renewable hydrogen<br />

on the margins of COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh in November 2022,<br />

reinforcing the ongoing bilateral cooperation on green transition.<br />

As part of the ongoing reform program adopted by the Egyptian<br />

government to boost investments and economic growth in the<br />

country, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has issued a presidential<br />

decree to establish the Supreme Council for Investment, which<br />

will be presided over by the President of the Republic.<br />

The Supreme Council for Investment supervises the state’s<br />

investment policies in all sectors and provinces, with a view<br />

to achieve a real leap in efforts to encourage both domestic<br />

and foreign investment, and eliminate bureaucratic obstacles<br />

and various challenges facing efforts to increase private sector<br />

investment.<br />

Encouraging foreign investment has been prioritized on Egypt’s<br />

Government agenda. Egypt has implemented an ambitious<br />

economic reform program with a view to encouraging the foreign<br />

direct investments. Such programme aims to achieve rapid and<br />

sustainable growth rates, and inclusive development for Egypt.<br />

This programme has provided radical solutions to structural economic<br />

problems and included amending the legislations pertaining<br />

to investment.<br />

The implementation of this programme comes within the framework<br />

of Egypt Vision 2030, which reflects the State’s long-term<br />

strategic plan to achieve the principles and goals of sustainable<br />

development in all fields, and to embed them in the various<br />

Egyptian State bodies. Among the most notable investment opportunities<br />

in Egypt is the green corridor of the Suez Canal which<br />

aims to shift the Suez Canal into an eco-friendly corridor that<br />

relies on renewable energy. It is high time for European companies<br />

to grasp the opportunity and invest in Egypt.<br />

Photo: Embassy of Egypt<br />

Photo: Embassy of Egypt<br />

64 65


NATIONAL DAY CEREMONY<br />

OF THE ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT<br />

H.E. Dr. Badr Abdelatty, Ambassador of Egypt to Belgium<br />

Luxembourg, European Union and NATO hosted the National<br />

Day ceremony of the Arab Republic of Egypt on July 3, 2023<br />

commemorating the 71st anniversary of the 23rd July Revolution.<br />

The ceremony was held at the Royal Museum of Art and<br />

History in Brussels, with a wide participation of more than 700<br />

participants from the European Union, Belgium, Luxembourg,<br />

NATO, the diplomatic community and the Egyptian community in<br />

Brussels.<br />

In addition, Mr. Mohamed Abou El-Enein, Deputy Speaker of the<br />

House of Representatives of Egypt took part in the ceremony<br />

during his visit to Brussels. The audience also included a large<br />

number of Members of the European Parliament, Members of the<br />

Belgian Parliament, Officials of the European Union Commission,<br />

the European Council, the European External Action Service,<br />

the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NATO, in addition<br />

to numerous Ambassadors accredited to Brussels, and a large<br />

number of members of the Egyptian community.<br />

The Egyptian National Day ceremony was attended by senior<br />

officials that included, but not limited to, General Robert Brieger,<br />

Chairman of the European Union Military Committee; Admiral<br />

Rob Bauer, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee; Ambassador<br />

Hubert Cooreman, Director General of Middle East and<br />

North Africa Department, Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs;<br />

Mr. Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs,<br />

European Union External Action Service (EEAS); and Ms. Helene<br />

Le Gal, Managing Director of Middle East and North Africa at the<br />

EEAS.<br />

Dr. Badr Abdelatty, Ambassador of Egypt to Belgium, Luxembourg,<br />

European Union and NATO, delivered a speech at the ceremony,<br />

during which he demonstrated different aspects of development<br />

that Egypt has witnessed over the past few years in all domains:<br />

political, economic, developmental, social and cultural. The<br />

Egyptian Ambassador also stressed the current momentum of<br />

the bilateral relations with the European Union, Belgium, and<br />

Luxembourg in all aspects of cooperation in issues of common<br />

interests, most notably the cooperation in energy, including<br />

renewable energy and green hydrogen. In addition, the Egyp-<br />

66 67


tian Ambassador highlighted the successful visit of Her Majesty<br />

Queen Mathilde and Her Majesty Crown Princess Elisabeth of<br />

Belgium to Egypt in March 2023, commemorating the 100th<br />

anniversary of the historic visit of the great-grandmother Queen<br />

Elisabeth, the wife of King Albert I, to Egypt.<br />

Dr. Abdelatty also underscored the current frequency of the<br />

high-level bilateral visits with Egypt, which reflected the depth<br />

and distinction of relations with the European Union, Belgium,<br />

Luxembourg, and NATO. In this context, the Egyptian Ambassador<br />

shed light on the last visit of the European Union High<br />

Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice-<br />

President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, to Egypt<br />

in June 2023, during which the HR/VP held high-level bilateral<br />

meetings, most notably with H.E. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President<br />

of the Arab Republic of Egypt.<br />

Dr. Abdelatty also highlighted the significance of the EU-Egypt<br />

Association Agreement, that has been in force since 2004. He<br />

stated the fact that all the Agreement’s Sub-Committees have<br />

been successfully convened, marking Egypt as the first EU<br />

Partner to finalize all Sub-Committees meetings, which preludes<br />

to holding the Association Council later this year. In addition, the<br />

Egyptian Ambassador highlighted the current work to finalize the<br />

Individually Tailored Partnership Program with NATO.<br />

In his speech, Mr. Mohamed Abou El-Enein, Deputy Speaker of<br />

the House of Representatives of Egypt, enumerated the achievements<br />

made in Egypt over the past few years at the political,<br />

economic, and social levels. He stressed the important role<br />

played by Egypt in the southern neighbourhood of the European<br />

Union, emphasizing the significance of strengthening economic<br />

cooperation between Egypt and the EU, with a view to attracting<br />

more European investments to the Egyptian market, including the<br />

Suez Canal corridor, in light of Egypt’s tremendous opportunities<br />

in trade and economic cooperation. From their parts, the Guests<br />

of Honour of the National Day ceremony gave short speeches<br />

in which they stressed the pivotal role that Egypt plays in the<br />

region, commended Egypt’s achievements in terms of counter<br />

terrorism and illegal migration, and expressed appreciation to the<br />

distinguished bilateral relations with Egypt.<br />

On the sidelines of the Egyptian National Day ceremony, the<br />

guests had the opportunity to visit the Exhibition “Expedition<br />

Egypt” that is currently hosted in the Royal Museum of Art and<br />

History in Brussels during the period from 31 March to 1 October<br />

2023. The Egyptian Exhibition brings together more than 200<br />

objects from Egyptian collections, including the sumptuously<br />

decorated coffins from the priestly cache of Deir el-Bahari,<br />

and the beautifully illustrated Book of the Dead of the dignitary<br />

Neferrenpet.<br />

The Egyptian National Day Celebration also witnessed two<br />

distinguished photo exhibitions of the renowned photographer<br />

Karoline Amaury, and the notable Egyptian artist Lutfi Abou<br />

Sariya. Ms. Amaury presented numerous photographs that portray<br />

remarkable Pharaonic monuments and journeys of excavation<br />

teams in Egyptian historic sites. In addition, Mr. Abou Sariya<br />

has displayed various authentic paintings made on traditional<br />

and natural mini papyrus that portray the Pharaonic and old<br />

Egyptian cultures. At the end of the National Day ceremony,<br />

Dr. Abdelatty, the Egyptian Ambassador, expressed gratitude to<br />

Mr. Bruno Verbergt, Director General of the Royal Museum of Art<br />

and History in Brussels, for hosting the National Day ceremony in<br />

the headquarters of the Royal Museum.<br />

68 69


70 71


H.E. NAWAF ALENEZI<br />

AMBASSADOR OF THE STATE OF KUWAIT<br />

TO THE KINGDOM OF BELGIUM<br />

AND GRAND DUCHY OF<br />

LUXEMBOURG & HEAD OF MISSION<br />

TO THE EUROPEAN UNION AND NATO<br />

Kuwait’s Vision 2035 is a long-term development plan aimed<br />

at transforming Kuwait into a financial,<br />

cultural, and institutional leader in the region<br />

Photo: Royal Palace<br />

KUWAIT IS IN THE MIDST OF AN AMBITIOUS<br />

TRANSFORMATION PROCESS UNDER THE<br />

UMBRELLA OF VISION 2035. WHAT ARE THE MAIN<br />

DIRECTIONS AND KEY PROJECTS AS PART OF<br />

THIS VISION TO TRANSFORM KUWAIT INTO A<br />

KNOWLEDGE-BASED, DIVERSIFIED ECONOMY?<br />

Kuwait’s Vision 2035 is a long-term development plan aimed at<br />

transforming Kuwait into a financial, cultural, and institutional<br />

leader in the region. The plan is multifaceted, in order to more<br />

effectively tackle an ever-changing world and adapt to new<br />

challenges. The seven main pillars of the Kuwait Vision 2035 are<br />

as follows:<br />

1. Global Position: Enhancing Kuwait’s regional and global<br />

presence in spheres such as diplomacy, trade, culture, and<br />

philanthropy.<br />

2. Human Capital: improving and upgrading the education<br />

system to better prepare youth to become competitive and<br />

productive members of the workforce.<br />

3. Healthcare: Improving service quality and developing national<br />

capabilities in the public healthcare system which is provided<br />

free of cost or minimum cost.<br />

4. Living Environment: Ensuring the availability of living accommodation<br />

through environmentally sound resources.<br />

5. Infrastructure: Developing and modernizing the national<br />

infrastructure to improve the quality of life for all those living in<br />

Kuwait.<br />

6. Economy: Developing a prosperous and diversified economy<br />

to gradually reduce the country’s dependency on oil export<br />

revenues.<br />

7. Public Administration: addressing bureaucratic practices to<br />

reinforce transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the<br />

government.<br />

Some of the highlights of the new development plan submitted<br />

recently by the Cabinet of the State of Kuwait to the National<br />

Assembly include strategic projects in tourism sector, transportation<br />

and logistics, Public Housing, Information Technology,<br />

financial services, Petrochemicals, and renewable energy.<br />

In the transportation and logistics sector, Kuwait is finalizing<br />

the construction of the new International Airport of Kuwait, also<br />

the Great Mubarak port located north of Kuwait, as well as the<br />

initiation of the GCC railroad project linking all GCC countries to<br />

improve trade and travel.<br />

Photo: Grand Duchy of Luxembourg<br />

<strong>72</strong> 73


Copyright: European Union<br />

Photo: Embassy Of Kuwait<br />

Copyright: European Union<br />

In the Financial Services aspect, Kuwait is considering launching<br />

a new domestic Sovereign Wealth Fund as a new investment<br />

and development tool to work with the private sector on Mega<br />

projects in Kuwait and to attract foreign direct investments to<br />

Kuwait.<br />

IN SEPTEMBER 2014, KUWAIT WAS NAMED BY<br />

FORMER SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNIT-<br />

ED NATIONS, H.E. BANK KI-MOON AS “HUMAN-<br />

ITARIAN CENTER”, TO REFLECT ITS ROLE AS A<br />

LEADING DONOR TO THOSE AFFECTED BY HU-<br />

MANITARIAN DISASTERS AROUND THE WORLD.<br />

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE NOBLE HUMANITARIAN<br />

INITIATIVES HAS UNDERTAKEN TO CONTRIBUTE<br />

TO PEACE, STABILITY AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE<br />

REGION AND BEYOND?<br />

The State of Kuwait has a long history of contributing to and<br />

playing a role in global humanitarian initiatives to promote peace,<br />

stability, security, and development in the region and beyond.<br />

When the State of Kuwait was named a “Humanitarian Center,”<br />

by the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban<br />

Ki-moon, it was the recognition of the culmination of humanitarian<br />

initiatives spanning the entire history of the country. Notable<br />

initiatives of the State of Kuwait include:<br />

1. In light of his extensive efforts in championing Humanitarian<br />

assistance to those in need, the late Amir His Highness<br />

Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah was named a<br />

humanitarian Leader by the UNSG Ban Ki Moon.<br />

2. The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development: The Fund<br />

provides financial and technical assistance to more than 100<br />

developing countries, with a focus on infrastructure projects<br />

that contribute to economic development and poverty<br />

reduction.<br />

3. Humanitarian Relief: The State of Kuwait is extremely active<br />

in providing humanitarian aid during crises in the region,<br />

such as conflicts and natural disasters. The State of Kuwait<br />

has contributed to relief efforts for Syrian refugees and provided<br />

aid to victims of the earthquake that devastated parts<br />

of Turkey and Syria.<br />

4. International Donor Conferences: The State of Kuwait has<br />

hosted, co-hosted alongside the European Union and other<br />

partners, numerous international donor conferences aimed<br />

at raising funds for countries facing humanitarian countries.<br />

This has included hosting 3 donor conferences for Syria, and<br />

a conference for the reconstruction of Iraq in the aftermath<br />

of ISIS defeat in 2018, Yemen, and the Rohingya people to<br />

name a few.<br />

74 75


5. Kuwait Red Crescent Society: The Kuwait Red Crescent<br />

Society is the State of Kuwait’s main humanitarian organization<br />

that provides relief and aid in various crisis situations. It<br />

engages in projects related to healthcare, education, water,<br />

sanitation, and more both domestically and internationally.<br />

FOR COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD, ENERGY<br />

TRANSITION IS A TOP PRIORITY. HOW IS KUWAIT<br />

TRANSITIONING TO A MORE DIVERSIFIED ENER-<br />

GY MIX? WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTS FOR CO-<br />

OPERATION ON RENEWABLE ENERGY WITH THE<br />

EUROPEAN UNION, FOR INSTANCE ON GREEN<br />

HYDROGEN?<br />

The State of Kuwait has been taking steps to transition to a<br />

more diversified energy mix by incorporating renewable energy<br />

source alongside its traditional reliance on oil and gas. The State<br />

of Kuwait has set ambitious renewable energy targets as part of<br />

its national development plan, including producing 15 percent of<br />

local electricity consumption from renewables by 2030.<br />

The State of Kuwait has initiated several renewable energy projects,<br />

such as utilizing solid waste to energy, as well as launching<br />

pilot project to bump oil from reservoirs through renewable<br />

energy. Furthermore, the State of Kuwait has been investing in<br />

research and development of renewable energy technologies<br />

and boosting cooperation with international partners, such as the<br />

European Union, to boost domestic capabilities and expertise in<br />

the field of renewables.<br />

The State of Kuwait is keen to work with its partners in the<br />

European Union in the renewable sector. The EU has a significant<br />

amount of experience and expertise in renewable energy<br />

technologies, policy frameworks, and regulatory mechanisms.<br />

Cooperation could involve knowledge sharing, technology transfer,<br />

and capacity building to help Kuwait accelerate its transition<br />

to renewables. There is room for collaboration on research and<br />

innovation projects as well as learning from the EU experiences<br />

in designing effective renewable energy policies and incentives to<br />

boost engagement from the private sector.<br />

LOOKING AHEAD TO THE UPCOMING 2023 UNIT-<br />

ED NATIONS CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE<br />

(COP28) TO BE HELD IN THE UAE, WHAT WILL BE<br />

KUWAIT’S PRIORITIES?<br />

Looking ahead to the upcoming 2023 United Nations Climate<br />

Change Conference (COP28) to be held in the United Arab<br />

Emirates, climate change and its effects are a priority of the State<br />

of Kuwait. Kuwait coordinates with Gulf Cooperation Council<br />

(GCC) countries in order to convey our ideas and initiatives as an<br />

oil & gas producing region in order to help mitigate the effects of<br />

climate change.<br />

As party to the 2015 Paris Agreement, the State of Kuwait is<br />

committed to working together through the global framework to<br />

limit global warming and strengthen countries’ ability to deal with<br />

the impacts of climate change.<br />

The State of Kuwait is keen to work with its international partners<br />

on new initiatives that ensure no country is left behind and effective<br />

technology is available to all.<br />

Photos: Embassy of Kuwait<br />

H.E. Nawaf Alenezi, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait, with Barbara Dietrich CEO <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> and Alberto Turkstra, project manager <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

Night Time Above The Kuwait City Modern Architecture Skyline<br />

Photo: Istock<br />

76 77


DUSHANBE<br />

INVESTMENT FORUM<br />

On 29 September, Tajikistan’s capital city hosted the Dushanbe<br />

Investment Forum, with the participation of 800 investors from<br />

over 30 countries, aiming to attract investment, promote partnerships<br />

between domestic and foreign companies, and highlight<br />

opportunities in developing the digital economy as a way of<br />

achieving Tajikistan’s fourth strategic goal, the rapid industrialization<br />

of the country.<br />

On top of the agenda was the country’s energy sector, in particular<br />

advancement of public-private partnership opportunities<br />

to expand the country’s renewable energy sources. The country<br />

ranks among the top six worldwide in the generation of green<br />

energy, not only through hydropower plants (Tajikistan possesses<br />

60 percent of the water resources of the Central Asian region) but<br />

also wind and solar power stations (the country enjoys between<br />

2,000 to 3,000 sunny hours per year). Mining resources and<br />

extraction of minerals is also on the focus, with 600 deposits of<br />

precious stones and metals ready for extraction, but only a handful<br />

of those having been exploited so far.<br />

In a video message, President of the Republic of Tajikistan,<br />

H.E. Emomali Rahmon, elaborated on the core objectives of the<br />

National Development Strategy of the Republic of Tajikistan for<br />

the period up to 2030 in terms of mobilization of investments and<br />

improving the investment climate. Particular reference was made<br />

to the prioritization of accelerated industrialization, innovation,<br />

and digitalization, in line with the Action Plan dedicated to the<br />

“Years of industrial development 2022-2026”.<br />

Recent economic reforms have positioned Tajikistan as a reliable<br />

partner. The list of countries with free or simplified visa regime is<br />

increasing. There are Increased number of permits and licenses.<br />

Taxation reforms have brought down the number of taxes,<br />

introduced electronic tax declaration and reduced the number<br />

of inspections. Through the alignment of national legislation with<br />

international standards, the protection of the rights of investors is<br />

guaranteed.<br />

At the plenary of the Forum intervened Chairman of the National<br />

Assembly of Tajikistan and Mayor of Dushanbe, H.E. Rustam<br />

Emomali, who highlighted the importance of ensuring uninterrupted<br />

trade, free movement of goods, investments, services,<br />

and new technologies, as well as the development and promotion<br />

of the digital economy, green economy, a unified transportation<br />

system, the development of transportation corridors, and the<br />

efficient use of countries’ transit potential. “Today, in Tajikistan,<br />

economic reforms are successfully being implemented to create<br />

a favourable investment and business climate, expand the<br />

country’s export opportunities, and improve the labour market<br />

situation,” said Rustam Emomali.<br />

Following the plenary session, where also intervened the Deputy<br />

Prime Ministers of the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan and<br />

Kazakhstan, there was a visit to the Expo Center for an exhibition<br />

of a range of Tajik products, including the first made-in-Tajikistan<br />

electric buses. Tajikistan began producing electric buses and<br />

electric trolleybuses in 2021, at the Dushanbe-based Akia Avesto<br />

plant, and conducted tests in December. On the basis of the<br />

Program for the development of electric transport in the Republic<br />

of Tajikistan for the period 2023-2028, 300 such electric buses<br />

should be produced and offered for use in the city of Dushanbe<br />

up until 2026.<br />

INVESTMENT ACTIVITY IN TAJIKISTAN<br />

As a result of the measures taken by Government of Tajikistan,<br />

the dynamics of the inflow of investments – including foreign direct<br />

investment – into the economy of Tajikistan exhibit a positive<br />

tendency. To date, Tajikistan has implemented 82 public investment<br />

projects totalling more than USD 3 billion.<br />

The Republic of Tajikistan today is a country with significant<br />

investment advantages, just to name a few: strategic geographical<br />

location; political and economic stability; all-round support<br />

of private business and entrepreneurship; abundance of natural<br />

resources and rapidly developing infrastructure.<br />

For the purpose of forming a favourable investment and business<br />

environment, as well as attraction of foreign investments over the<br />

78 79


period of independence, more than 100 normative and legal acts,<br />

applying the legislation that was in effect at the time of registra-<br />

down to 14 percent starting from 2023 and from January 1, 2027,<br />

pose of provision of favourable conditions for attracting foreign<br />

regulating this sphere have been adopted, including the laws On<br />

tion of the enterprise. When carrying out reinvesting, the inves-<br />

the VAT rate will be 13 percent. Further improvements and the<br />

investments and support of the private sector, five free economic<br />

State Support of Entrepreneurship; On Investments, On Foreign<br />

tors fully make use of legal protection, guarantees and privileges<br />

digitalisation of tax services are envisaged to increase voluntary<br />

zones were created in Tajikistan:<br />

Economic Activity, On Free Economic Zones, On Public-Private<br />

established by the legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan.<br />

compliance and minimise corruption.<br />

Partnership and other regulatory acts.<br />

• Dangara FEZ, with a total area of 521 hectares (Khatlon<br />

These laws are aimed at legal protection of investments, providing<br />

investors with fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, ensuring<br />

DOING BUSINESS IN TAJIKISTAN<br />

In addition, the system of ‘Single Window’ operates in the country,<br />

for the registration of legal entities and individual entrepreneurs,<br />

with the introduction of which the amount of registration<br />

region);<br />

• Sugd FEZ, with a total area of 320 hectares (Sughd region);<br />

• Panj FEZ, with a total area of 401 hectares (Khatlon region);<br />

their participation in the privatization process and infrastructure<br />

Due to the timely support of the Government of Tajikistan and<br />

authorities was reduced to one and the time of registration was<br />

• Ishkoshim FEZ, with a total area of 200 hectares (GBAO);<br />

development. Legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan guarantees<br />

the ongoing reforms, the contribution of Small and Medium Sized<br />

reduced to 3 days. The amount of permit documents for con-<br />

• Kulob FEZ, with a total area of 309 hectares (Khatlon region).<br />

equal rights to both domestic and foreign investors, and protects<br />

Enterprises (SMEs) to the economy is steadily growing. Today<br />

ducting business activity was reduced from 605 to 74.<br />

their property from nationalization and requisition.<br />

the private sector accounts for 70 percent of the country’s GDP.<br />

Currently, more than 70 entities operate in free economic zones,<br />

In addition, 67 percent of the economically active population are<br />

Because of the above-mentioned reforms and initiatives, the<br />

which are exempted from all types of taxation, except for income<br />

Investors have open access to the real sectors of the economy,<br />

involved in the private sector.<br />

Republic of Tajikistan improved its positions in the <strong>World</strong> Bank’s<br />

and social taxes. During the activity of free economic zones, USD<br />

and also have the right to carry out exploration, processing and<br />

rating of Doing Business by 60 positions during the past 5 years.<br />

160 million worth of investments were attracted to the economy<br />

exploitation of the natural resources of the Republic of Tajikistan.<br />

To ease the burden on businesses, reduce informality and<br />

In 2020, the <strong>World</strong> Bank acknowledged Tajikistan as one of the<br />

of Tajikistan<br />

Moreover, investors are guaranteed the right to freely transfer<br />

support the country’s fiscal stance, a revised Tax Code was<br />

10 economies that improved the most on the ease of doing busi-<br />

abroad income and salaries in foreign currency, obtained legally<br />

from investment and production activities.<br />

In case that subsequent legislation of the Republic of Tajikistan<br />

will lead to an increase of the aggregate tax burden to the inves-<br />

adopted in 2021, whereby the number of taxes was decreased<br />

from ten to seven and tax rates were reduced across the board.<br />

For example, the rate of income tax has decreased from 13 to 12<br />

percent. The main tax rate – VAT, the share of which in the total<br />

volume of the tax revenues in the country’s budget is more than<br />

ness after implementing regulatory reforms.<br />

FREE ECONOMIC ZONES<br />

One of the effective incentives for the attraction of investments is<br />

PRIORITY SECTORS OF INVESTMENT<br />

1. HYDROPOWER INDUSTRY<br />

The Republic of Tajikistan has inexhaustible reserves of hydroe-<br />

tor’s activity, then within ten years they are given a guarantee of<br />

40 percent, decreased from 18 to 15 in January 1, 2022; further<br />

the creation and operation of free economic zones. For the pur-<br />

lectric resources. Tajikistan has the potential to produce<br />

80 81


527 billion kW/hr. of electricity per year, but today only 6 percent<br />

of this potential is being used. Over the years of independence,<br />

The total area suitable for agricultural activities is 7.2 million<br />

hectares, however most of it used as pastureland for livestock.<br />

4. MINING INDUSTRY<br />

Today, in the country’s territory, about 40 kinds of minerals are<br />

We are grateful to the State Committee on Investment and State<br />

Property Management of the Republic of Tajikistan for their con-<br />

the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan has been imple-<br />

The cultivated land for agricultural crops is total of 675,000<br />

mined. About 100 deposits are being exploited. More than 600<br />

tribution to this article.<br />

menting raft of measures on the way to achieving one of the<br />

hectares, of which only 470,000 hectares are irrigated. Another<br />

deposits of polychime, rare and precious metals have been<br />

strategic goals, which is energy independence.<br />

180,000 hectares of these areas are cultivated under gardens<br />

identified and explored, and are partially prepared for industrial<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

and vineyards.<br />

development. The country’s soil is rich in zinc, lead, bismuth,<br />

In November 2018, the first power turbine of Rogun hydropower<br />

molybdenum, tungsten, copper, gold, silver, antimony, mercury,<br />

plant (HPP) was launched, marking another important milestone<br />

for the energy sector of Tajikistan. The Rogun HPP, being embedded<br />

into broader reforms and a sound macro-fiscal framework,<br />

3. TEXTILE INDUSTRY<br />

The volume of foreign investment in the textile industry of the<br />

fluorspar, tin, uranium, iron, manganese, table salt, magnesium<br />

and many other mineral resources with a high export potential.<br />

will create greater prosperity for the people of Tajikistan. The final<br />

project capacity will be 3,800 MW, thus becoming the biggest<br />

HPP in the region.<br />

Republic of Tajikistan has significantly increased in recent years.<br />

A remarkable example of this is the construction of the first stage<br />

of the Textile Complex of Juntai Dangara Sin Silu Textiles CJSC<br />

5. GOLD, SILVER AND PRECIOUS STONES<br />

The volume of the gold reserve of the Republic of Tajikistan<br />

in Dangara city. The capacity of this enterprise allows annually<br />

amounts to 400 tons. Annually, more than 10 tons of gold is ex-<br />

2. AGRICULTURE<br />

One of the main sectors in the economy of the Republic of<br />

to process 52,000 tons of cotton fibre and producing up to<br />

150 million square meters of cotton fabric.<br />

tracted in the country, but currently the prospect of a possible<br />

increase in production up to 20 tons per year is being considered.<br />

Tajikistan is famous for one of the world’s largest silver deposits.<br />

Tajikistan is agriculture, due to which currently the country pro-<br />

It should be noted that at present cotton fibre, fabric and cotton<br />

Bolshoi Konimansur (Big Konimasur) is the pride of northern<br />

vides about 23 percent of GDP, more than 70 percent of jobs,<br />

yarn, clothes and clothing with additional textile improvements<br />

Tajikistan, where more than 60,000 tons of silver are concen-<br />

25 percent of exports and 35 percent of tax revenues to the state<br />

are produced in the country. Currently, 107 cotton ginning<br />

trated. Another wealth of the republic are numerous deposits of<br />

budget. Despite the fact that the climatic conditions of Tajikistan<br />

factories operate across the country’s territory, which produce<br />

precious stones. Only in 2020, the total amount from the export<br />

are ideally suited for the cultivation of virtually all varieties of<br />

more than 120,000 tons of high-quality cotton fibre, of which<br />

of precious, semiprecious stones and metals amounted to about<br />

grain crops, the mountainous terrain narrows down the possibili-<br />

only 12,000 tons per year is processed by textile enterprises of<br />

USD 690 million, and the values of the export of non-precious<br />

ties of the population in agricultural production.<br />

Tajikistan, even though the capacity of spinning factories allows<br />

metals and their articles made therefrom amounted to USD<br />

processing more than 70,000 tons of cotton fibre per year<br />

187 million.<br />

82 83


DIPLOMATIC WORLD SIGNS MoU<br />

WITH THE COMMITTEE OF TOURISM<br />

DEVELOPMENT OF TAJIKISTAN<br />

During a visit to Dushanbe in September 2023, <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

and nature-based tourism; acknowledging the synergies between<br />

(represented by its CEO, Barbara Dietrich) and the Committee<br />

the mission, vision and activities of the Committee of Tourism<br />

of Tourism Development of Tajikistan (represented by its<br />

Development and <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> and persuaded by the need<br />

The Committee on the Tourism Development under the Govern-<br />

With the implementation of the consistent open-door policy of<br />

Chairman, Kamoliddin Muminzod), convinced of the necessity<br />

to institutionalise cooperation, based on past fruitful cooperation<br />

ment of the Republic of Tajikistan is the central executive agency<br />

the leadership and the Government, Tajikistan became a full<br />

of promoting and reinforcing mutual cooperation; recognising<br />

and joint activities, signed a Memorandum of Understanding<br />

of the country responsible for the formulation of a consistent<br />

member of the <strong>World</strong> Tourism Organization in 2007 and a good<br />

the untapped tourism potential of Tajikistan, in particular cultural<br />

(MoU).<br />

national policy and a legal frame in the area of tourism. Accord-<br />

foundation has been laid for the integration of the country’s tour-<br />

ing to the Tourism Development Strategy in the Republic of<br />

ism industry into the world market. In this regard, the Republic<br />

Tajikistan for the period up to 2030, the contribution of tourism<br />

of Tajikistan has signed agreements on tourism cooperation with<br />

to gross domestic product will be significantly increased, and<br />

a number of countries. Tajikistan has also introduced electronic<br />

the sector will play an important role in creating jobs in cities and<br />

visa and unilateral visa-free regime with 52 countries, the imple-<br />

remote regions of the country.<br />

mentation of a simplified visa regime with 126 countries, as well<br />

as the abolition of internal registration of tourists.<br />

The tourism industry in today’s world is one of the profitable<br />

sectors of the economy and plays an important role in employ-<br />

The accession of Dushanbe to the <strong>World</strong> Federation of Tourist<br />

ment and improving the standards of living of the population.<br />

Cities; the declaration of Dushanbe as the tourist capital of the<br />

Therefore, the regulation of favourable conditions for the devel-<br />

Economic Cooperation Organization for 2020-2021; the inscrip-<br />

opment of the tourist industry and the improvement of the state<br />

tion of the Tajik National Park; the Tugay forests of the Tigrovaya<br />

policy on the management of the industry are considered as the<br />

Balka Nature Reserve; the historical site of Sarazm and the<br />

most important priorities of the social and economic develop-<br />

Zarafshan-Karakum Corridor in the UNESCO <strong>World</strong> Heritage<br />

ment policy of the Republic of Tajikistan.<br />

List; and the inclusion of Chakan embroidery art; the Navruz<br />

holiday; Oshi palov; music of Shashmaqom and falak (traditional<br />

In this strategy, the existence of a rich historical and cultural<br />

folklore music of the mountain people of Tajikistan) to the List of<br />

heritage of Tajikistan, its unique nature with lakes, rare flora<br />

Intangible Cultural Heritage, have facilitated the promotion of the<br />

and fauna, as well as high mountain peaks are recognized as<br />

tourism potentials and image of Tajikistan around the world.<br />

the main factors for the development of tourism of the country.<br />

For the development of this industry, the necessary regulatory<br />

Over 90 percent of the country is mountainous, giving Tajikistan<br />

and legal framework is being created and a number of incentive<br />

the title of “roof of the world”. The Pamir mountains of Tajikistan<br />

measures have been implemented in the country. In particular,<br />

are formed by the intersection of five mountain ranges – namely<br />

several international tourist zones have been created and pre-<br />

the Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun, Hindu Kush and the<br />

sented to the general public, hotels and shopping centres have<br />

Himalayas – thus earning it the title “Roof of the <strong>World</strong>.” This<br />

been built that meet modern requirements. The priority areas of<br />

fact of nature has given Tajikistan a precious advantage, namely<br />

the tourism industry for Tajikistan are ecological tourism, medical<br />

some of the most inspiring, high-altitude landscapes in the world.<br />

and health tourism, recreational, historical and cultural tourism,<br />

mountaineering and hunting.<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

