The 10 most important things you need to know on Caspian Sea Region for Wednesday, June 3:
1Azerbaijan has become a global energy player, Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan Natig Aliyev said June 3 within the framework of the Caspian Oil & Gas 2015 international conference held in Baku. He said that today, Europe is very concerned about the question of its energy security.“In particular, this was affected by tense relations between Ukraine and Russia, high dependence on [gas] supplies from Russia and the decline in production in the North Sea,” said Aliyev. “Europe imports about 90 percent of oil, 60 percent of gas and 42 percent of coal. Azerbaijan is also a new source of energy for Europe, and it offers Europe new routes,” the minister said. He said that not only Azerbaijani gas can be supplied via these routes, but also gas from Central Asia and the Middle East.
2Russian state arms producer Almaz-Antey said on Tuesday it would supply Iran with the advanced S-300 missile system once a commercial agreement is reached. The company’s chief executive, Yan Novikov, confirmed Moscow had removed restrictions on deliveries to Tehran that were imposed under pressure from the West in 2010. “All restrictions have been lifted by the political authorities. When there is a contract, we will supply the system, including to Iran,” he told a news conference when asked whether Almaz-Antey would supply the missile system to Iran. [REUTERS]
3Iran looks for steady customers for its crude oil under a new export strategy which is based on constructing refineries abroad, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Abbas Kazemi said. “Building refineries abroad with the participation of international investors can guarantee the security of sales and exports of crude oil from Iran for a period of 20 to 25 years,” he told the Mehr news agency. “In other words, with the construction of refineries abroad, Iran can count on permanent and stable customers for a couple of decades and guarantee demand and supply for long terms.”Negotiations have been held with several groups of investors, including from China, Brazil and India, for the purpose. So far, Iran has signed an MoU with Brazil to construct a refinery in the Latin American country for processing 300,000 barrels per day of crude oil. [PRESSTV]
4Kazakhstan Pharmaceutical Market Overview 2015. Kazakhstan’s pharmaceutical market remains the most accessible, transparent and, from a legislative point of view, progressive in Central Asia. In terms of market size, its potential is limited by its relatively small population (15mn) and logistical challenges. In the short term, Kazakhstan’s market development is driven by a balanced policy of import substitution and integration into regional (Customs Union) and global (World Trade Organisation) systems. Over the longer term, the country could leverage its favourable business environment and regional ties to supply neighbouring states, such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, all of which have growing populations and lack domestic production capacity. [RESEARCH AND MARKETS]
5Iran, Iraq, Israel and Cyprus can deliver their gas to Europe via Azerbaijan’s infrastructure. Iran can join the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline Project (TANAP), and supply its gas to Europe via TANAP or other routes. Azerbaijani Minister of Energy Natig Aliyev made the remarks Wednesday at the Caspian Oil & Gas 2015 conference in Baku.“We have repeatedly seen that the US and the EU supports energy projects in Azerbaijan. Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, often attends our events and supports these projects. Moreover, he also provides support in the supply of Turkmen gas to Europe,” the minister added. Iraq, a country with immense energy resources, is also interested in cooperating with Azerbaijan and may play a key role in boosting energy security of Europe, minister Aliyev said. The minister noted that Israel and Cyprus too can deliver their gas to Europe by using Azerbaijan’s infrastructure. “We have negotiated with Israel and Cyprus, and they say they can deliver their gas to Europe via Azerbaijani infrastructure which passes through Turkey”.
6Turkmenistan’s constitutional commission is considering two changes to the country’s constitution. The first one would extend the presidential term from five to seven years; the second would remove the 70-year age limit for presidential office holders, this according to Parliamentary Speaker Akdzha Nurberdyeva who last Friday spoke on television. If accepted, these changes would allow President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, 57, to serve indefinitely. [ASIANEWS]
7Why Russia protects North Korea from the West. “Russia benefits by developing a special relationship with North Korea, because it would give her a trump card in bargaining with the United States, and the ability to demand concessions from Washington in other areas of foreign policy”. Writes Sergei Dolmov, special to RBTH.
