On December 2nd, Tokyo hosted the Asian Innovation Forum. The forum was attended by former president of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and vice president of BRICS Bank, Paulo Nogueira Batista.
President of the World Public Forum “Dialogue of Civilizations”, Vladimir Yakunin gave a presentation on the issue of building an effective model of integrated development of territories and cooperation among the countries of the Eurasian continent.
Vladimir Yakunin stated that comprehensive development involves not just change, but a transition from one qualitative state to another, to a paradigm shift.
Currently, one of the most actively territorial development models used in the world is the enclave approach. Innovative enclaves (areas where main resources are concentrated) have become catalysts for the development of specific regions and, according to the concept of the model, are a distinctive engine for the entire country. However, the disadvantage of this model is paving the way for development imbalances, as there is no guarantee that the enclaves will not focus solely on themselves.
A project actively discussed today when determining future Trans-Eurasian cooperation is the project of the New Silk Road. According to Vladimir Yakunin, the issue of developing the Trans-Eurasian Belt has deep historical roots.
“There is no doubt that the connections built around the ancient trade routes were of fundamental importance for the development of each of the civilizations. In today’s world, the importance of transport corridors as a battery for development has stayed with us. The need to build up the cooperation of the Trans-Eurasian Belt is dictated by geopolitics itself.”
According to Vladimir Yakunin, in the modern world, development can only be comprehensive, and must include geo-economic, geo-cultural and geopolitical aspects. All these components are found only in “Trans-Eurasian Belt Development” (TEBD), the model of which was presented in March 2014 at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
In contrast to the enclave model, the belt model assumes a sufficient geographic spread of development, not limited by administrative boundaries. This would ensure the economic coherence of the regions joining the belt and avoid the formation of separate territories that are at significantly different levels of development. Ultimately, this model is to include whole countries, ensuring a transition to development on the scale of the entire continent.
The TEBD project, based on historical experience of the development of civilizations, defines the basis for the development of the transport component. It is specifically the development of transport infrastructure that leads to the growth of inter-regional and inter-country trade. A high degree of transport development will bring about an energy sector and a communications sector. Economic cohesion cannot happen, in turn, without the help of financial instruments. A high concentration of human resources means stimulating the development of the agricultural sector, the healthcare industry, and security. In order for high growth rates to be maintained, a high level of education is imperative, while constant interaction at the country level within the belt will encourage the expansion of relations in the cultural sphere.
Russia, thanks to its geographical position, is the central element in the development of the Trans-Eurasian Belt. Japan also could be included in two global projects of spatial development – the TEBD project, and the Trans-Pacific zone project.