84 85


ASTANA INTERNATIONAL FORUM<br />

URGENCY OF GREEN TRANSITION<br />

IN THE SPOTLIGHT<br />

Alberto Turkstra, Project Manager, <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

On June 8 and 9, Kazakhstan’s capital assembled an impressive<br />

array of government and industry leaders; policymakers; CEOs<br />

of multinational organizations; representatives of International<br />

Financial Institutions (IFIs) and other experts for the first edition<br />

of the Astana International Forum, conceived by President<br />

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as a platform to resume political<br />

dialogue, drive positive change and shape the global agenda<br />

of cooperation and find ways to rebuild a common culture of<br />

multilateralism through actionable and lasting solutions.<br />

The topic of climate change and green transition featured<br />

prominently during the Forum’s various sessions and side events:<br />

discussions ranged from financing the green transition to the<br />

development of carbon markets; from the role of green hydrogen<br />

and nuclear in the energy transition to addressing the so-called<br />

energy trilemma – ensuring energy security, accessibility and<br />

affordability – on the road to net zero.<br />

For the better part of its three decades of independence,<br />

Kazakhstan’s energy market was characterized by a monopolistic<br />

structure and prevalence of fossil fuel subsidies. Such price<br />

distortions, not reflecting the real costs of environmental externalities,<br />

have made it difficult to diversify the types of energy<br />

used for the domestic market and promote energy efficiency,<br />

and have hindered the introduction of new technologies.<br />

Yet, in recent years, Kazakhstan has been a frontrunner in the<br />

region in announcing decarbonisation targets and adopting green<br />

economy strategies and programmes to reduce greenhouse gas<br />

emissions. The Concept on transition to a Green Economy<br />

was adopted in 2013 and laid the foundation for a completely<br />

The scale of the challenge, especially for the Central Asian<br />

region, is well known. President Tokayev, during his speech at<br />

the Forum’s plenary session, referred to climate change as the<br />

world’s most existential threat. And Central Asia is one of its<br />

frontlines. Even in the optimistic scenario that envisages a temperature<br />

rise limited to 1.5 degrees (and this is a big if), Central<br />

Asia is likely to experience temperature rises between 2-2.5<br />

degrees. This will lead to the desertification of large swathes of<br />

the region, potentially making them uninhabitable. The frequency<br />

and intensity of extreme weather events is on the rise, causing<br />

damages equivalent to 1.3 percent of GDP per annum. And it is<br />

expected that Central Asia’s two main rivers – the Syr Darya and<br />

the Amu Darya – will lose 15 percent of their volume by 2050.<br />

Decarbonisation and green transition efforts in Central Asia are<br />

still very much in their infancy, with coal remaining a primary<br />

source of energy. Kazakhstan, for example, generates approximately<br />

70 percent of its electricity from coal but aims for renewables<br />

to supply half its power by 2050. This shift is intended<br />

to help meet the government’s ambitious goals of reducing the<br />

country’s greenhouse gas emissions to 15 percent below their<br />

1990 levels by 2030 and reaching carbon neutrality by 2060.<br />

new development paradigm, whose urgency is now latent.<br />

Kazakhstan is working on updating this concept, with new goals<br />

and indicators. It was also in that year that Kazakhstan became<br />

the first country in the region to have an Emissions Trading<br />

System (ETS) in place. In 2021, a new Environmental Code was<br />

adopted promoting more efficient technologies, standards and<br />

norms. In 2018 it introduced a system of electronic auctions to<br />

attract investment in the renewable energy sector and help lower<br />

lower tariffs for new renewable and gas-fired electricity capacity.<br />

More recently, Kazakhstan has adopted a Low Emissions<br />

Development Strategy to reach net zero by 2060.<br />

Evidently, there is a long road ahead from policy planning and<br />

strategy towards implementation and enforcement. It calls for<br />

enormous financial and human resources. It requires leveraging<br />

the involvement of the private sector and IFIs, increasingly green<br />

conscious. For example, as announced by Aida Sitdikova from<br />

the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD),<br />

all of the bank’s projects as of January 2023 are aligned with<br />

the Paris climate agreement and it aims for green financing to<br />

account over 50 per cent of its annual business volume by 2025.<br />

Moreover, the transition will necessitate upskilling and reskilling,<br />

with structural changes in the labour market to prevent a skills<br />

mismatch. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)<br />

statistics, the transition to a green economy will add an estimated<br />

60 million new jobs to the market by 2030.<br />

At the Forum, from the Middle East was noticeable the presence<br />

of renewable companies. Indeed, some of the biggest projects<br />

in the field of renewables in Central Asia are funded by countries<br />

of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in particular the United<br />

Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, countries which like Kazakhstan<br />

are blessed with abundant natural resources. Over a decade<br />

ago, they saw the value in betting on renewables and investing<br />

abroad, thereby shaping the energy transformation in other regions.<br />

Middle East giants Masdar (UAE based) and Saudi ACWA<br />

Power have both started operations this year in Kazakhstan’s renewable<br />

energy market, the former having signed an agreement<br />

to develop a wind energy project with a generation capacity of up<br />

to 1 GW; and the latter having recently announced the development<br />

of a 1 GW wind energy and battery storage project with an<br />

initial investment of USD 1.5 billion.<br />

Apart from its well-known endowment of solar and wind,<br />

86 87


Kazakhstan is also betting on green hydrogen. Hydrogen will<br />

play a critical role in decarbonizing the most polluting sectors,<br />

such as mining, transportation, aviation, etc. Late last year, the<br />

Kazakh government signed a USD 50 billion deal with European<br />

renewables group Svevind to build one of the world’s five largest<br />

green hydrogen production facilities in the Mangystau Region,<br />

in the country’s west. It aims to start production by 2030 and<br />

produce two million tons annually from 2032, the equivalent of<br />

20 percent of the EU’s 2030 target for green hydrogen imports.<br />

And let’s not forget the Electric Vehicle (EV) revolution. Electric<br />

cars require six times the amount of minerals compared to<br />

regular cars. Global demand for critical raw materials is set to<br />

skyrocket over the next several decades, especially for minerals<br />

used in EV batteries. Specifically, demand for lithium is expected<br />

to be 12 times greater by 2030 and 21 times higher by 2050. Being<br />

richly endowed with critical raw materials, such as tungsten,<br />

lithium and rare earth elements, Kazakhstan has an additional<br />

important role to play in this aspect of the global green transition.<br />

While the decline of fossil fuels is inevitable, it is equally true that<br />

renewables are not a panacea, as many speakers pointed out at<br />

the Forum. CEO of TotalEnergies Patrick Pouyanné indicated that<br />

in order to meet the rapidly growing energy demand, one needs<br />

to work on two parallel tracks: to continue investing in oil and<br />

gas, which will continue to be with us for a few decades to come;<br />

and to finance green projects. To illustrate: on the sidelines of the<br />

Forum, TotalEnergies signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement<br />

(PPA) for a 1 GW onshore wind farm combined with a 600<br />

megawatt-hour (MWh) battery energy storage system, which is<br />

expected to provide electricity to one million people.<br />

To have a realistic option of achieving net zero, nuclear energy<br />

must also be considered. Just like in the EU, where despite the<br />

reluctance of various Member States, nuclear has been designated<br />

in the EU taxonomy as an environmentally sustainable<br />

and transitional energy sources to replace dirtier fossil fuels<br />

such as oil and coal. Kazakhstan is considering to construct its<br />

first commercial nuclear power plant, building on its role as the<br />

world’s largest producer of uranium. At the time of the Forum,<br />

Kazakhstan was considering a potential nuclear supplier from<br />

four foreign companies: the China National Nuclear Corporation;<br />

Russian State Corporation Rosatom; France’s EDF; and<br />

the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company. However, in his<br />

state-of-the-nation address on September 1, President Tokayev<br />

announced that the country will hold a national referendum to<br />

determine whether to construct a nuclear power.<br />

Looking ahead, Kazakhstan should focus on furthering an<br />

enabling policy and business environment that supports the<br />

renewable uptake. The expansion in wind and solar needs to be<br />

accompanied by policies that support the ageing grid infrastructure.<br />

There is a need to invest in smarter grids that can handle<br />

the intermittency of supply of renewables, when the sun is not<br />

shining and the wind is not blowing. Kazakhstan should consider<br />

joining the Global Methane Pledge (methane makes up 15 percent<br />

of Kazakhstan’s total emissions). And there have been calls<br />

for Kazakhstan to consider increasing the scope of its Emissions<br />

Trading Scheme to cover more sectors.<br />

From the various discussion at the Astana International Forum,<br />

it is clear that Kazakhstan has a golden opportunity to lead the<br />

green transition in Central Asia. The challenges are high, but not<br />

insurmountable.<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

88 89


ELVIRA AZIMOVA<br />

CHAIR OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF<br />

THE REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN<br />

The legal system of Kazakhstan is<br />

acquiring a people-oriented and democratic character<br />

as a result of the constitutional reform of last year<br />

HOW DO YOU ASSESS THE ACTIVITIES AND<br />

ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL<br />

COURT SINCE IT BEGAN ITS WORK IN JANUARY<br />

2023? HOW IS THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT<br />

MOVING TOWARDS ITS GOALS AND OBJECTIVES?<br />

Now, every citizen along with subjects of the state power, can<br />

address the Constitutional Court, and the Commissioner for<br />

Human Rights and the General Prosecutor can now apply to<br />

protect majority’s rights. The recreated Constitutional Court<br />

(previously it operated from 1992 to 1995) is designed to<br />

strengthen the human rights orientation of the state policy.<br />

The establishment of the Constitution Court of Kazakhstan is<br />

considered to be one of the results of the constitutional reform<br />

The Constitutional Court does not belong to any of the three<br />

of 2022, in favour of which more than 77 percent of citizens of<br />

branches of the government (legislative, executive and judicial),<br />

Kazakhstan voted in a national referendum. Each of the citizens<br />

while its activities enhance the system of checks and balances<br />

voted for a new and fair Kazakhstan with equal opportunities for<br />

in the system of government. This goal is achieved by checking<br />

Nine months of work have passed in an active mode. The<br />

The legal system of Kazakhstan is acquiring a people-oriented<br />

everyone, as well as the development of the country’s political<br />

laws and other regulatory legal acts for compliance with the<br />

resolution of administrative issues with regard to the launch of<br />

and democratic character, and its human rights potential has<br />

and economic potential.<br />

Constitution.<br />

the updated body of constitutional control took place simultane-<br />

been strengthened, as a result of the constitutional reform of<br />

ously with constitutional proceedings, because the judges of the<br />

last year.<br />

Constitutional Court began their work on January 1, 2023. 4,000<br />

appeals only from citizens were received.<br />

During the nine months of work, the Constitutional Court declared<br />

five out of 30 existing legal norms unconstitutional, and<br />

Unfortunately, the vast majority of appeals were returned back<br />

provided a new interpretation to eleven norms of normative legal<br />

to the citizens due to the fact that they raised issues out of the<br />

acts in accordance with the Constitution.<br />

Constitutional Court’s competence. For example, reviewing a<br />

sentence, a court decision, resolving social issues, cancelling<br />

As a result, changes were added to the Tax Code regarding<br />

decisions of an authority or an official body that does not have<br />

the amount of the state duty due to the fact that the previous<br />

normative legal characteristics. Despite this, citizens received<br />

existing amount prevented citizens from applying. The previously<br />

detailed legal explanations to their appeals.<br />

existing requirement to conduct a molecular-genetic examination<br />

as a condition to apply to the court has been cancelled.<br />

ARE THERE SPECIFIC AMENDMENTS OR<br />

CHANGES THAT WERE ADOPTED AS A RESULT<br />

OF RECOMMENDATIONS OR DECISIONS OF<br />

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT?<br />

The contradictions that were identified limited the right of access<br />

to justice. Moreover, the case of the established requirement for<br />

application for abbreviated adoption contradicts the constitutional<br />

obligation of the state to protect the childhood, motherhood<br />

and paternity, as well as the international obligation to ensure the<br />

In the worldwide practice, constitutional control authorities are<br />

best interests of the child in accordance with the Convention on<br />

recognized as guardians of the legal sovereignty of the state.<br />

the Rights of the Child, which was ratified by Kazakhstan.<br />

They are called upon to embody in their decisions ideas of the<br />

state about law, justice and humanism, which are enshrined in<br />

The provisions of the Social Code have been revised, which<br />

the state’s constitution, by performing important mission to pro-<br />

in practice could lead to discrimination against certain social<br />

tect the constitutional order.<br />

groups of citizens with regard to benefits and allowances<br />

90 91


guaranteed by the state. Currently, the government is preparing a<br />

members of the Council of the Europe. The recommendations of<br />

number of other legislative amendments related to the recom-<br />

the Venice Commission, which includes experts from more than<br />

mendations of the Constitutional Court, and they are planned to<br />

60 countries as well as Kazakhstan since 2012, are about the<br />

be introduced to the Parliament by the end of this year.<br />

development of constitutional law as the basic way to democracy<br />

through the rule of law.<br />

According to the Constitutional Law “About the Constitutional<br />

Court”, in case the Constitutional Court has declared a norm of<br />

The Constitution and the Constitutional Law “About the Constitu-<br />

law or other normative legal act as an unconstitutional based<br />

tional Court” stipulate that Parliament annually hears a message<br />

on the results of a check for compliance with the Constitution,<br />

from the Constitutional Court about the constitutional legality in<br />

it may recommend that the Government or other authorities<br />

the country. In other words, constitutional control authority has<br />

eliminate the identified contradiction within six months and other<br />

a regular opportunity to formulate proposals to the Legislator in<br />

period. During this period, the identified unlawful norm ceased<br />

face of the Parliament, in order to consider it in the legislative<br />

to apply. The Constitutional Court can provide similar recom-<br />

process and in the formation of the parliamentary initiatives.<br />

mendations when it interprets a norm in an accordance with the<br />

meaning of the constitutional norm.<br />

IN YOUR RECENT SPEECH AT THE MEETING OF<br />

PARLIAMENT, YOU HAVE MENTIONED THAT ONLY<br />

26 PERCENT OF APPEALS FALL UNDER THE<br />

JURISDICTION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.<br />

WHAT STEPS IS THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT<br />

TAKING TO INCREASE PUBLIC AWARENESS AND<br />

UNDERSTANDING OF ITS ROLE AND FUNCTION IN<br />

SOCIETY?<br />

WHAT INDIVIDUALS AND LEGAL ENTITIES USUAL-<br />

LY APPLY AN APPEAL TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL<br />

COURT? ARE THEY CITIZENS, ORGANIZATIONS<br />

OR GOVERNMENT BODIES?<br />

Citizens, the President, the Chairman of the Senate and Mazhilis<br />

of Parliament, deputies of Parliament (at least one fifth of the total<br />

number of deputies), the Prime Minister, the courts, as well as<br />

the Commissioner for Human Rights and the General Prosecutor<br />

have the legal right to appeal to the Constitutional Court.<br />

About 8,000 mentions on social networks confirms the public in-<br />

Upon an appeal from the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan,<br />

terest in the work of the Constitutional Court. From the beginning<br />

the Chairman of Senate, the Chairman of the Mazhilis, at least<br />

of its functioning, the Constitutional Court has been carrying out<br />

one fifth of the total number of deputies of Parliament or the<br />

explanatory work among the population, lawyers, legal consult-<br />

Prime Minister, the Constitutional Court:<br />

ants, and universities.<br />

The Constitutional Court organized a webinar for more than<br />

1,300 lawyers and legal consultants, while more than 700 law<br />

students from leading universities in the country took part in<br />

open lectures taught by judges of the Constitutional Court.<br />

The Constitutional Court posted more than 170 information messages<br />

and interviews in the media and on the Internet resources.<br />

• In case of a dispute, resolves the issue of rightness of<br />

elections of the President of the Republic, deputies of<br />

Parliament and the holding of a republican referendum;<br />

• Reviews laws adopted by the Parliament before the signing by<br />

the President for its compliance with the Constitution;<br />

• Examines decisions adopted by the Parliament and its<br />

Chambers for compliance with the Constitution;<br />

• Examines international treaties of the Republic for compliance<br />

WHAT ARE THE MAIN TYPES OF APPEALS FALL-<br />

ING UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE CONSTI-<br />

TUTIONAL COURT? CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE NA-<br />

TURE OF THESE CASES? ARE THERE RECURRING<br />

THEMES OR SPECIFIC CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES<br />

THAT ARISE MOST OFTEN?<br />

er. Thus, just recently the issue of procedural guarantees for<br />

participants in criminal proceedings related to appealing against<br />

sentences was considered. This case was based on appeals of<br />

five citizens. If the case under consideration is complex, two or<br />

more judge-reporters may be appointed for one constitutional<br />

proceeding.<br />

with their Constitution before ratification;<br />

As I already noted, we received more than 4,000 requests from<br />

There is one important attribute in constitutional proceedings:<br />

The Constitutional Court has a right to invite specialists and ex-<br />

• Gives the official interpretation of the norms of the<br />

citizens over the 9 months of work. This figure confirms the high<br />

despite the requirement for a citizen’s appeal to describe a spe-<br />

perts represented by the scientific community and practitioners,<br />

Constitution;<br />

accessibility of the Constitutional Court to the citizens.<br />

cific situation in which he was faced with a violation of his consti-<br />

when considering appeals. They can give express suggestions<br />

• Gives opinions in case of directly provided for by the<br />

tutional right, the Constitutional Court is not allowed to evaluate<br />

and recommendations. In order to study the views of the scien-<br />

Constitution, including those related to amendments to the<br />

Regarding the nature of issues, citizens often apply because of<br />

the life situation described or review the court decision.<br />

tific and expert community, a scientific advisory body has been<br />

Constitution;<br />

the disagreement with court decisions (41 percent), issues of<br />

established, which includes more than 30 doctors in various<br />

social rights, pensions, access to information, access to justice,<br />

The Constitutional Court is independent and independent of cit-<br />

fields of the law.<br />

Upon requests from the General Prosecutor of the Republic, the<br />

and the right to work. Only 26 percent of citizens’ appeals con-<br />

izens, organizations, state bodies, officials in its activities, and is<br />

Constitutional Court considers issues of ratification of interna-<br />

tain questions about recognizing the legal acts or its individual<br />

guided by the Constitution and its Constitutional Law, as well as<br />

This approach corresponds to recommendations of the Venice<br />

tional treaties and gives and official interpretation of the norms of<br />

provisions as unconstitutional.<br />

refrains from establishing, researching and verifying other issues<br />

Commission of the Council of Europe, which has a status of<br />

the Constitution. Also, upon requests from the General Prosecu-<br />

in all cases when this is within the competence of courts or other<br />

consultative and advisory body uniting together experts repre-<br />

tor and the Commissioner. For Human Rights, it examines reg-<br />

Regarding recurring topics and questions in citizens’ appeals,<br />

government bodies.<br />

sented by the judiciary, and famous scientists from the coun-<br />

ulatory legal acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan for compliance<br />

the relevant constitutional law allows to combine such appeals<br />

tries of the Council of Europe and other countries that are not<br />

with the Constitution.<br />

into one constitutional proceeding and considered togeth-<br />

92 93


INAUGURATION OF ARKADAG<br />

TURKMENISTAN’S FIRST SMART CITY<br />

On June 29, <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> attended the inauguration of<br />

Arkadag Smart City, culminating the first phase of its construction.<br />

The event was attended by the President of Turkmenistan<br />

Serdar Berdimuhamedov, the Cabinet of Ministers, thousands<br />

of public representatives, dignitaries and media representatives<br />

from countries in Central Asia and far beyond.<br />

The inauguration of smart and eco-friendly Arkadag Smart City is<br />

a momentous event that serves as a practical demonstration of<br />

Turkmenistan’s unwavering commitment to the 2030 Agenda for<br />

Sustainable Development, promoting the implementation of 17<br />

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among which improving<br />

people’s lives, ensuring access to education, digitalization, green<br />

economy, creating jobs and favourable working conditions for<br />

people.<br />

During the opening of Arkadag City, a ceremony of presenting<br />

international certificates was held, confirming the achievements<br />

of the city of Arkadag in various fields, including a letter of appreciation<br />

from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme<br />

(UN-Habitat) issued to Arkadag city in acknowledgment and<br />

appreciation of the efforts made towards implementing the principles<br />

of inclusive, safe, resilient and smart sustainable neighbourhoods<br />

and communities, thereby contributing to localizing<br />

Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda in<br />

Turkmenistan.<br />

Arkadag City has also become the beneficiary of the extra-budgetary<br />

project “Development of cities with sustainable, green,<br />

climate-friendly and innovative solutions in the region of the<br />

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe”.<br />

94 95


OSCE Secretary General Helga Schmid presented the relevant<br />

certificate in a meeting with the President of Turkmenistan,<br />

Serdar Berdimuhamedov, during her visit to the country in<br />

May 2023 to attend the opening ceremony of the new office of<br />

the OSCE Center in the Turkmen capital.<br />

a cleaner and healthier urban environment. In this regard, “smart”<br />

garbage bins have been installed in the centre of the region. Special<br />

sensors are installed on the lids of the garbage cans, with the<br />

help of which the percentage of garbage filling will be reported to<br />

the control centre.<br />

needs of every resident. From administrative divisions to medical<br />

and sports facilities, this city offers a comprehensive range of<br />

amenities necessary for a fulfilling life. Every house in Arkadag<br />

city is equipped with “smart” technologies to help create comfortable<br />

living conditions for residents and help save electricity.<br />

The city has been built from scratch in the foothills of the<br />

Kopetdag mountain range, 30 kilometres south-west of the<br />

capital Ashgabat, allowing for the seamless implementation of<br />

every aspect of a smart and eco-friendly city. The construction<br />

of Arkadag began in 2019, and it will serve as the new administrative<br />

centre of Ahal province.<br />

The city’s urban planning strategies have prioritized smart<br />

growth, compact design, and efficient land use. By promoting<br />

mixed-use developments, reducing urban sprawl, and encouraging<br />

public transportation, Arkadag City has successfully created<br />

a more sustainable and accessible urban fabric.<br />

Furthermore, the implementation of innovative infrastructure<br />

projects has played a crucial role in Arkadag City’s sustainable<br />

urbanization journey. The city has invested in renewable energy<br />

sources, such as solar and wind power, to reduce its carbon<br />

footprint and promote clean energy consumption. Also, establishing<br />

efficient waste management systems has contributed to<br />

This city embodies the concept of a “smart city” and adheres<br />

to an environmentally conscious approach at every stage, from<br />

the production of construction materials to the operation of its<br />

facilities.<br />

The integration of cutting-edge technologies such as “smart<br />

homes,” intelligent traffic systems, water and energy conservation<br />

measures, energy efficiency, green transportation options<br />

(electric buses and electric cars) and advanced video surveillance<br />

equipped with accident and emergency detection sensors<br />

truly sets this city apart. Moreover, these services and amenities<br />

are designed to be accessible to all members of the community,<br />

with special consideration for individuals with disabilities.<br />

Spanning an area of 1002 hectares, Arkadag city is designed to<br />

accommodate 70,000 residents. Currently, 368 residential buildings<br />

have been constructed in the first phase, with construction<br />

for the second phase already underway. In this completed first<br />

stage, essential buildings have been erected to cater to the<br />

One of the main conditions of a “smart city” is the presence of a<br />

high-speed communication network. Based on this, a total of 20<br />

3G communication networks and 20 4G (LTE) cellular communication<br />

networks will be built in the city.<br />

Additionally, the State Archive of the city, a television station, a<br />

newspaper and a football team have been established. It should<br />

be added that the “Arkadag” football team is performing successfully<br />

in the domestic football championship of Turkmenistan.<br />

It should be noted that only private construction enterprises of<br />

Turkmenistan and Turkmen architects participated in the construction<br />

of Arkadag city. The materials used in the construction<br />

of the city are ecologically clean and produced within the territory<br />

of Turkmenistan.<br />

One of the key highlights of Arkadag City’s sustainable urbanization<br />

efforts is its emphasis on green spaces and biodiversity<br />

conservation. The city has dedicated substantial areas for<br />

parks, gardens, and green corridors, providing residents with<br />

96 97


ecreational spaces and promoting a closer connection with<br />

nature. These green initiatives enhance the urban landscape and<br />

contribute to climate resilience and ecological preservation.<br />

Meanwhile, the second stage of the construction of the smart<br />

city is already on the way. The ceremony of laying the foundation<br />

of this next stage was held on June 16, 2023 in the presence<br />

of President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov.<br />

Within the framework of the two-stage construction of Arkadag<br />

city, it is planned to build 9 kindergartens of 320 beds, five secondary<br />

schools of <strong>72</strong>0 seats each, health centres, and fire safety<br />

buildings. Also, in this second stage, a railway station, a bus<br />

station, and dispatch points will be built.<br />

98 99


H.E. REYNALDO VELÁZQUEZ ZALDÍVAR<br />

DEPUTY MINISTER<br />

OF HIGHER EDUCATION OF CUBA<br />

In Cuba, higher education is considered<br />

a public good, a human right<br />

and a responsibility of the state<br />

The main strength of our country is the human capital that has<br />

been formed during the years since the Revolution, which has<br />

allowed us to advance both economically and socially. Just<br />

to mention two milestones in educational matters: the literacy<br />

campaign that we developed at the beginning of the Revolution<br />

enabled the cultural and educational development of our country<br />

to this day. And in the case of higher education, after the Revolution,<br />

more than one million professionals have been trained in<br />

our country.<br />

The Ministry of Higher Education was founded in 1976. Before<br />

the triumph of the Revolution, the University of Havana already<br />

existed, which has just turned 295 years old, making it one of the<br />

oldest in Latin America. We also have the Universidad de Oriente,<br />

which has turned 76 years old, and Universidad Central “Marta<br />

Abreu” de Las Villas, which has reached its 70th anniversary.<br />

The higher education system in Cuba is made up of 50 higher<br />

education institutions, of which 22 are attached to the Ministry of<br />

Higher Education, 16 to the Ministry of Public Health, one to the<br />

Ministry of Culture, one to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the<br />

rest are the military universities.<br />

In Cuba, higher education is considered a public good, a human<br />

right and a responsibility of the state. Hence the totally free nature<br />

of Cuban education at all levels. When we talk about public<br />

goods, we are not talking about the way in which the institution<br />

is managed, but rather meaning that it is considered to be a<br />

necessary good for all people. In other countries there are private<br />

and public institutions, in Cuba only public ones.<br />

Let me give a few words about the current context. From an<br />

international point of view, there are factors that affect all countries:<br />

global economic crisis, wars, epidemics, and all this has an<br />

impact on the activities carried out by universities. Additionally,<br />

young people nowadays are digital natives, they think and act in<br />

audiovisual terms and that also conditions the way we educate.<br />

New cultural values emerge in these times related to inclusion<br />

and environmental issues.<br />

These factors, when put in the context of an island of 11 million<br />

inhabitants, are joined by others, specific to us. The economic<br />

crisis in Cuba has a double impact, especially because we have<br />

a strict economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed<br />

by the United States government that makes the development of<br />

all processes difficult. And we also face a very strong cultural war<br />

waged against our young people by the United States, closely related<br />

to the expansion of the American way of life as a paradigm<br />

of social and individual well-being. In that sense, in this state of<br />

constant siege, it is more difficult for us to carry our work.<br />

But, Cuban higher education is optimistic and forward-looking.<br />

We have three essential ideological pillars:<br />

• Fidel Castro’s strategic thinking: the need to think about the<br />

future to act wisely in the present. The most significant<br />

H.E. Reynaldo Velázquez Zaldívar, Deputy Minister of Higher Education of Cuba<br />

example is when Fidel said in the 1960s that “Cuba’s future<br />

experts in order make the most appropriate decisions possible.<br />

must, by necessity, be a future of scientists”. And today, one of To mention one example: when the COVID-19 pandemic began,<br />

the main ways we have to face this serious economic situation the president gave the task to universities and research centers<br />

is the outcome of a strong focus on science.<br />

to create their own vaccines. At the University of Havana, the<br />

molecular synthesis of the enzyme that was going to be used<br />

• Ernesto Che Guevara’s ideas about the “new man”. A revolution<br />

of ideas could not bear fruit with the previous men. A “new centres achieved the creation of the vaccine. The rest of the uni-<br />

in the vaccine was carried out. With this result, BioCubaFarma<br />

man” had to emerge with new ideas, to be able to continue<br />

versities participated in the emergency clinical trial. In the end we<br />

developing the Revolution.<br />

had three vaccines of own and additionally one which is suitable<br />

for children aged two and above, unique in the world.<br />

• Our education is based on the thoughts of José Martí, our<br />

national hero. The objective of Cuban higher education is not We also have a national plan for economic and social development<br />

until 2030, in which a group of strategic sectors has been<br />

to create professionals, but professionals with values. José<br />

Martí said in the 19th century: “we are training engineers and defined, which we have to work on from the universities, and<br />

lawyers, but where are the men?”<br />

form the basis of the international collaboration that we are interested<br />

in developing.<br />

Today we are experiencing one of the most important moments<br />

in the development of Cuban higher education. In Cuba, a government<br />

management system based on science and innovation<br />

lion people who have to be fed in very adverse weather condi-<br />

- Food production, which is a national security problem: 11 mil-<br />

is being implemented. This implies an enhancement of the role<br />

tions, in a country where it rains little. Science and innovation<br />

of universities. Like never before, today government utilizes the<br />

are therefore key.<br />

expert knowledge of universities to make the country’s main<br />

strategic decisions. Our President, H.E. Miguel Díaz-Canel, and - Tourism, which is the most dynamic engine of our economy.<br />

