Welcome to the Caspian Daily, where you will find the 10 most important things you need to know on Caspian Sea Region. We appreciate ideas, reports, news and interesting articles. Send along to Caspian[at]moderndiplomacy.eu or on Twitter: @DGiannakopoulos
1The West has long been waiting for this step, lobbying for the idea of the Trans-Caspian Pipeline as a part of the Southern Gas Corridor, hoping to take away the convenient instrument of pressure on Europe, that is, Russian gas from the Kremlin’s hands.However, previously, Turkmenistan wasn’t ready for an open confrontation with Russia and to start major gas deliveries to the West. Meanwhile, selling almost all of its gas to China, Ashgabat found highly risky, as both the single customer, and the single seller meant constant dependence. And today, Ashgabat has an opportunity to get away from that dependence on the buyer, and to diversify its supplies to the West” Elmira Tariverdiyeva – [Trend.az]
2Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks political comeback. Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched a political campaign ahead of February’s parliamentary elections in what could prove a challenge to the moderates behind a landmark nuclear agreement reached last month. Few expect a rerun of Ahmadinejad’s surprise victory in the 2005 elections, which kicked off an eight-year presidency marked by confrontation with the West, incendiary rhetoric toward Israel and refusal to compromise on the disputed nuclear program.[Associated Press]
3Russia, together with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, will hold two joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea by the end of 2015, Navy Commander-in-Chief Adm. Viktor Chirkov said Monday.Between August 3 and 11, the Caspian Sea is hosting the open naval competitions Caspian Cup-2015 and Caspian Derby-2015, as part of the International Army Games.”We are planning to hold at least two international naval drills in the Caspian Sea before the end of 2015,” Chirkov said at the competitions’ opening ceremony. He added that one of the exercises would be tripartite, with the participation of the Russian Caspian Flotilla, the Azerbaijani Navy and the Kazakh Navy. The second round of naval drills will involve only the Azerbaijani and Russian forces.
4Iran offers Azerbaijan to supply oil to Gulf. Iran stands ready to carry out the swap deliveries of Azerbaijani oil to the Persian Gulf, the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.He made the remarks August 4 in Tehran addressing a meeting with Azerbaijan’s Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev.Zanganeh said that oil can be transported from Iran’s Caspian port of Neka via a pipeline (with a capacity of 500,000 barrels per day) to the Tehran Oil Refinery.“Instead, Azerbaijan will get oil on the southern borders of Iran,” said Zanganeh.
5The construction of a $US10 billion ($A13.74 billion) gas pipeline stretching from Central to South Asia is set to begin in December, Pakistani officials said on Monday after meeting with a delegation from Turkmenistan.Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have long planned the ambitious project to meet growing energy needs in the three South Asian countries but administrative issues and unrest in Afghanistan have so far delayed its realization. But the project is politically complex, requiring cooperation between at least four governments, and logistically challenging, as the pipeline would pass through areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan plagued by Taliban and separatist insurgents.
6Sweden has expelled a Russian diplomat and Moscow has retaliated by throwing out a Swedish diplomat.A Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman said the Russian’s activities had not been in accordance with the Vienna Convention, a diplomatic code of behavior.But he did not disclose any details, nor did he say when either expulsion occurred.Sweden has been highly critical of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, and increased military activity by Russian planes and vessels in the Baltic Sea region has intensified regional tensions.
7Russia: Gazprom, A Behemoth No More.”It was not too long ago that Gazprom, the state-controlled energy conglomerate, was one of the Kremlin’s most potent geopolitical weapons. But those days now seem like a distant memory: Gazprom is a financial shadow of its former self.The speed of Gazprom’s decline is breathtaking. At its peak in May 2008, the company’s market capitalization reached $367.27 billion, making it one of world’s most valuable companies, according to a survey compiled by the Financial Times. Gazprom’s deputy chair, Alexander Medvedev, repeatedly predicted at the time that within a decade the Russian energy giant could be worth $1 trillion.That prediction now seem foolhardy” [EurasiaNet]
8Iran’s Ambassador to India has told the country’s media that Tehran is eager to cooperate with New Delhi in mega connectivity projects in the region. Gholamreza Ansari has specifically cited an agreement between the two countries over the development of Iran’s southeastern port of Chabahar as a key connectivity project. “India can be always part of any big ticket projects in Iran,” Ansari told The Times of India in an exclusive interview.Asked about the possibility of reviving the Iran-Pakistan- India gas pipeline project, the envoy said it was up to India and Pakistan to sort out their differences.
