President of Turkmenistan: CIS economic cooperation should take into account changes in global economy
Speaking at the Ashgabat meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State, the President of Turkmenistan outlined the economic partnership as an important component of cooperation between the CIS.
As emphasized, Turkmenistan stands for offering new impetus to the development of trade and economic ties in the Commonwealth. With this aim, during the CIS Summit in Sochi in October 2017, Turkmenistan put forward an initiative to draft and adopt a multilateral document that defines the basic principles and vectors of cooperation of the Commonwealth states in this field.
Noting that the Declaration was drafted and put on the agenda of the current meeting of the Council of Heads of State, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov underlined that its adoption would require the development of new approaches to boosting economic activity in the CIS.
“The strategy of the CIS economic cooperation should take into account the changes, taking place in the global economy today. It is necessary to respond to these trends in a timely manner, take into account the focus, and use the existing competitive advantages to form and promote the CIS economic agenda in the context of global economic processes” emphasized the President of Turkmenistan..
Highlighting such strategic areas as energy, industry, transport and trade, the Turkmen leader expressed confidence that the CIS was able to implement large-scale and long-term projects in these areas.
“The Commonwealth of Independent States, due to its geopolitical and geo-economic positions, should play an initiative role on the continent, take an active part in the development and expansion of trade and economic partnership between the East and the West, Asia and Europe. In this regard, the most important task is the participation of our countries in the implementation of various projects with other states, access to neighboring regions where we have something to offer to our partners in the economic, innovative and technological spheres”, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized.
The President of Turkmenistan proposed to consider a plan of joint actions to enhance economic cooperation in the CIS with a focus on the possible formation and development of energy, industrial, transport and trade corridors connecting the Commonwealth states with world markets at the first meeting of the Economic Council in 2020.
As noted, if this initiative is supported by the Economic Council in the future, we can suggest the Council of the Heads of Government of the CIS to discuss the possibilities of its implementation in specific economic projects.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
UkraineWorld sat down with Stephen Oesterle, a Venture Partner at New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Nataliya Siromakha, Associate VP Engineering, Kharkiv Delivery Center Head, GlobalLogic, to discuss the latest trends in healthcare innovations, Ukraine's place in setting these trends, and the ways in which Ukraine could modernize its healthcare system.
Which three key benefits has the healthcare industry received from technology adoption so far?
Stephen: Healthcare has been one of the last areas to really be impacted by digital transformation. It's been widely prevalent in media entertainment industry, retail, taxes, hotels etc. The reason that technology advancement happened more quickly there is that the data was pretty organized.
Let's take banking. I can come to Kyiv and put my bank card in, and the ATM gives me money. It knows everything about my banking story. I could not do that if I went to the hospital here and I had chest pain. Ukrainian doctors would not be able to learn much about me on the internet because the data is unstructured. Most of it is in medical records. It's written by hand. Hospital records don't speak to each other. The imaging records don't communicate with the medical record.
Therefore, three top things in which I've seen technology impacting healthcare would be three A-s: access, affordability and accountability.
Most people don't have access to healthcare.
There are 7 billion people on the planet, only about 2 billion of them have access to health care.
We will never train enough doctors or build enough hospitals to take care of all the people. We must actually use technology to do this. That's why the evolution of wearable and implantable sensors to monitor health, their ability to connect to tablets, smartphones, to be able to monitor patient's health and advise them about it is already happening.
And it is cheap. This is really how we solve one of the biggest problems in the world — healthcare is too expensive. In the United States, we spend 20% of GDP — 3,5 trillion dollars — on it. It is an issue everywhere. China is now spending about 6% of its GDP on healthcare. It's a huge number.
While providing better access to healthcare we should be ultimately keeping track whether we are doing good or not. And if not — how could we do better. That is accountability.
How does technology adoption in the healthcare industry work on the international arena? Which countries are the main hubs of technological advancements in healthcare?
