Central Asia Conference

Given how much I’m reading about Central Asia these days, it seems perverse not to write anything about it

UNDP has [released](http://neweurasia.net/?p=317) a “[Central Asia Human Development Report](http://europeandcis.undp.org/?wspc=CAHDR2005%20)” (which, typically, I’m going to link to instead of reading). Both [registan](http://www.registan.net/?p=6328#more-6328) and [New Eurasia](http://neweurasia.net/?p=317) report from the launch party. Despite a couple of references to the “new silk road” and the “new great game”, it sounds like an interesting day. One academic talked about the lack of interest in Central Asia from everyone except China. China is naturally enough after Central Asia’s oil, but I’m surprised nobody else is. He also commented:

> Trade between Central Asian countries…is not and will not be a significant engine of development

I’m not saying he’s wrong, but I’d be interested to see the basis for that reasoning. Martha Brill Olcett responded with:

> Central Asia certainly needs the great markets more than the great markets need Central Asia as a transit route

Finally, one speaker talked about the emergence of:

> a transnational democratic mobilization connected by technology

And it _is_ exciting to hear about groups like this, because we can empathise, and because it justifies the time we spend behind computers rather than mobilizing on the streets or manning soup kitchens. Again, I’d like to know the figures behind this mobilization before I jump up and down squealing.

Time to read the report now, I guess.

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