the country’s leadership systematically meet with university<br />

However, everyone sees Cuba as exclusively a sun and beach<br />

100 101


destination. Through innovation we have to diversify and<br />

promote other forms of tourism: cultural, urban, events, health,<br />

rural, etc. If tourism develops, other sectors will follow. From<br />

universities we have the challenge of proposing the tools to<br />

achieve that.<br />

lum, especially in managing it to include inter-cultural dimensions<br />

in our study programs. The contact with international teachers<br />

and students is also significant. At the moment we host 578 international<br />

students, of which 257 in the undergraduate degrees<br />

and 321 in the postgraduate degrees, the majority of whom in the<br />

field of medicine. With COVID-19, that mobility came to a standstill<br />

- Biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry: one of the<br />

and we have had to resort to internationalization at home.<br />

most important exportable resources we have.<br />

On average, 3,500 students go abroad annually, and we have<br />

- Information and communications technologies (ICT)<br />

recovered pre-pandemic levels even though not all air routes to<br />

Cuba have resumed, which makes travel more costly. We are satisfied<br />

- Professional services. We have developed, for example, The<br />

“Yes, I Can” literacy program which is being actively implemented<br />

with the mobility of graduate students, but when it comes<br />

to undergraduate students, the numbers are still underwhelming.<br />

in countries across Africa, Latin America and Asia.<br />

On the topic of international agreements, let me point out that<br />

Cuba has also assimilated and is implementing the Sustainable<br />

Development Goals – the 2030 Agenda – and much of our<br />

collaboration has to do with how we can meet these goals. In<br />

2000, Cuba managed to meet the Millennium Goals. The UN<br />

believes that it will not be possible to meet the 2030 SDGs at a<br />

global level, but we still remain confident that we will be able to<br />

advance in all of them. There is no collaborative project that we<br />

initiate which does not contribute in one way or another to one or<br />

more of the SDGs.<br />

Cuban universities have more than 3,000 agreements with universities<br />

from different parts of the world. We take advantage of<br />

different ways to establish these agreements, such as visits by<br />

university delegations. We have important meeting points conducive<br />

to the signing of these agreements, such as the biennial<br />

University International Congress on Higher Education. Next year<br />

we will hold the 14th edition, from February 5-9. All 50 Cuban<br />

universities participate there as well as foreign delegates, usually<br />

exceeding 2,000. It will be a very important moment for signing<br />

agreements.<br />

We are evidently associated with Objective 4 (Ensuring inclusive<br />

and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning<br />

opportunities for all) but the contribution we make from science<br />

is for all objectives. SDG 17 is important too, which has to do<br />

Additionally, each of our universities develop international conferences,<br />

conventions, international events: these are all spaces<br />

conducive to signing agreements. The agreement is the legal<br />

Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

with alliances and partnerships to achieve the challenge of the<br />

objectives.<br />

support for the entire collaboration. You can have a lot of agreements<br />

and not develop any collaborative actions. Therefore, a<br />

The internationalization process of our higher education system<br />

is a priority. This includes the internationalization of the curricu-<br />

priority of ours is that all these agreements become collaborative<br />

actions.<br />

Precisely this year we have begun to reactivate an important<br />

mechanism for collaboration, which are the rectors’ meetings.<br />

We recently held the meeting of rectors Cuba-Belarus, Cuba-<br />

Russian Federation, Cuba-Germany, Cuba-Hungary and Cuba-Mexico.<br />

Scholarships are another essential pillar of internationalization.<br />

We offer scholarships here for countries in Latin America, Asia<br />

and Africa, but we are actively looking for scholarships to support<br />

our teachers and students in countries that have areas of<br />

specialized knowledge. We prioritize scholarships in the natural,<br />

exact and technical sciences, although this does not mean that<br />

there are no scholarships in the social sciences and humanities,<br />

for the study of foreign languages in particular. There are also<br />

scholarships offered by international organizations, such as the<br />

Iberoamerican Association of Postgraduate Universities, which<br />

offers scholarships for mobility, completion of doctoral thesis,<br />

research stays, a.o.<br />

All of the above can give rise to ideas and possibilities for international<br />

collaboration projects. To illustrate in practical terms,<br />

let me mention three specific projects and the significant impact<br />

they have had on Cuba:<br />

- ACCESS Caribbean, an Erasmus + project coordinated by the<br />

University of Alicante (Spain) with participation of the University<br />

of Macedonia (Greece) and universities from the Dominican<br />

Republic, Costa Rica and Cuba. It arises with the purpose of<br />

promoting accessibility and access of people with disabilities<br />

to Higher Education. It has allowed us to acquire good practices<br />

from these European universities regarding the management<br />

of disabilities in university students, especially from a<br />

technological point of view.<br />

- Another projects I would like to mention took place in the<br />

framework of the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI)<br />

through the French Embassy. Previously in Cuba we did not<br />

have short cycle higher education programmes. Through the<br />

collaboration with the Association of Directors of Technological<br />

Institutes of France we were able to create the first four<br />

programs in Cuba in 2018. Now we have 58. Normally, our<br />

degrees last four years, but Cuba needs the manpower to<br />

works towards the 2030 objectives. Training people for four<br />

years is not realistic for us. Furthermore, the demographic<br />

dynamics in our country are causing the population to age and<br />

we have fewer and fewer young people. These programs were<br />

designed so that in two years young people leave university<br />

with a qualification that allows them to work.<br />

- Cuba is one of the key partner countries of VLIR-UOS (Flemish<br />

Inter-university Council for University Development Cooperation),<br />

which supports partnerships between Flemish universities<br />

or universities of applied sciences and arts, in Flanders<br />

and partner countries, that are searching for answers to global<br />

and local challenges. This programme has strengthened<br />

digitalisation and boosted ICT capacities in universities across<br />

Cuba.<br />

Each of these examples has benefited us in some way: the social<br />

effects derived from the increased attention to students with<br />

disabilities; the educational impact of the creation of new, flexible<br />

programmes based on European models; and third, a project<br />

with significant technological impact.<br />

Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

102 103


OFFICE OF THE HISTORIAN<br />

OF THE CITY OF HAVANA<br />

RESTORING OLD HAVANA<br />

TO ITS FORMER GLORY,<br />

ONE STEP AT THE TIME<br />

We are grateful to Belgium for actively collaborating<br />

with the rehabilitation of<br />

the historic centre of Havana<br />

During a working visit to Cuba, the <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> team met<br />

with Patricia Rodríguez Alomá, Director of the Master Plan for the<br />

Comprehensive Revitalization of Old Havana; and Nelys García<br />

Blanco, Director of International Cooperation at the Office of the<br />

Historian of the City of Havana.<br />

The Master Plan is the organization that within the Office of<br />

the Historian of the City of Havana dictates the comprehensive<br />

development policies of the area prioritized for conservation. The<br />

Office of the Historian can be considered a specialized management<br />

unit to guarantee the comprehensive development of areas<br />

of high-value heritage of the city. The historian’s office was born<br />

in 1938, founded by a Cuban intellectual very interested in the<br />

preservation of the cultural heritage – not only of Havana but of<br />

the entire nation – Dr Emilio Roig de Leuchsenring. The man who<br />

later became Director of the Office, Dr Eusebio Leal Spengler,<br />

who unfortunately left us in 2020, referred to Emilio Roig as “my<br />

predecessor of happy memory.” He felt like a continuator of the<br />

work of Dr. Emilio Roig.<br />

In the 1960s, the office of the historian was recognized by the<br />

leaders of the Revolution. The Revolution evidently changed<br />

everything. Or almost everything, because one of the few institutions<br />

that remained in place was precisely the Office of the<br />

Historian, because it had already been developing avant-garde<br />

work closely related to the safeguarding of national identity and<br />

national autonomy. In other words, it had been carrying out a<br />

task that suited the purposes of the Revolution very well.<br />

In the 1970s, in 1976 to be precise, the process of institutionalization<br />

of the country began, with the creation of the Ministry<br />

of Culture, which then created the National Monuments Commission.<br />

The first towns founded by the Spanish, including Old<br />

Havana, were declared a National Monument in 1978.<br />

This declaration enabled rehabilitation works to be funded from<br />

the state budget. In 1981, the first five-year restoration plan was<br />

prepared. The state recognized and identified the historian’s<br />

office as the coordinator to implement this plan, starting from the<br />

rehabilitation of the Plaza de Armas (Square of Arms) – Havana’s<br />

oldest square.<br />

At that time, old Havana was extremely run-down, there was no<br />

clear awareness of the “value of the old”. The Old Town exercised<br />

two priority functions at that time: residential, with overcrowded<br />

and decaying buildings; and a large number of warehouses<br />

and workshops, closely linked to the port activity. There<br />

was even a small district which emerged at the beginning of the<br />

20th century that housed the headquarters of financial houses<br />

and banks, which was called “Little Wall Street.”<br />

Over the years, there have been substantial changes in terms<br />

of new building uses that have been incorporated, primarily of a<br />

cultural nature and the provision of primary services to the local<br />

community: schools, health centres and nursing homes for the<br />

elderly. This is because we are committed to a “living historic<br />

centre”, which is at the same time the greatest challenge.<br />

104 105


Square disturbed the activities of the school located there.<br />

equipment to the chocolate museum. And a third intervention, in<br />

Therefore, at the initiative of Eusebio Leal, it was decided to<br />

the early 2000s, within the framework of a Local Human Devel-<br />

enable a space in the museums of the neighbourhood to con-<br />

opment Programme with the Walloon region. The action involved<br />

tinue the school activities and educational processes there, in<br />

the restoration of a property of high-value heritage in the old<br />

conjunction with a heritage education programme. This led to the<br />

square, for the creation on the ground floor of a cultural space,<br />

In 1982, when we had already begun the implementation of the<br />

In 1993, a Decree was issued delegating powers and respon-<br />

creation of the first “aulas-museo” (classrooms in the museums).<br />

known since then as the ‘Vitrina de Valonia’ (Walloon Showcase),<br />

first five-year plan, Old Havana and its system of fortifications<br />

sibilities to the office of the historian. The Decree made the<br />

In this way, children get closer to the heritage and make it their<br />

which is also one of the epicentres of the annual Belgian Week<br />

were declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. From that<br />

historian, Dr Eusebio Leal, a member of the Council of State,<br />

own.<br />

in Havana. This intervention was made jointly with the Walloon<br />

moment, the commitment to its rehabilitation is not only national<br />

the most powerful government body in Cuba, giving his office<br />

Heritage Institute (recently absorbed into the Walloon Heritage<br />

but acquires an international character. As a consequence, state<br />

greater autonomy. This legal instrument reinforced the political<br />

Since the 1993 Decree, high-value heritage properties began to<br />

Agency). During the execution of the works, this project support-<br />

budget resources are increased to continue the restoration plan.<br />

will to continue the restoration process that had been developing<br />

be recovered for the provision of social and cultural services. And<br />

ed the training of young people in specialized restoration trades,<br />

but in a different way. From that moment on, the conditions are<br />

that is where we connect with the contributions of Belgian coop-<br />

and as a result of this collaboration and technical exchange,<br />

Then came the 1990s, the collapse of the Communist bloc.<br />

created for the culture to begin to produce wealth and sustain<br />

eration with three very important programs. Let me emphasise at<br />

work was carried out on the restoration of the property’s mural<br />

These were countries with which we had a very strong econom-<br />

the restoration process as much as possible. Until then, culture<br />

the outset how grateful we are to Belgium, because the country<br />

paintings, the carpentry, etc.<br />

ic relationship, and Cuba entered into a sudden and very deep<br />

and restoration had been seen as a sunk cost. From the 1990s,<br />

has actively collaborated with the rehabilitation of the historic<br />

economic crisis. This historical moment is known as the “special<br />

culture starts to be seen as an investment, which not only recov-<br />

centre of Havana.<br />

Belgium also facilitated the inclusion of Havana into the<br />

period”. As a result, the state greatly reduces the budget for<br />

ers economic investments but contributes to identity, a sense of<br />

European Art Nouveau network, within which there are exchang-<br />

restoration to almost zero and there is a significant contraction of<br />

belonging and a whole series of critical values.<br />

First, the restoration of seven deteriorated plots for social hous-<br />

es of exhibitions, publications and conferences.<br />

the rehabilitative process. But, as the Chinese say, “in moments<br />

ing, benefiting 90 families in the historic centre. Second, in the<br />

of crisis, the main opportunities arise”. One has to be creative,<br />

The late 1990s also saw the emergence of a very interesting<br />

ground floor one of those buildings the chocolate museum was<br />

All of this is based on the comprehensive development plan that<br />

or else one perishes. Fortunately, Cubans were creative at that<br />

initiative which prevails to this day. The noise and other incon-<br />

conceived through the collaboration with the Brussels chocolate<br />

is based on five pillars: institutional, cultural, social, economic<br />

time.<br />

veniences derived from the works being carried out in the Old<br />

museum, which trained Cuban master chocolatiers and donated<br />

and environmental sustainability. We direct projects and create<br />

106 107


the appropriate conditions based on that plan to achieve comprehensive<br />

and articulated development.<br />

imposed by the US government. What has been done is with our<br />

own resources and international cooperation.<br />

The Office of the Historian not only exists in Havana, but has ten<br />

other offices across Cuba, with an additional four in the process<br />

of being created. That is, all the cities that are catalogued as<br />

‘National Monuments’ either have an office or are in the process<br />

of having one. Working in the format of such ‘network of cities’<br />

allows best practices and experiences to be transmitted more<br />

quickly.<br />

At this moment we are immersed in a very important project,<br />

one of the last dreams of Eusebio Leal: the restoration of the old<br />

convent of Santa Clara to create an arts and crafts school to train<br />

young restorers from the Caribbean and the Americas. It is being<br />

implemented through UNESCO with funding from the European<br />

Union, and in parallel through the Italian-Latin American Institute<br />

with funds from the Italian government.<br />

Of course, an enormous effort has been made to carry out this<br />

comprehensive development, but there is still a long way to<br />

go. The resources have not been sufficient. It is no mystery to<br />

anyone that we hardly have access to loans or lines of credit<br />

that could have facilitated our development, due to the blockade<br />

The most serious problem we have is housing, and the poor<br />

technical conditions of many buildings that are inhabited, with<br />

the associated risks for the families living there. We have built<br />

around 2,000 homes to alleviate these problems, but much<br />

remains to be done.<br />

To conclude, let me speak about a new emerging force, the role<br />

of the private sector, which is actively contributing to the restoration<br />

process. One of the legal instruments enshrined in the 1993<br />

Decree mentioned above is the collection of a fee for rehabilitation<br />

from all revenue-generating activities that take place in the<br />

territory. All businesses contribute to this fee, which does not<br />

take away from their profit margins since the fee is included as<br />

an expense in their tax returns. The money collected goes into a<br />

maintenance account, which allows us to continue the recovery<br />

of the historic centre and more importantly the maintenance<br />

of schools, offices and health centres, in order to maintain a<br />

“living historic centre”.<br />

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108 109


H.E. THÉRENCE NTAHIRAJA<br />

AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI<br />

TO THE KINGDOM OF BELGIUM<br />

AND HEAD OF MISSION<br />

TO THE EUROPEAN UNION<br />

Building on its favourable geographical positioning,<br />

Burundi considers regional integration as a priority<br />

to diversify its economy<br />

BURUNDI IS IN THE MIDST OF A PROCESS OF<br />

NATIONAL RECONCILIATION FOLLOWING THE<br />

END OF THE CIVIL WAR. WHAT ROLE DOES THE<br />

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION (TRC)<br />

PLAY IN TERMS OF BRINGING THE COUNTRY<br />

TOGETHER AND TURNING THE PAGE ON THE<br />

COUNTRY’S CHAPTER OF VIOLENCE AND<br />

INSTABILITY?<br />

In a country which has experienced serious violence, the TRC<br />

intervenes to unearth the truth about long-hidden human rights<br />

violations, to rehabilitate the victims and to address the wounded<br />

memories of the national community.<br />

Photo: Royal Palace<br />

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is a transitional<br />

justice mechanism to address Burundi’s tragic and violent past. It<br />

was agreed between political actors meeting in Arusha, Tanzania.<br />

It was in August 2000 that peace talks resulted in the Arusha<br />

Peace and Reconciliation Agreement.<br />

This mechanism came to support the other institutions responsible<br />

for managing the transition towards a state of law and justice,<br />

towards more democracy and national cohesion. The TRC is<br />

therefore a tool for promoting truth in the service of reconciliation.<br />

Its investigations and hearings give a voice to victims, witnesses<br />

to the serious violence that has devastated Burundi and all<br />

resourceful people who can enrich the work of this Commission.<br />

Photo: Royal Palace<br />

In Burundi, the TRC emphasizes the truth in the service of reconciliation<br />

and therefore community cohesion. By giving voice<br />

to the victims and the alleged perpetrators of the crimes, the<br />

TRC has finally inaugurated since 2015 the era of open debate<br />

on all taboos. The victims must be known and listed. So do the<br />

perpetrators of the crimes. The process does not forget those<br />

who protected others during the various crises that Burundi has<br />

experienced.<br />

The mission of the TRC includes the following activities:<br />

• Establish responsibilities to help the country emerge from<br />

community criminalization and community victimization;<br />

• List the victims by proposing to the public authorities programs<br />

for their rehabilitation and material reparations;<br />

• Propose programs of reconciliation and forgiveness supported<br />

by recognition of shared truth;<br />

• After more than 50 years of silence on crimes committed<br />

against generally innocent citizens, the time has come to<br />

confront our painful common past with courage and without<br />

evasion.<br />

IN ADDITION TO A PROCESS OF INTERNAL<br />

RECONCILIATION, BURUNDI IS ALSO MENDING<br />

TIES WITH NEIGHBOURS. WHAT IS THE CURRENT<br />

STATE OF AFFAIRS IN THE NORMALIZATION OF<br />

RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBOURING RWANDA?<br />

110 111


This stretched hand was accepted by the Burundian Head of<br />

State in these words: “We are ready,” replied President Évariste<br />

Ndayishimiye, “to open a new chapter between Burundi and<br />

Rwanda.”<br />

In short, with the coming to power of President Evariste<br />

Ndayishimiye at the end of 2020, a process of normalization of<br />

relations was launched. Efforts which pushed Rwanda to reopen<br />

its borders with Burundi on March 7, 2022 and official meetings<br />

between high authorities of these two countries have also multiplied<br />

in both capitals, Kigali and Gitega.<br />

NEW AVENUES FOR POLITICAL DIALOGUE BE-<br />

TWEEN BURUNDI AND THE EUROPEAN UNION<br />

HAVE EMERGED DURING THE PRESIDENCY OF<br />

EVARISTE NDAYISHIMIYE AND FOLLOWING THE<br />

EU’S LIFTING OF SANCTIONS IN 2022. WHAT ARE<br />

THE MAIN AREAS OF COOPERATION BETWEEN<br />

BOTH SIDES?<br />

Burundi and the EU enjoy excellent relations of friendship and<br />

cooperation. This cooperation, which is characterized by lon-<br />

H.E. Evariste-Ndayishimiye, President of Burundi<br />

Photo: Embassy of Burundi<br />

gevity, diversity and dynamism, dates from the eve of Burundi’s<br />

independence, given that Burundi was among the first countries<br />

to benefit from European support through European Develop-<br />

Through continuous dialogue with the Burundian authorities,<br />

Ntare-Rushatsi-House<br />

Photo: Embassy of Burundi<br />

ment Fund (EDF) commitments which covered the period from<br />

the EU promises actions which are intended to be viable and<br />

1959 to 1965.<br />

sustainable in the long term and which are part of a strategic<br />

vision shared with Burundi, and in essential sectors such as rural<br />

After years of tension, relations are warming between Burundi<br />

and Rwanda. The first contacts were triggered by an unexpected<br />

meeting, on October 20, 2021 at the Nemba border post<br />

African President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, but in particular<br />

the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Édouard Ngirente. It was the first<br />

visit by a Rwandan head of state or government to Burundi since<br />

POLITICAL RELATIONS<br />

development and nutrition, health, energy, environment, justice,<br />

education and good governance.<br />

between the two countries, between the two Foreign Ministers<br />

the deterioration of relations between the two neighbours in the<br />

As a partner of Burundi, the EU is fully committed to supporting<br />

This partnership between Burundi and the EU allows for contin-<br />

who held discussions behind closed doors. The goal was to<br />

mid-2010s.<br />

the country’s development. In collaboration with the Burundian<br />

uous exchanges on shared values including the preservation of<br />

normalize relations between these two neighbouring states, at<br />

authorities and following the country’s priorities, the EU is initi-<br />

political space, respect for human rights, but also protection of<br />

loggerheads for five years.<br />

The ceremony was an opportunity to express the desire for<br />

ating various actions linked to the axes of the National Develop-<br />

the environment.<br />

rapprochement between the two capitals. Here are the words of<br />

ment Plan (PND 2018-2027).<br />

In their brief speeches to the press, the two heads of diplomacy<br />

welcomed “the opening of a new chapter” and underlined their<br />

desire to resolve their many differences. “The fundamental issues<br />

the Rwandan Prime Minister: “It is for me, a great honour and<br />

pleasure to take part in this celebration of the 59th Anniversary<br />

of the independence of Burundi, representing His Excellency<br />

Since February 2022, the EU has officially ended the restrictive<br />

measures under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement and<br />

ECONOMIC RELATIONS<br />

have not been resolved, but there is a desire to find solutions,”<br />

Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda.” The visit<br />

normalized its relations with Burundi. This decision follows an<br />

Burundi’s economy is described as “resilient” by the International<br />

said the Burundian side.<br />

of Rwandan Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente was a notable<br />

intense political dialogue, initiated after the general elections of<br />

Monetary Fund (IMF). It has returned to growth several times af-<br />

event, after years of quarrel with the Burundian authorities, who<br />

May 2020, and the reforms initiated by the Burundian authorities<br />

ter depressions caused by strong instability (political problem of<br />

The fate of certain refugees remains a sticking point in diplomatic<br />

accused Kigali of welcoming the Burundian putschists.<br />

in terms of good governance.<br />

2015, subsequent decline in GDP), by the COVID-19 pandemic<br />

relations between Rwanda and Burundi, Gitega having asked<br />

and the war in Ukraine.<br />

Kigali to hand over all those he accuses of having participated,<br />

Invited to the podium, the Head of the Rwandan Government<br />

The EU attaches great importance to regional stability and sup-<br />

directly or indirectly, in an attempt of the failed putsch of 2015<br />

proposed to the Burundian President to renew the strategic part-<br />

ports Burundi in its role as a factor of stability in the Great Lakes<br />

Since 2022, Burundi has benefited from the positive effects of<br />

against the government of Pierre Nkurunziza. These are soldiers<br />

nership between the two countries in these terms: “The time has<br />

Region, through the EU Strategy for the Great Lakes Region,<br />

the re-establishment of dialogue with the international commu-<br />

and civilians under international arrest warrant as alleged coup<br />

come for Burundi and Rwanda to rely on the solid foundations of<br />

and within the framework of the East African Community (EAC).<br />

nity, including the resumption of economic cooperation with the<br />

plotters.<br />

our historical and cultural ties in order to achieve prosperity and<br />

Furthermore, the EU continues to support operations to maintain<br />

IMF, with which the Burundian Government is negotiating a new<br />

sustainable development. I am convinced that we are all ready to<br />

peace and stability in Somalia, through the African Union Mission<br />

credit program for an amount of USD 260 million.<br />

Burundi celebrated the 59th anniversary of its independence on<br />

work for the consolidation and promotion of existing relations of<br />

to Somalia (AMISOM), to which Burundi contributes with a mili-<br />

July 1, 2021. Among the distinguished guests were the Central<br />

friendship and cooperation for the benefit of our two peoples.”<br />

tary contingent.<br />

In July 2022, the EU established a road map towards the return<br />

112 113


to eligibility of budget support in Burundi. A series of actions<br />

resulted from this, some of which are already being implemented<br />

such as the PEFA (Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability)<br />

assessment in 2023, as well as support for specialized<br />

civil society organizations for greater participation. and citizen<br />

vigilance in economic affairs and transparency of public finances.<br />

An economic governance support program is being defined<br />

in support of public finance management reforms. It should be<br />

implemented from 2024.<br />

COMMERCIAL RELATIONS<br />

Building on its favourable geographical positioning, Burundi considers<br />

regional integration as a priority to diversify its economy.<br />

Burundi is a member of more than 50 subregional, regional and<br />

international organizations, including four regional economic<br />

organizations:<br />

• The Economic Community of the Countries of the Great Lakes<br />

(CEPGL) since 1976;<br />

• The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS)<br />

since 1984;<br />

• The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa<br />

(COMESA) since 1994;<br />

• The East African Community (EAC).<br />

Burundi’s main trading partners on the African continent are as<br />

follows, in order of priority: EAC, COMESA and SADEC. The<br />

EU represents less than 10 percent of total trade. Agricultural<br />

products are the main Burundian products exported to the EU<br />

(86 percent of total exports to the EU), while chemicals (32.5<br />

percent), machinery and transport equipment (29.9 percent), represent<br />

the main imports. The EU finances trade integration programs<br />

with the EAC, ECCAS, COMESA and finally the progressive<br />

establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).<br />

DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION<br />

Between 2015 and 2021, Team Europe (EU and its Member<br />

States present in Burundi, namely Belgium, Germany, France<br />

and the Netherlands, in addition to Switzerland, as well as the<br />

European Investment Bank) has financed projects worth around<br />

USD 908.2 million, or more than 33 percent of the total financial<br />

support from development partners, making Europe the largest<br />

donor of public funds in Burundi.<br />

Several regional projects were also financed as part of the previous<br />

programmatic phase (2014-2020), with a financial envelope<br />

of EUR 73 million, the main ones being:<br />

• Electricity interconnection projects with neighbouring countries<br />

of Burundi (Rwanda and DRC);<br />

• Projects for the management and protection of water and<br />

fisheries resources in Lake Tanganyika;<br />

• Projects to strengthen trade and stability in the sub-region.<br />

For the first tranche of the current period, covering the years<br />

2021-2024, the EU has mobilized an envelope of EUR 194 million<br />

as part of its Multi-Annual Indicative Program (MIP). The EU MIP<br />

in Burundi targets 3 priority areas of intervention:<br />

• Inclusive, green, sustainable and job-creating growth which<br />

targets key sectors of development such as sustainable and<br />

equitable value chains in the agricultural sector and food security,<br />

renewable and clean energy, protection and management<br />

of natural resources and biodiversity, with a transversal dimension<br />

aimed at supporting the governance of these sectors;<br />

• Human development and basic services which covers priority<br />

sectors such as public health, drinking water, hygiene and sanitation<br />

services, basic education, socio-professional training,<br />

as well as the promotion of good governance in these sectors;<br />

• Good governance and the rule of law which contributes to the<br />

strengthening of democratic culture and reconciliation, human<br />

rights, justice, economic governance and the business climate.<br />

To further increase its means of action, beyond this national MIP<br />

envelope, the EU Delegation in Burundi managed to mobilize<br />

around EUR 83 million within the framework of regional projects<br />

targeting, in particular, Burundi to contribute to the protection<br />

of the biodiversity and natural resources of Lake Tanganyika<br />

and the Kibira-Nyungwe ecological corridor, to provide lasting<br />

solutions to Burundian refugees in the Great Lakes region, and<br />

to support the maintenance of peace and security in the Great<br />

Lakes region. The sectors supported by the EU in Burundi fit<br />

perfectly into the objectives and strategic orientations of the<br />

National Development Plan of Burundi (PND 2018-2027).<br />

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For the period 2014-2020, EU support (through the 11th European<br />

Development Fund) to Burundi focused on the following sectors,<br />

with a financial envelope of EUR 332 million: infrastructure and<br />

rural development, health, energy, good governance, facilitation<br />

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114 115


H.E. SOE LYNN HAN<br />

HEAD OF THE MISSION<br />

OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNION<br />

OF MYANMAR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION<br />

COULD YOU UPDATE OUR READERS ON THE<br />

CURRENT PEACE AND STABILITY RESTORATION<br />

ENDEAVOURS IN MYANMAR?<br />

5. Upon accomplishing the provisions of the state of emergency,<br />

free and fair multi-party democratic elections will be held in line<br />

with the 2008 Constitution; and further work will be undertaken<br />

to hand over State duties to the winning party in accordance<br />

As Myanmar is home to over 130 national races and has been<br />

with democratic standards.<br />

experiencing internal armed conflicts since its independence<br />

from British rule in 1948, national unity is the key to achieving our<br />

The SAC government also introduces practical and politically<br />

vision of a nation based on democratic and prosperous federal<br />

feasible measures in implementing the peace process. There are<br />

union.<br />

two basic factors for the continuation of implementing the peace<br />

That is the reason why successive governments have always<br />

process. These are to firmly stand for the Nationwide Ceasefire<br />

Agreement (NCA) and for the Constitution (2008).<br />

Photo: Royal Palace<br />

given peace, stability and national reconciliation a high priority.<br />

The State Administration Council (SAC) has also placed the<br />

In this connection, there might be a curious linkage between<br />

honestly for the interest of the State and Union, the nation will<br />

and that the process is inclusive. Hence, a solid foundation for a<br />

highest priority to strengthen ties among all our national races<br />

NCA and the Constitution (2008). Myanmar comprises eight<br />

inevitably develop in accord with the goal of “Keep Moving<br />

federal democratic union can be laid.<br />

to promote economic and social development in the regions<br />

major national races and over 130 ethnic nationals. All ethnic<br />

Forward to Achieve our Goal.”<br />

inhabited by them, forging a lasting peace for all our people.<br />

The peace process has been put as an utmost importance and<br />

undertaken in line with the Five-Points Roadmap for the ultimate<br />

goal of a federal democratic union.<br />

At this stage, I would like to clarify the Five-Points Road Map of<br />

the SAC:<br />

1. The Union Election Commission will be reconstituted and its<br />

nationals have equal rights. The existing Constitution (dating<br />

from 2008) mentions the rights of ethnic affairs. Thus, the SAC<br />

government will continue efforts for enabling ethnic nationals to<br />

have deserved rights and entitlements.<br />

Since 2022, Ethnic Armed Groups (EAOs) have been invited for<br />

88 rounds of peace talks to solicit the aspirations and views of all<br />

stakeholders towards the establishment of a federal democratic<br />

THE ELECTION<br />

The concept of federalism entails the sharing of power and authority<br />

with different regions, states, ethnicities and national races.<br />

Political parties including ethnic parties represent the people<br />

who support them. Efforts are being made to switch to a propor-<br />

SPEAKING OF PEACE AND STABILITY, WOULD<br />

YOU LIKE TO SHARE A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF<br />

THE DEVELOPMENTS IN IMPLEMENTING THE<br />

REPATRIATION OF DISPLACED PERSONS FROM<br />

THE RAKHINE STATE AND RECENT TALKS AND<br />

NEGOTIATIONS WITH BANGLADESH?<br />

mandated tasks, including the scrutiny of voter lists, shall be<br />

union.<br />

tional representation (PR) system in order to widely represent the<br />

Before I share the latest development in implementing of the<br />

implemented in accordance with the law;<br />

parties and ethnic nationalities in the legislature. The government<br />

repatriation process, it is essential to let you know briefly about<br />

2. Effective measures will be taken with added momentum to<br />

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has recently sent an invitation to<br />

has explained it to the leaders of EAOs at the peace talks.<br />

the historical background of Rakhine State. During the British<br />

prevent and manage the COVID-19 pandemic;<br />

all ethnic leaders to attend the ceremony to commemorate the 8th<br />

colonial rule over India and Burma, hundreds of thousands of<br />

3. Actions will be taken to ensure the speedy recovery of<br />

Anniversary of the Signing of NCA which will be held with essence<br />

Arrangements are being made to enumerate the nationwide cen-<br />

people were systematically transferred from the Bengal region of<br />

businesses from the impact of COVID-19;<br />

(At the time of publishing, the ceremony will be completed).<br />

sus from 1 to 15 October 2024 to hold the General Election at the<br />

British India into colonial Burma (present-day Myanmar). Most<br />

4. Emphasis will be placed on achieving enduring peace for<br />

soonest. The basic data of voter lists must be compiled correctly<br />

of those who came to Rakhine then were seasonal labours and<br />

the entire nation in line with the agreements set out in the<br />

Restoring peace and stability of the State is essential in exer-<br />

to enable all eligible voters to cast their votes in all parts of the<br />

never returned home.<br />

Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement;<br />

cising a democratic system. Thus, if all make efforts fairly and<br />

country to make sure no one in the electoral politics is left behind<br />

116 117


Thousands of displaced persons also sought refuge from then<br />

the repatriation process since 2018, ARSA terrorists in Cox’s<br />

East Pakistan into Rakhine State during Bangladesh’s war of in-<br />

Bazar are threatening the lives of the people in the camps who<br />

dependence in 1971 and the following years. Because of porous<br />

wish to voluntarily return to Myanmar.<br />

borders and weak border controls, there were no proper records<br />

of movement. Myanmar authorities became concerned about the<br />

At the same time, some NGOs and INGOs are also pressuring<br />

irregular immigration. In 1978, the then Government launched<br />

people not to go back. As a result, no one dares to return to<br />

the Naga-Min Campaign to identify such irregular immigrants.<br />

Myanmar through an official channel and repatriation could not<br />

This move led to the (mass) displacement of those people from<br />

take place until now.<br />

Myanmar to Bangladesh. Then, the first-ever repatriation process<br />

between two countries jumped in and most of these persons<br />

All these measures reflected Myanmar’s commitment and polit-<br />

later returned to Myanmar based on the agreement between the<br />

ical will to continue and hope to have sincere cooperation with<br />

two Governments.<br />

relevant stakeholders. We do believe that with a shared objective<br />

and balanced views from all stakeholders, we will be able<br />

In 1991-1992, there was a second wave of displacement from<br />

to build a peaceful, harmonious and developed community in<br />

Rakhine into Bangladesh. It was triggered by the action taken<br />

Rakhine State.<br />

by Myanmar’s Defence Services against the self-identified/selfstyled<br />

terrorist organisation Rohingya Solidarity Organisation<br />

(RSO). Again, the second repatriation process under the UN<br />

Refugee Agency (UNHCR) arrangement was conducted between<br />

the two countries.<br />

AS WE KNOW, THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF UPS<br />

AND DOWNS IN EU-MYANMAR RELATIONS<br />

RECENTLY. WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT?<br />

On account of lessons learned from past events, a project was<br />

Due to the political developments of Myanmar after 2021, we<br />

introduced by the predecessor governments to collect the<br />

could say that currently Myanmar-EU relations are not at their<br />

bio-data, including photographs, and register the lists of family<br />

best, but we try to be positive and constructive.<br />

households in Rakhine State, taken door-to-door annually by the<br />

relevant authorities.<br />

The EU has been an active supporter of Myanmar’s democratic<br />

transition and economic reforms since the two agreed to open<br />

Panoramic view of Bagan<br />

However, unfortunate events happened after terrorist attacks<br />

a new chapter in the relations in 2013. The EU suspended the<br />

by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) in Rakhine<br />

former sanctions in April 2012 and lifted them in April 2013.<br />

sanctions and removal of special trade privileges suggest that<br />

ocratic system we want is not based on an illusion or abstract<br />

State in 2016 and 2017. The provocative and premeditated<br />

Following recognition from the Conference of the International<br />

deeper economic sanctions could do irreversible damage to the<br />

terms but based on reality: the unshakable historical evidence<br />

armed attacks by ARSA terrorists on various security outposts<br />

Labour Organisation (ILO) of Myanmar’s progress, the preferential<br />

sector and put workers at further risk.<br />

that has taken place in our country for the last 70 years.<br />

in Northern Rakhine State were the undeniable causes to the<br />

access for Myanmar products to the EU market was re-estab-<br />

present humanitarian issues. While some international organi-<br />

lished in July 2013 and since then Myanmar has benefited from<br />

Attributable to this, a report of the United Nations Development<br />

It does not mean that we will achieve stability through force and<br />

sations have biasedly portrayed the Myanmar security forces as<br />

the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative under the Generalised<br />

