In connection with the launch of the new EU Strategy on Central Asia, the EUSR for Central Asia and the EEAS, with support from the European Commission (DG DEVCO), was organised a regional event, the EU-Central Asia Forum, took place on July 5-6 in Bishkek, back-to-back with the 15th EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting.
The aim of the event was building on the positive experience from the inclusive consultation processes that have informed the new EU Strategy and create a new forum for dialogue between different interlocutors on how to best utilize the existing bilateral and regional programs that exist between the EU and the Central Asian countries. Another important objective of the event was to increase the understanding of EU objectives and values in the region and to strengthen EU visibility. Last but not least it is important for the governments, civil society and private sector to learn to dialogue with each other. The event also used for sharing experiences between EU Member States and the countries of Central Asia.
The Forum brought together around 100 participants from both the EU and Central Asia, representing grassroots civil society, particularly women and youth as agents of change, the private sector, researchers, media, as well as the governments (expert level), to have in-depth discussions on various aspects of implementation of the new Strategy focusing on the role and contribution of different actors. Discussion at the Forum was expected to generate ideas and useful feedback on existing and future bilateral and regional programs and areas for intensified interregional cooperation and dialogue. The Forum provided ideas and recommendations to inform the following discussion of the EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting.
The Forum was divided into an opening plenary with presentations of the EU on the new Strategy on Central Asia, two thematic sessions focusing on priorities defined by the new Strategy, strengthening resilience and taking forward the prosperity agenda, and a high-level concluding session presenting possible feedback in view of the EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting. A networking session was organised for panellists and participants of the Forum in the lead-in phase in the afternoon of July 5.