8A Russian Smartphone Has to Overcome Rivals and Jokes About Its Origin. “The YotaPhone prototype introduced in 2012 wowed international tech conferences with its novel two-screen design, with one face acting like a standard smartphone and the other like an e-reader. The second screen supports various functions without draining the battery, such as keeping a boarding pass handy or tracking every ripple in the dollar-ruble exchange rate — a local fixation”. Writes Neil MacFarquhar for The New York Times.
9The International Olympic Committee (IOC) cited serious challenges facing the two bids for the 2022 Winter Olympics, including pointed concerns over Beijing’s air pollution and lack of natural snow and Almaty’s budget risks and limited experience in hosting major events. The IOC issued a 136-page report that assessed the bids from the Chinese capital and the Kazakh city, underlining strengths and weaknesses of both. The report by the IOC evaluation commission did not rank or grade the bids or make direct comparisons. Almaty was portrayed favorably for its winter setting, natural snow and compact layout. Beijing was praised for its high-quality venues, experience from hosting the 2008 Summer Games and plans to develop a winter sports market for more than 300 million people in northern China. While the report did not include any major surprises, it did not hold back in listing drawbacks, notably for Beijing and its climate, heavy reliance on water for snow-making and spread out venues.
10Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi said that political will of the Azerbaijani and Iranian leaders is an important factor for promotion of bilateral relations, so their cooperation should expand in all spheres. He said Iran considers no limit for more cooperation with Azerbaijan, trying to upgrade cooperation in all dimensions. He also emphasized joint campaign against extremism and terrorism in the region and said consolidation and cooperation between the two countries in various fields will be effective in regional security and stability.
EU-Egypt relations: Investing in socio-economic development and inclusive growth
The EU and Egypt undertook closer cooperation in many areas, notably on socio-economic development, scientific research, energy, migration, countering terrorism and regional issues.
The report on the partnership between the EU and Egypt for the period from June 2017 to May 2018 was issued today and highlights key developments in EU-Egypt cooperation with a particular focus on achieving the objectives set under the Partnership Priorities 2017-2020, adopted during the EU-Egypt Association Council in July 2017.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “Egypt, its stability and development are key to the European Union, its Member States and the entire region. That is why we signed our partnership priorities last year and reinforced our already strong engagement with and for the Egyptian people. We are determined to continue our work, together, to address all the challenges we have to face, for the sake of our citizens.”
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn added: “In the last year we stepped up our action to support Egypt reforming its economy, working for a sustainable and inclusive growth. For the EU it is imperative that the young generation, women and the most vulnerable members of the society are included in this process. The EU will continue to support Egypt tackling socio-economic challenges and will keep working together for the stability and prosperity of the region.”
During the reporting period, the EU’s commitment vis-à-vis Egypt was reaffirmed through regular political dialogues, bilateral visits by the EU and Egyptian sides and continued implementation of the EU’s financial assistance.
Egypt also continued to engage as regional player on key regional and international issues, notably in the perspective of its African Union presidency next year, such as the Middle East Peace Process, Syria, Libya, Africa, the situation in Gulf and the Euro-Mediterranean cooperation.
Overall, the conclusions of the report show that the implementation of priority areas is well on track, with notable challenges remaining in particular in the field of the rule of law, human rights, fundamental freedoms and space for civil society. The next EU-Egypt Association Council that will be held in Brussels on 20 December will be the occasion to further discuss the EU-Egypt partnership for the months ahead.
The overall EU financial assistance commitments to Egypt amount to over €1,3 billion in grants. This amount mainly targets social development and jobs creation, infrastructure, renewable energy, water and sanitation/waste management, environment, but it also supports the improvement of governance, human rights, justice and public administration reform in Egypt.
Through the multiannual programme Facility for Inclusive Growth and Job Creation the EU supports the business enabling environment and promote economic reforms in favour of enterprises, including easier access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises. The EU is also promoting labour- intensive community services and public works as an effective and well-targeted social safety net. Via the EU programme Emergency Employment Investment Project (EEIP) completed in January 2018, more than 50,000 young people, many of them women, have acquired new skills and been given access to jobs. Nearly 10,000 of them have received specific support to get permanent jobs or start their own business.