Program (UNDP) from September 2022 concluded that forcing<br />

suppression. That is why we are trying to organize ourselves, in<br />

perpetrators of mass atrocity crimes, nobody can ignore or<br />

Scheme of Preferences (GSP).<br />

Western investors to dis-invest and withdraw preferential trade<br />

a country of 55 million people, to pave the way for a democracy<br />

discount the well-documented atrocities committed by ARSA<br />

agreements is not the most appropriate policy response to the<br />

that reflects the will of people as well as the historical and polit-<br />

that resulted in the death of hundreds of innocent people in<br />

Myanmar’s garment sector grew rapidly and has been contribut-<br />

situation in Myanmar.<br />

ical environment of our country. With that in mind, the govern-<br />

Rakhine, including 100 Hindu villagers as well as security<br />

ing to the employment for low-skilled workers in the last decade.<br />

ment has put tremendous efforts to hold a nationwide census to<br />

personnel in these events during 2016 and 2017.<br />

The key to the upsurge in the country’s garment sector in the last<br />

In this context, I would like to underscore that on the ground,<br />

compile the accurate basic data of the voters list so that a free<br />

decade was the lifting of economic sanctions as well as resto-<br />

those suffering are the grass-roots workers who are struggling<br />

and fair General Elections will eventually be held.<br />

Again, both countries have conducted negotiations to repatriate<br />

ration of the EU’s GSP. After 2021, because of some political<br />

and coping with the consequences of significant income reduc-<br />

the displaced persons who crossed over Bangladesh after the<br />

incidents in Myanmar, the production and demand for garment<br />

tion and unemployment.<br />

If we wish to build a democratic society, decent living and human<br />

2016-17 incidents and three bilateral repatriation agreements<br />

manufacturing dropped and over 20 percent (200,000) jobs in the<br />

dignity of the workers cannot be ignored and in fact, I would like<br />

have been signed between two countries in 2017 and early 2018.<br />

industry were lost. Businesses that have worked with European<br />

In a statement of Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for For-<br />

to call for the EU citizens who are the source of policymaking in<br />

Since then, the Myanmar government is proceeding with the<br />

firms have seen signs of withdrawal.<br />

eign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European<br />

the EU to consider the destinies of many people who are living in<br />

implementing of the repatriation process in accordance with<br />

Commission, in January this year, he mentioned that EU will con-<br />

a state of constant concern to make ends meet on a daily basis.<br />

those bilateral instruments, based on which the Bangladesh gov-<br />

Since the current EU GSP/EBA scheme to Myanmar is ending<br />

tinue to provide humanitarian assistance in accordance with the<br />

ernment provided the completed verification forms of displaced<br />

in 2023, with automatic renewal for the next 10 years as a Least<br />

principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence<br />

Though we share a lot of democratic values, there is a visible gap<br />

persons from Rakhine State currently residing in Bangladesh.<br />

Developed Country (LDC), two opposite reactions have emerged.<br />

while condemning the human right violations and calling for all<br />

between Myanmar and EU on the same values. Despite that, we<br />

The Myanmar government has verified the list provided in con-<br />

On one hand, a few trade unions and exiled opposing groups are<br />

concerned parties to pave the way for a meaningful democratic<br />

are willing to cooperate with international actors for the sake of<br />

cordance with the officials registered data and records, updated<br />

lobbying the foreign garment corporations and governments to<br />

process that would truly reflect the will of the Myanmar people.<br />

the people of Myanmar.<br />

annually on the ground by the relevant authorities. While we have<br />

sever trade ties with this sector to put pressure on the current<br />

I would like to unequivocally state that we share the hope and<br />

opened the reception centres and transit camps to commence<br />

Myanmar government. On the other hand, critics of harsher<br />

vision of EU, to restore democracy in Myanmar. But the dem-<br />

118 119


Aerial view of Cocks Comb Island<br />

Panoramic view of Bagan<br />

AS COVID-19 RELATED RESTRICTIONS HAVE<br />

BEEN LIFTED, WHAT PLANS DOES MYANMAR<br />

HAVE TO PROMOTE ITS ECONOMY AND THE<br />

TOURISM SECTOR?<br />

In the realm of economic recovery following the devastation<br />

brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and as a nation faced<br />

with a blockade in hardware and software development assistance<br />

due to political reasons, Myanmar needs to set its priorities<br />

based on the characteristics of self-reliance.<br />

In economic sphere, the State Administration Council (SAC)<br />

government aims to attain prosperity for all and to ensure food<br />

sufficiency in spite of the unilateral sanctions imposed by the<br />

international financial institutions. Therefore, the government<br />

is currently promoting and encouraging the agriculture sector;<br />

Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and the<br />

tourism sector at the national level.<br />

Since the agricultural sector represents 38 percent of the country’s<br />

GDP and employs 60 percent of its workforce, the agriculture<br />

sector continues to be an essential part of our economy.<br />

Therefore, the government has stressed the importance of striving<br />

for increased per acre yields of monsoon paddy, promoting<br />

value-added products in agricultural and livestock sectors,<br />

exporting double cropping, implementing breeding initiatives<br />

systematically.<br />

With a view to contributing to the development of state economy<br />

and socio-economic life of farmers, the government is disbursing<br />

loans from the national economic development funds for<br />

ensuring greater success in agriculture sector. The Myanmar<br />

Agriculture Development Bank (MADB) announced in June that<br />

it will offer loans of up to Myanmar Kyat 70 million (approx. EUR<br />

31,500) per farmer who require financial support for agricultural<br />

and rural development purposes.<br />

Andaman Sea beach<br />

At the regional level, Myanmar is one of the signatories in the<br />

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This<br />

agreement is expected to eliminate 90 percent of tariffs on<br />

imports between the signatories within 20 years and establish<br />

common rules for e-commerce, trade, and intellectual property.<br />

Regarding investment opportunities in Myanmar, investors are<br />

most welcome in manufacturing value-added foodstuffs, agriculture<br />

and livestock farming such as seafood, fruits and vegetables<br />

and animal products. The Myanmar Investment Commission<br />

(MIC) is inviting potential investors for production of edible<br />

oilseeds, contract farming for edible oil crops and production of<br />

various types of edible oil. Additionally, manufacturing of “one<br />

region-one product” in different states has been encouraged<br />

for implementation. This policy encourages the production of<br />

distinct goods that are specific to each region, leveraging the<br />

diverse geographical and climatic conditions, as well as the<br />

abundance of raw materials available across the country.<br />

Myanmar is rich in ancient history and land of wondrous nature<br />

with splendid culture and traditions. Thus, promoting tourism is<br />

one of the national priorities. In order for tourism to flourish and<br />

help restore the national economy after the lifting of travel restriction,<br />

Myanmar reopened for tourism, including regular international<br />

flights, in May 2022.<br />

There are many tourist attractions in Myanmar including the<br />

ancient city of Bagan, which was selected by UNESCO as a<br />

<strong>World</strong> Heritage site in 2019. Tourists can make anew the ancient<br />

Myanmar history, beautiful and breath-taking beaches, lakes and<br />

significant religious sites.<br />

We are also introducing community-based tourism including<br />

skill-learning and witnessing traditional cooking skills of the local<br />

cuisines in the villages. Apart from that, certain regulations were<br />

amended to promote tourism, i.e., issuance of e-Visas again and<br />

offering of incentives like special discounts for tourists and tax<br />

refunds, as well as adopting an effective advertising system via<br />

online platforms and online marketing.<br />

Myanmar (known as the Golden Land) is a land chock-full of<br />

incredible pristine nature, scenery and also rich in culture and<br />

tradition. It is also a home to 135 ethnic minority groups/135<br />

ethnicities with the people offering hospitality and warmth with<br />

excellent native delicacies. Taking this opportunity, I wish to send<br />

a message to people all over Europe “you will find out the true<br />

beauty of Myanmar only when you travel there”.<br />

All photos courtesy of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism of<br />

120 121<br />

Myanmar


H.E. VALERIA VILASECA CHUMACERO<br />

AMBASSADOR OF BOLIVIA<br />

Remarks on occasion of the 198 th Anniversary of<br />

Independence of the Plurinational State of Bolivia<br />

It is an honour and a privilege for me to be here today with all<br />

of you, marking 198 years of Bolivia’s independence. A time to<br />

celebrate our triumphs, lessons, and to focus on the challenges<br />

as a Plurinational State.<br />

With the heart full of life and from my mestizo roots (mixed roots),<br />

I must begin these words of “remembrance” by saluting the<br />

memory of the precursors of freedom in my land.<br />

First, to those who defended the indigenous peoples, who<br />

defended our cultures and traditions for centuries in resistance.<br />

Those unknown faces, anonymous figures who preserved the<br />

wisdom with Mother Earth, whose names have been ignored by<br />

formal history, because it was not convenient to turn them into<br />

heroes.<br />

I also salute the memory of Alejo Calatayud, Tupac Katari,<br />

Kurusa Llawi, Gregoria Apaza, Bartolina Sisa, among other<br />

indigenous heroic rebels who united strength, spirit, and body<br />

to defeat colonial oppression, fought the battles shoulder-to-shoulder,<br />

sacrificing their lives along the way, so that<br />

our generations could walk one freely.<br />

In memory of Juana Azurduy de Padilla, Ignacio de Guarnes,<br />

Moto Méndez, and later Antonio José de Sucre, and of course,<br />

to the memory of the great liberator Simón Bolívar who finally,<br />

after years of battles, with temperance and wisdom in long<br />

deliberation in 1825, from Chuquisaca, Charcas (today Sucre),<br />

proclaimed Bolivia independent.<br />

Throughout the years, Bolivia has faced a series of challenges<br />

and transformations. Since the consolidation of our independence,<br />

Bolivia’s republican journey was an important school with<br />

colonial vestiges, guided by western canons, that taught us the<br />

difference from a dark perspective, difference as a symbol of<br />

division and discrimination. It left us a foreign system of governance<br />

far from our reality that could not solve the problems of<br />

Bolivians as a whole, it only worked for some, limited rights and<br />

measured opportunities.<br />

The indigenous peoples and their important knowledge, their<br />

culture, their rituals, their languages, and their surnames were<br />

marginalized from public life, the systemic imposition of social<br />

class categorization, value systems framed by capital and exploitation,<br />

the heteronormative colonization, and patriarchy kept<br />

Bolivian identities hiding.<br />

From 2006 to 2020, by direct vote, from new contexts but with<br />

the same rebellious spirit, we gave way to the Plurinational recognition,<br />

recovering the presence of our indigenous and mestizo<br />

roots, even living a constitutional break, we rescued the light of<br />

our identities, which leads to the unique but diverse identity of<br />

being Bolivian. Along with the great political awakening we lived<br />

122 123


The Plurinational State has reduced inequality gaps, being<br />

declared a country free of illiteracy in 2008, generating a single<br />

health system with free care for all Bolivians, lowering poverty<br />

rates and eradicating extreme poverty.<br />

We position ourselves as an agent of positive economic change<br />

in the region and a long-term strategic necessity at the global<br />

level.<br />

However, we are aware that we still face important challenges, a<br />

global economic crisis that affects all countries of the world, the<br />

climate crisis, the social crisis, gender violence and the challenge<br />

of multidimensional poverty are also of central concern to us.<br />

At this crucial moment in our history, we look to the future of a<br />

multipolar planet with optimism and determination. As we walk<br />

together toward the Bicentenary, we reaffirm our commitment to<br />

the values of freedom, equality, justice and rebellion against any<br />

imposition, the same principles that inspired our liberators. We<br />

will continue to work to build a more prosperous, inclusive and<br />

diverse country.<br />

I would like to end these words on this afternoon of celebration,<br />

reiterating that the diplomacy of the peoples is a fundamental<br />

pillar of the policy of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, and<br />

translates into the bridge of friendship and cooperation towards<br />

the international community and among all countries, regenerating<br />

life and recognizing the commitment to work together and<br />

complementarity to face the current challenges.<br />

On behalf of President Luis Arce Catacora and Vice-President<br />

David Choquehuanca, I thank you for your presence here today<br />

to celebrate with us this anniversary and the sovereignty of our<br />

peoples! Jallalla Bolivia!<br />

Photos: Embassy of Bolivia<br />

another step of independence, this time, with emancipation of<br />

thought and conscience.<br />

Reclaiming and retaking our ancestral knowledge, hand-in-hand<br />

with the recognition of our cultural history, for example with the<br />

revaluation of the coca leaf and its medicinal and traditional uses.<br />

Under the leadership of President Luis Arce Catacora, the<br />

Bolivian State has regained vitality thanks to the Social<br />

Communitarian Productive Economic Model implemented in<br />

Bolivia since 2006 which allows us to return to the path of economic<br />

growth with productive and social public investment.<br />

Bolivia is advancing hand in hand with industrialization; today we<br />

are implementing policies to replace imports, which is allowing<br />

us to grow in quality production, with an eye on food security<br />

with sovereignty and diversification of our economy.<br />

130 new industrial plants are being promoted for cereals, almonds,<br />

fruits, potatoes, vegetable oils, dairy products, agro-inputs,<br />

fertilizers, camelids, meat products, fish wealth; in addition<br />

to industrial plants for lithium, urea, zinc, basic chemicals for<br />

medicines, the Mutun steel plant, ecological biofuel, glass,<br />

among others. This will give us back USD 530 million in annual<br />

import savings.<br />

Today, the Bolivian people have the ownership of many natural<br />

resources, including the largest lithium reserves in the world, with<br />

23 million tons quantified, in addition to possessing concentrations<br />

of strategic critical materials, rare earths and other resources,<br />

indispensable for the change of the energy matrix worldwide.<br />

As a State, this leads us to work in common efforts to face any<br />

conflict with a sense of unity, placing the common good and the<br />

legitimacy of the people as the vertex. Despite an inflationary<br />

context and great international economic uncertainty, Bolivia as<br />

of June of this year has an inflation rate of 0.8 percent, the lowest<br />

in South America and the fourth lowest in the world.<br />

I began this speech with the word “remembrance”, which means<br />

to gather all the members or all the parts, in order to understand<br />

the whole. In order to understand the now.<br />

Today, when we look at ‘all the parts’ in our journey, we can<br />

clearly see how much we have grown as a country: We are<br />

building community, a more inclusive society, where rights and<br />

opportunities are accessible to all. We are not homogeneous and<br />

that is where our strength lies. Bolivia is diverse, with energetic<br />

nodes in the difference of thoughts and cultures, in diversity as a<br />

vehicle to move forward.<br />

124 125


2023 BLED STRATEGIC FORUM<br />

SOLIDARITY FOR GLOBAL SECURITY<br />

The 18th edition of the Bled Strategic Forum took place on 28-29<br />

August under the theme of “Solidarity of Global Security”. This<br />

year, 32 discussions over two days brought together nearly 3,000<br />

participants, 188 speakers and over 100 representatives of<br />

Slovenian and foreign media, solidifying Bled’s position as a<br />

global platform for generating ideas and exchanging views on<br />

contemporary society and its future.<br />

The Bled Strategic Forum opened with speeches by Prime<br />

Minister Robert Golob, President of the European Council<br />

Charles Michel, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of<br />

Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon, with all the leaders<br />

of the Western Balkans in attendance.<br />

How do we ensure security in these times? How do we ensure<br />

safe access to food and energy, not just in Europe but in the<br />

entire world, especially in the developing and least developed<br />

regions? How do we address factors that present themselves as<br />

obstacles to food and energy, in particular climate change and<br />

conflicts with climate-induced economic motivations? These are<br />

some of the big questions that speakers tried to grapple with,<br />

which are also reflective the priorities of Slovenia as a non-permanent<br />

member of the UN Security Council, to which Slovenia<br />

was recently elected for the period 2024-2025.<br />

The major crises of recent times – from the war in Ukraine,<br />

armed conflicts around the world, disruptions in energy and food<br />

supplies and the COVID-19 pandemic – have demonstrated that<br />

global challenges cannot be tackled in isolation. As Minister Tanja<br />

Fajon stressed in her address: “If we do not start solving problems<br />

urgently, our generation and generations to come will collectively<br />

pay a huge price. This world will change dramatically in<br />

an uncontrolled fashion, probably also through natural disasters<br />

and armed conflicts. It is our duty to ensure such scenarios are<br />

avoided. Therefore, the least we can do to ensure stability and<br />

solidarity is to forge a strong international coalition to support<br />

international organisations and institutions”, said Minister Fajon,<br />

adding that despite some deficiencies in the existing multilateral<br />

system, there is simply no alternative to multilateralism.<br />

The chosen theme for this year’s forum – Solidarity – acquired<br />

added relevance in the context of the devastating floods that ravaged<br />

Slovenia and other neighbouring countries in early August.<br />

Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, Robert Golob, expressed<br />

his gratitude for all the international aid that Slovenia has<br />

received in the immediate aftermath of the devastating floods,<br />

and thanked all those who will continue to help. “By showing<br />

this solidarity, we show that cooperation at international level is<br />

what really makes the world a better place,” the Prime Minister<br />

added. Most of the time, Europeans live under the impression<br />

that bad things happen far away. The extreme weather we are<br />

experiencing may be a local phenomenon, but it is the result of<br />

global events. The impact of climate change can be felt virtually<br />

every year, so we need to face up to its consequences. “It is<br />

not enough to make energy sources cleaner. It is not enough to<br />

start using only electric cars. And it is not enough to reduce the<br />

consumption of meat or give it up altogether. We will have to<br />

change our consumption patterns and habits. This is what we<br />

owe our children,” stressed the Prime Minister. At international<br />

level, mechanisms need to be put in place to deal with the<br />

consequences of such disasters: “No nation, especially small<br />

ones, can face this alone. In fact, neither can the great nations,”<br />

Mr Golob pointed out. He added that Slovenia wanted to make<br />

climate change a top priority during its membership of the UN<br />

Security Council.<br />

As is traditionally the case, the Western Balkans formed the core<br />

of the discussions at the Forum. As for Slovenia’s role in the<br />

process, Foreign Minister Fajon said her country is among the<br />

biggest advocates of enlargement and “will definitely be among<br />

the front-runners in working with like-minded countries in efforts<br />

to accelerate enlargement to the Western Balkans and not waste<br />

the opportunity... If we miss the train this year, I’m afraid we<br />

might leave these countries behind for many years”.<br />

This year’s edition of the Bled Strategic Forum will be remembered<br />

by the announcement (which became to be known informally<br />

as the “Bled pledge”) from the President of the European<br />

Council Charles Michel that the EU must be ready to enlarge<br />

by 2030. To give the necessary context, parts of his speech are<br />

reproduced below: “To be stronger and safer, the EU needs to<br />

reinforce our bonds and become more powerful. That’s why it is<br />

now time to tackle the challenge of enlargement. Both for us in<br />

the EU and for our future member states.<br />

126 127


The road to the EU for the Western Balkans began more than<br />

One way could be to add a so-called ‘confidence clause’ in the<br />

20 years ago. A region at the heart of Europe, surrounded by the<br />

accession treaties to ensure that countries that have just joined<br />

EU. It was also a region emerging from conflict after the break-up<br />

cannot block the accession of future member states.<br />

of Yugoslavia. The Thessaloniki Summit, in 2003, confirmed the<br />

European perspective of the Western Balkans. But the slow pace<br />

To address all these challenges, the EU is strengthening our sup-<br />

of this EU journey has disappointed many, both in the region and<br />

port for you. But we need to do more to close the development<br />

in the EU.<br />

gap.<br />

To be credible, I believe we must talk about timing and home-<br />

First, through gradual and progressive integration into EU<br />

work. And I have a proposal. As we prepare the EU’s next stra-<br />

policies, so the benefits can be felt more quickly — even before<br />

tegic agenda, we must set ourselves a clear goal. I believe we<br />

membership. I put forward this idea last year and the European<br />

must be ready – on both sides – by 2030 to enlarge. This means<br />

Council supported it.<br />

that the EU’s next long-term budget will need to include our<br />

common goals. This is ambitious, but necessary. It shows that<br />

The Commission’s enlargement package – expected in October<br />

we are serious. It will build momentum. It will give a transform-<br />

– is an opportunity to outline the concrete details of this progres-<br />

ative boost to reforms and it will generate interest, investments<br />

sive integration. This could take place in different areas – the<br />

and better understanding, and encourage us all to work together.<br />

single market, for example.<br />

The window of opportunity is open. We need to act on it. That is<br />

why EU leaders will discuss enlargement at our next European<br />

We have ambitious frameworks in place that support the align-<br />

Council meetings. So what will it take?<br />

ment of future member states with the EU acquis. They can take<br />

advantage of existing options, such as the energy and transport<br />

Values and the rule of law. Our Union is founded on the fun-<br />

communities. I propose that we use these frameworks to phase<br />

damental values of human rights and dignity, democracy, and<br />

solidarity. The rule of law ensures that we can live, work, create<br />

in future member states and to integrate them into specific EU<br />

policy areas once membership conditions are fulfilled.<br />

Photo: Bled Strategic Forum<br />

and trade fairly in one big area of liberties. In full respect of our<br />

diversity.<br />

For instance, a country could participate in the correspond-<br />

for all. The GDP of the future member states is about 50-70<br />

The hearts of the people may be our biggest challenge. This<br />

ing Council formation once they complete negotiations in the<br />

percent of the smallest EU economy. This means they will be<br />

involves explaining the EU and highlighting its benefits. It’s a<br />

Enlargement is and will remain a merit-based process. Mem-<br />

given policy chapter. In the same spirit, we have established the<br />

net recipients, while several current net recipients will become<br />

societal choice. It also means moving beyond the language of<br />

bership of the Union brings both responsibilities and benefits.<br />

principle of yearly EU-Western Balkans summits. I will convene<br />

net contributors. So we need to work out how to manage this<br />

the past to focus on the future. With real political will, we can<br />

In order to take on the responsibilities and reap the benefits in a<br />

our next EU-WB summit in December, back-to-back with our<br />

complex transition.<br />

make both the EU and the future member states ready. Now is<br />

highly competitive environment, one needs to be ready.<br />

European Council meeting.<br />

the time to be bold. Now is the time to build our larger European<br />

The EU’s decision-making process has made a quantum leap in<br />

future together”.<br />

This means making sure the judiciary plays an independent role.<br />

Another area for gradual integration could be security and<br />

recent years. Yet we can do more to speed up our decision-<br />

And fighting corruption and organised crime. It also means being<br />

defence. We could invite interested future member states to<br />

making. More members will mean more diversity. We will have<br />

Not all Western Balkan leaders reacted with equal enthusiasm.<br />

ready economically – in particular by adopting the EU acquis.<br />

more actively participate in some policies or instruments, such<br />

to adapt our institutional framework and procedures so that an<br />

Criteria are constantly changing, it was voiced. Prime Minister<br />

And standing with us in foreign policy – more important today<br />

as CSDP missions, our Defence Fund, or the European Peace<br />

enlarged EU is able to make efficient and timely decisions. And<br />

Edi Rama of Albania explained that the process is not as simple<br />

than ever.<br />

Facility.<br />

on the sensitive and difficult issue of unanimity, I believe that<br />

as the EU simply moving the goalposts, and he called for reform.<br />

completely scrapping unanimity could be throwing the baby<br />

“There should not only be reforms and criticism that are neces-<br />

Resolving bilateral conflicts from the past may be more painful<br />

The EU also needs to get ready for enlargement. I fully agree<br />

out with the bath water.<br />

sary, but also the most consistent support, and I’m not talking<br />

than reforms. But it is necessary. You are walking the same path<br />

with President Macron: not reforming on our side before the next<br />

only from the financial point of view, but also the market access<br />

as the founding members of our Union. There is no cooperation<br />

enlargement would be a fundamental mistake. Let’s be honest —<br />

Because unity is at the core of the EU’s strength. Unity is the<br />

of our enterprises,” he said. Rama added that while the EU has<br />

without reconciliation.<br />

we have sometimes used the lack of progress of future member<br />

best way to make sure decisions are uniformly implemented.<br />

been discussing infrastructure for many years through the Berlin<br />

states to avoid facing our own preparedness. We must now take<br />

There are various ways to become united. When we decided to<br />

Process, the tangible investment in the region has come from<br />

Your people, especially the young, want to be inspired by a<br />

a serious look at the EU’s capacity to absorb new members.<br />

activate the Peace Facility to finance arms delivery to Ukraine,<br />

China, Middle East and the United States. We have another 20<br />

brighter, fairer and more prosperous future. Joining our Union<br />

constructive abstention was used to not impede unanimity. And<br />

years of Euro-optimism, and I hope that by then you have fulfilled<br />

would be splendid proof of a collective success. Ideally, you<br />

Integrating new members into our Union won’t be easy. It will<br />

there are different ways to adapt the qualified majority voting —<br />

your promise”, said Rama. Montenegrin counterpart Dritan<br />

would all join together.<br />

affect our policies, our programmes, and their budgets. It will<br />

whether in numbers or how and when we apply it. This will be a<br />

Abazović emphasised that, if the EU wishes to pursue enlarge-<br />

require political reforms and political courage. The EU’s territory<br />

hard nut to crack. But there is no way to avoid this debate now.<br />

ment, a mutually beneficial path must be forged. He commented,<br />

Yet future member states are at different stages on their journey<br />

and demography will get bigger.<br />

Let me share with you my personal conviction. The heart of<br />

“Continuing to postpone enlargement could pave the way for<br />

to the EU. But we need to make sure that past conflicts are not<br />

enlargement is not about processes, assessments, screenings,<br />

euroskepticism and the influence of third parties interested in the<br />

imported into the EU and used to block the accession of their<br />

Yet its relative prosperity will not immediately follow – signifi-<br />

negotiations and treaties. The heart of enlargement is about the<br />

Western Balkans. Nations in this region might lose enthusiasm<br />

neighbours and other future member states.<br />

cant funds will be needed to help countries catch up. We need<br />

people, about the future of our children and the fate of Europe.<br />

for joining the EU if the process is delayed further”. “2030 is too<br />

to make sure that the EU budget brings European added value<br />

So we need to make sure we have their hearts with us.<br />

far for us,” Abazović concluded.<br />

128 129


MYLENE CAPONGCOL<br />

ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF ENERGY<br />

OF THE PHILIPPINES<br />

We expect more EU Member States to invest in the Philippines’<br />

Renewable Energy industry to achieve the target<br />

of at least 50 percent RE share in the power generation mix by 2040<br />

58 percent of the gross power generation in 2022. Renewable<br />

energy comprised 29 percent (8,264 MW) and 22 percent (24,684<br />

GWh) of the installed and gross power generation, respectively.<br />

Hydro and geothermal comprised the largest share, followed by<br />

solar, wind, and biomass.<br />

On 22 December 2020, the “Advisory on the Moratorium of Endorsements<br />

for Greenfield Coal-fired Power Projects in line with<br />

Improving the Sustainability of the Philippines’ Electric Power<br />

Industry” was issued by the Department of Energy (DOE), which<br />

was retroactively effective on 27 October 2020.<br />

Under this moratorium, no new coal-fired power plant applications<br />

shall be processed and approved by the DOE, except<br />

those already existing and operational and those already in the<br />

advanced stage of development at the time of the advisory’s<br />

effectivity.<br />

The National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) 2020-2040,<br />