9Elections in Donetsk and Russia’s New Conflict-Freeze Model. “Holding an electoral mandate, but fronting for Russia, the authorities of Donetsk and Luhansk could then be seated at the table with Ukraine’s central government, to negotiate an “internal” Ukrainian constitutional settlement. That would introduce an entirely new paradigm of “conflict freeze” in Europe’s East. For the first time in the 25-year history of those conflicts, Moscow and the main Western chancelleries are urging the aggressed country—Ukraine in this case—to authorize elections in the territory under Russian military and secessionist control, then bargain with the predetermined winners of those elections” [Jamestown]
10Research Report: Coffee in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is a nation of tea drinkers and drinking coffee is not a normal habit. Despite this, the interest in coffee increased over the review period with Kazakhstanis traveling more and getting to know other cultures and their cuisines better. The westernisation of Kazakhstani culture has also created a noticeable move towards coffee drinking. The increasing number of foreigners in Kazakhstan has had a positive effect on sales of coffee as well. [Fast Market Research]
Eurasian Research on Modern China-Eurasia Conference
October 26-27, 2018,National Academy of Sciences, Armenia.
Address: Marshal Bagramyan 24, Yerevan, Armenia.
Organizers:“China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Foundation, Armenia,Institute of Oriental Studies,National Academy of Sciences, Armeniaand Department of Oriental Studies, ISEC, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia.
Supported by:“Transport Project Implementation Organization” SNCO,Armenia,“Diplomatic Foundation of Armenia” and “Modern Diplomacy”, Greece.
Table of Contents
(English Language Panels)
- Panel 1։ China and Eurasian Economics
- Panel 2։China’s One Belt, One Road and the World
- Panel 3։ China and One Belt One Road Initiative
- Panel 4։ China, Eurasia and Politics
- Panel 5: The History of Interaction between China and Eurasia
- Panel 6։ China and the South Caucasus
- Panel 7:China and Eurasia (International Relations)
October 26, 2018
Welcome Address (11:00-11:30)
Panel 1: (English Language). China and Eurasian Economics(11:45-13:40)
Ma Bin, (Fudan University, China), “Railway Express between China and EU:New Model of International Transportation or Traditional tool of Economic Growth?”.
Connor Judge (SOAS, University of London, Great Britain), “Competing Narratives for Chinese Investment: Serbia and Mongolia”.
Srdjan Uljevic, (American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyz Republic),
“India’s Foreign Policy in the Age of China’s Dominance in Asia”.
Arjun Chapagain, June Wang, Linda Che-lan Li, (City University of Hong, China),
“The Trans-Himalayan Trade of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants: AGeo-Historical Political Lens”.
Anna Zalinyan, (Armenia), “Peculiaritiesbetween China and European Countries on Public Administration Reforms”.
Key note Speech 13:40-14:00
Zachary Paikin (University of Kent, Great Britain, Senior Editor at Global Brief Magazine)
“The Future of Liberal Order: Russia-China Relations and Eurasian Consequences”.
October 26, 2018 (11:50-12:30)
Panel 2: (Russian Language) China’s One Belt, One Road and the World-Панель 2 Китайская инициативаОдин пояс, один путь и мир
AnatolyTsvyk, (RUDN University, Russia),
“The EU and OBOR: Mutual Benefit or Competition?” / ЦвыкАнатолий. (Российский университет дружбы народов, Россия).«Европейский союз и инициатива «Один пояс, один путь»: взаимная выгода или конкуренция?».
Konstantin Tasits,(Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia),
“Sino-Georgian Economic Relations in Modern Era”. Тасиц Константин. (Российский институт стратегических исследований Россия). «Экономические отношения Грузии и Китая на современном этапе».
October 26, 2018
Panel 3։ (English Language) China and One Belt One Road Initiative (14:30-17:00)
Jukka Aukia, (University of Turku, Finland),
“Belt and Road: the Baltic States within the 16+1”.
Uzma Siraj,(Federal Urdu University Islamabad, Pakistan),
“Eastern Europe Between Constraints, Coercion, and Opportunities: BRI and China Challenging Russia and EU in their Backyard”.
Mher Sahakyan, (“China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia).
“China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative and Armenia”.
Ma Xiaoyun, (Party School of CPC Tongling Municipal Committee, China),
“OBOR and China’s Midland Open Economy Development-A Case Study on Anhui”.