A number of high-level visits and meetings contributed to enhance the partnership between the EU and Egypt in 2017-2018 and to discuss regional and international issues of concern. Those include meetings between Egyptian President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi and the President of the European Council Donald Tusk in September 2017; High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini’s meetings with the Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry in the margins of various international forums; the visit of Commissioner for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, in October 2017, to reaffirm EU’s support to Egypt’s migration management inside and outside its borders with the signature of a €60 million programme under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa; the visit of Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, in April 2018 during which he signed a new Memorandum of Understanding on energy cooperation; and the launch by Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, in December 2017 of the EU-Egypt Migration Dialogue, aimed at improving bilateral cooperation and discussions on the overall topic of migration.
A further step in EU-Egypt cooperation includes the signing of an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation for Egypt’s participation in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) in October 2017.
70 years on, landmark UN human rights document as important as ever
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights reaches its 70th anniversary on Monday, a chance to highlight the many important breakthroughs brought about by the landmark UN document, and to remind the world that the human rights of millions are still being violated on a daily basis.
Thanks to the Declaration, and States’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted, untold human suffering prevented and the foundations for a most just world have been laid.
High Commissioner hails continued relevance of Declaration
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement released on Wednesday that the document has gone from being an “aspirational treatise” to a set of standards that has “permeated virtually every area of international law.”
The Declaration has shown itself to be as relevant today, as it has always been, and is applicable to situations and scenarios that could not have been foreseen at its inception, such as the need to govern artificial intelligence and the digital world, and to counter the effects of climate change on people.
Ms. Bachelet said the she remains convinced that the human rights ideal, laid down in the Declaration, has been one of the most constructive advances of ideas in human history, as well as one of the most successful.
The human rights chief pointed out that women played a prominent role in drafting the document: Eleanor Roosevelt chaired the drafting committee, and women from Denmark, Pakistan, the Communist bloc and other countries around the world also made crucial contributions. Consequently, the document is, for its time, remarkably free from sexist language, almost always referring to “everyone,” “all” or “no one” throughout its 30 Articles.
Human rights violations perpetrated ‘on a daily basis’
Celebrating the resilience of the human rights system, and the contributions of the Declaration to advancing human progress, peace and development, a team of independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, in a statement published on Friday, echoed Ms. Bachelet’s comments, noting that the “protection provided by the international human rights system has increased including by addressing new and emerging human rights issues and demonstrating its capacity to evolve and respond to people’s needs and expectations.”
However, the experts detailed some of the many violations of international law and human dignity that are perpetrated on a daily basis in many countries: “Recent memory is replete with multiple examples of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Impunity reigns supreme in many countries undergoing conflicts or political upheavals, encouraged by narrow national objectives, geopolitics and political impasse at the United Nations Security Council.”
They also said that the upsurge of nationalism and xenophobia seen in countries of asylum, at a time of rising forced-migration, is “reversing the gains of international humanitarian cooperation of the last 70 years.”
This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day.
In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, the UN is urging people everywhere to “Stand Up for Human Rights”: www.standup4humanrights.org.
Preparing teachers for the future we want
At its annual meeting in Montego Bay, Jamaica, from 5-9 November, the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030 adopted a declaration focused on ensuring that teacher issues stay at the centre of the global education agenda.
Through this declaration, the Teacher Task Force reinforces its vision that at the heart of the right to education is a highly valued, qualified, and well-trained teaching profession. It therefore recommends that:
International partners should intensify efforts to develop robust definitions and classifications of qualified and trained teachers and strengthen cooperation and reporting mechanisms to ensure full monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal target 4c.
Governments should ensure adequate financing for all public goods, including the teacher workforce, and this should be achieved primarily through domestic resource mobilization based on socially just fiscal policies, rigorous measures against corruption and illegal financial flows, efficient and effective teacher policies and deployment practices, developed with the full involvement of teachers and their organisations, and continued focus on external resource mobilization to complement domestic resources for countries.
