NU GSPP hosted the 5th International Conference on “Policy Change and Sectoral Reforms in Eurasia”

On October 15-16, 2021, the Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Public Policy (NU GSPP) hosted the 5th annual international conference on “Policy Change and Sectoral Reforms in Eurasia”. The Conference was held in a partnership with National University of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Astana Civil Service Hub, Association of Regional Environmental Initiatives “Ecojer”, and Food and Agriculture Organization of UN. Researchers, academics, experts, civil service practitioners, and students from Kazakhstan, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Tajikistan, and the UK participated in the online event that was designed to provide attendees with opportunities to discuss and find solutions to challenges related to policy change and sectoral reforms in Eurasia.

During the Conference we were able to hear the views of honorable panelists and discussants from the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Association of Regional Environmental Initiatives “ECOJER”, National Company “KazMunayGas”, Eurasian Group, Alstom Kazakhstan, “Kazakhstan utility systems” LLP, International science and technology center, Centre for Economics and Public Administration, Economics Budget Support & Aid and International Affairs, Tien Shan High-Mountains Research Center of Water Problems and Hydropower, International Platform for Dryland Research and Education, Institute of Livestock and Fodder Production; Academy of Public Administration under President of Kazakhstan, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, KIMEP University, L.N.Gumilyov Eurasian National University, M. Narikbayev KAZGUU University, Narxoz University, Suleyman Demirel University, Kazakh-German University, Almaty Management University, S. Seifullin KAZATU, Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, University of Central Asia, University of Ioannina, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Municipality of Rhodes/Aegean University, Uppsala University, Kyoto University, Tohoku University, Tottori University, University of Freiburg, Justus Liebig University Giessen, University of Bristol, University of Oulu, University of Glasgow, Kiel University, University of Mumbai.

The NU GSPP Conference co-organizer Dr. Stefanos Xenarios named it a breakthrough to have Japanese universities, as well as the Oulu university from Finland and distinguished professors from Glasgow University involved into the Conference work and foster collaborations based on their research on the Central Asian region.

Welcoming the participants, the Dean of the NU GSPP Weng Tat Hui said: “The COVID pandemic caused a detrimental impact on the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the COVID endemic world the need for sound policies and good governance becomes even more critical as governments and societies tries to strengthen economic and social systems for greater sustainability and resilience. As the School strongly believes that Good Governance Matters, it is very clear to us that to create the conditions for Sustainable Development in Kazakhstan and Central Asia the quality of governance has to be improved. That is why the theme of the 5th annual NU GSPP conference is centered on policy change and sectoral reforms in Eurasia.”

It is important to note, that Nazarbayev University has become a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) since 2020 to improve research and educational activities on Sustainable Development Goals in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. As an SDSN Member, NU aims to accelerate joint learning and promote integrated approaches that address the interconnected economic, social, and environmental challenges confronting sustainability and SDGs in Kazakhstan and Central Asia (Know more about the NU’s activity within SDSN).

In the conference there were altogether 10 panel sessions and 4 roundtable discussions emphasising the sustainability aspects of the region. The thematic areas of the panel sessions cover aspects of economic and social development, policy structure and processes, and public administration, and institutional reforms. There were also sessions that address the challenges in energy and water resources management and a special session with contribution from the Japanese universities on the wider Environmental Challenges in Central Asia. The Conference also provided opportunities for early career researchers to share their research studies during presentations and poster sessions.

Jean-Francois Marteau, World Bank Country Manager for Kazakhstan thanked NU for inviting World Bank to start the conference and emphasized the importance on focusing on the 18- months COVID pandemic and its effects on public policies especially in relation to poverty and unemployment.

Summarizing the two-day Conference work, Dr. Riccardo Pelizzo, the Head of Conference Organizing Committee noted:

“It was the most international of all the conferences that we organized in the past five years: we had the speakers from 15 countries. It really showcased one thing to me which is that the two core areas – the public sector reform and energy environment nexuses on which our School (NU GSPP) is focused – are able to attract great presenters and great colleagues from all over the world to come here and make brilliant presentations and show that our perspective research agendas are really relevant not just locally but actually globally.”

To watch the NU GSPP Conference Panel sessions and Roundtables go to the following links:

5th 2021 NU GSPP Conference on “Policy Change and Sectoral Reforms in Eurasia” 

Welcome remarks

Day 1. October 15 (Friday)


Day 2. October 16 (Saturday)

Session 1: Development Challenges in Eurasia


Session 6: Sectoral Reforms in Eurasia (Early Career Researchers)

Session 2: Policy Processes and Structural Policy Changes in Eurasia


Session 7: Environmental Challenges in Central Asia

Roundtable 1: Environmental Policy on Corporate Social Responsibility in the context of Sustainable Development in Kazakhstan


Roundtable 3: Sustainable Land Use Resources and Food Systems in Kazakhstan

Session 3: Policy change and challenges for the energy sector: Regional perspectives and visions to 2050


Session 8: Public Administration and Institutional Reforms in Eurasia

Session 4: The Effects of the COVID-19 on Public Administration: Lessons Learnt and Perspectives for the Future


Session 9: Water Desiccation and water resources decline in Eurasia

Roundtable 2: Sustainable Development and Education in the Tertiary Educational Sector in Kazakhstan


Roundtable 4: Youth and Student Initiatives on Sustainable Development in Kazakhstan

Session 5: Poster session


Session 10: Poster session

Day 1 Closing Remarks


Day 2 Closing Remarks


Know more about past NU GSPP Conferences:

Good Governance and economic diversification in resource rich economies, 2017

Contemporary issues in public administration in post-soviet Eurasia, 2018

Risk, rationality and resilience, 2019

Sustainable development goals in Central Asia and the challenges of COVID-19, 2020