UNECON hosted the high level International Symposium on Post-COVID Era of World Economy

The International Symposium “Post-COVID Era of World Economy: Imagine and Redesign” was held online on February 9-10, 2021 at UNECON. Besides UNECON, The Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee (RBWC), Hamburg Institute for International Economics (HWWI) and Frenkel-Zuckerman Institute for Global Economics performed as co-organizers.

The Symposium brought together more than 40 global experts in international economy and finance, including representatives of leading centres, banks for development and international companies from 15 countries, including Russia, Kazakhstan, the USA, China, France, Germany, Israel, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa and others.

A wide range of topics were discussed within two days: current transformation of international trade, development challenges of regional integration in BRICS countries and Greater Eurasia, perspectives for transition to multi-currency system and Central Bank Digital Currencies, quality of life and transformation of a modern city, restrictions and possibilities of transit to low carbon economy. The live stream was followed by more than 500 participants, who were offered an opportunity to ask questions using the chat.

The Symposium started with opening remarks by Igor Maksimtsev, Rector of Saint-Petersburg State University of Economics (UNECON), Marc Uzan, Executive Director of Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee (RBWC), Henning Voepel, Director of Hamburg Institute for International Economics and Jacob Frenkel, Chairman of Frenkel-Zuckerman Institute for Global Economics and Chairman of the Board of Trustees G30.

This platform for discussion creates implications for consolidation of international community, development of approaches to solutions of current global challenges. Our aim is to save and enhance confidence between scientists from different countries” Igor Maksimtsev, Rector of UNECON.

Within the first panel discussion “How Covid-19 is changing the World Economy?” the chief economist of the state development corporation “VEB.RF” Andrei Klepach presented Russian experience in adaptation to the global crisis caused by Covid-19. The discussion also touched upon the role of regions and cities in the post – Covid period, the behavior of private sector in different countries, Covid-19 impact on the economy of China and European countries.

The session “BRICS Сountries at 20- Prospects for Acceleration?” was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of acronym “BRIC”, which had been suggested in 2001 by Jim O'Neil, chief economist in Goldman Sachs back then. In 20 years,  BRICS transformed from an isolated group of the largest world developing economies into the international forum, coordinating its activity in what concerns financial stability and development of joint investment projects. The session was moderated by Sofia Rekord, Head of the Department of World Economy and International Economic Relations, UNECON. Experts discussed proficiency of the BRICS countries’ economies evolution, perspectives for financing joint investment projects within The New Development Bank, possibilities for open cooperation between BRICS and other integration associations, as well as mechanisms of financial stabilization for the countries of the group.

Session “Eurasia: Economic Outlook and Accelerating Regional Integration” became the platform for discussion of economic and political issues of EU countries. The session was moderated by Stefan Fule, Former European Commissionner for Enlargement.

During the discussion Rector of UNECON, Igor Maksimtsev mentioned: “The growth of uncertainty and external risks motivate countries and companies of Eurasia to build local and regional value chains. Manufacturing localization (reshoring) is on the agenda of The Eurasian Economic Union, China and EU countries. This is the most important factor to develop regional integration in Eurasia and to resume active economic dialogue in the line to Greater Eurasia: the EU - The Eurasian Economic Union – China. <…> Thus, such platforms for discussion and developing suggestions as current Symposium should become a starting point for developing joint partnerships and initiatives. Besides, our common region Greater Eurasia does have objective preconditions for development of international economic cooperation.”  


The session “The Future of International Finance and Trade Architecture Post-COVID 19”, moderated by Carsten Mumm, CFA, Chief Economist, DONNER & REUSCHEL AG, closed the first day of the Symposium. The discussion addressed further long-term development trends of international finance, including rapid growth of financial sector development in contrast to the relevant economy, as well as financialization of assets, including raw materials and rights to the resources, “deepening” the world financial sector.


The second day was dedicated to “A Future Reimagined: Birth of Positive Outcomes” that combined 4 discussions.

The discussion “Central Bank Digital Currencies, The Digitalisation of Money and its Meaning for the International Monetary System” was moderated by Ousmene Mandeng, Senior Advisor, Accenture. The topics included: alternative projects and possible consequences of digital currencies use, such as  CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currencies), need for development of suitable financial infrastructure in all countries that deal with such projects. The economist Mikhail Khazin emphasized the need of added value, that should be generated in the country economy before the digital currency project will be launched. The session attracted considerable interest and lively discussion in the Symposium chat room.

The session “Global Connectivity Agenda” (moderator Ekaterina Kozyreva, the President, IEC International) focused on the problems of transport connection, solutions to the problems related to the economic crisis and the pandemic and an important question of "global coherence" ("global connectivity").

The participants of the panel discussion “Livable Cities”, moderated by Dmitry Vasilenko, Vice-Rector for International Relations (UNECON), discussed the creation and evolution of eco-cities, their resistance to climate changes and social inclusiveness. The key speech by Carlos Moreno, Scientific supervisor, Chair “ETI, Entrepreneurship, Territory, Innovation” at IAE-Paris, University Panthéon Sorbonne, presented the concept of urban policy to improve the city life "15 minutes," or a model of urban development with the necessary infrastructure facilities in 15-minute accessibility.

The high-profile closing session “Pathways to a Low Carbon and Sustainable Economies” updated the issues of sustainable economic development which is based on social equality and environmental factors.

The special report was made by one of the most recognized economists, Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development at Columbia University (USA), President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Mr. Sachs focused on protecting the environment, reducing the effect of global warming and zero CO2 emissions through innovation and technology, and also showed the cases from the experience of countries struggling with those.
A special guest of the symposium was Rae Kwon Chung, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 2007, Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Climate Change, Professor Emeritus, Incheon National University (South Korea). Professor Rae Kwon Chung indicated the need for the economy to achieve a neutral level of carbon emissions by 2050.

The discussion of a multilateral approach to the development of a sustainable economy will continue on the G20 Leaders’ Summit. Following the results of the Symposium, it has been planned to form a final Statement, which will reflect the joint position of leading experts in the key areas of the global economy development in a new, post- Covid world.



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