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
1Nefarious scenarios that are being implemented in the Middle East today, were prepared for Azerbaijan as well, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said Sept.8, addressing the meeting on economic issues and preparation of the state budget for 2016. Some foreign circles were talking about the “Arab Spring” in Azerbaijan in 2011 and then in 2012 and were stating that it is unavoidable, Aliyev noted. The head of state said that much has been done to exacerbate the situation and disrupt the stability in the country, adding that however, all this was revealed by the country’s law enforcement agencies.They wanted to create ‘Maidan’ in Azerbaijan, involve the youth in these nefarious activities and made them miserable, President Aliyev said. The president said lots of funds were spent to exacerbate the situation in Azerbaijan.“There were revealed tens of millions of dollars that were supposed to be brought to Azerbaijan illegally, through the local ‘fifth column’ and with the help of NGOs in order to exacerbate the situation and bring to power the people serving some foreign circles here,” he added.
2Russia and Kazakhstan want to unite their air defense systems, Pavel Kurachenko, the head of the Russian Aerospace Forces, said on Tuesday, TASS reports.The two countries signed an agreement on creation of a united air defense system in 2013.”At this stage, we are rehearsing coordination among groups of troops and are laying down the legislative framework for this unified system,” Kurachenko said.Russia also wants to create united regional anti-aircraft defense system with Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, Kurachenko said. A draft agreement between Armenia and Russia on creation of a united regional air defense system in the Caucasus has been approved by both states, which are ready to sign it.
3Hic Dracones: Corruption across the Caspian. “A region clearly struggling to make progress in fundamental aspects of structural freedom and guarantees, which signal a lack of real opportunity for popular prosperity and stability” Dr. Matthew Crosston- Modern Diplomacy.
4Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are discussing the establishment of a “green corridor” to facilitate the cargo transportation between the two countries, Aydin Aliyev, the head of the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, told reporters Sept. 8.”We have already established a similar corridor with Russia,” he said. “In the near future we plan to start official negotiations with Kazakhstan.”As for the delay of Azerbaijani businessmen’s goods on Kazakhstan’s border, he said that the problems have been solved. The entrepreneurs transported the goods from China to Kazakhstan’s Aktau port.
5The National Fund for Development of Financial Services has offered its plan for tackling the situation created by the depreciation of the national currency and transition to the floating exchange rate of the tenge, Tengrinews reports. The Fund was established in November 2014. Its main objectives are to help customers use banking and financial services, control the quality of services provided by banks and financial institutions, and improve the financial literacy of the population of Kazakhstan.
6Social Media Terrorism: DAESH’s New Caucasian Province. “DAESH relies heavily on an innovative and polarizing message to recruit and expand its illusory borders. In the North Caucasus, it has relied on sympathy for the so-called fight for Islamic independence and an ardent rejection of Kremlin influence. With this message, it has aligned itself with al-Qaeda’s Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus, with four of the six most powerful divisions formally aligning themselves with DAESH after the announcement” Brian Hughes- Modern Diplomacy.
7Obama hits 41, cements Iran victory. President Obama cleared a significant political hurdle Tuesday when several undecided Democrats came out in favor of the Iran nuclear deal, giving him enough votes to block a Senate resolution of disapproval. Three of the five remaining swing votes, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Gary Peters (Mich.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.), announced their support for the accord in a flurry of near-simultaneous press releases on Tuesday morning, increasing the number of pro-deal Democrats to 41. The Hill.
8The National Agency for Technological Development of Kazakhstan has been accepting bids from inventors for innovation grants on new priorities as of September, the national agency said. The list of areas has been expanded from eight to 16 in accordance with the order of the Ministry of Investment and Development of Kazakhstan.The inventors can apply with innovative projects in the fields of nanotechnologies and space industry, the advanced technologies in woodworking and furniture industry, pharmaceutical industry, medical industry, bioengineering, genetic engineering, agricultural chemistry, robotics.
9The ways of developing relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan were explored as the first deputy chair of the Azerbaijan State Committee on Religious Organizations, Sayyad Salahli, has met Pakistani ambassador to the country Khalid Usman Qaiser. Salahli hailed relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan, stressing that there was mutual interest in developing the bilateral ties. Qaiser said that the foundations of strong relations between Azerbaijan and Pakistan were laid by national leader Heydar Aliyev. The diplomat stressed that Pakistan has always backed Azerbaijan`s just position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.Goods turnover between Azerbaijan and Pakistan has reached about $1,318 mln from January to July, 2015, according to the State Customs Committee.
10Why do Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin cronies look so nervous? Putin’s resort to theatrics clearly indicates he is gearing up to run for re-election in 2018. The annexation of Crimea and surge in Russian patriotism have pushed his approval rating to levels no Western leader can hope to replicate. The only place they can really go is down. Yet despite having no serious domestic political opponents, Putin’s path to re-election may prove complicated. Andrei Kolesnikov and Andrew S. Weiss- Reuters.