Stephen: There are two issues at play when you look at where technology is being used. First, it is regulation. Healthcare is a heavily regulated industry, and for a good reason. The only industry that it is similarly regulated is the airline industry.
When you want to bring new things to healthcare you can't just flush them out.
You have to get regulatory approval for them. Now, it turns out that certain areas of the world have less regulatory constraints. That's largely Europe: Germany, England, Italy. There you can see some of the earliest advances in technology because their regulatory process is much looser than the one in the United States or Japan or China.
The other places where you see technology being played out more quickly is where people can actually pay for it. Some technology is cheaper and that does play out in places like India. However, more sophisticated technology like an artificial heart or a new cardiac valve or a new hip replacement generally are introduced where either the system pays for it (United Kingdom), or where there is a fairly mature insurance product doing that (the United States)
In places like Israel, the adoption of technology it's not played out because it's such a small population of people. There's no market for it. That's why Israeli companies generally develop their technologies but go to the United States or Europe to ultimately commercialize them because the market is so much bigger there.
And what about China? China definitely has market and has capacity. And you also mentioned that China increased its spending on health care. Has China brought something to the table of global innovations in health care?
Stephen: China does some really good manufacturing technology. But in terms of innovation, I haven't seen a lot in China, but the situation is changing.
Healthcare, medical products come from startups for the most part. Big companies often innovate both internally and through outside sources including acquisitions and outsourced R&D. They generally buy innovation. Startups generally occur where there is venture money. Recently, there has been more of it in China. If you want to participate in the Chinese market you have to be a local company. So you're starting to see local companies being developed and funded by U.S. venture actually because that's the only way to that market.
Within the next 10 years, the Chinese healthcare market will be the single largest market in the world.
Let's transition to Ukraine. How does Ukraine contribute to the world's progress in healthcare-related technologies?
Stephen: You already are developers of innovation in healthcare. In fact, Ukraine has a lot of similarities to Israel. You have some very high-quality science and engineering. There are really good technical universities and you have a legacy of people working in the engineering environment.
In my opinion, Ukraine has a really good opportunity to take this engineering talent and develop interesting things in the medical technology world, medical device world, automotive as well.
Connectivity, IT is very common in your country. That's why Ukraine has a very good chance to move this talent to develop products on their own.
There are two factors that might hold this process back. First, you need risk capital. There has to be significant capital around that's intelligent. I know that you have some wealthy people, but they're not necessarily intelligent investors. However, that's generally seasoned venture capital people who know how to run companies and how to manage them. I don't think that the venture capital world in Ukraine is mature enough to fully help build companies.
Second, you also need a culture of entrepreneurism — which was suppressed by the Soviet Union. The other place that I see that heavily suppressed is Japan, but that happened for different reasons. You don't see a lot of medical innovation in Japan because the Japanese culture doesn't celebrate individualism. The Japanese people don't like it when someone tries to stand out on their own as opposed to the United States where people celebrate individuality. Meanwhile, in Soviet Ukraine for many decades there was no incentive to be an entrepreneur. That's why there is not much business legacy there's here.
I think Ukrainians are starting to see opportunities. You saw the potential in software. There's a lot of entrepreneurism around software and there's is no surprise that GlobalLogic has more than four thousand software engineers in Ukraine. There were a lot of really interesting companies that started up here. One of the beauties of innovation in software is that it is not capital intensive. You don't need huge amounts of money to develop a software company and you don't need huge amounts of time to create a product. The average life cycle developing a medical device is twelve years. And it's very expensive because you have to do clinical trials to prove that they're safe and effective.
For software, it doesn't take a lot of money — it takes a lot of imagination. Ukraine's already winning at that.
Nataliya: Software development in Ukraine is a very open and dynamic area. Our engineers have a lot of innovative ideas that we are bringing on the table to our partners. These ideas are helping our partners to review their product plans and their strategy.
