17:54 Sep. 19, 2016
World Communication Forum Davos 2016 kicks off in Kyiv
The World Communication Forum Davos, that has just started in Kyiv, has brought quite a lot of interesting issues to discuss. The Ukrainian conflict, Kyiv's integration into NATO and the EU, economic reforms and progress – experts and officials from NATO, the US, the UK as well as local representatives discussed this issues and many others.
Dedicated to Ukraine's Euroatlantic integration, the first panels featured representatives from NATO, who confirmed their support for Ukraine but gave vague answers to the questions about the country's perspectives on its way to the alliance. As NATO official Mark Laity said in an interview with Ukraine Today, ‘the Alliance's door is open to Ukraine, but this door isn't going to be walked through quickly'.
‘It's not just a question of what Russia has done, Ukraine looked at joining NATO before, and it was in the Membership action plan, and decided it didn't want to, you need to have a debate among your own society, you need to organize yourself, you need to really sort out what Ukraine wants, you need to deal with big issues, and that's a long process, but you are on that process', said Mark Laity, the Chief of Strategic Communications at NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
At the same time, Laity praised Ukrainians for standing up to Russia and confirmed that NATO would continue to support Kyiv in the future. His position was echoed by another NATO rep, Nataliya Nemyliwska, the director of the NATO information and Documentation Center in Ukraine, Canada. She emphasized the fact that NATO had created numerous trust funds, aimed to help Ukraine in very specific fields, such as cyber warfare, command, and control.
‘Ukraine has settled some very ambitious objectives, and of course we – as the strong supporters of Ukraine – are here and standing ready to help Ukraine in this process, to meet that goal – NATO standards by 2020', said Nataliya Nemyliwska.
Euroatlantic integration, while crucial for Ukraine, was not the only hot topic at the Davos forum in Kyiv. Dedicated to the future of the country, it touched upon the different issues that impact both average citizens and the government. For example, the public took notice of Ukraine's recently introduced ProZorro public procurement system, which was praised by foreign delegates at the conference.
The participants also addressed concerns around the economic situation in Ukraine. The organizers of the event presented a panel, at which Ukrainian officials and activists discussed the investment situation in the country, which apparently isn't that bad, as people think, and how to make these people realize that Ukraine provides great opportunities for investing.
As the President of American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, Andy Hunder said, ‘the general perception that the situation is terrible here was miles apart from the reality'. Hunder himself called this perception ‘distorted'.
‘The question is, who is responsible for the country's reputation, and who is doing something about it. The perception is, the country is at war, it's a very poor country, and nothing's happening here, whereas many of the people who actually end up coming here, they see the reality, and I think it's really important to get that message across', Hunder said.
Spreading information amid conflicts is actually another topic, discussed at the forum. To address that, a Huffington Post columnist, Sean Gardner, arrived in Ukraine. His speech was dedicated to the importance of transparency of information, delivered by both government and its people.
‘Conflicts will arise, just the fact that we have people, we have folks with different backgrounds, different points of view, they add up, and people disagree, and then it's a conflict. It's all about transparency, and in the end, about how you manage conflicts, in this era of transparency, of all the open-source tools that are out there, for journalists, NGO, and just the average persons', Gardner said.
Stay tuned for more Ukraine Today reports on the second day of the World Communication Forum.