From June 6 to June 8, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2019) was held in the northern capital of Russia.

SPIEF-2019 as international meeting political and business circles exceeded the results of the Davos forum in terms of its value, scale and geopolitical weight, despite Davos being usually considered the main such even on the planet

Deputy Chairman of the SPIEF organizing committee, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation Anton Kobyakov, said that this 23rd forum has become the most representative in history. 19 thousand people from 145 countries of the world took part in it, including the leaders of 6 states, 14 vice-presidents and prime ministers, UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

The main theme of SPIEF-2019 was sustainable socio-economic development. More than 100 roundtables, business breakfasts and discussions were devoted to various aspects of solving this problem. The largest delegations were sent to the forum from China (1072 people) and from the USA (520 persons). Representatives of 1300 foreign companies and more than 2.5 thousand Russian arrived to the city on the Neva. They used the SPIE site to negotiate new joint projects.

The working meetings of the event featured the leaders of the absolute majority of the world’s largest companies from all sectors of the economy. According to official data, for three days in St. Petersburg, 650 different agreements were signed for a total amount of 3.1 trillion rubles.

Including very significant ones, such as, for example, the agreement between Xiaomi and Mastercard, thanks to which the Mi Pay payment service will become available in Russia, or the agreement between Gazprom oil, Shell and Repsol on the intentions to create a joint venture for the development of undiscovered sites of mineral deposits and a number of others.

In line with the discussion of the agenda, the participants were unanimous in their opinion that the basis for sustainable development is digitalization and transformation of the technological structure, as well as business plays a key role in achieving these goals. At the global level, the National Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence was presented.

During the four days of the Forum, over 1.3 thousand moderators and speakers, Russian and foreign experts spoke to the participants. They shared their knowledge, experience and best practices.

The participants were offered sessions on deepening cooperation between the BRICS countries (in the innovation and pharmaceutical fields), the SCO (transport infrastructure), the CIS (the innovation sphere), the prospects for the development of the Eurasian Economic Union, strengthening the business ties of the Eurasian Economic Community Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

High technology, environmental safety and comfortable urban environment – projects were presented at the stands of SPIEF-2019.

From about the 60s of the twentieth century, trade was the leading driver of economic development in all developed countries of the world, whose share in total GDP (which is global, in leading countries) grew steadily, reaching a peak level of 41–44%. But at the turn of the century, the rise stopped, and from the middle of the first decade of the current century began to decline. To date, trade forms only 31−32% of the total economy, yielding primacy of services, in particular, financial.

In general, this is not surprising. The free markets, the expansion into which the economic growth of the global capitalist system was ensured, have ended today. In all senses. Both in space and in terms of the volume of consumption itself. No matter how many varieties of sausage lay on the counter, the consumer will eventually choose one.

In other words, the old capitalist mechanism for organizing an economy, focused primarily on growth for the sake of growth, cannot solve current problems. At the same time, a significant part of the administrative apparatus of states and companies, not only Russian, but everyone else, continues to try to solve current problems, based on rapidly becoming obsolete ideas that have developed at the turn of the previous century.

All projects presented at the stands were divided into blocks and directions. For example, a block on creating a favorable environment demonstrated environmental projects aimed at efficiently handling production and consumption waste, reducing air pollution in large industrial centers, preserving biological diversity, and improving water bodies. As for the block on creating comfortable living conditions, the focus was on projects of modernization and reconstruction of transport infrastructure, modernization of the construction industry, landscaping and creation of new public spaces. The project also demonstrated the redevelopment of historic territories and the introduction of technologies of the “Smart City”.

Can cooperation in education and science, research and innovation, new technologies be a driver of positive change?

By Dr. Nelly Didenko, EuroScience Local Section in Russia, St. Petersburg

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  1. Could you show that there are also women involved in STI, international cooperation, science diplomacy and “driving positive change”? (Your picture is really not doing this justice.)