Let me show you a few examples of how Ukrainian engineers can influence the industry. For instance, there is telemedicine and there is a need to assess patient condition distantly. We have an app for skin cancer recognition. You just take a picture of your mole or some suspicious skin area. Machine learning algorithms will assess it and give a probability of some issues. But the process doesn't stop there. If you are able to connect to your doctors and send them a picture with all that assessment, they could decide whether you need to visit a clinic or not.
We are also working on virtual reality prototypes, including the ones for Google Glass. Healthcare is not only software or systems that support doctors, the sphere also includes factories that are manufacturing all the medical instruments and devices. Our prototypes help to set up production on healthcare factories. The process is very strict there: you have to document each and every step in order to be able to review all those steps later. Technologies that we developed and provided to our customers support such recording using Google Glass. Thus, workers of the factory do not have to fill in any forms — the whole production process is automatically recorded.
We are able to be innovators indeed. We just need open markets and bright minds that are graduating from the universities.
Ukraine is currently implementing a healthcare reform which is mostly focused on administrative aspects: how the hospitals are organised, how the state finances healthcare etc. Digitalization of state hospitals is almost non-existent. The state spends 7.1% of its GDP on healthcare, which is not that much. In such conditions, is there a place for technological development? If yes, how should it be handled?
Nataliya: The whole idea of healthcare reform is actually to change the focus from the money that is simply coming from the government. Healthcare institutions now change the focus on serving specific patients.
Due to the reform, state financing is being distributed between hospitals solely based on the number of assigned patients, not the number of patients that are staffed by per day. This is a perfect stimulus for our hospitals to apply the digital transformation. Their goal now is to minimize the spending on each patient, to serve patients quicker and better so that they don't come back with any complications. So if patients have few visits, they are satisfied and healthy, hospital wins. This is a matter of efficiency now.
The best way for hospitals to become more efficient is actually to go digital.
Having all the chronic medical records, storing all the information about the patient and being able to consult with specialists from outside the hospital is key. It will take hospitals some time to understand how this revenue economy works and how to make it better, but this will happen.
Surprisingly, a positive thing is that all these hospitals are not digitalized at all. They still have everything on paper, they don't have fast computers and fast internet. However, this also means there is nothing to transition from. They have to create the digital systems from scratch and that is faster and cheaper.
Stephen: This is an interesting opportunity for Ukraine. There's not a lot of money. There's a lot of people. If you look at who consumes healthcare, it's generally people with chronic diseases: heart failure, diabetes, chronic lung disease, high blood pressure, asthma. These are all chronic diseases that can be monitored. There are sensors to monitor these conditions which are relatively inexpensive. You can transmit those data wirelessly to some database where you can begin to use various forms of machine learning.
You can do this with a bot. You don't need a person. It's been proven and this really works, for mental health even. You can just utilize mobile technology, wearable implant sensors, smart algorithms. This way, you can manage large populations of patients better than doctors.
Ukraine is not spending a lot of money on healthcare, and the infrastructure is not well developed. Then why bother building it? There's a new infrastructure — a digital one, where would you want to do that? So I'm pretty enthusiastic about it because you have in Ukraine some of the best software capability in the world, and you could really make a digital revolution in healthcare. The timing is perfect.
GlobalLogic engineers in Kharkiv have been developing R&D solutions for healthcare for some 15 years. How many of these developments have been actually implemented in Ukraine? And how many have been applied abroad?
Nataliya: The products we are working on are being applied worldwide. There are more than 20 million patients who are using devices that have been developed with the help of GlobalLogic.
We are also developing systems that are being applied in clinical trials in more than 70 countries across the globe. Those systems are being localized for all those different languages. We use these technologies in Ukraine as well. There are a lot of products that we see in our hospitals, airports, emergency care.
We also produce specific products and systems for care homes. This sphere is rather developed in the U.S. and Canada, but not in Ukraine. Our care homes do not have such systems since they are not digitalized at all.
In Ukraine, there are a few aspects which might potentially slow down the development of R&D solutions for healthcare — corruption, brain drain, and, since 2014, war with Russia. Which of these actually impact the development?
