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
1Islamic State has designs on the holy cities of Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem and endangers Europe and Russia, Vladimir Putin said. Moscow is concerned about IS-trained jihadists returning to EU countries, the CIS and Russia. “Extremists from many countries of the world, including, unfortunately, European counties, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) undertake ideological and military training in the ranks of Islamic State [IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL],” said Putin, speaking at the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe. “And certainly we are worried that they could possibly return. It is necessary to set aside geopolitical ambitions, drop so-called double standards, the policy of direct or indirect use of separate terrorist groups for achieving own goals, including removing the governments and regimes.”
2Azerbaijan quits Euronest. The Parliament of Azerbaijan passed a decision regarding the resolution of the European Parliament dated September 10, 2015.The draft decision was read out by vice-speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament, Head of the EU-Azerbaijan parliamentary cooperation committee Valeh Asgarov. According to the document, the European Parliament’s resolution shows that the organization is extremely biased against Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani Parliament adopts a decision: The subversive activities and biased campaigns against Azerbaijan shall be ended. The activity damaging the reputation of the European Parliament shall be stopped.The Azerbaijani delegation should be stopped from participating in the meetings of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and recalled. The Cabinet of Ministers should be ordered to ban members of the European Parliament from entering Azerbaijan in case sanctions are imposed on Azerbaijani officials.
3The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which unites state legislators form 50 U.S. states, has passed a resolution emphasizing Azerbaijan’s strategic importance and fast development, APA reports. The resolution encourages the United States government to support and deepen strategic partnership with the Republic of Azerbaijan.The biggest part of the resolution is about the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. According to the resolution, both the U.S. along with the United Nations recognizes and supports Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
4Kazakhstan Launches Energy Efficiency Project. On September 14, the Ministry of Investments and Development jointly with the World Bank officially launched the Kazakhstan Energy Efficiency Project to improve the energy efficiency in public and social facilities and to create the enabling environment for sustainable energy efficiency financing.The project focuses on reduction in energy use of public buildings such as schools, kindergartens, hospitals, and street lighting, to demonstrate energy cost savings and social co-benefits.
5Western dream of regime change in Iran is over, so what’s next? “The contest between Iran and Saudi Arabia is destabilizing the entire region, with global consequences, and neither seems to have a workable strategy to exit the conflicts in which they are embroiled. At the heart of their competition lies Syria, a majority-Sunni country ruled by a minority regime allied with Iran” Joost Hiltermann –Reuters.
6Is Syria the new Crimea? Russia may think so. “New intelligence reports verified that Russia is sending military forces into Syria capable of striking ISIS targets. Two U.S. officials told Foreign Policy Magazine; “The intelligence community has substantiated that Russia is going to deploy Mikoyan MiG 31 and Sukhoi Su-25 fighter planes to a forward operating base in Latakia.” Much of the military equipment has arrived, including air traffic control towers, aircraft supplies, as well as housing units for hundreds of troops” examiner.com
7The OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs will organize a meeting between Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan said. According to Robert F. Cekuta, the Co-chairs and the Foreign Ministers will discuss the possibility of organizing a meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents later this year. Commenting on the date of the Co-chairs’ next visit to the region, the U.S. ambassador said the mediators planned to visit the region next fall, failing, however, to mention specific dates.
8New thermal power plant commissioned in Turkmenistan. A new gas-turbine thermal power plant has been commissioned in Derweze district of Turkmenistan’s Ahal province, ‘Neutral Turkmenistan’ newspaper reported.The new power plant is able to meet the electricity demand of the province and Ashgabat city, according to the report.The power plant with the total installed capacity of 504.4 megawatt was constructed by Turkish Calik Enerji Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S.The new thermal power plant, located on the area of 32 hectares, is a complex of modern technological facilities. The main facilities among them are four powerful gas-turbine plants GE 9E produced by the US General Electric company. Their capacity is 126.1 megawatt each.
9Azerbaijan’s oil production will average 0.86 million barrels per day in 2015, according to OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report published on September 14.This figure is revised down by 10,000 barrels per day from the previous month’s predictions.OPEC predicts Azerbaijan’s oil production at an average 0.8 million barrels per day over 2016.
10The EU should reward, not punish its loyal partner Azerbaijan. The European Union’s double standards in its dealings with Azerbaijan are damaging to the trust of a people that embraces European values, writes Ceyhun Osmanlı for Euractiv.
