The Sustainable Development Goals in Central Asia and the challenges of COVID-19 were discussed at NU

On October 15-16, 2020, the Graduate School of Public Policy of Nazarbayev University (NU GSPP) held the fourth annual conference on the topic: “Sustainable Development Goals in Central Asia and the Challenges of COVID-19” in partnership with the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Astana Civil Service Hub.

Researchers, scientists, experts, civil servants, students from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Russia, Great Britain, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Canada, Slovenia, Singapore, Israel and the United States took part in the conference, organized for the first time in an online format.

In his welcoming speech, Nazarbayev University Provost Ilesanmi Adesida noted the importance and timeliness of the conference.  In the face of new challenges, the sustainable development goals of Central Asian countries are important not only regionally, but to the global community as a whole.

In a post-COVID world, more than ever before, the need for sound policies and good governance is even more pressing as governments and societies face policy choices to address identified systemic gaps. There is a need to transform policy thinking and practice to create accountable systems, adaptable institutions, and the safety and resilience of food, water, energy, health, transport and urban systems, combined with technological and digital innovation. And the 4th annual GSPP conference is dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals in Central Asia and the challenges of COVID-19, in order to focus on the challenges and opportunities, as well as to continuously strive to achieve various aspects of the SDGs in the world during and after COVID, – stressed Dean of GSPP Weng Tat Hui.

Alikhan Baimenov, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Astana Civil Service Hub, noted that in response to the crisis caused by the pandemic, governments are making quick decisions, mainly in terms of short-term resource allocation. “In this fast-paced pursuit of quick solutions, it is important to ensure that long-term sustainability goals are not overlooked. Under serious pressure, governments around the world have accumulated a certain amount of experience in comprehensive and adequate measures. Including the countries of Central Asia. However, as we can see, there is no universal model for dealing with this pandemic. Therefore, it is important to strengthen global cooperation and effective partnership between all sectors and stakeholders in the dissemination of best practices” A. Baimenov noted.

Key speakers of the GSPP conference also made presentations: Phoebe Kunduri, Head of the Department of Sustainable Development (Economics and Econometrics), School of Economics, Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece, and Vinod Thomas, Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore, Singapore.

During the conference, its participants shared the results of their research, knowledge and experience, and also had the opportunity to expand and strengthen their partnerships.

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