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The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies’ Central Asia Team, in cooperation with the U.S. and German embassies in Astana, Dushanbe, Ashgabat and Tashkent, conducts a “Central Asia Regional Energy Security” conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan April 4 to 6. (Photo by Andrew Brinkman)

By Central Asia Program
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

ALMATY, Kazakhstan (April 12, 2018) – The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies’ Central Asia Team, in cooperation with the U.S. and German embassies in Astana, Dushanbe, Ashgabat and Tashkent, conducted a “Central Asia Regional Energy Security” conference in Almaty, Kazakhstan April 4 to 6.

The Central Asia Institute for Strategic Studies, an independent think tank in Kazakhstan, was the local partner for the George C. Marshall Center and provided essential contribution to the success of the conference, said U.S. Air Force Col. James Turner, director of Central Asia Studies at the Marshall Center.

“This conference was very effective in addressing a myriad of issues. Traditional energy sectors and more recent renewable energy possibilities were discussed with an emphasis on developing regional solutions for energy related challenges,” Turner said. “Participants and speakers alike agreed this was a very beneficial conference that tackled important issues and helped foster regional cooperation throughout Central Asia.”

A group of 11 international experts from European Union nations, the United States, the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan shared their experience and expertise with energy sector and governmental officials from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and host-country Kazakhstan.

The conference focused on inter-ministerial and inter-regional cooperation measures that could be enacted to more effectively address a wide array of issues in the energy security arena.

Dr. Pál Dunay, academic advisor for the Marshall Center Central Asia Program, and Andrew Brinkman, event planner for the Marshall Center Central Asia Program, opened the workshop by emphasizing the shifting security perspectives on Central Asia while focusing on energy security and subsequent effects on other fields of regional security and stability.

In the context of security cooperation, the Marshall Center, working with the U.S. and German embassies throughout Central Asia, has conducted an ongoing series of events to regularly address mutual transnational security challenges in Central Asia.

“Energy security is a vital shared concern and benefits all nations in the Central Asia region and beyond,” Turner said.

He added, this regional conference served as a forum to address international and multi-stakeholder security concerns in the area of Energy Security.

Participants from various governmental ministries, power production plants, water plants, gas companies, think-tanks, non-governmental organizations, industry and academia from four Central Asian states examined the current energy security challenges facing the region.

Through expert-led sessions and within smaller breakout groups, the participants and subject matter experts discussed practical and pragmatic ways to improve regional and international cooperation to effectively address concerns and proposed recommendations as to what measures attending governments should undertake to best meet energy security challenges.

Discussions covered varied topics: Energy as a Security Issue in Central Asia; Can Energy Markets Deliver Security or Supply; Decarbonization of Large Importers and the Security of Demand; Energy Export Game in Central Asia; Multilateral Engagement with Central Asia on Energy Issues; The Russian Gas Market: Export Strategy and Policy Trends; Energy “Independence” is not Energy Security: The Case of the Central Asian Electrical Power System; Renewables in an Energy Resources Rich Region; Water and Water Management; and, Possible Way-Ahead.