Moreover, the dual focus of the Education 2030 agenda on equity and learning puts teachers at the heart of policy responses that should foster equal participation and learning globally. Teachers can be an impactful equalizing force to overcome unequal life chances from birth. The massive recruitment of new teachers, particularly in least develop countries, with little or no training is a real cause for concern.
The Teacher Task Force also expressed its concern over the fact that teacher education has not kept pace with preparing new teachers to face the rapid changes in globalization, migration, demographic change, and technological advances that will mark the future of education.
Furthermore, teacher education in this increasing complex world must be forward-looking and prepare teachers who are continuous learners themselves. It must enable teachers to think about the kind of education that is meaningful and relevant to young people’s needs in the different 21st century’s learning environment.
The Teacher Task Force acknowledges the ever-growing importance of Information and Communication Technologies in education. However, technology should be treated as a supportive tool for teachers and not a replacement. Teacher education should therefore empower teachers to use technologies to support learning within a holistic and human-centred educational framework.
The Teacher Task Force also called attention to the fact that teacher education needs to be seen as career-long education and special attention should be paid to the nature of teachers’ professional development, competency frameworks, curriculum development and professional learning communities/communities of practice. As teaching is a knowledge-based profession, teachers and trainers should be supported to continually update their knowledge base.
Through this declaration, the Teacher Task Force advocates for a teacher education that allows teachers to prepare learners to manage change and to be able to shape a just and equitable future, leaving no one behind.
This declaration reflects UNESCO’s belief that the right to education cannot be fulfilled without trained and qualified teachers. Teachers are one of the most influential factors to the improvement of learning outcomes and UNESCO has for long been an advocate of better training for teachers to ensure inclusive and quality education for all.
UNESCO, which is one of the founding members of the International Task Force on Teachers for Education 2030, has supported its work since its creation in 2008 and hosts the Teacher Task Force Secretariat.
Will China Save the Planet? Book Review
Barbara Finamore has been involved in environmental policy in China for decades. Her new book, Will China Save the Planet?,is...
Dismantling Yalta system, or Ukraine as an instrument of destroying the world order
Ukraine’s recent provocation in the Black Sea has become another pretext for unraveling the Yalta system of international institutions and...
Immigrant integration policies have improved but challenges remain
Many countries have made important improvements in integrating immigrants and their children into the labour market and day-to-day life of...
ADB Project to Help Boost Inclusive Tourism in Vietnam’s Secondary Towns
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $45 million loan to help Viet Nam transform secondary towns into more...
EU-Egypt relations: Investing in socio-economic development and inclusive growth
The EU and Egypt undertook closer cooperation in many areas, notably on socio-economic development, scientific research, energy, migration, countering terrorism...
World Sees Huge Uptake in Sustainable Energy Policies in Past Decade
The number of countries with strong policy frameworks for sustainable energy more than tripled – from 17 to 59 –...
Rethinking Armenian North-South Road Corridor: Internal and External Factors
In contemporary Eurasian mainland there are three main integration developments: European Union (EU), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and One Belt,...
- Centre and Calm Yourself and Spirit on Restorative Yoga Energy Trail
- Queen Rania of Jordan Wears Ralph & Russo Ready-To-Wear
- OMEGA watches land on-screen in Universal Pictures’ new film First Man
- Experience the Prada Parfum’s Way of Travelling at Qatar Duty Free
- ‘Get Carried Away’ With Luxurious Villa Stays and Complimentary Private Jet Flights
Middle East3 days ago
Shifting Middle Eastern sands spotlight diverging US-Saudi interests
South Asia2 days ago
Indian Human Rights violation in Kashmir
Terrorism2 days ago
Western strategic mistake in the Middle East
Defense3 days ago
Modern Russian Defense Doctrine
Tech2 days ago
Our Shared Digital Future
Eastern Europe20 hours ago
Rethinking Armenian North-South Road Corridor: Internal and External Factors
Russia2 days ago
Putin, United Russia and the Message
Intelligence1 day ago
How AlQaeda and ISIS Teach Central Asian Children: Different Methods, Common Goals