issued in July 2022, serves as the country’s long-term program<br />

to accelerate the development and utilization of renewables<br />

towards achieving energy security, sustainable development,<br />

and climate change mitigation, which are embodied in the<br />

Philippines RE Act of 2008.<br />

It targets at least 35 percent RE share in the power generation<br />

mix by 2030 and more than 50 percent by 2040. It also provides<br />

the policies and programs to support the goal’s attainment.<br />

COULD YOU GIVE OUR READERS AN IDEA<br />

OF THE CURRENT ENERGY MIX OF THE<br />

PHILIPPINES? LOOKING AHEAD AT THE SHORT<br />

AND MEDIUM-TERM, WHAT SPECIFIC TARGETS<br />

DOES THE PHILIPPINES HAVE TO PHASE OUT<br />

FOSSIL FUELS AND INCREASE THE SHARE OF<br />

RENEWABLES, IN ORDER TO DECARBONISE THE<br />

GRID AND REDUCE EMISSIONS AS OUTLINED IN<br />

ITS NATIONALLY DETERMINED CONTRIBUTION<br />

(NDC) AND NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY<br />

PROGRAM (NREP) 2020-2040?<br />

In 2022, the Philippines’ total primary energy supply (TPES)<br />

reached 61.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE). As presented<br />

in the below figure, the country continues to utilize a significant<br />

amount of fossil fuels, particularly oil and coal, accounting<br />

for 63.2 percent (38.9 MTOE) of the TPES. These fuels are<br />

primarily used in transport and power generation. Meanwhile,<br />

natural gas, mainly used for electricity production, accounts for<br />

4.2 percent (2.6 MTOE). The country has a domestic source of<br />

natural gas from the Malampaya Gas Field located offshore of<br />

Northwest Palawan.<br />

Meanwhile, the aggregate share of renewables accounts for 32.6<br />

percent (20 MTOE) of the TPES. This came from geothermal at<br />

14.6 percent (8.9 MTOE), hydro at 4.1 percent (2.5 MTOE), and<br />

other renewable energy (RE) resources (i.e., biomass, biofuels,<br />

wind, and solar) with a combined share of 13.9 percent (8.6<br />

MTOE).<br />

Coal-fired power plants also remain the country’s primary source<br />

of electricity, comprising 44 percent of the installed capacity and<br />

130 131


IN RECENT YEARS, WE HAVE SEEN A FLURRY OF<br />

LEGISLATIVE REFORMS TO FACILITATE INVEST-<br />

MENT INTO THE RENEWABLES SECTOR. WHAT IS<br />

THE ESTIMATED CAPACITY OF THE SECTOR AND<br />

WHAT KIND OF INCENTIVES AND SUPPORTIVE<br />

POLICIES HAVE BEEN PUT IN PLACE TO FACILI-<br />

TATE THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR<br />

AND FOREIGN INVESTORS?<br />

• Corporate tax rate of 10 percent on net taxable income after<br />

seven years of ITH;<br />

• Accelerated depreciation of plant, machinery, and equipment if<br />

the project fails to receive an ITH before full operation;<br />

• Zero percent value-added tax (VAT) rate on the sale of fuel or<br />

power generated from RE sources and zero-rated VAT for the<br />

purchase of local supply of goods, properties, and services<br />

needed for the development, construction, and installation of<br />

2024-2026. A total of 11,600 capacity target was offered under<br />

GEA-2. Meanwhile, the GEA-3 is underway and intended to<br />

cover eligible RE technologies not covered by the feed-in tariff,<br />

namely geothermal, impounding, and pumped-storage hydro.<br />

It is targeted to be conducted in the fourth quarter of 2023.<br />

• Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) – the overarching program<br />

that requires all load-serving industry players to source<br />

or produce a minimum portion of their electricity requirements<br />

the RE facility;<br />

from RE.<br />

To meet the future electricity demand and RE target mentioned<br />

• Cash incentives of RE developers for missionary electrification;<br />

In September 2022, increased the minimum RPS annual per-<br />

above, the NREP suggests that new-build capacities from RE,<br />

• Tax exemption on carbon credits; and<br />

centage increment requirement from 1 to 2.52 percent starting<br />

with a total of 52,826 MW, must be added on top of existing and<br />

• Tax credit on domestic capital equipment and services.<br />

in 2023 for grid-connected areas. The RPS mandate was<br />

committed power plants in the country. This will primarily com-<br />

expanded to achieve the country’s RE target under the NREP.<br />

prise solar at 27,162 MW, wind at 16,650 MW, hydro at 6,150<br />

MW, geothermal at 2,500 MW, and biomass at 364 MW.<br />

INCENTIVES AND SUPPORT POLICIES FOR RE<br />

MAJOR RE INVESTMENT POLICIES AND<br />

PROGRAMS<br />

• Allowing 100 Percent Foreign Ownership in RE. This policy<br />

removed the foreign ownership restrictions on businesses en-<br />

• Executive Order (EO) and Policies for Offshore Wind (OSW) –<br />

Executive Order No. 21, signed by the President on 19 April<br />

2023, directed the establishment of the first policy and administrative<br />

framework for OSW development in the country.<br />

• Open and Competitive Selection Process (OCSP) – The OCSP<br />

is an investment promotion mechanism where potential areas<br />

Chapter VII of the Philippines’ RE Act provides the below fiscal<br />

gaged in the exploration, development, and utilization of solar,<br />

for RE development will be offered to private developers<br />

incentives to support the development and investments in RE:<br />

wind, hydropower, and ocean energy, thereby allowing entry of<br />

through a competitive bidding process. The DOE selected 20<br />

100 percent foreign capital into the country’s RE industry.<br />

PDAs for geothermal, hydro, and wind for bidding under the<br />

• Income Tax Holiday (ITH) for the first seven years of commer-<br />

• Green Energy Auction Program (GEAP) – encourages greater<br />

4th OCSP round.<br />

cial operation;<br />

RE investments by facilitating a centralized, transparent, and<br />

• Duty-free importation of RE machinery, equipment, and materials,<br />

including control and communication equipment, for the<br />

first ten years;<br />

• Special realty tax rates on equipment and machinery not<br />

exceeding 1.5 percent of the original cost less accumulated<br />

normal depreciation or net book value;<br />

• Net operating loss during the first three years of commercial<br />

operation which had not been previously deducted from gross<br />

income shall be carried over as a deduction from gross income<br />

for the next seven consecutive taxable years immediately<br />

competitive selection of RE Projects through an electronic bidding<br />

process. The power generated by GEAP winning bidders/<br />

facilities shall be eligible for RE Certificates, which can be used<br />

to comply with the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).<br />

On 17 June 2022, the first Green Energy Auction (GEA-1)<br />

round was successfully conducted, which bid out 2,000 MW<br />

RE capacities. At the end of the GEA-1, the DOE issued 18<br />

Certificates of Award covering 1,866.13 MW of RE capacity<br />

which are committed to be operational from 2023-2025.<br />

The GEA-2 conducted on 3 July 2023 generated 3,440.756<br />

HOW ARE THE PHILIPPINES AND THE EUROPEAN<br />

UNION COOPERATING TO EXPEDITE RENEWABLE<br />

ENERGY GROWTH, ENHANCE ENERGY SECURITY,<br />

AND CONTRIBUTE TO GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE<br />

MITIGATION?<br />

Following the liberalization of foreign ownership for RE projects<br />

in the Philippines, Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners<br />

(CIP) has signed Offshore Wind Service Contracts with the DOE<br />

Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

EU SUPPORT FOR CLEAN ENERGY TRANSITION<br />

AND RE<br />

following the year of such loss;<br />

MW of RE capacities committed to delivering energy from<br />

for its three OSW projects, with a total potential capacity of 2<br />

The EU and its Member States continuously provide funding<br />

GW.<br />

support, technical assistance, and policy advisory services to the<br />

DOE to accelerate the energy transition and RE development.<br />

These CIP Service Contracts were the first 100 percent for-<br />

This includes the EU’s Access to Sustainable Energy Programme<br />

eign-owned RE Service Contracts entered into by the Philippine<br />

(ASEP), which aims to support the government’s rural electrifica-<br />

government. There are also foreign investors that have entered<br />

tion targets through greater utilization of sustainable and renewa-<br />

into joint venture with our local RE Developers.<br />

ble energy, promote energy efficiency, and provide energy access<br />

for the poor through affordable, disaster-resilient energy systems.<br />

The DOE expects more European Union (EU) countries to invest<br />

The ASEP is nearing its completion to date.<br />

in the Philippines’ RE industry to achieve the target of at least 35<br />

percent RE share in the power generation mix by 2030 and 50<br />

Germany’s development agency GIZ also has the ongoing Clean,<br />

percent by 2040.<br />

Affordable, and Secure Energy (CASE) for Southeast Asia project.<br />

It seeks to support a narrative change in the power sector toward<br />

During the last 2023 EU Investment Mission held in UK, Belgium,<br />

an evidence-based energy transition in Southeast Asia through<br />

The Netherlands and Berlin, we met with various potential inves-<br />

technical assistance and support for energy policy formulation.<br />

tors in RE development including service providers such as port<br />

developers and EPC contractors.<br />

We hope to continue receiving technical assistance and support<br />

from EU and its Member States as the Philippines continues to<br />

embark on its energy transition goals.<br />

132 133


A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE<br />

FOR CENTRAL ASIA<br />

Building New Partnerships to Deliver<br />

the Energy Transition in a Rapidly Growing Region<br />

On 4 July 2023, the Brussels Press Club hosted a first-ever<br />

conference on energy security and sustainability in Brussels<br />

addressing the entire Central Asian region, organised by the<br />

Brussels Energy Club (BEC). The full-day event illustrated how<br />

the region is embarking along the road of alternative ways of<br />

developing its energy economies, to make them more green,<br />

more sustainable and more attractive to the international investment<br />

community.<br />

The conference discussed the many opportunities, but equally<br />

the many challenges, that confront the development of Central<br />

Asia’s energy markets. “Many of us in Europe have long tended<br />

to associate Central Asia as a region deeply endowed with conventional<br />

energy resources, and a possible alternative source of<br />

the energy supply to European and international markets.<br />

We have also looked at the region through the prism of connectivity<br />

and transportation. But just like the world has changed (in<br />

terms of its energy landscape), so too is Central Asia changing”<br />

said Marat Terterov, Principal Representative of the Brussels<br />

Energy Club, at the opening of the conference.<br />

<strong>Diplomatic</strong> representatives from the five Central Asian Embassies<br />

intervened, and there were some common threads in their<br />

addresses. There was unanimous consensus that ensuring<br />

universal access to reliable and clean energy sources is one of<br />

the most important goals on the path to achieving sustainable<br />

development, energy security, economic growth, mitigating the<br />

adverse challenges of climate change and achieve their commitments<br />

under international treaties like the Paris Agreement.<br />

Each is ready to develop mutually beneficial, long-term and<br />

multifaceted partnerships in the field of green energy with all<br />

countries, international organisations and external stakeholders,<br />

particularly with the European Union and its Member States.<br />

Programmes like the EU-funded project “Sustainable Energy<br />

Connectivity in Central Asia (SECCA)” for 2022-2026 were mentioned<br />

in particular. This project aims at providing a more inclusive<br />

policy, regulatory and institutional framework for the regional<br />

transition to a sustainable energy system, and will help European<br />

companies entering the region in clean energy transition and<br />

decarbonisation projects.<br />

Ambassadors of all five Central Asian countries took to the floor<br />

to outline the state of play in the development of clean energy in<br />

their respective countries, including targets, projects and specific<br />

opportunities for foreign investors.<br />

Kazakhstan adopted its Strategy for achieving carbon neutrality<br />

by 2060, with a specific focus on decarbonizing the energy<br />

sector as a top priority.<br />

Today, the energy sector is responsible for nearly 78 percent of<br />

greenhouse gas emissions in Kazakhstan, primarily due to heavy<br />

dependence on coal for electricity generation (69 percent) and<br />

heating purposes (99 percent). To achieve carbon neutrality,<br />

Kazakhstan recognizes the crucial role of transitioning gradually<br />

from fossil fuels to low-carbon and renewable energy sources.<br />

The green transformation of Kazakhstan will require significant<br />

investments in low-carbon technologies, estimated at USD 610<br />

billion before 2060, including new investments worth USD 224<br />

billion. Therefore, access to global climate finance and active<br />

support from international financial and development organizations<br />

will play a vital role in this regard.<br />

H.E. Margulan Baimukhan, Ambassador of Kazakhstan, referred<br />

to his country’s heavy reliance on natural resources for its<br />

economic development, while at the same time recognising its<br />

shared responsibility for achieving the goals set forth in the Paris<br />

Agreement for tackling climate change. In fact, earlier this year,<br />

Furthermore, establishing an uninterrupted and safe global supply<br />

chain of critical raw materials, especially rare earth metals, is<br />

vital for the development of green technologies. In this context,<br />

Kazakhstan is the first country in the region to sign a Strategic<br />

Partnership agreement with the EU on critical raw materials,<br />

134 135


atteries, and green hydrogen. The REPowerEU Plan envisions<br />

Tenders are organized with the support of international organiza-<br />

import of up to 10 million tons of hydrogen by 2030. In this<br />

tions. For the accelerated development of RES, it is planned to<br />

context, Ambassador Baimukhan mentioned the green hydrogen<br />

widely use public-private partnerships (PPPs). The International<br />

mega-project being implemented by the Svevind Energy Group<br />

Finance Corporation, part of the <strong>World</strong> Bank Group, is helping<br />

in the western part of Kazakhstan, near the Caspian Sea.<br />

Uzbekistan structure PPP projects in the field of renewable<br />

energy.<br />

For his part, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic, H.E. Aidit Erkin,<br />

emphasized the region and his country’s hydropower potential.<br />

In 2019, Uzbekistan became the first country outside of Africa to<br />

The region is home to numerous rivers, including the Amu Darya<br />

join the <strong>World</strong> Bank Group’s Scaling Solar Program. The currently<br />

and Syr Darya, which provide ample opportunities for hydroe-<br />

operational Navoi 100 MW Scaling Solar 1 power plant became<br />

lectric power generation. Constructing dams and hydroelectric<br />

the first large-scale, competitively procured, and privately devel-<br />

power plants can create reservoirs for water storage, generate<br />

oped and operated renewable energy facility in the country. The<br />

electricity, and regulate water flow for irrigation and agricultural<br />

new Scaling Solar 2 Project is a major scale-up of solar energy<br />

purposes. Hydropower offers a stable and reliable energy source,<br />

generation with an additional 440MW of capacity in two regions<br />

contributing to energy security and mitigating greenhouse gas<br />

of Uzbekistan, building on the success of the Navoi Scaling Solar<br />

emissions.<br />

1 Project.<br />

The total hydropower potential of the Kyrgyz Republic is 142.5<br />

Today, large-scale projects in the field of solar energy attract in-<br />

billion kWh but currently, only 10 percent of this potential is being<br />

ternational private investors to Uzbekistan. The Tutly solar station<br />

utilized. The construction of dozens of small and medium-sized<br />

near Samarkand, developed by the French company Total Eren,<br />

hydropower plants is underway in Kyrgyzstan. Recently, there<br />

was launched in July 2022. The total amount of foreign invest-<br />

was an agreement reached on the construction of the Kam-<br />

ment in the project is about EUR 100 million.<br />

bar-Ata hydropower plant with a capacity of 1860 MW. The<br />

implementation of this major energy project will contribute to<br />

In May 2021, Uzbekistan announced the winning bidder of the<br />

ensuring energy stability in the region.<br />

PPPs for two separate solar power plants, each with a capacity<br />

of 220 MW in Kattakurgan district of Samarkand region<br />

Uzbekistan’s Ambassador to the EU, H.E. Dilyor Khakimov,<br />

and Gallaorol district of Jizzakh region. Masdar, a United Arab<br />

referred to the adoption in 2020 of the Concept for Supply of<br />

Emirates-based renewable energy company, submitted bids<br />

electric power in Uzbekistan until 2030. Its strategic goal is to<br />

representing the lowest electricity tariffs in the country and the<br />

provide the population and the country’s economy with electricity<br />

broader Central Asian region. These PPP projects, supported by<br />

at competitive prices, as well as the development of a balanced<br />

the IFC advisory services, will benefit from <strong>World</strong> Bank payment<br />

energy sector. The concept provides for modernization and<br />

guarantees totalling up to USD 12 million under the WBG Scaling<br />

intensity of its products. According to expert estimates, econom-<br />

renewable energy, the Law of Turkmenistan on Renewable<br />

construction of power plants using energy efficient technologies<br />

Solar Program.<br />

ic growth until 2030 will be accompanied by a decrease in energy<br />

Energy was enacted in 2021. This legislation regulates legal<br />

and renewable energy sources (RES), especially solar energy.<br />

consumption per unit of GDP. The National Strategy of Turkmeni-<br />

relations throughout the entire process, from the production of<br />

Uzbekistan has about 330 sunny days a year, and the potential<br />

The solar power plants in Samarkand and Jizzakh regions<br />

stan on Climate Change includes directives to develop measures<br />

renewable energy to attracting foreign investors. Furthermore,<br />

for solar energy is huge.<br />

supported by the <strong>World</strong> Bank payment guarantees will generate<br />

for reducing methane emissions from the production, transpor-<br />

the National Strategy for the Development of renewable Energy<br />

1.1 Terawatt-hour (TWh) of renewable electricity per year. They<br />

tation, and distribution of natural gas. Turkmenistan plans to<br />

of Turkmenistan until 2030 encourages relevant government<br />

By 2030, it is planned to increase the renewable energy genera-<br />

will avoid CO2 emissions of around 110,000 metric tons per year<br />

achieve zero growth in greenhouse gas emissions in the medium<br />

institutions to promote an agenda on renewable energy.<br />

tion capacity to 25,000 megawatts, increasing its share from the<br />

on average, or a total of about 3.4 million metric tons over their<br />

term, starting from 2030, and to substantially reduce emissions<br />

current 14 to 40 percent.<br />

lifetime.<br />

on an annual basis in the long term.<br />

Currently, within the practical implementation of these strategies,<br />

the construction of a combined solar and wind power plant in<br />

With the dynamic growth of the population and the economy in<br />

Ambassador of Turkmenistan, H.E. Sapar Palvanov, referred to<br />

Ambassador Palvanov emphasized the importance of develop-<br />

Turkmenistan with a total capacity of 10 MW is underway. Also,<br />

Uzbekistan, by 2030 the demand for electricity will reach 120<br />

Turkmenistan as “an energy powerhouse” which does not step<br />

ing hydrogen energy. Turkmenistan’s roadmap for developing<br />

the Turkmenenergo Energy Corporation has planned to build<br />

billion kWh (kilowatt hours). Experts believe that if this demand<br />

away from the issue of mitigating the negative impact on climate<br />

international cooperation in the field of hydrogen energy for<br />

solar power plants with a capacity of over 6 MW in remote settle-<br />

is met by the traditional way of burning natural gas and coal, an<br />

caused by the production, transportation, and utilization of ener-<br />

2022-2023 envisages a number of comprehensive measures<br />

ments across the country. This initiative will not only contribute to<br />

additional 13.7 billion cubic meters of gas will be required by<br />

gy resources. The development of green energy, the implementa-<br />

and practical steps to attract foreign investment in this process.<br />

the production of clean energy but also create opportunities for<br />

this time. However, the transition to green electricity supply will<br />

tion of new eco-friendly technologies, and the pursuit of innova-<br />

These measures are aimed at creating and developing infrastruc-<br />

economic development in these areas.<br />

save use of additional volumes of gas and prevent the growth of<br />

tive solutions in this field are crucial aspects of Turkmenistan’s<br />

ture for the production, storage, and transportation of hydrogen<br />

emissions of 37.4 million tons of CO2.<br />

state policy. These priorities are reflected in national programs<br />

energy. The Hydrogen Energy Center has been established in<br />

Furthermore, Turkmenistan is home to the Karakum, one of the<br />

and international commitments to achieve the Sustainable Devel-<br />

Turkmenistan to achieve the goal of developing this area, and it<br />

largest sandy deserts in the world. This desert contains silicon,<br />

The reforms in Uzbekistan have opened the way for internation-<br />

opment Goals, including its climate-related components.<br />

has now entered its active phase.<br />

a common semiconductor material that can absorb sunlight<br />

al private investment in renewable energy projects. The state<br />

and convert it into electrical energy. The availability of silicon in<br />

gives long-term guarantees for the purchase of green electricity.<br />

In recent years, Turkmenistan has steadily reduced the carbon<br />

In order to reinforce the activities carried out in developing<br />

Turkmenistan positions the country favourably for the production<br />

136 137


DIR_0170-2303_diplomatic_world_hd.pdf 2 7/03/16 17:43<br />

of solar panels, making it an ideal location for advancing solar<br />

photovoltaics.<br />

The environmental advantages of solar photovoltaics are significant<br />

when compared to other alternative methods of obtaining<br />

electrical energy. The production of modern solar panels primarily<br />

requires silicon, which Turkmenistan possesses in abundance.<br />

Silicon oxides, i.e. quartz sands, are concentrated in two deposits<br />

of Turkmenistan, where the balance reserve is estimated at<br />

almost 83 million tons. With significant deposits of quartz sands,<br />

Turkmenistan has the potential to contribute to the global adoption<br />

of solar energy.<br />

In addition to solar energy, Turkmenistan recognizes the importance<br />

of hydrogen energy in addressing global ecological and<br />

climate challenges. As the fourth-largest holder of natural gas<br />

reserves, Turkmenistan is strategically positioned to develop<br />

hydrogen energy. More than 68 percent of hydrogen production<br />

comes from natural gas, making it the most cost-effective<br />

method.<br />

To fully embrace the potential of hydrogen energy, Turkmenistan<br />

aims to establish an industry infrastructure, including the organization<br />

of industrial production, storage, and transportation<br />

networks. An inter-agency working group will be formed to make<br />

decisions and coordinate efforts in this area, seeking consultations<br />

with global leaders in hydrogen energy, concluded the<br />

Turkmen Ambassador.<br />

Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of Tajikistan, Firdavs Usmonov,<br />

highlighted the role of the European Union in the construction<br />

and reconstruction of hydropower plants in Tajikistan, including<br />

Rogun HPP, Norak HPP, Sebzor and Kairokum HPPs, which are<br />

directed not only to develop this industry in Tajikistan, but contribute<br />

in regional and interregional electricity market development<br />

as well. In Central Asia, a vivid evidence of regional cooperation<br />

is the joint construction of the Yavan HPP with Uzbekistan.<br />

Hydropower is the backbone of low-carbon electricity generation,<br />

providing nearly half of the world’s electricity production<br />

today. Hydropower’s contribution to the green economy is known<br />

to be 55 percent higher than nuclear and more than all other<br />

renewables combined, including wind, photovoltaic solar, bioenergy<br />

and geothermal, highlighted Mr Usmonov.<br />

Along with hydropower, Tajikistan plans to increase electricity<br />

generation through the introduction of other renewable energy<br />

sources, and by 2030, the installed capacity of electricity generation<br />

from solar and wind energy may reach at least 700 MW.<br />

Combining hydro and other Renewable Energy sources will give<br />

Tajikistan a more balanced functioning energy system, especially<br />

during peak loads, which occur mainly in the autumn-winter<br />

period, often accompanied by a very low level of water inflow at<br />

hydroelectric power plants.<br />

Despite achievements in generating clean energy, Tajikistan is<br />

one of the top five most vulnerable countries to the impact of<br />

climate change. The mountainous country is home to some of<br />

the largest glaciers in the world, which are now melting at an<br />

alarming rate. According to experts, the glaciers have lost 30<br />

percent of their volume in the past decades. In order to draw the<br />

attention of the international community to this point, Tajikistan<br />

initiated the UN resolution to declare 2025 the International Year<br />

of Glacier Preservation.<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

138 139


NAVIGATING THE EU BUSINESS LANDSCAPE<br />

CCCEU’S STRATEGIC VISION<br />

FOR CHINESE ENTERPRISES<br />

XU CHEN, CHAIRMAN OF THE CHINA<br />

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO THE EU (CCCEU)<br />

In commemorating the 20th anniversary of the China-EU<br />

Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, I am honoured to contribute<br />

to this edition of <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong>. Economic ties have consistently<br />

played a key role in international relations throughout<br />

diplomatic history, often evolving through business relationships.<br />

CCCEU’S GENESIS<br />

Allow me to commence with a brief introduction of the CCCEU.<br />

In August 2018, three prominent Chinese corporations – Bank<br />

of China (Luxembourg), later rebranded as “Bank of China<br />

(Europe),” China Three Gorges (Europe), and COSCO Shipping<br />

(Europe) – came together to establish the entity we now recognise<br />

as the chamber.<br />

This initiative was conceived as a platform bridging China and<br />

the EU, with a dedicated mission to advance the interests of<br />

businesses investing in the EU. The chamber’s remit encompasses<br />

representing the perspectives, recommendations, and<br />

concerns of Chinese companies to European institutions and<br />

Member States. All the while, it aspires to elevate the standing<br />

of Chinese enterprises within the diverse and multicultural<br />

European landscape.<br />

On April 8, 2019, then Chinese Premier Li Keqiang inaugurated<br />

the chamber, articulating a vision for the CCCEU to serve as<br />

a “golden name card” for Chinese enterprises in the EU. He<br />

envisioned it as a bridge of communication, lending an ear to the<br />

voices of both Chinese and European stakeholders and contributing<br />

to the positive image of Chinese businesses.<br />

In my role as the Chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce<br />

to the EU, we take immense pride in being the singular pan-<br />

European China chamber of commerce. Our unwavering commitment<br />

revolves around advancing the interests of Chinese enterprises<br />

within the EU and nurturing robust Sino-EU investments,<br />

business partnerships, and commercial relations.<br />

CCCEU’S STRATEGIC INITIATIVES AND<br />

EVOLUTION<br />

CCCEU orchestrates a multitude of networking events, business<br />

forums, and trade missions, serving as catalysts for connections<br />

between Chinese companies and their European counterparts.<br />

These endeavours facilitate the cultivation of relationships with<br />

both Chinese and EU stakeholders. Furthermore, the chamber<br />

conducts comprehensive research and analysis, equipping<br />

Chinese enterprises with crucial insights into the European<br />

market. By sharing market trends and regulatory information,<br />

CCCEU empowers Chinese enterprises with the knowledge required<br />

to make informed decisions when entering the EU market.<br />

Beyond serving as a hub for Chinese companies in the EU,<br />

CCCEU represents a platform of opportunity for them. Currently,<br />

CCCEU boasts nearly 90 members, collectively representing over<br />

1,000 Chinese companies across the EU, spanning across all the<br />

major EU member states.<br />

Since its inception, CCCEU has consistently released annual<br />

flagship reports detailing the development of Chinese companies<br />

in the EU. These reports have attracted significant attention<br />

from governments, enterprises, think tanks, and media outlets in<br />

both Sino-EU sides. Notably, on January 27, 2023, Mr. Frédéric<br />

Bernard, Head of Cabinet of President of the European Council<br />

Charles Michel, expressed gratitude to the CCCEU for sending<br />

the flagship report for the year 2022 to President Michel. This<br />

recognition underscores the chamber’s contributions to the advancement<br />

of Sino-European economic and trade relations.<br />

CCCEU’S POLICY ENGAGEMENT<br />

The Chamber actively engages in EU legislation, advocating<br />

for the protection of Chinese enterprises’ rights & interests, the<br />

optimisation of Sino-European government-enterprise communication<br />

channels, and the fulfilment of the needs of Chinese<br />

enterprises.<br />

To date, the chamber has expressed the position of Chinese<br />

companies in the EU on various issues, including the EU foreign<br />

subsidies regulations, the EU foreign investment screening<br />

mechanism, the 5G security toolbox, Carbon Border Adjustment<br />

Mechanism (CBAM), supply chain due diligence, banking<br />

regulations, and more. At the same time, in order to better serve<br />

Chinese companies in the EU from different industries, the<br />

CCCEU has established working groups on the digital economy,<br />

green economy, and finance, aiming to consolidate consensus<br />

and generate collective efforts through policy research, strategic<br />

discussions, and forum exchanges.<br />

The chamber actively collaborates with policy-makers and regulators<br />

in China and the EU, aiming to promote policies favouring<br />

the interests of Chinese businesses. This includes advocating for<br />

fair trade practices, the reduction of trade barriers, and the protection<br />

of intellectual property rights. With regard to investment<br />

facilitation, the chamber provides support to Chinese enterprises<br />

seeking investment opportunities in the EU. This includes training<br />

or guidance through regulatory processes and invaluable assistance<br />

in access to the EU markets, fostering deeper economic<br />

cooperation between the two regions.<br />

The chamber also engages in ongoing dialogues with both<br />

Chinese and European institutions and organisations to address<br />

trade-related challenges and opportunities. By facilitating open<br />

Xu Chen, Chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce to the EU<br />

communication, the CCCEU aids in building mutual trust and<br />

understanding between China and the EU.<br />

CCCEU’S COMMITMENT TO FAIRNESS AND<br />

COMPLIANCE<br />

CCCEU is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring fair<br />

competition for Chinese companies in the European market.<br />

This includes advocating for non-discriminatory policies and<br />

challenging any instances of unfair trade practices. Additionally,<br />

the chamber encourages Chinese enterprises to adhere to EU<br />

regulations and standards, cultivating trust among European<br />

consumers and regulators. This dedication to quality and compliance<br />

enhances the reputation of Chinese products and services<br />

in the EU market.<br />

CCCEU’S ROLE IN SINO-EUROPEAN ECONOMIC<br />

RELATIONS<br />

In a time when Sino-European economic and trade relations are<br />

at a critical juncture, the CCCEU actively promotes cooperation<br />

and dialogue. For instance, since last year, the chamber has<br />

organised approximately 30 events, including the first China-<br />

Europe Fintech Summit (December 2022), the Seminar<br />

140 141


“Navigating the New Era: The Evolving Landscape of China-<br />

EU Economic and Trade Relations” (May 2023), and the 2023<br />

CCCEU Europe-China Business Summit (June 2023), significantly<br />

contributing to Sino-European economic and trade exchanges.<br />

The chamber serves as a unifying force for Chinese and<br />

European companies, fostering collaboration and partnership.<br />

For instance, on January 13 2023, CCCEU and its counterpart<br />

in China, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China<br />

(EUCCC), jointly organised a high-level “China-Europe Business<br />

Leaders Roundtable Dialogue” in Brussels, Belgium. This marked<br />

the first such high-level event since the establishment of both<br />

chambers, representing the strong desire and aspiration of the<br />

Chinese and European business communities to promote cooperation.<br />

CHINA’S EXPANDING EMBRACE OF EUROPE<br />

The growth trajectory of CCCEU is intrinsically linked to the<br />

deepening trade and business connections between China and<br />

the EU. In recent years, the 27-member EU has increasingly<br />

served as a pivotal market and investment destination for<br />

Chinese enterprises.<br />

Notably, last year, China and the EU emerged as each other’s<br />

second-largest trading partners. This partnership showcased<br />

remarkable achievements across sectors such as new energy,<br />

automobiles, machinery, green finance, and more. Statistics revealed<br />

that average trade between the two sides exceeded USD<br />

1.6 million per minute, with bilateral investment stock surpassing<br />

USD 230 billion by year-end.<br />

Bolstered by high-level summits, dialogues, and active communication,<br />

China and the EU continue to reinforce the confidence<br />

of bilateral enterprises, paving the way for further exploration of<br />

each other’s markets.<br />

CHARTING THE PATH FOR CHINESE COMPANIES<br />

IN THE EU<br />

The shared goals of green and digital transformations are central<br />

to both the EU and China, offering substantial and yet untapped<br />

opportunities for collaboration.<br />

Chinese companies in the EU advocate for the EU to uphold<br />

market rules and international economic and trade regulations.<br />

They call for a reduction in unnecessary trade barriers, increased<br />

transparency, and fairness in economic and trade policies.<br />

Moreover, they recognise that the continuous enhancement of<br />

the business environment will contribute to the development of<br />

a more resilient and dynamic EU market. Consequently, they<br />

emphasise the need to join forces to unlock the vast potential for<br />

collaboration.<br />

THE PATH AHEAD<br />

Looking ahead, CCCEU is poised to enhance its internal and<br />

external collaborations. Internally, the chamber aims to share<br />

resources with Chinese chambers of commerce in the EU member<br />

countries, creating a network of chamber resources that will<br />

meet the needs of the expansion of Chinese companies in the<br />

EU. Externally, CCCEU seeks to strengthen its cooperation with<br />

third-country chambers of commerce in the EU. These efforts will<br />

yield tangible results, particularly in monitoring EU policies, expressing<br />

concerns and feedback, and fostering communication<br />

within the same industry.<br />

In closing, the CCCEU and Chinese companies operating within<br />

the EU remain steadfast in their commitment to focusing on business<br />

rather than allowing economic and trade matters to become<br />

politicised, instrumentalized, or weaponized. Their unwavering<br />

focus remains on fostering mutually beneficial commercial<br />

relationships, promoting trade partnerships, and nurturing an<br />

environment conducive to economic growth.<br />

CCCEU stands as a critical facilitator in strengthening economic<br />

and trade relations between China and the EU. Through its mission<br />

and vision, CCCEU not only assists Chinese enterprises in<br />

gaining a foothold in the European market but also contributes to<br />

the dynamism of China-EU economic and trade relations.<br />

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However, recent years have also witnessed certain EU economic<br />