Youth Calls for Action to Build the Workforce of the Future
Over 400 youth representatives from Asia and the Pacific launched the Incheon Youth Declaration on the Future of Work, which calls upon the international community to invest in more inclusive, large-scale, and market-relevant solutions for youth employment and entrepreneurship.
The declaration, launched during the 6th Asian Youth Forum (AYF6) and coinciding with the celebration of the International Youth Day on 12 August, reflects the shared vision, commitments, and calls to action of the youth to inform future policy strategies and project initiatives to promote decent work. AYF6, with the theme “Building the workforce of the future,” was organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Incheon Metropolitan City, Incheon Tourism Organization, Plan International, and AIESEC.
“We at ADB commit to continue investing in youth through our operations, including through our work in education, and in many other sectors we are supporting. We appreciate that the declaration today covers various issues including partnerships, entrepreneurship, as well as environment,” said Special Senior Advisor to the ADB President Mr. Ayumi Konishi, who also emphasized that the declaration will help guide ADB in advancing efforts to invest in education and empowering youth as key development partners in the region.
“Incheon will further boost its efforts to support youth employment and startups through various policies, such as the establishment of youth policy organization, cluster for startup incubators, funds, and forum for startups,” said Vice Mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City Mr. Jong Sik Heo. Acting President of the Incheon Tourism Organization Mr. Yong Sik Lee also attended the event.
The declaration highlights several key issues affecting youth employment and the future of work and what several stakeholders including governments, private sector, civil society, multilateral institutions, academe, and the youth themselves can do to address them. These issues include ensuring decent work and inclusion; transitioning from education and training to work; fostering youth entrepreneurship; and preparing for jobs of the future.
Youth delegates from 20 developing member countries of ADB have expressed their commitment in carrying out the efforts outlined in the declaration. Ms. Priscilla Caluag, a delegate from the Philippines, shared that the Asian Youth Forum has given her and other young people from the region a unique opportunity to act in ways beyond their own personal interests but ultimately for the betterment of society.
Are Real Estate CEOs missing out on the technology opportunity?
In its 21st annual survey of CEOs from around the world PwC found that technology does not top the agenda for real estate CEOs either as a threat or an opportunity.
Only 17% of real estate CEOs cite cyber threats as a danger to their growth prospects, compared with 40% of all CEOs who took part in the survey. While even fewer, only 10% of real estate CEOs, view the speed of technological change as a threat to their organisations compared with 38% of all CEOs.
Looking at opportunities only 20% of real estate CEOs said they clearly understood how robotics and artificial intelligence can improve customer services compared with 47% of all CEOs.
Real estate also appears to be a bit behind the curve when it comes to future talent with just 43% of real estate CEOs rethinking their human resources function to attract digital talent compared with 60% of CEOs overall.
“For most of its history, the capital-intensive real estate industry has had good reason to be slow moving and conservative. But times are changing. Technology, urbanisation and social changes are transforming how we live, work and play and therefore how we use real estate, meaning business leaders need to be bold and innovative if they will continue to succeed”, said Craig Hughes, global real estate leader, PwC.
“Our survey results suggest that real estate CEOs have some way to go if they are to meet digital disruption head on and reap the benefits. In our view, this process should start through building a more diverse group of talent, including data scientists and behavioural experts, to work alongside their existing talent and build the real estate champions of tomorrow.”
Uzbekistan develops forest monitoring system
Uzbekistan took another step towards monitoring sustainable forest management in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.
On 8-10 August 2018, more than 30 forestry experts from Uzbekistan, Turkey and the Russian Federation met in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to review a draft set of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management developed over the past years.
National forest monitoring systems and assessments are designed to provide reliable information on how forests are managed and used, thus helping to improve national forest policy development, planning and sustainable management.
This was a priority noted by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during a 2017 address to Parliament. There, he pointed out a need to develop criteria for assessing the effectiveness of state bodies in Uzbekistan.
“Based on this message of the President, the State Committee of Forestry in Uzbekistan is developing this specific criteria and indicator set for sustainable forest management,” said Mr. Abduvokhid Zakhadullaev, representative of the committee, at this UNECE/FAO workshop.
The workshop was organized by the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section in cooperation with the State Committee of Forestry of the Republic of Uzbekistan and is part of a 3-year United Nations Development Account project designed to support Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan in the development of accountability systems for sustainable forest management.
The UNECE/FAO project has helped to bring sustainable forest management to the political agenda in Uzbekistan. “Having a functional forest reporting system will not only be beneficial for national forest monitoring”, said Mr. Ekrem Yazici, Deputy Chief of the Forestry and Timber Section, “it will also enable Uzbekistan to progress on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Forest Resources Assessment”.
Fourteen criteria are listed in the plan for sustainable forest management in Uzbekistan, covering such issues as forest policy, forest resources, desertification, legal and institutional matters, forest certification and ecotourism.
Moreover, in support of the Bonn Challenge, Uzbekistan has joined the regional effort of the Caucasus and Central Asia to restore 2.5 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. This is another example of the rapid pace with which Uzbekistan is moving forward to address forest-related challenges, bearing in mind that the State Committee of Forestry was established only in 2017.
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