Nataliya: I don't think these problems are influencing IT industry overall and specifically our healthcare domain.
IT industry in Ukraine is growing. The trend of growth is 20% to 25% per year.
The trend has been persistent even during the last years. GlobalLogic has shown 32% growth of revenue in 2018 in Ukraine.
But what is affecting us is actually the availability of professional engineers. That is what we can get from universities. We work very closely with IT departments there to influence curriculums. We teach university teachers and lecturers. We provide universities with materials for teaching. We are working with students from their first year in university and we influence all the programs. We not only influence the I.T. specialists, but we also influence the specialities that are supporting IT — business analysts, project managers.
We do all this because we understand that that's the major risk for us. If the quality of education, the quality of an average engineer greeting from the university would fall, we as a company would fail and suffer.
We do understand there is a huge gap between education and business. In any country, education is usually behind business by at least a couple of years. That's the nature of education: you have to see what's going on in the world, gather the information, create a theory, make a lecture, and only then it gets to the students.
We want to minimise that gap. That's why our engineers go to universities. They teach students. They work with them on some specific tasks. That's our major investment in Ukraine.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity
On the 30th anniversary of the collapse of dictatorship in Eastern Europe and Romanian presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), a comprehensive approach to peace building with a network and cooperation from governments and civil society groups will be discussed with 200 participants from different sectors in Bucharest, Romania.
With the title of "The Role of Cultural Diplomacy in Approaching the Protracted Conflicts - Culture of Peace through Understanding the Other", this conference is held from April 1 to 2, hosted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Romania, co-organized by Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization (ISACCL), and cooperated by Centre for Baltic-Black Sea Studies (Centre for BBS).
Participants include former and incumbent national leaders like former President Emil Constantinescu of Romania, religious leaders, educators, women leaders, journalists and NGO leaders from European and Asian countries.
According to the organizing group, this conference focuses on cultural diplomacy to "generate mutual trust and establish avenues for better communication through creating, transmitting and promoting representations of identity" with the recent history of Romania and Eastern Europe that presented multi-ethnic, inter-cultural communication as positive experiences.
The conference is a very result of continuous international exchange between Eastern Europe and South Korea at the civil society level. Last year, former heads of state and HWPL based on South Korea discussed mutual development of peace building efforts at the “High-Level Meeting of Former Political Leaders in Europe to spread the Culture of Peace and call for Support for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula” held in May at the House of Parliament in Bucharest.
"The great humanity conversation must now be encouraged so that the larger and larger groups of people could develop free flocks of ideas and knowledge worldwide. This vision can be developed only if representatives are able to act as plurality of voices, questions and desires of billions of people participating it,” said Hon. Emil Constantinescu in his speech at the High-Level Meeting of Former Political Leaders in Europe last year.
HWPL is a South Korea-based NGO registered in UN ECOSOC and executes global peace building campaigns with initiatives of international law for peace, inter-faith dialogue and peace education. It drafted the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) to promote intergovernmental cooperation for securing principles of peace and citizen participation to develop a culture of peace. Currently, the declaration has gained official support from Central American Parliament, Pan-African Parliament and 1 million citizens from 174 countries.
Letters from Citizens to National Leaders: Endorsing Accountability for Global Peace Building at the UN General AssemblyWednesday, 20 March 2019 10:17
On March 14th, about 30,000 people from all sectors of the society including government officials, religious leaders, heads of NGOs, media persons, and citizen gathered in Seoul, South Korea, to redouble efforts for the establishment of international law for peace.
Hitting the 3rd anniversary this year, the annual commemoration of the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) was hosted by an international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), to share the progress of activities undertaken to introduce the DPCW to the UN as a resolution.
The DPCW drafted by international law experts includes principles of peacebuilding such as the prohibition of the use of force, development of friendly relations, and peaceful dispute settlement. And it emphasizes international cooperation based on interfaith dialogue and civic participation to create and spread a culture of peace.