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for Chinese companies operating in the EU. CCCEU’s annual<br />

flagship report (2022) revealed that the overall rating of Chinese<br />

companies in the EU regarding the business environment of host<br />

countries has declined for three consecutive years.<br />

Furthermore, its advocacy work aims to ensure a level playing<br />

field for Chinese businesses in Europe and promote fairness,<br />

equity, and sustainability in the dynamic global trade landscape.<br />

As China and the EU continue to deepen their economic ties, the<br />

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cooperation.<br />

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142 143


THE BRUSSELS MORNING MARKET<br />

TURNS 50 YEARS OLD<br />

More than 5,000 people present<br />

throughout the night<br />

On Friday, September 29, the Brussels Morning Market (MABRU)<br />

had the pleasure of celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. To celebrate<br />

this important event, the general director, Laurent Nys,<br />

also chose to honour a country: Poland.<br />

In addition to the 140 companies present on the site, no less<br />

than 45 Polish traders made the trip to the Quai des Usines to<br />

introduce Belgian companies to Polish gastronomy but also to<br />

the folklore and culture of this country.<br />

Benefiting from the support of numerous sponsors, including<br />

the City of Brussels, but also the Polish Investment & Trade<br />

144 145


Agency and the Agency for the Promotion of Tourism, the nonprofit<br />

organization Mabru was able to offer a range of cultural<br />

activities throughout the night.<br />

Many personalities wanted to join the market to share this<br />

moment of joy and emotion. In addition to HRH Prince Laurent;<br />

Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region Rudy Vervoort;<br />

the Mayor of the City of Brussels Philippe Close; Minister Karine<br />

Lalieux; Alderman Fabian Maingain and the Polish Ambassador<br />

to Belgium, H.E. Rafał Siemianowski, were there to cut the ribbon<br />

in the colours of Poland.<br />

On the gastronomic side, the Market was also full of important<br />

people. The Master Chefs of Belgium were in number, alongside<br />

Lionel Rigolet of “Comme chez soi” (administrator of Mabru) and<br />

David Martin, the two-star chef of the Brasserie de la Paix.<br />

Many personalities from the world’s markets also made the trip.<br />

The French Markets Federation, the Polish Markets Federation<br />

and also the <strong>World</strong> Union of Wholesale Markets expressed their<br />

best wishes for this fiftieth anniversary.<br />

Stéphane Layani, President of Rungis International Market and<br />

President of the <strong>World</strong> Union of Wholesale Markets, also specified<br />

that “he had to be present to pay tribute to the exceptional<br />

work of Laurent Nys, the director of Mabru. Like Rungis, he has<br />

made Mabru a magical and warm place where the offer of fresh<br />

products from all over the world is ever greater. He participates in<br />

local development and is a model for having equipped itself with<br />

a spectacular photovoltaic roof of more than 26,000 panels to<br />

reduce its environmental footprint and its dependence on fossil<br />

fuels”<br />

Mabru can pride itself on welcoming more than 25,000 visitors<br />

per month with an exchange of 15,000 tonnes of goods each<br />

week for an annual turnover of EUR 500 million.<br />

Mabru’s next projects will be the creation of a live cooking and<br />

training space as well as a reception room in the market galleries.<br />

The creation of a 3,000 square metres building dedicated<br />

to ethnic products is also planned, work on which will begin in<br />

November.<br />

Photos: MaBru<br />

146 147


148 149


150 151


SIX REASONS TO VISIT RIYADH<br />

Mauricio Ruiz, Buscardini Communications<br />

The Bujairi Terrace project has more than 20 world-class restaurants<br />

that offer visitors exquisite international cuisine as well as a<br />

wide variety of traditional local dishes in a beautiful setting.<br />

3. KING ABDULLAH’S FINANCIAL DISTRICT AND<br />

AL-FAISALIAH TOWER<br />

On 16 March 2023, TV5 Monde premiered a new episode of the<br />

though it missed its target, the tip got lodged into the door of the<br />

Riyadh has undergone a meteoric transformation in just a few<br />

Embarquement TV series showcasing the historical beauty and<br />

palace, where it still remains today as a memento of the battle.<br />

years. The small village, surrounded by the desert, has become a<br />

cultural wonders of Saudi Arabia’s capital. Nestled in the Nejd<br />

modern and cosmopolitan capital, home to several skyscrapers<br />

region, Riyadh is a city where history and tradition are still alive.<br />

Once Abdulaziz retook the city, he started the unification of the<br />

and business centres. The King Abdullah Financial District first<br />

A true 21st century metropolis, the Saudi capital is home to the<br />

various tribes, sheikhdoms, city-states, emirates and kingdoms<br />

started construction in 2006, a master plan designed by Larsen<br />

Kingdom’s historical roots. “The documentary invites you to<br />

of most of the central Arabian Peninsula. The process was<br />

Diriyah and Al-Bujairi © Luc Embise<br />

Architects. It consists of 83 buildings, some high rise towers, and<br />

embark on a journey to discover a city that blends the past with<br />

completed in 1932, with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under King<br />

some skyscrapers. It was designed by several international archi-<br />

the future”, says António Buscardini, Director the Embarquement<br />

Riyadh episode.<br />

Abdulaziz Al-Saud being established on 23 September, marking<br />

the Third Saudi State.<br />

2. DIRIYAH AND AL-BUJAIRI<br />

tects. It’s a city within the city. It creates a huge contrast between<br />

the Saudi architectural identity and the modern architecture.<br />

Located about 20 minutes from downtown Riyadh, Diriyah is a<br />

Al-Faisaliah Tower is one of the most popular skyscrapers in<br />

must-see attraction. Founded in 1446, and overlooking the Wadi<br />

Riyadh. It is 267 meters high with 55 floors. It is famous for being<br />

Hanifa Valley (Ouadi Hanifa), Diriyah encompasses impressive<br />

the first skyscraper built in Saudi Arabia. The tower is notable for<br />

sites such as the historic quarters of Al-Turaif, the seat of govern-<br />

the huge glass globe located near the top. The globe measures<br />

ment at the time, and a UNESCO <strong>World</strong> Heritage Site since 2010.<br />

24 meters in diameter and is composed of 655 glass panels.<br />

The originality of Al-Bujairi is its mosques, its small houses scat-<br />

The globe is the golden sphere placed at the top of Al-Faisaliah<br />

tered throughout the neighborhood and which testify to the so-<br />

Tower. The globe has three floors with a lounge and a restaurant,<br />

cial life and architecture of that time. Today Al-Bujairi has a lively<br />

perfect for a romantic dinner. There’s a terrace where visitors can<br />

and dynamic atmosphere with many attractions for visitors. It is<br />

discover the city of Riyadh through a 360 degree panoramic view.<br />

also the new high-end gastronomic destination for gourmands.<br />

António Buscardini wearing a “Shemagh” @ Luc Embise<br />

Interview at Al-Masmak Fort © Buscardini Communications<br />

1. AL-MASMAK FORT<br />

In 1995, the palace was turned into a museum dedicated to<br />

the history and unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The<br />

fortress stands as symbol of regaining power and the rule of the<br />

A citadel made of clay bricks and dried mud, the Al-Masmak Fort<br />

country, displaying along its corridors the features of that era and<br />

was built in 1895 in the old city. It has been a silent witness to<br />

its leaders through audio-visual exhibitions, works of art, relics<br />

the major events related to the founding of the Kingdom of Saudi<br />

and photographs dating back to the early 20th century.<br />

Arabia. Construction of Al-Masmak Fortress started in 1865,<br />

during the reign of Imam Abdullah bin Faisal bin Turki Al-Saud.<br />

Al-Masmak is one of the most prominent national monuments<br />

It was completed in 1895, but by that time, the Second Saudi<br />

still standing today in Riyadh. It is one of the few still remaining<br />

State, under the House of Al-Saud, had collapsed. In 1881, the<br />

older constructions in the city, the old town standing out from<br />

Al-Rasheed family took control over the fortress and with it over<br />

between the surrounding modern buildings and tall glass sky-<br />

the city of Riyadh, driving the Al-Sauds into exile in Kuwait.<br />

scrapers.<br />

On 15 January 1902, Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud re-<br />

The fortress is built out of clay and mudbricks, its name, Mas-<br />

turned to the city to reclaim his family’s place on the throne. With<br />

mak, meaning a tall, strong building with thick walls. It is divided<br />

only 63 men, 23 of whom were told to wait at the border in case<br />

in six main parts: the gate on the western side, the mosque to<br />

the mission failed, he managed to retake the fortress. During the<br />

the left of the entrance, the majlis facing the entrance, the well on<br />

fight, Fahad bin Jalawi bin Turki, cousin of Abdulaziz, threw a<br />

the north-eastern side, the towers in each of its four corners and<br />

spear at the Rasheedi governor Ajlan with such force that, even<br />

the courtyard.<br />

View of The Globe © Luc Embise<br />

152 153


5. CAMEL CLUB<br />

Today, the link between Saudis and their camels remains strong.<br />

For some years, the “Camel Club” of Riyadh has been defending<br />

the tradition of the camel as an intangible heritage, as well as<br />

promoting the indigenous breeds.<br />

The “Camel Club” organizes several beauty contests, something<br />

that camel lovers know how to appreciate. The contests are<br />

different according to the colours. There are categories for white,<br />

red and black camels. Each contest is separated from the other.<br />

Crew at the Riyadh’s desert © Buscardini Communications<br />

4. AL-THUMAMA DESERT AND CAMEL BREEDING<br />

The competitions often see a display of very expensive camels<br />

who compete against one another. Camels reach very high prices<br />

in the whole Gulf region, some of them being valued at up to<br />

USD 6 million.<br />

Saudi Arabia has one of the largest sand deserts in the world and<br />

offers many activities and excursions for history buffs and adrenaline<br />

junkies. The red sand dunes of the Al-Thumama Desert,<br />

located north of Riyadh, are perfect for outdoor adventures. The<br />

trip is often organized in groups of ten “buggies”, one of the best<br />

ways to experience the desert and feel the power of the dunes.<br />

Another particularity of the desert is the breeding of dromedaries<br />

also called Arabian camels. Their population is estimated at<br />

about 1.6 million in the Arabian Peninsula, 53 percent of which<br />

are found in Saudi Arabia. It is Saudi Arabia’s national animal.<br />

For centuries, the camel was the most important logistic element<br />

for the forefathers of current Saudis. They travelled, they drank<br />

the animal’s milk, they ate its meat. The camel is part of the local<br />

culture.<br />

6. THE SHEMAGH AND JABAL FAHREN<br />

The camel is not the only popular element of the Saudi tradition.<br />

The scarf called “Shemagh” is the most distinctive accessory<br />

of Saudis. There are mainly two types: red is definitely the most<br />

famous one; white is normally used for special occasions like<br />

weddings.<br />

Commonly known as the “Edge of the <strong>World</strong>”, Jabal Fahren is<br />

located at the end of the Tuwaiq Mountains, north-west of<br />

Riyadh. It is one of the preferred getaways of city dwellers,<br />

perfect for weekends. At the top of the mountain it’s possible<br />

to see the sunset with a feeling of infinity that may not be seen<br />

anywhere else. Almost as if standing at the edge of the world.<br />

Man wearing a “Shemagh” at the Edge of the <strong>World</strong> © Luc Embise<br />

154 155


H.E. AMBASSADOR HAIFA AL JEDEA<br />

HEAD OF THE MISSION OF THE KINGDOM<br />

OF SAUDI ARABIA TO THE EU<br />

CELEBRATION OF THE<br />

INTERNATIONAL DAY<br />

OF WOMEN IN DIPLOMACY<br />

24 JUNE 2023<br />

156 157


Permanent Observer of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation<br />

to the European Union, H.E. Ismat Jahan, delivered a keynote<br />

speech during the celebrations of the first anniversary of the<br />

“International Day of Women in Diplomacy” held in Brussels on<br />

24 June upon the initiative of the Head of Saudi Arabia’s Mission<br />

to the European Union H.E. Haifa Al-Jedea. Her remarks are<br />

reproduced below.<br />

Women throughout history have played and are still playing a<br />

critical role in diplomacy, yet their contributions have often been<br />

ignored or not properly recognized. The time is now long overdue<br />

for celebrating the ways in which women are breaking barriers<br />

and making a difference in the field of diplomacy. Women are<br />

admittedly still grossly under-represented. Gender bias and stereotypes<br />

are seen as obstacles to women from joining the foreign<br />

service. Often they face difficulty in combining family life with a<br />

demanding career.<br />

The annual commemoration of this International Day provides<br />

us an opportunity to reflect on the many and varied challenges<br />

being faced by women diplomats. While we advocate for<br />

increased representation of women in multilateral decision-making,<br />

we must endeavour for urgent actions to achieve the goal<br />

of women’s full, equal, effective and meaningful participation in<br />

diplomacy. First and foremost there is a need for raising public<br />

awareness and support to this effect. This calls for collective<br />

endeavours involving governments, academic institutions, CSOs<br />

and association of women diplomats, where they exist.<br />

In mainstreaming gender and women’s perspectives in our Foreign<br />

Offices it is important to network individually or collectively<br />

with other women diplomats. Such networking surely provides<br />

a platform for women diplomats for exchanging good practices<br />

and lessons learned. Through such solidarity we can promote<br />

gender equality in diplomacy. At least I believe so. I recognise the<br />

good work of Ambassador Saja Majali of the Hashemite Kingdom<br />

of Jordan who is currently coordinating the Women Ambassadors<br />

Networking Group in Brussels.<br />

The cause of women in general, and the cause of women in<br />

decision-making including in diplomacy, have universal appeal<br />

irrespective of where we come from or which government or<br />

organisation we represent. For example, the promotion of women’s<br />

rights and their empowerment remains high on the agenda<br />

of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a 57 member<br />

inter-governmental body headquartered in Jeddah, which I have<br />

the honour to represent in Brussels.<br />

H.E. ISMAT JAHAN<br />

PERMANENT OBSERVER OF THE ORGANISATION OF<br />

ISLAMIC COOPERATION TO THE EUROPEAN UNION<br />

The OIC Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women (OPAAW)<br />

2015-2025 constitutes a comprehensive strategy prioritizing<br />

participation of women in decision making, providing them equal<br />

opportunities and access to education and health care, economic<br />

empowerment, protecting them from all forms of violence, and<br />

specific focus on situation of women in crises including climate<br />

change and natural disasters, as well as women in armed conflicts<br />

and under foreign occupation (e.g. Palestinian women). The<br />

OIC has consistently and strongly upheld the rights of Afghan<br />

women’s full access to education, work and public life.<br />

The OIC Women’s Development Organisation (WDO) based in<br />

Cairo is geared towards the development and advancement of<br />

women and for building their capacities and skills in the member<br />

states. The OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission<br />

(IPHRC) in Jeddah is also mandated to promote the rights<br />

of women within the OIC member states. Both these bodies are<br />

currently headed by distinguished ladies from the Kingdom of<br />

Saudi Arabia.<br />

Furthermore, both in the general secretariat of OIC as well as in<br />

its offices abroad a growing number of women are occupying<br />

various important positions. The Missions in Brussels and Geneva<br />

are both headed by women. I am happy to see that there are<br />

quite a number of women heads of Mission and diplomats from<br />

the OIC member states who are serving in Brussels.<br />

Referring to international covenants, Article 8 of the Convention<br />

on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women<br />

(CEDAW) obliges State parties to ensure participation of women<br />

at all levels and in all areas of international affairs, without discrimination.<br />

The UN Security Resolution 1325 also provides a<br />

comprehensive framework for intensifying the role of women in<br />

peace-building and conflict resolution.<br />

Many of the OIC member countries have made significant strides<br />

in addressing gender disparities in numerous sectors. Yet, there<br />

are still many areas of concern, gaps and challenges that remain<br />

to be addressed. We do recognize that national-level efforts for<br />

improving women’s rights and empowerment can be buttressed<br />

by further intra-OIC cooperation as well as in coordination with<br />

international and regional organizations and institutions, particularly<br />

through exchange of best practices, ideas and institutional<br />

support, as necessary.<br />

This would be crucial both in designing and implementing<br />

policies on women’s empowerment, their participation in politics<br />

and public life, including diplomacy, promoting their access to<br />

education, elimination of discrimination and violence against<br />

women, upholding women, peace and security agenda, gender<br />

dimension of climate change, to give some examples. Only a few<br />

weeks ago, the 6th OIC-EU Senior Officials Meeting in Brussels<br />

discussed possible cooperation in this area. Last December, the<br />

two sides had co-hosted a virtual technical workshop on “Gender<br />

Based Violence” which was successful.<br />

The Secretary General of the OIC, H.E. Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha,<br />

has consistently affirmed that Islam has always recognized the<br />

role of women in shaping development in societies and upheld<br />

the dignity and rights of women to participate in all spheres of life<br />

including their full rights for education, work and social participation.<br />

The OIC has welcomed the offer of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia<br />

to host an international Conference on Women in Islam, in coordination<br />

with the OIC General Secretariat. The Conference aims<br />

at clarifying women’s rights and responsibilities, especially the<br />

right to education and work, as prescribed by the teachings of<br />

Islam, with a wide participation of scholars from the Islamic<br />

Ummah. One of the focuses of this conference will be on the<br />

recent situation of women in Afghanistan.<br />

All photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

158 159


CULTURAL TREASURES<br />

OF TURKMENISTAN<br />

On 31 August, the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Brussels, in<br />

partnership with <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong>, hosted an exhibition and<br />

networking reception evening entitled “Cultural Treasures of<br />

Turkmenistan”, to mark 30 years of diplomatic relations between<br />

Turkmenistan and the Kingdom of Belgium and the upcoming<br />

32nd anniversary of Turkmenistan’s independence.<br />

The splendour of the event was evident from the list of honoured<br />

guests, which included representatives from EU institutions –<br />

among whom Special Representative of the European Union<br />

for Central Asia, Terhi Hakala –, members of the European<br />

Parliament and various diplomatic missions in Brussels.<br />

One of the highlights of the exhibition was the presentation of ancient<br />

Turkmen jewellery from the private collection of the Belgian<br />

historian, professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and regular<br />

contributor to <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong>, Prof. Dr. Jan de Maere. These<br />

items, which Dr de Maere acquired in the early 1970s when he<br />

travelled in the region, sparkled with history and craftsmanship.<br />

The exhibition was not just about decorations. It was a panorama<br />

of Turkmenistan’s rich culture, from colourful Turkmen carpets to<br />

traditional musical instruments like the dutar, gyjak, and deprek,<br />

to national costumes that tell the stories of the nation’s past. Various<br />

works of art depicted among others Akhal-Teke horses and<br />

Alabai shepherd dogs, symbols of national Turkmen pride.<br />

One of the memorable moments of the event was the touching<br />

reading of a poem by the Belgian high school student Iustin<br />

Lazer. He chose a poem by the famous 18th century Turkmen<br />

poet-philosopher Magtymguly titled “Imagine”. The depth of the<br />

poem, combined with Iustin’s sincere explanation of his choice,<br />

deeply moved the audience. Justin’s fascination with the culture<br />

and literature of Turkmenistan was evident, and his speech was a<br />

testament to the universal appeal of Turkmenistan’s heritage.<br />

The atmosphere was further enhanced by the magnificent spread<br />

of Turkmenistan’s national cuisine. The guests enjoyed a wide<br />

variety of dishes, including Turkmen pilaf, samsa, and pishme.<br />

The exhibition “Cultural Treasures of Turkmenistan” was a bridge<br />

that linked cultures, histories, and people. It was a reminder of<br />

the beauty and richness of Turkmenistan’s historical and cultural<br />

heritage.<br />

Through initiatives like these, <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> is committed<br />

to enhancing the visibility of the rich cultural heritage of<br />

Turkmenistan and Central Asian countries to the diverse<br />

Brussels audience.<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

160 161


162 163


BENELUX<br />

EUROPE PRIZE 2023<br />

AWARDED TO<br />

THE NATIONAL OMBUDSMAN<br />

OF THE NETHERLANDS<br />

REINIER VAN ZUTPHEN<br />

On 10 June, the Netherlands’ National Ombudsman Reinier van<br />

Zutphen received the BeNeLux Europe Prize for his “special<br />

achievements in the field of citizens, government and justice”.<br />

This was announced by the BeNeLux University Center (BUC),<br />

which is active in the fields of education, science, culture and<br />

humanity and aims to contribute to raising the quality of European<br />

society.<br />

fact that I can now receive the BeNeLux prize as an extra incentive<br />

to continue with that.”<br />

The award ceremony took place in the KBC Auditorium in<br />

Leuven. Van Zutphen received the prize from the chairman of<br />

the BUC Prof. Anton van der Geld and Counselor Prince Charles<br />

Louis de Merode.<br />

The BeNeLux Europe Prize has been awarded since 1999 to individuals<br />

or institutions that have made exceptional achievements<br />

in strengthening cooperation and friendship in the Benelux. It<br />

has previously been awarded to former Dutch Prime Minister Jan<br />

Peter Balkenende; former European Commissioner for Competition<br />

and the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes; former President of the<br />

European Council Herman van Rompuy; Executive Vice President<br />

of the European Commission for the European Green Deal<br />

Frans Timmermans and Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier<br />

Bettel, among others.<br />

Photos: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

In addition to Van Zutphen, this year’s prize was also awarded to<br />

Prof. Koenraad Baron Lenaerts, who has presided the Court of<br />

Justice of the European Union since 2015.<br />

HUMANITY AND JUSTICE<br />

The year 2023 has been declared by the Board and Advisory<br />

Board of the BUC as the year of ‘Humanity and Justice’. In that<br />

perspective, they see the “numerous, tireless efforts for society<br />

of Reinier van Zutphen in the Netherlands since 2015”.<br />

Van Zutphen: “It is an honour to receive the BeNeLux Europe<br />

Prize. As the National Ombudsman, I work with more than 200<br />

colleagues every day on a better relationship between citizens<br />

and government. I think it is very important to also build a bridge<br />

to other ombudsmen in Europe and the Caribbean part of our<br />

Kingdom. To learn from each other and share insights. I see the<br />

164 165


THE ALBANIAN DIASPORA<br />

ENVOYS OF ECONOMIC INCLUSION,<br />

FORGING DIPLOMATIC BRIDGES<br />

AND CATALYSING<br />

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT<br />

Gjergji Kajana – Ermelinda Hajdari<br />

Nestled in the Western Balkans with a rich history influenced<br />

by foreign empires, Albania embarked on a quest for European<br />

Union accession in 2022. Amidst this transformation, the country<br />

has assumed an increasingly prominent role on the international<br />

stage, leading regional initiatives and making its mark at the<br />

United Nations.<br />

However, Albania’s story is not confined to its political endeavours;<br />

it is intertwined with the resilience of its diaspora and their<br />

contributions to their homeland’s growth and development. The<br />

evolving narrative of Albania faced with the challenges during its<br />

transition and the dynamic role played by its diaspora sheds light<br />

on the initiatives and partnerships that hold the promise of<br />

a brighter future for the country.<br />

ALBANIA’S EVOLVING GLOBAL ROLE<br />

Albania’s history bears the imprint of foreign empires, most<br />

notably the Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans, until it ultimately<br />

gained independence in 1912. More recently, starting in 2022,<br />

Albania has taken proactive steps in the pursuit of EU membership<br />

through active negotiations.<br />

The country’s presence on the international stage has been<br />

steadily growing. It has become a member of NATO and actively<br />

participates in regional cooperation initiatives across Southeast<br />

Europe, including the Central European Initiative (CEI), Central<br />

European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA), South-East European<br />

Cooperation Process (SEECP) and the Berlin Process.<br />

Notably, Albania chaired the OSCE in 2020 and held a nonpermanent<br />

seat on the United Nations Security Council from<br />

2022 to 2023. Additionally, it hosted the EU-Western Balkans<br />

Summit in December 2022, is preparing to host the Berlin<br />

Process summit in October 2023, an is poised to lead the<br />

SEECP from July 1, 2024.<br />

Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

At the recent Bled Strategic Forum, European Council President<br />

Charles Michel suggested that the EU should be prepared to admit<br />

candidate countries by 2030, a notion welcomed by Albanian<br />

Prime Minister Edi Rama. Rama emphasized the significance<br />

of allowing aspiring EU. Member States like Albania to actively<br />

participate in projects that help them align with EU standards<br />

as they fulfil their obligations. He also underscored the urgency<br />

for the EU to move beyond planning connectivity projects in<br />

the Western Balkans and initiate their implementation, given the<br />

growing influence of non-European powers in the region.<br />

THE IMPACT OF EMIGRATION ON ALBANIA’S<br />

DEMOGRAPHICS AND ECONOMY<br />

The Albanian Diaspora<br />

Following its alignment with the communist bloc during the Cold<br />

War, Albania embarked on a challenging transition in the early<br />

1990s, transitioning to a free-market economy and establishing<br />

Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

166 167


These institutions include a minister of state with a dedicated<br />

cabinet, legislative enhancements, strategies, and action plans.<br />

This development led to the creation of a national agency, a development<br />

fund, a business chamber, a new press agency, and<br />

the placement of coordinating officers in foreign missions in Italy<br />

and Greece. Albania also increased cooperation with specialized<br />

international institutions, such as IOM, and partner countries like<br />

the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the<br />

Italian Cooperation Agency for Development (AICS).<br />

the rule of law. However, this journey came with significant challenges,<br />

including the destruction of economic infrastructure,<br />

civil conflicts, and political disputes. During this period of economic<br />

hardship and institutional crises, a substantial number<br />

of Albanians emigrated to other European countries, primarily<br />

neighbouring Italy and Greece, as well as North America. This<br />

emigration had a profound impact, leading to a decline in<br />

Albania’s human capital and population.<br />

The global Albanian diaspora comprises an estimated 1.25<br />

million people. Their financial remittances, often sent informally,<br />

constitute nearly 10 percent of Albania’s GDP. Official data<br />

from the Italian Ministry of the Interior in January 2022 indicated<br />

396,918 regular Albanian residents in Italy, with 36,342 individual<br />

enterprises owned by Albanians. In March 2023, the Greek Ministry<br />

of Emigration and Asylum reported 281,000 regular Albanian<br />

residents in Greece, including approximately 15,000 Albanian<br />

owners of small and medium-sized enterprises. The integration<br />

of Albanian immigrants in their host countries involves acquiring<br />

citizenship, mixed marriages, and engaging in independent<br />

economic activities.<br />

In recent years, a notable trend has emerged, with increased<br />

emigration of Albanians from both Albania and its diaspora to<br />

Northern Europe, particularly Germany and Great Britain. Prime<br />

Minister Edi Rama described emigration as “a journey to explore<br />

different experiences and cultures” in a May 14, 2023 interview<br />

with Corriere della Sera.<br />

DIASPORA ENGAGEMENT AND INITIATIVES FOR<br />

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT<br />

Immigration is a universal phenomenon driven by collective<br />

needs and legitimate aspirations for development, often unattainable<br />

in immigrants’ home countries. Development, as recognized<br />

by the UN in a 1986 declaration, is an inclusive concept of<br />

progress and an “inalienable human right.”<br />

Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

Diasporas play a vital role in transnational activities, such as<br />

sending remittances, making investments, promoting cultural and<br />

economic diplomacy, contributing to humanitarian efforts, engaging<br />

in trade and business, and transferring human and social<br />

capital. This involvement makes them instrumental agents of development.<br />

Until 2017, the Albanian diaspora primarily engaged<br />

with their homeland on an individual basis, without institutional<br />

support. However, in that year, Albania began to establish state<br />

Between 2018 and 2021, IOM Albania implemented the program<br />

“Engagement of the Albanian Diaspora in the Social and Economic<br />

Development of Albania.” This program focused on Italy,<br />

France, and Belgium and aimed to map and profile diasporic<br />

communities, promote economic ties with Albania, and assist<br />

Albanian embassies and consulates in Rome, Milan, and Bari by<br />

enhancing their capabilities. The program included the Diaspora<br />

Business Chamber (DHBD), a non-profit and independent business<br />

advocacy organization founded by Albanian businesspeople<br />

residing in Albania and abroad. DHBD played a crucial role<br />

in implementing a knowledge transfer program in agriculture in<br />

Albania and managing the Connect Albania investment platform.<br />

The Chamber’s long-term objectives include the integration<br />

of Albanian businesses in their host countries, establishing<br />

partnerships to attract foreign direct investments through the<br />

diaspora’s network of entrepreneurs, and promoting joint projects<br />

for local development. DHBD, in collaboration with <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

