Bled Strategic Forum to focus on sustainable development
Bled, 30 August - The Bled Strategic Forum, Slovenia's biggest foreign policy event, will return to its high-level format when it opens on Monday. Sustainable development will be in the focus under the banned (Re)sources of (In)stability.
Last year the forum was held just as the new government was taking shape and there were few high-level guests since the new cabinet was not yet in place. This year more ministers and other senior officials have been announced.
The list of senior guests include Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, the likely new EU high representative for foreign and security policy, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borell, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and President of the UN General Assembly Fernanda Espinosa Garces.
The foreign ministers of the majority of Western Balkans countries are expected as well, to attend the panel on the Western Balkans, the traditional closing event of the forum.
Around 1,000 participants from some 60 countries are expected to attend debates at over two dozen panels that will explore issues ranging from the future of NATO, multilateralism and protectionism, to the challenges ahead for the new European Commission, the circular economy and the situation in the region.
The organisers said that resources, from natural resources to capital and human resources, are the key factors of stability and instability in the international arena since they are more dispersed and unpredictable than in the past.
The forum will explore and debate sources of stability and instability in areas including peace and security, sustainable development and economic progress.
The event will get under way on Monday afternoon with welcome addresses by Prime Minister Marjan Šarec and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, followed by a conversation with President Borut Pahor and his Estonian counterpart Kaljulaid.
The evening debate on multilateralism will feature the foreign ministers of Turkey, Spain and Slovenia, and President of the UN General Assembly Espinosa Garces.
The main event is flanked by several side events, including the Young BSF, which will feature four days of debate by up-and-coming leaders, and the Business BSF, which will explore topics such as artificial intelligence, climate neutral economy and tourism trends.
The forum is always an opportunity for bilateral talks. The Estonian president will thus combine her attendance with an official visit to Slovenia, whereas Cerar will hold bilateral talks with his Spanish and Finnish counterparts.
Cerar has described the event as an opportunity to brandish Slovenia's image and show that the country is active on the international scene. It will also be an opportunity for inputs as Slovenia gets ready to preside over the EU in the second half of 2021.