Mr. Pravin Harjivandas Parekh, President of Confederation of Indian Bar, said “The strength of HWPL is to awaken and tie the civil with the idea of peace. The DPCW connects considerably with civil societies contributors since peace cannot be continued just through the voices of elites and institutional processes. It suggests civic societies function as the peace-building actors which aim for the implementation of the citizens’ advocacy encouraging a culture of peace.”
Regarding a culture of peace, Ms. Anna Cervenakova, member of Human Rights Research Center, explained that it means a certain system of values where on the first place is a respect for human life, ending the war, armed conflicts or violence and taking action in promoting peace, human rights, fundamental freedoms, sustainable development, and environmental needs for present and future generations.
According to the progress report announced at the event, the DPCW has been supported by Seychelles, eSwatini, and Comoros at the governmental level. At the international level, the inter-governmental organizations such as PARLACEN (Central American Parliament), PAP (Pan-African Parliament), and Centre for BBS (International Centre for Black Sea-Baltic Studies and Consensus Practices) have cooperated with HWPL for the enactment of the DPCW through signing MOU.
Along with the official support from governments and international organizations, this year’s anniversary highlighted the “Peace Letters” to the heads of states and UN ambassadors in 193 countries. Written by global citizens, the “Peace Letter Campaign” as a part of advocacy plan for the international movement for peacebuilding by civic participation has been carried out worldwide to collect support from women, youth, and citizens for the establishment of a legally-binding framework for international law for peace.
“Since 2018, IPYG has collected over 200,000 peace letters and sent them to the 7 heads of states: South Africa, Indonesia, New Zealand, Namibia, Malaysia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Korea. Starting from today, we have great expectations for its future. The first goal is to submit the DPCW to the UN General Assembly in the form of a draft resolution and have it adopted. The second is to create a new peninsula to achieve peaceful unification. Let us become all heroes of peace together,” said Mr. Young Min Chung of general director of IPYG.
After the first session, peace lectures on “Civil Society’s Role for Peaceful Unification, Exchange, and Cooperation of the Korean Peninsula” followed at the second session. This peace lecture was aimed to call for the collaborative efforts of civil society for peacebuilding among the two Koreas based on the principals of the DPCW.
Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL said, “Korea has undergone much sorrow from the division, which still threatens our daily lives. When I was 20 years old, I had no choice but to join the tragic war. We need to listen to what the soldiers said. They blamed their countries. Do the countries compensate for the loss of life? There should be no longer victims of war in our globe. Should we stand still and do nothing in this reality?”
“The unification of Germany was triggered by citizens, not the force or politics. Some might say that the military confrontation serves as a major challenge to peace and unification. Use of force must be dissuaded to achieve peace, which is also designated in the DPCW. It has principles to secure peace in our times. When we advocate peace to our national leaders, they can be peace advocates; But if they do not listen to their people, they will be offenders against peace,” he added.
The host organization, HWPL, is a peace NGO in Special Consultative Status with the UN ECOSOC and associated with the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the UN DGC. For the purpose of ceasing all wars and creating a peaceful world as a legacy for future generations, HWPL has been carrying out 3 main peace initiatives - International law for peace, Inter-faith dialogue meeting, and Peace education.
A HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON THE UN GLOBAL COUNTER TERRORISM STRATEGY IN CENTRAL ASIA WAS HELD IN ASHGABATTuesday, 01 May 2018 10:58
On April 30, 2018, in Ashgabat, the High-Level Meeting "Towards a Comprehensive Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia" was held, and the third phase of a joint project supporting the Joint Action Plan for Central Asia (SAP) was launched.
The event was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA), with the participation of the UN Under-Secretary-General, Head of the UN Counter-Terrorism Department Vladimir Voronkov, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Central Asia, the Head of the UN Regional Center for Preventive diplomacy for Central Asia Natalia Herman, deputy foreign ministers of the Central Asian states, as well as UN regional structures.