Gabriel de Rezende Piccinini, Alena Vysotskaya Guedes Vieira(University of Minho, Portugal),
“The Eurasian Economic Union and the One Belt, One Road Initiative: how Brazil and the European Union See It”.
Clayton HazvineiVhumbunu, (University of KwaZulu-Natal, Republic of South Africa).
“The Economic Impact of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative on Eurasia”.
Ani Hakhverdyan (Russian-Armenian University, Armenia), “The Energy Silk Road”.
October 26 (17:20) ****Drinks and Pizza (Reception).
Panel 4։ (English Language) China, Eurasia and Politics(10:00-12:20)
Anahit Parzyan, (“China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Foundation, Armenia), “Some aspects of Digitalization of China”.
Maximilian Ohle, (Nankai University), Richard J. Cook, (Nankai University), Zhaoying Han, (Nankai University China, the Editor-in-Chief of the Nankai Journal),
“China’s Engagement with Kazakhstan and Russia’s Zugzwang: Why is Astana Incurring Regional Power Hedging?”
Izabella Muradyan, (Chinese Centre Culture and Science, Armenia),
“Geo-Economic Cooperation with China under One Belt, One Road Initiative: Armenian Keys from EAEU”.
Luiza Grigoryan, (European University in Armenia),
“China and the Brics”.
October 27, 2018 (10:00-11:20)
Panel 5: (Russian Language) The History of Interaction between China and Eurasia-Панель 5. Историясношения (Китай-Евразия)
Sergey Kozlovsky, (The Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine), “The Theory and genesis of Pax Sinica”/КозловскийСергей. (Львовский национальный университет имени Ивана ФранкоУкраина). «Теория фронтира и генезис PaxSinicia».
KhusnutdinovaLiailia, (Ufa State Petroleum Technological University, Russia), “On Historical Aspect of Chinese nation in Republic of Bashkortostan”. /ХуснутдиноваЛяйля. (Уфимский государственный нефтяной технический университет. Россия).«К проблеме истории Китайского народа в Республике Башкортостан».
Panel 6: (English Language)China and South Caucasus (13:10-14:30)
Vakhtang Charaia,(Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia),
“Trade and Investment between South Caucasus, China and EU”.
Gabriela Radu, (Strategic Analyst,Romania),
“Foreign Direct Investment Trends in the Southern Caucasus”.
Saren Abgaryan. (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China),
“China-Armenia Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in the Context of Chinese Evolving BIT Practice and Jurisprudence”.
October 27 (11:20-12:30)
Панель 7. (Russian Language)КитайиЕвразия (Внешняяполитика)- China and Eurasia (International Relations)
Andranik Hovhannisyan, (Russian-Armenian University, Armenia), “The Pivot towards Asia: Perspectives of Formation of Asian NATO”. /ОваннисянАндраник(Российско-Армянскийуниверситет, Армения).«ПовороткАзии: перспективыформирования «АзиатскогоНАТО»».
OganesyanArusyak, (RUDN University, Russia), “The Role of Eastern Asia in China’s Foreign Policy”. /ОганесянАрусяк.(Российский университет дружбы народов, Россия).«Роль Восточной Азии в современной китайской внешней политике».
KhubrikovaBadma, (BuryatStateUniversity, Russia), “SoftPowerintheEraofXiJinping”. /ХубриковБадма, Бурятскийгосударственныйуниверситет.
«Мягкая сила» в эпоху Си Цзиньпина».
October 27 (15:00) ****Drinks and Pizza (Reception).
National Academy of Sciencesis in the Center of the city, in the front of National Assembly of Armenia.Address: Marshal Bagramyan 24, Yerevan, Armenia.
Nearest Subway station is “Marshal Bagramyan”.
Working languages in different panels are English or Russian.
All audience members are required to register for the conference. Please contact email@example.com
Conference Facebook Page:
A new bioeconomy strategy for a sustainable Europe
European Commission has put forward an action plan to develop a sustainable and circular bioeconomy that serves Europe’s society, environment and economy.
As announced by President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans in their letter of intent accompanying President Juncker’s 2018 State of the Union Address, the new bioeconomy strategy is part of the Commission’s drive to boost jobs, growth and investment in the EU. It aims to improve and scale up the sustainable use of renewable resources to address global and local challenges such as climate change and sustainable development.
In a world of finite biological resources and ecosystems, an innovation effort is needed to feed people, and provide them with clean water and energy. The bioeconomy can turn algae into fuel, recycle plastic, convert waste into new furniture or clothing or transform industrial by-products into bio-based fertilisers. It has the potential to generate 1 million new green jobs by 2030.
Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said: “It has become evident that we need to make a systemic change in the way we produce, consume and discard goods. By developing our bioeconomy – the renewable segment of the circular economy – we can find new and innovative ways of providing food, products and energy, without exhausting our planet’s limited biological resources. Moreover, rethinking our economy and modernising our production models is not just about our environment and climate. There is also great potential here for new green jobs, particularly in rural and coastal areas.”
Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, added: “The EU aims to lead the way in turning waste, residue and discards into high value products, green chemicals, feed and textiles. Research and innovation plays a key role in accelerating the green transition of the European economy and in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Delivering a sustainable circular bioeconomy requires a concerted effort by public authorities and industry. To drive this collective effort, and based on three key objectives, the Commission will launch 14 concrete measures in 2019, including:
Scaling up and strengthening the bio-based sectors:
To unleash the potential of the bioeconomy to modernise the European economy and industries for long-term, sustainable prosperity, the Commission will:
- establish a €100 million Circular Bioeconomy Thematic Investment Platform to bring bio-based innovations closer to the market and de-risk private investments in sustainable solutions;
- facilitate the development of new sustainable bio-refineries across Europe.
Rapidly deploying bioeconomies across Europe:
Member States and regions, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe, have a large underused biomass and waste potential. To address this, the Commission will:
- develop a strategic deployment agenda for sustainable food and farming systems, forestry and bio-based products;
- set up an EU Bioeconomy Policy Support Facility for EU countries under Horizon 2020 to develop national and regional bioeconomy agendas;
- launch pilot actions for the development of bioeconomies in rural, coastal and urban areas, for example on waste management or carbon farming.
Protecting the ecosystem and understanding the ecological limitations of the bioeconomy
Our ecosystem is faced with severe threats and challenges, such as a growing population, climate change and land degradation. In order to tackle these challenges, the Commission will:
- implement an EU-wide monitoring system to track progress towards a sustainable and circular bioeconomy;
- enhance our knowledge base and understanding of specific bioeconomy areas by gathering data and ensuring better access to it through the Knowledge Centre for the Bioeconomy;
- provide guidance and promote good practices on how to operate in the bioeconomy within safe ecological limits.
The Commission is hosting a conference on 22 October in Brussels to discuss the action plan with stakeholders and highlight tangible bio-based products.
In their letter of intent to the Presidencies of the European Council and Parliament, President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans announced this Communication as part of the Commission’s priority to boost jobs, growth and investment in the EU. It is an update to the 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy.
The bioeconomy covers all sectors and systems that rely on biological resources. It is one of the EU’s largest and most important sectors encompassing agriculture, forestry, fisheries, food, bio-energy and bio-based products with an annual turnover of around €2 trillion and around 18 million people employed. It is also a key area for boosting growth in rural and coastal areas.
The EU already funds research, demonstration and deployment of sustainable, inclusive and circular bio-based solutions, including with €3.85 billion allocated under the current EU funding programme Horizon 2020. For 2021-2027, the Commission has proposed to allocate €10 billion under Horizon Europe for food and natural resources, including the bioeconomy.
UN resolution paves way for mass use of driverless cars
A resolution to ensure the safe use of automated vehicles was passed at the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Global Forum on Road Traffic Safety in Geneva, on Wednesday.
In a statement, the UNECE said that automated vehicles have the potential to create safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly transport, which could reshape entire sectors of the economy and improve the lives of millions of people, notably those unable to drive or with limited access to mobility.
However, there are still many questions relating to areas such as road safety standards, traffic rules, insurance regimes, cybersecurity and data protection, which must still be addressed before the mass introduction of driverless cars to the market.
The resolution offers recommendations to ensure the safe interaction between automated vehicles, and road users, and stress the key role that people need to play, whether as responsible drivers, occupants or on the road in general.
These include making road safety a priority, safely interacting with the surrounding traffic environment and safely tolerating user error.
The resolution also recommends that the high-tech cars should be able to communicate with their users and other road users, in a clear, effective and consistent way, react to unforeseen situations, and enable their deactivation in a safe manner.
“With this resolution, we are paving the way for the safe mobility of the future, for the benefit of all road users” said UNECE official Luciana Iorio.
In September, a UNECE automated/autonomous and connected vehicles working group met for the first time in Geneva, to begin addressing issues such as technical requirements, cyber security and software updates, and innovative testing methods.
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