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Introductory meeting of the Council of Regional Experts

On 22 February 2024, the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Kazakhstan held an introductory meeting of the Council of Regional Experts. The Council was established within the framework of implementation of the Head of State’s instruction to improve the quality of analytical support of state policy, which President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev voiced at the second meeting of the National Kurultai in 2023.

The Council of Regional Experts at KazISS is designed to involve the intellectual potential of the country’s regions represented by researchers, teachers, civil servants, civil society institutions, journalists and active citizens in the process of analysing the current situation in the regions, identifying problematic issues and developing recommendations for their solution.

In his welcoming speech, Yerkin Tukumov, director of the institute, noted that the purpose of creating the regional council is to strengthen the “voice” of regional experts.  “Until recently, the whole focus was on national experts affiliated with state organisations or large companies, or on narrow experts, but also predominantly from the “centre”. “We are facing a lack of regional expertise and experts,” he said.

Y. Tukumov emphasised that “our main goal is to help the regions develop analytics and provide the country’s leadership with the most objective and up-to-date information on the efforts made in the regions to develop effective mechanisms to promote regional development. This is the very task when we have to unite the intellectual potential of the whole country”.

The head of the leading think tank expressed readiness to assist in the work of regional experts. “KazISS has a special status and special access to decision-making bodies and persons. Therefore, we can initiate joint regional studies, develop recommendations and promote them at the highest levels,” he noted.

According to Yerkin Tukumov, regional experts have an exceptional quality – a sense of deep empathy. “Living in a region makes an expert not indifferent to its development, to its problems. Our experts in the regions are professionals with diverse knowledge and unique experience, and your contribution to the development of strategies will be invaluable,” he said.

The head of KazISS also drew the attention of the participants to the principle by which the state policy is formed. “Today this principle can be called “top down approach”, or “top down”. Decisions are made in the centre and then go down to the regions. The opposite principle “bottom up approach”, or “bottom up”, i.e. from the region to the centre, should become a new model of interaction with the regions,” the speaker said.

The main objective of the Council is to contribute to the improvement of state policy on regional development by facilitating the improvement of the quality of analytical and expert support of state policy in order to develop effective mechanisms to promote regional development. At the meeting, participants asked questions and voiced their suggestions for the Council’s work. The event was attended by experts from all regions of the country, working in various areas of the public and private sector: from education and science to business and media, including researchers, businessmen, university professors, lawyers, journalists, representatives of the volunteer movement, housing and utilities, social sphere and many others.