As is known, the first and second phases of the project were implemented in the period 2010-2017 and were devoted to the consideration of four main directions of the Global Strategy for drawing up recommendations on the development of SAP, which is the first of its kind and was adopted in Ashgabat in December 2011.
In the long term, it is expected that the new phase of the joint regional counter-terrorism initiative of UNRCCA and the UNCCT, entitled "Towards a comprehensive implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia", will be aimed at further strengthening the capacity of the Central Asian states in the field of combating terrorism and preventing violent extremism in a strategic basis.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Voronkov noted that the main activities of the project will include the provision of targeted support in the development of national and regional strategies to combat terrorism and prevent violent extremism, further strengthening the capacity of the Central Asian countries in the priority areas identified in the SAP for Central Asia and facilitating the exchange of best practices in the region and beyond.
Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan S.G. Berdimuhamedov stated about Turkmenistan's further readiness to offer cooperation with the UNFC on the implementation of the Ashgabat Action Plan of the UN Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In this context, the Turkmen side made a number of concrete proposals in this direction using the UNRCCA.
In turn, Ms. Herman noted that in accordance with her mandate in the field of regional and preventive diplomacy, UNRCCA will jointly implement this initiative and promote regional and cross-border cooperation in preventing violent extremism and combating terrorism in coordination with other regional partners active in this field in Central Asia.
At the end of the forum, a Statement was adopted following the results of the High-level Meeting "Towards a Comprehensive Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia".
At the end of the meeting, a press conference was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan for foreign journalists, accredited in Ashgabat and representatives of the national media.
A Culture of Peace was envisioned at a Peace Festival at the 3rd Annual Commemoration of the WARP Summit
South Korea, 18 September - A global peace festival celebrating the 3rd Annual Commemoration of the Alliance of Religions' Peace (WARP) Summit was held. Along with 1,100 international guests participating at the main venue, Hwaseong Sports Complex in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea, 200,000 people in 30 countries including USA, South Africa, United Kingdom, China, and the Philippines participated in the summit by watching through live broadcasting in respective regions.
Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), a global NGO under the UN ECOSOC, showed colorful parade and performances to raise awareness of peacebuilding at the second day of the summit. Despite the increased tension caused by a series of North Korea’s nuclear tests, the summit has sought ways to implement peacebuilding based on the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) advocating conflict resolution and development of peace as a culture. The card section performance prepared by volunteers of the summit appealed to participants with images regarding a peaceful world achieved by global cooperation.
Mr. Man Hee Lee, Chairman of HWPL, urged the active participation for the implementation of the DPCW by saying, “This precious and indispensable gift was bestowed upon the human race as a legacy from heaven. Who must protect our world? It is us, the family of the global village. Neither wealth nor power can be passed down as a heritage if we fail to stop wars. Mankind and our Earth will share a fatal destiny.”
Ms. Nam Hee Kim, Chairwoman of International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), said “We already know the solution, the answer, to achieve peace, but if we do not act upon it, what will happen to the fate of this world? The choices we make can change the world. We must unite and show the world the strong influence that peace can make.”
In his congratulatory message, H.E. Dr. Moncef Marzouki, Former President of Tunisia, delivered, “Today we are closer to each other than to people sharing with us the same nationality but not the same values, the first being the protection and promotion of peace in the world. In these conditions of fragile peace and terrible wars, the permanent effort for peace must be continuous and mobilize all goodwill in the world.”
H.E. Adrien Houngbedji, President of the National Assembly of Benin, mentioned the value and future development of the DPCW, explaining that “It (the DPCW) is a praiseworthy effort which needs to be saluted. However, the different principles of this declaration must still be operationalized through a course of action, so that our countries as well as the international community can look for the possibility of implementing these measures in their national laws and treaties, agreements and international conventions.”
Plaques recognizing dedication to peacebuilding were given to the HWPL’s International Law Peace Committee for the members’ contribution to drafting the DPCW. At the end of the event, the participants held each other's hands and marched together, symbolizing a commitment of individuals transcending borders, races, and religions to work for peace.