<strong>World</strong> Institute (DWI) and Finnova Foundation, plans to develop<br />

a training program for women-led startups. This program aims<br />

to equip them with the skills needed to access EU funds and<br />

enhance their digital recognition. This initiative was announced<br />

during the fourth summit of women in the Albanian diaspora,<br />

held in Tirana on September 14-15. DWI participated alongside<br />

Albanian government and parliamentary representatives and<br />

professionals from the Albanian community living abroad. This<br />

project aligns with Albania’s efforts to strengthen its digital capabilities,<br />

as evidenced by the approval of a law on startups in 2022<br />

and the implementation of programs within the Western Balkans<br />

Investment Framework (WBIF), an initiative between the EU and<br />

financial institutions aimed at increasing investments in Balkan<br />

countries aspiring to EU membership by 2030.<br />

Albania’s economic prospects are positive, marked by an increase<br />

in the number of tourists, sustainable economic growth<br />

forecasts, and a <strong>72</strong> percent increase in exports from 2018 to<br />

2022, particularly with regional partners in the CEFTA free trade<br />

area. Albanian communities, well-integrated in countries where<br />

Albanian emigration is rooted, can serve as ambassadors to<br />

strengthen their homeland’s capacities. They can achieve this<br />

through institutional cultural centres of the diaspora, which<br />

can act as agents of economic diplomacy in coordination with<br />

Albania’s diplomatic missions. As Albania continues its journey<br />

toward EU accession and economic growth, engaging with its<br />

diaspora and leveraging their expertise and resources will be<br />

essential in achieving its goals on the global stage.<br />

Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

institutions dedicated to diaspora engagement. Photo: Bled Strategic Forum Photo: <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong><br />

168 169


My name is Martin Algrain and I am 27. I am a second-year<br />

master’s student at the Université de Mons (UMONS) Faculty<br />

of Translation and Interpretation (FTI-EII), where I am studying<br />

translation in an intercultural context, from Spanish and Russian<br />

into French.<br />

This summer I spent a month in Uzbekistan. I was hosted by the<br />

National University of Uzbekistan, where I did a summer internship<br />

in the international relations department and took part in the<br />

summer school they organize.<br />

I ended up there by chance. I wanted to go to a Russian-speaking<br />

country so that I could practise my Russian in a real-life<br />

situation. Therefore, I spoke to one of my Russian teachers<br />

who asked me if I had a preference between Kazakhstan and<br />

Uzbekistan. As I am already going to Kazakhstan next February<br />

for my professional integration internship, I decided to visit<br />

Uzbekistan to take my first steps in Central Asia.<br />

The FTI-EII has had Erasmus exchange agreements with the<br />

National University of Uzbekistan for several years now, which<br />

made it easier to organize my trip.<br />

TESTIMONY<br />

OF A BELGIAN STUDENT<br />

IN UZBEKISTAN<br />

I travelled from Tashkent to Bukhara, then onwards to Khiva,<br />

before heading back to Tashkent. The first two journeys took<br />

about seven hours each, and the last about 14 hours. That may<br />

sound like a long time to us little Belgians, but in this part of the<br />

world it is normal to take several hours by train to get from one<br />

city to another.<br />

This trip to Uzbekistan was an extraordinary experience that<br />

transported me into a fascinating world where history, culture<br />

and natural beauty were intertwined in a captivating way.<br />

Uzbekistan is a country in Central Asia that is often overlooked<br />

by travellers, but, in my opinion, that is precisely what makes it<br />

such a special destination.<br />

However, it was by travelling through the ancient cities of<br />

Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva that I really immersed myself in<br />

the history of Uzbekistan. These cities are full of splendid monuments,<br />

madrasas, mosques and mausoleums, that are testament<br />

to the importance of the Silk Road in the history of trade and<br />

culture. The breathtaking architecture and artistic detail of these<br />

sites left me speechless, and I felt like I was travelling back in<br />

time. Another memorable aspect of my trip was the Uzbek cuisine.<br />

Dishes such as plov, manti and delicious pastries gave me<br />

a taste of a cuisine rich in flavours.<br />

Meeting the local people also enriched my trip. The Uzbeks are<br />

incredibly warm, hospitable and welcoming people, and I had the<br />

opportunity to learn more about their way of life, traditions, and<br />

history through enriching exchanges. They were thrilled to know<br />

that I enjoyed learning languages and took pleasure in teaching<br />

me a few words and expressions in Uzbek.<br />

Uzbekistan is not a country you immediately think of when looking<br />

for a travel destination, yet it is full of riches. What you see in<br />

photos is nothing compared to what you feel when you see the<br />

great historical buildings. I highly recommend this destination to<br />

all travellers looking for an authentic and enriching experience.<br />

Uzbekistan has captured my heart, and I am already dreaming<br />

of coming back to explore more of this wonderful country and to<br />

see my friends again.<br />

During my internship, I worked on writing a guide for international<br />

students wishing to study at the University. The guide provides<br />

information on the administrative procedures to be followed and<br />

gives advice on how to get off to a good start in Uzbekistan.<br />

I also accompanied the Vice-Rector, Shirinova Raima Khakimovna,<br />

to meetings with various delegations, including <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong>.<br />

I also took part in the summer school organized by the National<br />

University of Uzbekistan, on the theme of the Silk Road. Students<br />

from all over the world took part in this summer school.<br />

There were students from China, South Korea, Russia, and<br />

Azerbaijan, as well as from Europe (Hungary, Poland, France and<br />

Belgium). It was a very interesting and enriching mix of cultures.<br />

During the week, we took courses on Uzbek culture, literature,<br />

and cuisine; we visited many museums, and the country’s cultural<br />

capital: Samarkand. We also went to a dacha in the mountains,<br />

where we made our own plov (an Uzbek national dish).<br />

The week after the summer school, I asked for a few days off<br />

so that I could travel around Uzbekistan. I travelled by night in<br />

sleeper trains, and visited historic cities during the day.<br />

170 171


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1<strong>72</strong> 173


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176 177


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178 179


INTRODUCTION<br />

Brussels, being an international hub in diplomacy, hosts numerous<br />

international organisations. These international organisations<br />

tend to have a Seat Agreement with the Belgian hosting State<br />

that offers them immunity from jurisdiction before Belgian Courts.<br />

It is settled doctrine and case law, both in Belgium and internationally,<br />

that international organisations that enjoy immunity from<br />

jurisdiction cannot, a priori, be sued before the courts of a state. 2<br />

Belgian Courts, however, tend to apply particular conditions<br />

to grant jurisdictional immunities, that may go beyond what is<br />

required from a Human Rights perspective.<br />

This article will explain the Belgian stance on the immunity from<br />

jurisdiction for International Organisations.<br />

THE IMMUNITY OF JURISDICTION OF AN INTER-<br />

NATIONAL ORGANISATION HAS AN “ABSOLUTE”<br />

CHARACTER.<br />

The jurisdictional immunity of international organisations in<br />

Belgium has an absolute character 3 , and is therefore not to be<br />

confused with the jurisdictional immunity of States. 4 The latter<br />

immunity only applies to acts falling within a State’s imperium<br />

(iure imperii acts).<br />

Illustrative Example: Conflicts relating to the administration of<br />

staff in an international organisation can benefit from jurisdictional<br />

immunity whereas conflicts relating to the administration<br />

of staff in a State may not be regarded as iure imperii acts (and<br />

rather as iure gestionis acts) and would then not benefit from<br />

immunity from jurisdiction. 5<br />

Avenue Louise 146 | Brussels | +(32) 2 643 33 01 | info@billiet-co.be<br />

THE BELGIAN STANCE<br />

ON IMMUNITY FROM JURISDICTION<br />

FOR INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS<br />

JUSTIFICATION OF JURISDICTIONAL IMMUNITY<br />

FOR INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS<br />

The principle of jurisdictional immunity of international organisations<br />

is justified by the necessary independence that must be<br />

granted to international organisations in the execution of their<br />

mission. 6<br />

The immunity essentially aims to prohibit interference by national<br />

governments, and in particular the government of the country<br />

where the organisation has its headquarters, through the<br />

application of their domestic law. 7 The aim is also to preserve<br />

the effectiveness of the organisation’s actions and to maintain<br />

equality between its members. 8 The immunity further enables to<br />

strengthen international collaboration.<br />

CONDITIONS APPLICABLE TO THE JURISDICTION-<br />

AL IMMUNITY OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANISA-<br />

TIONS:<br />

THE IMMUNITY MUST BE RATIFIED IN<br />

BELGIAN LAW<br />

The Belgian Supreme Court clarified that, contrary to the immunity<br />

of States, there is no general principle of public international<br />

law that establishes immunity from jurisdiction for international<br />

organisations. 9 Consequently, the jurisdictional immunity of<br />

international organisations can therefore only be derived from a<br />

conventional basis.<br />

As a consequence, the Belgian State must only grant immunity<br />

to an international organisation when it had agreed to do so. 10<br />

Such Agreement can be derived from provisions of the Seat<br />

Agreement (when the international organisation is hosted in<br />

KEY CONTACTS<br />

Johan Billiet<br />

johan.billiet@billiet-co.be<br />

Dr. Konstantinos Adamantopoulos<br />

konstantinos.adamantopoulos@billiet-co.be<br />

Philippe Billiet<br />

philippe.billiet@billiet-co.be<br />

Vladimir Lincautan<br />

vladimir.lincautan@billiet-co.be<br />

Belgium), an international convention (when the Belgian State<br />

entered into a relevant treaty), or from the act that incorporates<br />

the international organisation (when the Belgian State is Member<br />

of the international organisation). 11<br />

In addition, that relevant basis must also have been ratified<br />

internally within the Belgian state for it to form part of the Belgian<br />

legal order. 12<br />

AD-BillietCo.indd 2 28/07/2020 15:16<br />

GRANTING OF THE IMMUNITY MUST NOT VIOLATE<br />

ARTICLE 6(1) OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION<br />

ON HUMAN RIGHTS<br />

The coexistence of jurisdictional immunities and article 6(1) of the<br />

European Convention on Human Rights which requires that every<br />

person is entitled to have access to Justice, raises questions<br />

about the relationship between such immunities and this fundamental<br />

right.<br />

The European Court of Human Rights and the Belgian Supreme<br />

Court have both acknowledged that the right of access to Justice<br />

is not absolute and that it can be subject to limitations in so<br />

far as those limitations would not affect the very substance of<br />

this fundamental right. 13 In addition, such limitations must pursue<br />

a legitimate aim and must be proportionate. 14<br />

The European Court of Human Rights has held that the granting<br />

of immunity from jurisdiction to international organisations pursues<br />

a legitimate aim which constitutes an indispensable way for<br />

the proper functioning of the latter, without unilateral interference<br />

by any government. 15<br />

The European Court of Human Rights has also held that, to<br />

determine whether the immunity from jurisdiction is proportionate<br />

to the pursued aim, it must be examined whether the applicant<br />

has had other reasonable alternatives to effectively protect its<br />

rights granted by the European Convention on Human Rights. 16<br />

If a reasonable alternative remedy is available, the granting of<br />

jurisdictional immunity is always proportionate.<br />

However, the requirement for a reasonable alternative remedy<br />

to be available can – as such – not be derived from the jurisprudence<br />

of the European Court of Human Rights, since other<br />

criterions may also allow to conclude compliance with the said<br />

Article 6(1).<br />

The reflection on a reasonable alternative remedy is – from a<br />

Human Rights perspective – merely situated amongst other<br />

reflections that could be of equal relevance, all to assess whether<br />

the recognition of jurisdictional immunity of an international organisation<br />

would be proportionate to the objective it pursues. 17<br />

EXISTENCE OF AN IN-DEPTH AND IN CONCRETO<br />

REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE REMEDY<br />

The Belgian Supreme Court derogates from the doctrine and<br />

jurisprudence of and relating to the European Court of Human<br />

Rights by suggesting reasonable alternative(s) as a conditio sine<br />

quae non when assessing the proportionate character of the<br />

immunity of an international organisation. 18<br />

Reasonable alternatives may then be found in the form of a<br />

choice of court clause, arbitration clause, submission to the ILO<br />

Tribunal, etc.<br />

Where Belgian Court decisions initially related to immunity from<br />

execution of international organisations, later court decisions applied<br />

the same approach to cases on immunity from jurisdiction<br />

of international organisations. 19<br />

Moreover, Belgian Courts have to date not explicitly confirmed<br />

that the existence of a reasonable alternative remedy must in se<br />

suffice for the finding of proportionality.<br />

Instead, Judges have indicated that their assessments are made<br />

to appreciate the proportionality of the damage that would be<br />

caused by the immunity to the right of access to Justice in light<br />

of the particular circumstances of each case. Such far reaching<br />

ad hoc approach may go beyond a mere assessment on the<br />

existence of a reasonable alternative. 20<br />

Moreover, when assessing alternatives, the Belgian Courts<br />

are stricter than the European Court of Human Rights. Belgian<br />

Courts apply an ‘in-depth’ (maximalist) procedural approach<br />

rather than a ‘simple’ (minimalist) procedural approach.<br />

Belgian Courts will therefore verify whether the alternative(s) offer<br />

the same guarantees of impartiality and independence as those<br />

binding a State party to the European Court of Human Rights. 21<br />

Illustrative Example: The European Court of Human Rights, in its<br />

assessment of what is reasonable, may find it sufficient 22 that an<br />

internal commission exists within the international organisation to<br />

properly handle conflicts, whereas the Belgian Courts would go<br />

further and would analyse the concrete functioning there of and<br />

reflect on independence, the public character of the correlating<br />

decision-making process, etc. 23<br />

Whilst Belgian Courts apply a strict approach ratione materiae,<br />

they tend to be lenient ratione temporis. It suffices that an indepth<br />

and in concreto reasonable alternative remedy was available<br />

at some point in the past, without the need for such alternative<br />

to still be available on the date of the court’s assessment. 24<br />

180 181


Furthermore, Belgian Courts may internally be divided and appear<br />

to apply different perspectives to their assessment exercise.<br />

The perspective of certain lower Belgian Tribunals tends to be<br />

that a Judge seized of an action against an international organisation<br />

is de facto called upon to choose to give precedence to<br />

immunity from jurisdiction over access to Justice (or vice versa),<br />

in light of the interests of the parties. 25<br />

The perspective of higher Belgian Courts tends to rather be that<br />

a Judge seized of an action against an international organisation<br />

is called upon to assess whether the immunity from jurisdiction<br />

can resort effects towards the counterparty in the matter<br />

at hand. 26 Both perspectives are driven by the insight that, by<br />

granting jurisdictional immunity to an international organisation,<br />

alternative remedy the recognition of immunity is not ipso facto<br />

constitutive of a violation of the right of access to a Court. 29<br />

Derogations from the Belgian stance may raise issues regarding<br />

favouritism of the Belgian Receiving State towards one or more<br />

international organisations in the execution of its Agreements.<br />

CONCLUSIONS<br />

The jurisdictional immunity of an international organisation has a<br />

legitimate aim and an absolute character.<br />

To be able to effectively enjoy such immunity in Belgian Courts,<br />

it is strongly recommended that the international organisation<br />

1<br />

This Article was kindly offered by Philippe BILLIET to the Brussels <strong>Diplomatic</strong><br />

Academy (BDA) and to <strong>Diplomatic</strong> <strong>World</strong> (DW). If you wish to contact the author,<br />

feel free to send an email to Philippe.Billiet@billiet-co.be. The author is a<br />

Belgian Lawyer specialized in alternative dispute resolution and in the provision<br />

of legal services to diplomatic missions in Brussels.<br />

2<br />

Tribunal du Travail francophone de Bruxelles, 1stchamber, 15 April 2020,<br />

19/3890/A. (not published)<br />

3<br />

Tribunal du Travail francophone de Bruxelles, 1stchamber, 15 March 2021,<br />

21/2<strong>72</strong>4/A. (not published)<br />

4<br />

Ch. F. AMERASINGHE, Principles of the Institutional Law of International<br />

Organizations, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005, p.<br />

322. Regarding the relevance of such distinction, see also : N. ANGELET and<br />

A. WEERTS, « Les immunités des organisations internationales face à l’article<br />

6 de la Convention européenne des Droits de l’Homme: la jurisprudence<br />

strasbourgeoise et sa prise en compte par les juridictions nationales », Journ.<br />

dr. intern., vol. 4 (2006), pp. 14-15;Cour eur. D.H., 5 March 2013, Chapman /<br />

Belgium, §§ 47-52.<br />

Germany; §68 and Beer and Regan v. Germany, §58.<br />

17<br />

N. ANGELET and A. WEERTS, “Les immunités des organisations internationales<br />

face à l’article 6 de la Convention européenne des Droits de l’Homme: la<br />

jurisprudence strasbourgeoise et sa prise en compte par les juridictions nationales<br />

», Journ. Dr. Intern., 2006/4, p.19 : A. LOUWETTE, « Les juges belges face<br />

à l’appareil judiciaire des Etats étrangers aux mécanismes quasi-judiciaires<br />

des organisations internationales », in Les juges belges face aux actes adoptés<br />

par les Etats étrangers et les organisations internationales, Brussels, Bruylant,<br />

2016, p. 159.<br />

18<br />

A. LOUWETTE, « Les juges belges face à l’appareil judiciaire des Etats<br />

étrangers aux mécanismes quasi-judiciaires des organisations internationales<br />

», in Les juges belges face aux actes adoptés par les Etats étrangers et les<br />

organisations internationales, Brussels, Bruylant, 2016, p. 160-161.<br />

19<br />

Tribunal du Travail francophone de Bruxelles, 1stchamber, 15 March 2021,<br />

21/2<strong>72</strong>4/A. (not published)<br />

20<br />

Cass., 21 December 2009, R.G. n° C.07.0407.F.<br />

the Belgian State is not allowed to violate its own human rights<br />

obligations.<br />

Several Peer Authors have criticized the fact that Belgian Courts<br />

go beyond what is required by the European Court of Human<br />

Rights. It is indeed remarkable that the Belgian Receiving State<br />

goes beyond the protection standard of Human Rights 27 to mitigate<br />

jurisdictional immunities. One could argue that, in doing so,<br />

the Belgian. Receiving State may violate its underlaying Agreement<br />

with the international organisation to respect immunity from<br />

jurisdiction.<br />

NO WAIVER OF IMMUNITY<br />

puts in place a reasonable alternative remedy to ordinary Court<br />

litigation.<br />

The alternative must be tailored in such manner that would<br />

survive an in-depth and in concreto analysis that Belgian Judges<br />

tend to make when they are asked to assess whether jurisdictional<br />

immunity should be pronounced.<br />

It is therefore recommended that international organisations<br />

reflect on whether their Staff Regulations need to be updated<br />

accordingly and, in that exercise, involve an Expert Lawyer in<br />

alternative dispute resolution who can advise them on the broad<br />

realm of available options.<br />

When a reasonable alternative remedy is unavailable, the interna-<br />

5<br />

Tribunal du Travail francophone de Bruxelles, 1stchamber, 15 April 2020,<br />

19/3890/A. (not published)<br />

6<br />

Tribunal du Travail francophone de Bruxelles, 1stchamber, 15 April 2020,<br />

19/3890/A; Tribunal du Travail francophone de Bruxelles, 1stchamber, 15<br />

March 2021, 21/2<strong>72</strong>4/A. (not published)<br />

7<br />

J. VANDERSCHUEREN, “De quelques considerations sur les Immunités<br />

octroyées aux organisations internationales », J.T., 2014, p. 146. See also:<br />

E. DAVID, « L’immunité de juridiction des organisations internationales »,<br />

note under cass., 21 December 2009, R.C.J.B., 2011/2, p. 254. See also the<br />

following cases: European Court of Human Rights 18 February 1999, Beer and<br />

Regan v.Germany, § 53; European Court of Human Rights 18 February 1999,<br />

Waite and Kennedy v. Germany, § 63; European Court of Human Rights 13<br />

November 2008, Mazéasv France, p. 7; European Court of Human Rights 7<br />

July 2009, Lopez Cifuentes v. Spain, § 26; European Court of Human Rights,<br />

11 June 2013, Stichting mothers of Srebrenica and others v. the Netherlands,<br />

§§ 139 - 164.<br />

8<br />

J. VANDERSCHUEREN, “De quelques considerations sur les Immunités<br />

21<br />

A. LOUWETTE, « Les juges belges face à l’appareil judiciaire des Etats<br />

étrangers aux mécanismes quasi-judiciaires des organisations internationales<br />

», in Les juges belges face aux actes adoptés par les Etats étrangers et les<br />

organisations internationales, Brussels, Bruylant, 2016, p. 168.<br />

22<br />

European Court of Human Rights, 13 November 2008, Mazéasv. France, p.<br />

7. See also : J. VANDERSCHUEREN, “De quelques considerations sur les Immunités<br />

octroyées aux organisations internationales », J.T., 2014, p. 146. See<br />

also : E. DAVID, « L’immunité de juridiction des organisations internationales »,<br />

note under cass., 21 december 2009, R.C.J.B., 2011/2, p. 148, n° 14.<br />

23<br />

Brussels, 4 March 2003, J.T. 2003, p. 684; Brussels, 17 September 2003, J.T.<br />

2004, p. 617; Cass. 21 December 2009, S.04.0129.F/20, R.C.J.B. 2011, p. 203.<br />

24<br />

Tribunal du Travail francophone de Bruxelles, 1stchamber, 15 April 2020,<br />

19/3890/A. (not published)<br />

25<br />

Tribunal du Travail francophone de Bruxelles, 1stchamber, 15 March 2021,<br />

21/2<strong>72</strong>4/A. (not published)<br />

Jurisdictional immunities form no part of Belgian public order<br />

tional organisation could still have a small chance to benefit from<br />

octroyées aux organisations internationales », J.T., 2014, p. 146.<br />

26<br />

Cass., 21 December 2009, R.G. N° C.07.0407.F.<br />

and can therefore be waived by the international organisation.<br />

When the international organisation did not in limine litis invoke<br />

arguments on immunity from jurisdiction, such may be interpreted<br />

as an (implicit) waiver to still be able to invoke jurisdictional<br />

immunity arguments.<br />

International organisations should therefore be very careful in<br />

communications to ensure that they make no waiver of immunity.<br />

jurisdictional immunity by arguing that this is needed for its good<br />

functioning and that the immunity can be reconciled with article<br />

6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.<br />

Philippe Billiet<br />

9<br />

Cass., 12 March 2001, R.C.J.B., 2002, p. 385, note J. VERHOEVEN.<br />

10<br />

F. BOUQUELLE and A. FRY, « Actions en Justice contre des sujets de droit<br />

international public », in Droit du travail tous azimuts, Brussels, Larcier, 2016,<br />

pp. 938-939.<br />

11<br />

F. BOUQUELLE and A. FRY, « Actions en Justice contre des sujets de droit<br />

international public », in Droit du travail tous azimuts, Bruxelles, Larcier-ULG-CUP<br />

2016, p 936 a.f.;E. DAVID, Droit des organisations internationales,<br />

Bruylant 2016, p. 629 a.f.; S. EL SAWAH, Les immunités des Etats et des<br />

organisations internationales, Larcier 2012, p. 319 a.f.<br />

27<br />

E. DAVID, Le droit des organisations internationales, Bruylant, 2016, p. 671<br />

and 673; A. LOUWETTE, “Les juges belges face à l’appareil judiciaire des Etats<br />

étrangers aux mécanismes quasi-judiciaires des organisations internationales”,<br />

in Les juges belges face aux actes adoptés par les Etats étrangers et les<br />

organisations internationales - Quel contrôle au regard du droit international?,<br />

Bruylant 2016, p 159 – 162.<br />

28<br />

Brussels (17thch.), 26 June 2012, R.G. 2011/AR/558, Belgian State v. International<br />

Hotels <strong>World</strong>wide Inc., (not published)<br />

29<br />

European Court of Human Rights, 11 June 2013, Stichting mothers of Srebrenica<br />

and others v. the Netherlands, § 164.<br />

DEROGATING DECISION OF THE BRUSSELS<br />

COURT OF APPEAL IN 2012<br />

The Brussels Court of Appeal derogated in 2012 from the general<br />

If your mission needs<br />

legal assistance,<br />

feel free to contact<br />

Philippe.Billiet@billiet-co.be<br />

12<br />

Articles 167 §2 and 190 of the Belgian Constitution.<br />

13<br />

A. LAGERWALL and A.LOUWETTE, “La reconnaissance par le juge belge<br />

d’une immunité à un Etat ou à une organisation internationale viole-t-elle le<br />

droit d’accès à un tribunal ? », R.D.C., 2014, p. 31;European Court of Human<br />

Rights, McElhinney v. Ireland, 31253/96, judgment 21/11/2001; Cass., 21<br />

December 2009, R.G. n. C.07.0407.F.<br />

Belgian stance on the jurisdictional immunity for international organisations.<br />

28 In that case, the Brussels Court of Appeal granted<br />

immunity from jurisdiction also when no reasonable alternative<br />

remedy was available. The Court did so by finding that the im-<br />

14<br />

European Court of Human Rights, 18 February 1999, Waite and Kennedy v.<br />

Germany,§§59 -63; Beer and Regan v. Germany, §§49 - 53; Lopez Cifuentes v.<br />

Spain, § 26; Stichting mothers of Srebrenica and others v. the Netherlands, §§<br />

139 - 164; Cass., 21 December 2009, R.G. n° C.07.0407.F.commisison<br />

munity (of NATO) was necessary for the good functioning of the<br />

international organisation.<br />

Shortly thereafter, the European Court of Human Rights came<br />

to a similar finding in which it clarified that in the absence of an<br />

15<br />

European Court of Human Rights, 18 February 1999, Waite and Kennedy v.<br />

Germany,§§59 -63; Beer and Regan v. Germany, §§49 - 53; Lopez Cifuentes v.<br />

Spain, § 26; Stichting mothers of Srebrenica and others v. the Netherlands, §§<br />

139 - 164; Cass., 21 December 2009, R.G. n° C.07.0407.F.commisison<br />

16<br />

European Court of Human Rights, 18 February 1999, Waite and Kennedy v.<br />

182 183


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Poland are open for business and can offer attractive investment<br />

opportunities.<br />

To attract investments, Poland developed a system that includes<br />

tax reliefs and grants, which are financed from the European<br />

Union’s funds as well as from domestic resources.<br />

To support investments, Poland created the Polish Investment<br />

and Trade Agency (hereafter “PAIH”) that helps businesses and<br />

investors throughout these support measures. The agency has a<br />

strong expert position on the market. It has an extensive network<br />

of contacts gathering business entities and business environment<br />

institutions around it. PAIH has also concluded numerous<br />

industry agreements that significantly facilitate cooperation at the<br />

interinstitutional level.<br />

To execute its mission, PAIH has established a network of support<br />

offices all over the world that support Polish exporters and<br />

that serve as a contact point for investors that are looking for<br />

new opportunities into Poland.<br />

INVESTING IN POLAND<br />

WHAT CAN PAIH DO FOR YOU?<br />

Ewa Kurlanda (Billiet & Co Lawyers)<br />

The Joint Venture, backed by Umicore and Volkswagen Groupowned<br />

PowerCo, aims to produce battery materials capable of<br />

providing power to 2.2 million battery-electric vehicles annually<br />

and is expected to create about 900 industry jobs in Nysa by the<br />

end of the decade. The plant will be located next to Umicore’s<br />

existing CAM plant in Nysa.<br />

IONWAY reports to have chosen Nysa and Poland for its<br />

€ 1.7 billion worth investment due to the strategic location,<br />

offering access to renewable energy sources to power the<br />

plant’s production, the access to skilled workforce, as well as<br />

the support received from the Polish government.<br />

Matthias Miedreich, CEO of Umicore, shared: “We are thankful<br />

for the Polish government’s support in IONWAY’s choice for<br />

Nysa. The strategic location of the joint venture’s battery materials<br />

plant in Poland, right next to Umicore’s own battery materials<br />

plant, which is still unique in Europe, will further enable the<br />

transition to electric driving that is truly sustainable.”<br />

The choice for Poland is not surprising. According to Transparency<br />

International, Poland is a regional leader in Transparency<br />

International’s Corruption Index. Poland also offers a stable and<br />

transparent legal climate, which contributes to the ability to obtain<br />

accurate legal guidance to investment projects.<br />

Lawyer Philippe Billiet, who heads the Brussels law firm<br />

Billiet&Co, noted in this regard: “Poland has a very investor-friendly<br />

climate. Our clients welcome the high level of<br />

legal certainty that the Polish jurisdiction can offer.”<br />

If you consider investing in Poland you can contact PAIH via<br />

invest@paih.gov.pl.<br />

“SUCCESS IS A CHOICE”<br />

CONTACT INFO<br />

BILLIET & CO LAWYERS<br />

Avenue Louise 146 - B-1050 Brussels<br />

www.billiet-co.be<br />

+(32) 2 643 33 01<br />

One of the PAIH offices is located in Amsterdam. It is a local<br />

PAIH hub operating on the 3 Benelux markets. Ms Magdalena<br />

Lekan, who heads the Benelux office of PAIH in Amsterdam,<br />

informs about the following example of a success story:<br />

On October 7th 2023, the Brussels-based European EV battery<br />

materials producer IONWAY announced having chosen to build<br />

its first cathode active material (CAM) production plant in Nysa,<br />

Poland. Cathode active material is a key element of EV batteries.<br />

Ewa Kurlanda is a legal consultant<br />

at Billiet & Co Lawyers,<br />

where she heads the Polish desk.<br />

Any legal question regarding doing business<br />

with/within Poland is welcomed at info@billiet-co.be<br />

184 185


ZERO WASTE TO LANDFILL<br />

FAST TRACK<br />

TO ZERO WASTE COMMUNITIES<br />

Municipal solid waste is expected to face a 50 percent increase by 2050, creating over 3 billion tons of waste<br />

annually. We now generate over 0.7 Kilograms per person per day on average, ranging from 0.1kg/day in the<br />

poor countries to 4.5kg/day in the wealthy countries. Over 37 percent of the waste is deposited in landfills.<br />

According to the <strong>World</strong> Bank municipalities spend between 4 to 19 percent of their budgets on solid waste<br />

management. Landfills are not an acceptable way to deal with waste. Current strategies for incineration and<br />

landfilling have a negative impact on the environment. Existing strategies of composting, incineration and landfilling<br />

have limited results. New technologies are required to achieve our net zero emissions goals and improve<br />

the quality of our lives.<br />

Waste is an inevitable by-product of our modern way of life and development. As our<br />

living standards increase the amount of waste increases. As we advance in healthcare and<br />

in industrial facilities, we add biomedical waste and industrial hazardous waste that adds<br />

severe environmental and health risks. Every year we have more and more municipal solid<br />

waste, sludge from wastewater facilities, industrial, agricultural, and hazardous waste.<br />

Thanks to recent breakthroughs in technology, waste has become a valuable resource that<br />

provides electricity, thermal energy, cooling, raw materials for production, and fertilizers<br />

for agriculture. Through an efficient circular economy that turns waste into wealth, we can<br />

now fast track to zero waste communities. Blockchain technology provides transparency<br />

and data traceability to the entire ecosystem.<br />

Through smart tokenization and localization strategies, communities can be involved in<br />

funding, governance, wealth creation and even complete ownership.<br />

Zero-waste-to-landfill would not only improve the lives and well-being of communities, but<br />

is a wealth creation strategy. Transport of waste can be drastically reduced, and climate<br />

change mitigation will be achieved. We can achieve ZERO WASTE & ZERO LANDFILL,<br />

community by community, country by country, much sooner than anticipated through the<br />

