IBA ECA Forum 2018 - Closing remarks and conference materials

Dear Colleagues,

The third IBA Europe-Caucasus-Asia Forum has been successfully held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, bringing together 110 current and future leaders of the legal profession from 25 jurisdictions and 34 cities from as far as Washington DC, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and major western and eastern European cities. It's been a particularly important year for us, as few IBA conferences of such calibre have been held in central Asia with far-reaching plans for a deeper presence in the region.

During the Forum the delegates have debated some of the thorniest issues for the ECA region, including the standards of professional regulation investors expect in the emerging markets, the challenges of the newly established Astana International Financial Centre that seeks to become a regional hub, and impediments to the implementation of cross-border transactions involving parties from the Eurasian Economic Union. The Forum participants also discussed the most recent developments in the legal and fiscal regimes in the region's mineral resource producing countries. The serious impact of the recently enacted EU General Data Protection Regulation on the business processes in the ECA countries was another highly topical issue.

The conference programme was enriched by two complimentary workshops run by top experts in their respective fields. One was dedicated to the career path of becoming an arbitrator, the other one was held in the form of an interview on understanding international legal directories, their role in the legal markets, and improving firms' rankings.

Martin Solc, President of the IBA, and Irina Paliashvili, the founder of the Forum's predecessor CIS LCN Forum, addressed the delegates emphasising the role that our professional conference might play as a platform for a civilised, pragmatic and very open discussion of most cutting-edge issues. This year's Forum has served as a good example of such a platform. Since the event has become not only cross-border but also cross-generational, we invited a young, but accomplished, legal scholar Dr Valentin Jeutner of Oxford and Lund Universities to speak on behalf of the newer generation of lawyers on the ethical dilemmas they are preparing to face throughout their professional lives.

Following a long-standing tradition, the Forum offered a high-quality cultural programme. We visited the famous Green Market to experience the true flavour of central Asia, went to Medeo, the world's largest high-mountain skating rink at an altitude of 1700m, which hosted the 2011 Asian Winter Games, and took a cable car to Shymbulak, central Asia's top skiing centre at 2200m above sea level. At the Closing Gala Dinner, the 'Aksaray' Theatre of National Traditions gave a wonderful performance.

Please enjoy photos from the IBA ECA Forum 2018 available here. We have deliberately not selected the photos we ourselves liked most and decided to let you have access to most of pictures taken by the photographer Maxim Zolotukhin. Of course, when the ECA Forum's website is launched (which we plan to do in the near future) only selected photos will be posted.

Thank you everyone for coming and we look forward to seeing you next year!

Valikhan Shaikenov
Co-Chair of the ECA Forum, AEQUITAS, Almaty

On behalf of the ECA Forum's Co-Chairs:

Jörg Menzer
Noerr, Bucharest; Council Member, IBA Section on Public and Professional Interest

Maria Ostashenko
ALRUD, Moscow

Lana Sinichkina
Arzinger, Kiev; ECA Liaison Officer, IBA European Regional Forum