Waste 2 Wealth Strategy.<br />

ZERO WASTE HIERARCHY<br />

The Zero Waste Hierarchy is a sustainability framework that prioritizes waste reduction strategies in a cascading order, aiming to minimize<br />

environmental impact. At its core, it encourages individuals and organizations to prevent waste generation. Reuse, emphasizing the<br />

extension of product lifespans through repair and sharing. Recycling is promoting the transformation of materials into new products.<br />

Through energy recovery, waste is converted into energy as a last resort. Finally, disposal, the least favourable option, involves sending<br />

waste to landfills or incineration. The Hierarchy guides sustainable practices by promoting a circular economy and resource conservation.<br />

The Zero Waste Hierarchy is a very popular concept used by<br />

many governments to develop strategies for waste management.<br />

While it is a valuable framework for waste reduction,<br />

it had limited results for several reasons: lack of awareness,<br />

economic constrains, infrastructure challenges, regulatory<br />

barriers, technological limitations.<br />

A new framework is required so that the goals for 2050 can<br />

be achieved. Sending waste to landfills or incinerators is not<br />

a good option. We now have technology that eliminates the<br />

landfill completely, turning Waste 2 Wealth.<br />

186 187


THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY<br />

THE REGENERATIVE FINANCE (REFI)<br />

The circular economy is a transformative and sustainable<br />

economic concept that aims to revolutionize how we produce,<br />

consume, and manage resources. Unlike the traditional linear<br />

economy, which follows a “take-make-dispose” pattern, the<br />

circular economy is designed to minimize waste, maximize<br />

resource efficiency, and reduce environmental impact.<br />

In a circular economy, the focus is on creating closed-loop<br />

systems where products and materials are kept in circulation for<br />

as long as possible. Products are designed to be long-lasting,<br />

repairable, and easy to disassemble for reuse. The emphasis<br />

is on quality rather than planned obsolescence. Resources are<br />

shared among individuals and businesses to optimize their utilization.<br />

Examples include car-sharing programs and co-working<br />

spaces. Products are refurbished and re-manufactured to extend<br />

their lifespan. This reduces the need for new products and conserves<br />

resources. Materials are recycled into new products, and<br />

upcycling repurposes waste materials into higher-value goods.<br />

Businesses adopt strategies to minimize waste generation and<br />

reduce resource consumption through practices like lean manufacturing<br />

and efficient supply chain management.<br />

The circular economy is not only environmentally beneficial but<br />

also economically advantageous. It promotes innovation, job creation,<br />

and resilience in the face of resource scarcity. By closing<br />

the loop on materials and resources, it reduces the pressure on<br />

ecosystems, conserves energy, and minimizes greenhouse gas<br />

emissions. The circular economy represents a fundamental shift<br />

towards a more sustainable and regenerative economic system<br />

that prioritizes resource stewardship, minimizes waste, and<br />

seeks to balance economic growth with environmental preservation.<br />

It holds the potential to address some of the most pressing<br />

challenges of our time, including resource depletion and climate<br />

change. For a detailed video explanation of the circular economy,<br />

you can watch a less than 3-minute video from the Ellen<br />

MacArthur Foundation.<br />

We can take the circular economy to the next level if we add<br />

to it the Waste 2 Wealth element. With the technological<br />

breakthroughs that we have now available we can transform<br />

all municipal waste into wealth so that no waste ends up in a<br />

landfill. Municipalities can implement<br />

new waste management practices,<br />

through commitment to sustainability,<br />

resource conservation and reducing<br />

negative environmental consequences<br />

associated with landfills,<br />

including pollution and greenhouse<br />

gas emissions.<br />

The notion of a “regenerative economy” has been examined by<br />

Paul Hawken in his work, “The Ecology of Commerce”. John Fullerton,<br />

the founder and president of Capital Institute has further elaborated<br />

on the concepts of regenerative economics and regenerative finance.<br />

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has also actively advocated<br />

for the advancement of the regenerative economy concept.<br />

THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OF REGENERATIVE<br />

FINANCE<br />

Regenerative Finance represents a significant departure from<br />

traditional finance models. While conventional finance primarily<br />

emphasizes profit maximization, Regenerative Finance shifts the<br />

focus toward holistic sustainability, regeneration, and resilience.<br />

It seeks to address pressing global challenges, such as climate<br />

change, wealth inequality, and ecosystem degradation, by integrating<br />

financial systems with ecological and social principles.<br />

1. In Right Relationship – As the core principle of regenerative<br />

finance when applied to Waste 2 Wealth initiatives using<br />

blockchain technology, “In Right Relationship” signifies the<br />

importance of establishing a balanced and ethical connection<br />

between waste management, resource recovery, and<br />

blockchain solutions. In this context, blockchain can enhance<br />

transparency and traceability in waste-to-wealth processes,<br />

ensuring responsible disposal, recycling, and re-utilization<br />

of materials. It also fosters community engagement and accountability,<br />

aligning economic incentives with environmentally<br />

sustainable practices. “In Right Relationship” encourages<br />

stakeholders in Waste 2 Wealth projects to prioritize not<br />

only financial gains but also the well-being of ecosystems<br />

and communities, ultimately promoting a regenerative and<br />

responsible approach to waste management with the aid of<br />

blockchain technology.<br />

By integrating blockchain into Waste 2 Wealth solutions,<br />

this principle aligns financial incentives with sustainable<br />

practices, fostering a regenerative and inclusive approach to<br />

resource management.<br />

3. Innovative, Adaptive, Responsive – a principle within regenerative<br />

finance, that when applied to Waste 2 Wealth strategies<br />

with blockchain, underscores the importance of embracing<br />

innovation and flexibility. It encourages the development and<br />

utilization of blockchain technology to adapt and respond<br />

to dynamic challenges in waste management and resource<br />

recovery. Blockchain’s transparency and real-time data<br />

tracking capabilities empower stakeholders to make informed<br />

decisions and swiftly respond to changing waste streams and<br />

recycling needs. By embracing this principle, Waste 2 Wealth<br />

initiatives can continually innovate, optimize processes, and<br />

remain agile in addressing emerging environmental and economic<br />

demands. This approach not only enhances resource<br />

efficiency but also promotes a sustainable and adaptable<br />

ecosystem for waste management through blockchain technology.<br />

The Waste 2 Wealth Strategy starts with a strong commitment for zero waste landfills. Waste would not be a<br />

problem with negative effects on the environment and communities any longer. Waste becomes a resource that<br />

produces green energy and wealth. The enhanced circular economy model balances economic growth and<br />

environmental preservation. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. There would be no need for landfills,<br />

starting our FastTrack to zero waste communities.<br />

2. Views Wealth Holistically – in the context of Waste 2 Wealth<br />

initiatives and blockchain Regenerative Finance underscores<br />

the need to consider wealth beyond mere financial gains. It<br />

encourages a broader perspective, encompassing environmental,<br />

social, and economic factors. Blockchain technology<br />

plays a pivotal role by providing a transparent and immutable<br />

ledger that tracks the entire lifecycle of waste, from disposal<br />

to its transformation into valuable resources. This holistic<br />

approach ensures that wealth is not solely measured in<br />

monetary terms but also considers the reduction of environmental<br />

harm and the promotion of community well-being.<br />

188 189


4. Empowered Participation – is a principle of Regenerative Finance<br />

that resonates with blockchain technology in the context<br />

of Waste 2 Wealth endeavours. It emphasizes inclusive<br />

decision-making and active engagement of all stakeholders,<br />

including waste generators, recyclers, and communities.<br />

Blockchain enables transparent, decentralized governance<br />

structures where participants have a say in waste management<br />

processes, recycling initiatives, and the allocation of<br />

resources. This principle fosters collective responsibility,<br />

encouraging individuals and organizations to contribute to<br />

waste reduction, resource recovery, and sustainable practices.<br />

Empowered participation, facilitated by blockchain, not<br />

only enhances environmental outcomes but also creates a<br />

sense of ownership and shared responsibility, promoting a<br />

regenerative and community-centric approach to Waste 2<br />

Wealth efforts.<br />

5. Honour Community and Place – is a central principle of regenerative<br />

finance when applied to Waste 2 Wealth initiatives<br />

using blockchain technology. It emphasizes the importance<br />

of considering local communities and ecosystems in waste<br />

management strategies. With blockchain’s transparency and<br />

traceability, Waste 2 Wealth projects can prioritize the reduction<br />

of environmental harm and the well-being of communities<br />

affected by waste disposal. By involving and empowering<br />

local stakeholders, these initiatives ensure that economic<br />

gains from resource recovery directly benefit the community<br />

and the environment. This principle encourages a sustainable<br />

and place-based approach to waste management, fostering<br />

a sense of responsibility, pride, and shared prosperity within<br />

the community, all while leveraging blockchain for transparent<br />

and accountable processes.<br />

6. Edge Effect Abundance – within the realm of regenerative<br />

finance finds resonance in Waste 2 Wealth projects enhanced<br />

by blockchain. It draws inspiration from ecological systems<br />

where diverse ecosystems converge at their boundaries, creating<br />

conditions for abundance and diversity. Applied here,<br />

it suggests that at the intersection of waste management,<br />

resource recovery, and blockchain technology, opportunities<br />

for innovative solutions and holistic abundance emerge.<br />

Blockchain fosters transparency, efficiency, and traceability<br />

in Waste 2 Wealth efforts, allowing diverse stakeholders to<br />

collaborate and uncover new value streams. This principle<br />

encourages creative thinking and collaborative problem-solving,<br />

resulting in a more resilient and regenerative approach to<br />

waste management and resource utilization in harmony with<br />

the environment.<br />

7. Robust Circulatory Flow – in the context of Waste 2 Wealth<br />

initiatives and blockchain underscores the importance of<br />

creating resilient and efficient systems for the circulation<br />

of resources. Blockchain technology plays a vital role by<br />

providing a transparent and traceable ledger for managing<br />

the flow of waste materials, recycling processes, and the<br />

subsequent distribution of reclaimed resources. It ensures<br />

that resources are continuously repurposed and re-utilized,<br />

reducing waste and minimizing environmental impact. By embracing<br />

this principle, Waste 2 Wealth projects using blockchain<br />

can establish closed-loop systems, fostering sustainability,<br />

and contributing to the regeneration of resources within<br />

the circular economy. This approach not only enhances<br />

resource efficiency but also reduces the ecological footprint<br />

of waste management processes, aligning with regenerative<br />

finance principles<br />

8. Seeks Balance – within regenerative finance, when applied<br />

to Waste 2 Wealth initiatives with blockchain technology,<br />

emphasizes the need for equilibrium between economic<br />

prosperity, environmental sustainability, and social well-being.<br />

It recognizes that waste management practices must harmonize<br />

financial gains from resource recovery with the preservation<br />

of the environment and the welfare of communities.<br />

Blockchain’s transparency and accountability mechanisms<br />

ensure that these initiatives strike a balance by tracking the<br />

environmental impact, economic benefits, and community<br />

involvement in Waste 2 Wealth processes. This principle<br />

promotes responsible resource utilization and waste reduction,<br />

fostering a holistic approach that aligns with regenerative<br />

finance ideals and contributes to a more sustainable and<br />

harmonious future.<br />

Regenerative Finance involves a variety of practices and initiatives<br />

aimed at aligning financial systems with its principles.<br />

Impact investing directs capital toward businesses and projects<br />

that generate positive environmental and social impact, alongside<br />

financial returns. These investments prioritize regenerative<br />

solutions. Regenerative Finance often supports community-based<br />

banking and credit unions, which reinvest in local<br />

communities and support economic resilience.<br />

In agriculture, Regenerative Finance promotes regenerative farming<br />

practices that improve soil health, promote biodiversity, and<br />

reduce the negative environmental impacts of farming. Green<br />

bonds are a financial instrument that raises capital for environmentally<br />

beneficial projects. They are a key tool for financing regenerative<br />

initiatives, such as renewable energy and sustainable<br />

infrastructure. Regenerative Finance encourages ethical financial<br />

Blockchain is an emerging technology that addresses important<br />

environmental issues that can enhance the entire ecosystem<br />

in a significant way. Decentralized tools provide controls and<br />

incentives at scale, democratizing ownership to shift the power<br />

back to the people. The technology improves transparency and<br />

the integrity of data for measurement, reporting, and verification<br />

(MRV). The key benefits of the blockchain are in the areas of<br />

transparency, privacy, immutability, traceability, reliable data storage,<br />

compliance, identity management, decentralization, governance,<br />

smart contracts, web3 and community development.<br />

1. Decentralization – Blockchain technology offers decentralization<br />

as a fundamental principle. Unlike traditional centralized<br />

systems, where data and control are concentrated in a single<br />

entity, blockchain distributes data and authority across a<br />

network of nodes. This decentralization enhances security,<br />

as there is no single point of failure vulnerable to attacks<br />

REGENERATIVE FINANCE<br />

IN PRACTICE<br />

or manipulation. It also fosters trust by enabling transparent<br />

and tamper-resistant transactions without the need for<br />

intermediaries. Decentralized applications (DApps) and smart<br />

contracts operate autonomously, reducing the reliance on<br />

third parties. This paradigm shift is reshaping industries, from<br />

practices that prioritize transparency, fairness, and the well-being<br />

of all stakeholders. It promotes the integration of ecological and<br />

social metrics into financial accounting, ensuring that businesses<br />

and financial institutions account for their impacts on the planet<br />

and society.<br />

The Waste to Wealth Strategy is based on Regenerative<br />

Finance principles that foster local community engagement<br />

and accountability, aligning economic incentives with<br />

environmentally sustainable practices. Wealth transcends<br />

mere financial gain. Innovation, continuous improvement,<br />

and adaptability enhances resource efficiency. The community-centred<br />

approach results in creative thinking and<br />

collaborative problem-solving.<br />

BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY<br />

finance and supply chain to governance and healthcare, empowering<br />

individuals and organizations with greater control,<br />

transparency, and security in their digital interactions.<br />

2. Reliable data storage – Blockchain technology provides reliable<br />

data storage by distributing data across a decentralized<br />

network of nodes. Each transaction or piece of information<br />

is cryptographically secured and linked to the previous one,<br />

forming an immutable chain. This redundancy and transparency<br />

make data stored on the blockchain highly resistant to<br />

tampering, corruption, or single points of failure. As a result,<br />

it offers a robust and trustworthy means of storing critical<br />

information, ensuring its permanence and integrity. Industries<br />

such as healthcare, finance, and legal services can benefit<br />

from this reliable data storage, as it reduces the risk of data<br />

manipulation and unauthorized access, fostering greater<br />

confidence in digital record-keeping.<br />

3. Immutability – Blockchain technology’s immutability is a foundational<br />

attribute that ensures once data is recorded on the<br />

blockchain, it becomes nearly impossible to alter or erase.<br />

Each block in the chain contains a cryptographic reference to<br />

the previous block, creating a continuous and unbroken history<br />

of transactions or records. The decentralized network of<br />

190 191


nodes further secures this data, as consensus is required for<br />

solution for compliance by providing a transparent, immuta-<br />

code is immutable and verifiable on the blockchain. They find<br />

improvements, and ensure the integrity of the system. This<br />

any changes to be made. This immutability has profound im-<br />

ble, and auditable ledger of transactions and data. Smart<br />

applications in various fields, from financial services, where<br />

collaborative ethos transcends traditional hierarchical struc-<br />

plications for industries requiring unforgeable records, such<br />

contracts, self-executing agreements with predefined rules<br />

they facilitate secure and instant transactions, to supply<br />

tures, promoting transparency and inclusivity. Open-source<br />

as finance, supply chain, and legal sectors. It enhances trust<br />

and conditions, enable automated compliance enforcement.<br />

chain management, where they automate complex logistics<br />

blockchain projects welcome contributions and feedback<br />

and integrity, making blockchain a reliable and tamper-proof<br />

This technology streamlines regulatory processes by ensur-<br />

processes. Smart contracts have the potential to streamline<br />

from a global community, democratizing innovation. Addition-<br />

source of truth, ultimately reducing fraud and errors in various<br />

ing that transactions adhere to established standards and<br />

operations, reduce costs, and mitigate disputes, making<br />

ally, token incentives within blockchain ecosystems reward<br />

applications.<br />

automatically trigger actions or alerts when violations occur.<br />

them a powerful tool for enhancing efficiency and trust in a<br />

participants for their contributions, aligning interests and<br />

Additionally, blockchain’s cryptographic security ensures<br />

wide range of industries.<br />

encouraging community involvement. The result is a culture<br />

4. Transparency – blockchain technology offers unprecedented<br />

data integrity and privacy, aiding in regulatory reporting and<br />

where stakeholders actively shape the technology’s direction,<br />

transparency by creating a tamper-resistant and immuta-<br />

audits. Industries subject to stringent compliance require-<br />

11. The Web3 trend, powered by blockchain technology,<br />

creating a dynamic and inclusive environment that drives<br />

ble ledger of transactions. This transparency ensures that<br />

ments, such as financial services and healthcare, can benefit<br />

envisions a decentralized and user-centric internet. In<br />

innovation and resilience in blockchain networks.<br />

information whether it’s financial transactions, supply chain<br />

significantly from blockchain, as it simplifies and accelerates<br />

Web3, users have greater control over their data and digital<br />

events, voting records, can be verified by anyone with access<br />

compliance procedures, reduces the risk of errors, and en-<br />

identities, while blockchain-based applications (DApps) offer<br />

to the blockchain network. The decentralized nature means<br />

hances trust with regulators and stakeholders.<br />

services without relying on central authorities. This paradigm<br />

that there is no single point of control, reducing the risk of<br />

shift aims to replace traditional web platforms with trust-<br />

manipulation or fraud. This newfound transparency promotes<br />

8. Identity Management – Blockchain technology offers<br />

less, open-source networks, fostering greater transparency,<br />

The Waste 2 Wealth Strategy uses blockchain<br />

trust, accountability and integrity fostering a more open and<br />

innovative solutions for identity management by enabling<br />

privacy, and security. Tokenization and digital assets play a<br />

technology to enhance security, traceability, efficiency,<br />

honest digital environment. All transactions are visible in real<br />

secure, self-sovereign digital identities. Users can control<br />

central role in Web3 economies, enabling new business mod-<br />

incentives, and automation through smart contracts.<br />

time.<br />

their personal information and selectively share it with trusted<br />

els and digital ecosystems. While Web3 promises to disrupt<br />

parties without relying on centralized authorities. Decentral-<br />

the current internet landscape, it also faces challenges like<br />

The tokenization process democratizes investments<br />

5. Privacy and Opacity – blockchain technology provides a<br />

ized identifiers (DIDs) and verifiable credentials are used to<br />

scalability, regulation, and user adoption, which need to be<br />

and communities become involved in the governance<br />

unique blend of privacy and opacity. It achieves this bal-<br />

create and manage these identities. This approach enhances<br />

addressed for its full realization.<br />

process. The carbon credits will be tracked and traded<br />

ance through cryptographic techniques, ensuring that data<br />

privacy, reduces the risk of identity theft, and simplifies iden-<br />

through the blockchain, ensuring transparency and<br />

is secure and confidential while still being part of the public<br />

tity verification processes. It is particularly valuable in sectors<br />

12. Collaborative culture and the role of community – Blockchain<br />

trust. Peer-to-peer transfers democratize access and<br />

ledger. Users can have pseudonymous identities, safeguard-<br />

like healthcare, finance, and online services, where robust<br />

technology fosters a collaborative culture by emphasizing<br />

to benefits for the community.<br />

ing their personal information, yet their transactions and<br />

identity management is essential. Blockchain technology<br />

community-driven development and governance. Decen-<br />

traceable and verifiable. Additionally private or permissioned<br />

ensures that individuals have greater control over their digital<br />

tralized networks rely on a community of users, developers,<br />

blockchains enable selective disclosure of data to authorized<br />

identities, fostering trust and security in the digital realm<br />

and validators who collectively make decisions, propose<br />

participants, maintaining sensitive information’s confidentiali-<br />

while mitigating issues associated with centralized identity<br />

ty. This duality of privacy and transparency is particularly val-<br />

providers.<br />

uable in scenarios like financial transactions, where individuals<br />

and entities seek to protect their identities and sensitive<br />

9. Governance – Blockchain technology introduces novel forms<br />

details while benefiting from the security and immutability<br />

of governance through decentralized autonomous organi-<br />

that the blockchain offers.<br />

zations (DAOs) and smart contracts. These systems allow<br />

for transparent, rule-based decision-making, often without<br />

6. Traceability and Time Stamping – Blockchain technology<br />

a central authority. Participants in a blockchain network<br />

offers powerful traceability and time-stamping capabilities.<br />

collectively determine protocol upgrades, code changes,<br />

Every transaction or piece of data entered into a blockchain<br />

and transaction validations, fostering a more democratic and<br />

is precisely time-stamped, creating an immutable record of<br />

inclusive governance model. Additionally, blockchain-based<br />

when it occurred. This feature ensures a transparent and<br />

voting systems offer secure and tamper-resistant methods<br />

auditable history, crucial for supply chain management,<br />

for elections and referendums. These innovations can reduce<br />

provenance tracking, and compliance verification. Through<br />

corruption, improve transparency, and empower individuals<br />

the blockchain’s distributed ledger, stakeholders can trace<br />

to participate actively in the governance of networks and<br />

the origin and journey of products, assets, or information with<br />

organizations, disrupting traditional hierarchies and promot-<br />

unparalleled accuracy. This not only enhances accountability<br />

ing fair and accountable decision-making in a wide range of<br />

but also facilitates rapid response in case of issues, such as<br />

sectors.<br />

product recalls or fraudulent activities. The traceability and<br />

time-stamping features of blockchain technology give organ-<br />

10. Smart Contracts – Smart contracts are self-executing con-<br />

izations and individuals valuable insight into the life cycle of<br />

tracts with predefined rules and conditions that automatically<br />

data or assets, fostering trust and efficiency across various<br />

execute when these conditions are met. Enabled by block-<br />

domains.<br />

chain technology, they offer a revolutionary way to conduct<br />

and automate agreements, reducing the need for intermedi-<br />

7. Compliance – Blockchain technology offers a powerful<br />

aries. Smart contracts ensure trust and transparency, as their<br />

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WASTE 2 WEALTH<br />

TECHNOLOGY<br />

The new technology is designed to turn the unrecyclable<br />

Municipal Solid Waste into energy with zero carbon emissions,<br />

turning Waste 2 Wealth, protecting the environment, and<br />

supporting a low carbon circular economy.<br />

The new waste to energy technology recovers raw materials<br />

which can be used in construction or recycling.<br />

The system is powered by electricity from its own production<br />

and no gas is required.<br />

The plant functions 24/7 all year round.<br />

Waste 2 Wealth is a dynamic and sustainable strategy that<br />

converts various types of waste materials into electricity,<br />

eliminating the landfills.<br />

The molecular disintegrator can process city waste,<br />

sludge from black waters, petroleum sludge,<br />

used tyres and biomass. Molecular disintegration<br />

breaks down the chemical bonds within molecules resulting<br />

in smaller compounds.<br />

The process exposing the molecules to high temperatures<br />

in the absence of oxygen, so combustion is prevented.<br />

This process contributes to both waste management and<br />

renewable energy generation with zero carbon emissions.<br />

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Waste 2 Wealth has many benefits. It reduces the<br />

environmental impact by eliminating landfilling which<br />

can emit harmful gases and contaminate groundwater.<br />

DEMOCRATIZING WEALTH<br />

Additionally, it contributes to a more circular economy by<br />

extracting energy from waste resources, reducing the need for<br />

fossil fuels and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.<br />

It also helps to address waste management challenges in<br />

densely populated areas with limited landfill space.<br />

In stage one the raw materials are processed, undergoing drying,<br />

shredding and pelletizing, so that the waste is transformed in<br />

highly efficient feedstock, ready to be converted into valuable<br />

energy. In stage two the advanced technology involves high-temperature<br />

pyrolysis and mixed gasification. As a result it generates<br />

clean and versatile syngas that produces electricity, hydrogen<br />

and other valuable materials.<br />

Waste 2 Wealth strategy can be financed through the tokenization<br />

process allowing communities to become owners and<br />

beneficiaries of the technology. On chain governance can be implemented<br />

through the blockchain technology allowing members<br />

of the local community to make decisions through transparent,<br />

rule-based decision-making.<br />

The Waste 2 Wealth Strategy uses revolutionary<br />

technology that turns waste into energy through<br />

molecular disintegration with zero carbon emissions<br />

and zero chemicals.<br />

The new technology turns city waste, sludge from<br />

black waters, petroleum sludge, used tires and other<br />

biomass materials into green energy and other raw<br />

materials. The system runs 24/7, is powered by a<br />

small amount of electricity and offers a fast return on<br />

investment.<br />

Welthee is empowering people to create wealth even in volatile<br />

markets. Welthee operates as a decentralized investment fund<br />

that seeks to help people navigate and create wealth in the<br />

emerging digital asset class. Turning waste into wealth is a<br />

significant market that is going to be digitized and will enable<br />

millions of people to invest.<br />

Welthee is taking Wall Street on Main Street offering to individuals<br />

and communities the tools and opportunities that once were<br />

available only to a few. The tools are available for individuals,<br />

families, businesses and governments. Welthee is making investments<br />

smart, safe and easy. The technology offers money back<br />

guarantee through non-custodial smart contracts.<br />

One of the biggest problems in investing is volatility. But now<br />

with Welthee’s new technology volatility is not merely a problem<br />

to be feared, but an opportunity to be harnessed. The groundbreaking<br />

platform is set to revolutionize the way investors<br />

manage risk in their investments. In a world where markets can<br />

swing from euphoria to despair in the blink of an eye, navigating<br />

the unpredictable nature of volatility has long been a challenge<br />

for investors.<br />

Throughout history we have witnessed market booms and busts,<br />

economic crises, and periods of stability. In recent times the<br />

speed and intensity of market volatility has accelerated. The rise<br />

of global interconnectedness, technological advancements and<br />

the ever-present information age have propelled volatility to new<br />

heights, demanding our attention and strategic response.<br />

Our solution empowers the investors to take control of their<br />

financial destinies. Welthee equips investors with the tools and<br />

strategies to thrive in the face of market volatility.<br />

Welthee offers investors the possibility to choose their risk level<br />

from 0 to 100 percent, offering a money back guarantee if funds<br />

are invested with zero risk. The platform is non-custodial, so<br />

FUTURE OF FITNECH<br />

EXCLUSIVE MONACO MINISTER OF STATE<br />

EXCLUSIVE<br />

THE<br />

JUST<br />

100<br />

Welthee does not have access to any client accounts and funds.<br />

Each investment is made through a smart contract that has a<br />

profit target, a stop loss and a time limit. Each investment has<br />

a treasury wallet with funds allocated for the money back<br />

guarantee. For each individual<br />

investment funds are transferred<br />

from treasury to the smart contract<br />

for risk mitigation. Welthee’s technology<br />

is the future of investments!<br />

You can install the application by<br />

scanning the QR code or visit<br />

www.welthee.com<br />

FORBES MONACO CRYPTO & NFT GALA<br />

NO STOPPING MAX VERSTAPPEN<br />

THE MAN<br />

DEMOCRATIZING WEALTH<br />

HIS APP USING SMART CONTRACTS IN BLOCKCHAIN<br />

FOR RISK MITIGATION HAS CHANGED THE FUTURE OF<br />

INVESTING. WITH A “RISK BUCKET” AND “STOP LOSS”<br />

STRATEGY, ZERO RISK CAN BE GUARANTEED—EVEN IN<br />

VOLATILE MARKETS.<br />

Benelux: € 9.50<br />

M 31766 - 16 - F : €9 - RD<br />

3 783176 609006<br />

CRISTIAN<br />

VOAIDES<br />

00160<br />

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2021<br />

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WE NEED MORE FOCUS<br />

TO CREATE EUROPEAN<br />

UNICORNS<br />

Why does Europe find it hard to turn inventions into successful<br />

innovations and get our companies into the top 10 global tech<br />

companies? Innovation platform Living Tomorrow asked that<br />

question to no fewer than 15 (international) decision makers<br />

during an animated debate at the opening of its new Innovation<br />

Campus. Joachim De Vos, managing partner and co-chairman<br />

of Living Tomorrow, was happy to draw some interesting conclusions.<br />

“We need to focus more on a few selected developments<br />

– research, people and capital – to market them effectively and<br />

successfully, and to create our own European ‘unicorns’ within<br />

the next 5 to 10 years.”<br />

Innovation and future-proofing are increasingly important<br />

topics for companies, governments and organisations. Europe<br />

is firmly committed to it. Through the Next Generation Europe<br />

programme, Europe is investing no less than EUR 800 billion in<br />

innovation – mainly in digitalisation and climate change solutions.<br />

And that still needs some work in Europe. For instance, we can<br />

see that no European company ranks among the top 10 global<br />

tech players, even though we count ourselves among the world’s<br />

top innovators. So, there is a gap between being good at inventing<br />

and scoring in successful innovation.<br />

“According to the 2022 Europe Innovation Scoreboard (EIS),<br />

we are doing better and better: our European ‘innovation performance’<br />

– based on parameters such as intellectual impact,<br />

funding and digitalisation – has increased by almost 10 percent<br />

since 2015,” Joachim De Vos explains. “We have improved our<br />

position against our global counterparts. And Belgium is also<br />

doing well: we are labelled ‘innovation leader’ and we are fifth<br />

in the ranking of most innovative countries.”<br />

“However, we should view this EIS with due scepticism. The<br />

system mainly looks at inputs and not outputs. And the latter<br />

is needed for successful innovation. Sweden, for example, has<br />

been the absolute number one for years according to the EIS,<br />

but if you look at what those inputs effectively produce in terms<br />

of innovation stimulation, Sweden only lands in 22nd place. It will<br />

be crucial for Europe to pursue the right definition of innovation.<br />

We are good at inventing, but an invention only becomes innovation<br />

when it is widely applied and sold.”<br />

What can we do about it? Here are some interesting observations<br />

from the innovation debate with 15 decision makers.<br />

OBSERVATION 1: THE RIGHT TIMING OF<br />

INNOVATION IS KEY<br />

Must you be a first mover to win the innovation race? Or is it<br />

better to wait and see what happens as a fast follower? “There is<br />

obviously something to be said for both. The panel was divided<br />

on this point,” says De Vos. If you invest heavily in a new technology,<br />

you may well end up being overtaken by the competition<br />

or by another (global) player. For example, there are companies<br />

that have invested a lot in large language models with the intention<br />

of making this a revenue model, but these investments have<br />

been completely undermined by the arrival of ChatGPT.<br />

On the other hand, sometimes it is also very important to claim<br />

your spot before the competition does. If you depend on a<br />

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certain part of the infrastructure, like for example a fibre network<br />

for 5G and 6G, which Proximus is rolling out now, you do have to<br />

be the first to jump on it. But the very best infrastructure only becomes<br />

successful when smart cloud applications run widely on<br />

it. That is why Proximus follows a dual strategy: investing in top<br />

infrastructure and at the same time rolling out the cloud services<br />

of the future with customers.<br />

But you do not always have to be the first with the technology<br />

to make a difference. You can also use existing technology in<br />

a different way and be first to do so. For example, the Port of<br />

Antwerp-Bruges is now the first port to deploy drones to monitor<