Digital Technology Will Help Djibouti Leap into the Future
Digital technology will have a critical part to play in boosting Djibouti’s socio-economic development and meeting the ambitious goals set out in its national strategy, Vision Djibouti 2035. As a key step toward building a strong, inclusive digital economy, the Government of Djibouti and the World Bank are co-hosting a high-level event that will explore the potential benefits of digital development and propose a concrete roadmap of action.
“Disruptive technologies are creating new business models, opening up new markets, and giving consumers access to more products and services than ever before. It is hard to overstate the economic potential of these transformations,” said Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Djibouti’s Ministry of Economy and Finance. “In a country like ours, developing a high-performing digital ecosystem will provide a unique chance to stimulate the economy and create jobs. The Digital Economy conference starting today will bring us one step closer to this vision.”
“The digital sector will be key to improving the lives of Djiboutian people, expanding our economy, and strengthening our position as a logistics and commercial hub. With eight submarine cable landing on our shores, there is no doubt Djibouti has what it takes to become a digital leader in the region,” noted Abdi Youssouf Sougueh, Minister of Communications. “We are keen to bring in development partners like the World Bank to leverage this infrastructure to the fullest and reinforce all the other fundamentals that are necessary to nurture a vibrant digital economy.”
The conference will bring together a wide range of government representatives, technology pioneers, and development partners. Building on this uniquely diverse combination of knowledge and global perspectives, participants will assess Djibouti’s digital landscape, share international best practices, discuss how technology can help modernize all sectors of the economy, and outline a clear strategy and action plan for digital development in the country.
“Countries around the world are leveraging digital innovation to accelerate economic growth and build a better future for people, and Djibouti is very well positioned to gain from that approach,” said Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Digital Development. “I am confident this event will pave the way for close collaboration on digital development between the Word Bank, Djibouti, and countries across the Middle East and Africa.”
In addition to discussing Djibouti’s opportunities and challenges, the event will also highlight the need for bolder action on digital development engagement across the region.
Sessions will cover all key dimensions of digital development, with a focus on how to strengthen the five pillars of the digital economy: digital infrastructure; innovation and entrepreneurship; digital financial services and identification; digital platforms; and digital literacy and skills.
“Technological innovation holds great promise for Djibouti. By harnessing the full power of the digital economy, the country could see significant GDP growth, create a future-proof labor market, and raise living standards for all segments of the population. We stand ready to work hand in hand with Djibouti on this journey, to help create the right conditions for a thriving digital sector,” said Atou Seck, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti.
The first shopping tourism project in Mexico
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Municipality of León (Guanajuato, Mexico) have signed an agreement to carry out the country’s first project to develop Shopping Tourism, with the support of the Ministry of Tourism of the State of Guanajuato.
The project is expected to serve as an international reference point and as a showcase at major tourism forums.
The Tourism Observatory of the State of Guanajuato has been a member of the UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories since 2014. At the World Tourism Organization’s General Assembly held in Medellín, Colombia, in September 2015, Guanajuato expressed its interest in being one of the destinations to develop a project on shopping tourism, and León was the selected destination in light of the fact that 27% of its tourists visit the city to go shopping.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
The project will help León (Guanajuato, Mexico) to develop innovative shopping tourism offerings that link the public and private sectors and that highlight the destination’s tourism attractions and products as well as tourism’s contribution to socio-economic development, which includes the creation of jobs directly in the tourism sector and in the many activities related to the sector.
Smart city matchmaking in Barcelona
This year’s Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC), Europe’s biggest Smart City related event, takes place from 13 to 15 November in Barcelona and will, like previous editions, attract several thousand stakeholders.
During the congress, on November 14, the Smart Cities Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities (EIP-SCC) will organise its next matchmaking event, seeking to bring projects and investors together to stimulate action. It is especially tailored to match individual projects with financing.
To take part, stakeholders must register on the matchmaking platform where they will join other cities, industry and financial players. Registered users need to submit short descriptions of their upcoming projects. A dedicated team will then process and match them with financiers’ interests, leading to one-to-one meetings, organised specifically and individually for them and their projects.
Should participation in above-mentioned event not be possible, the matchmaking platform will remain available also after the Barcelona congress, as the EIP-SCC will organise further matchmaking events in the future.
In addition, there will be an exhibition stand, where interested stakeholders can meet any of the 12 Horizon 2020 Lighthouse projects (representing € 270 million of EU funding), experts from the EIP-SCC, the Smart Cities Information System, as well as the European Commission.
Finally, there will be a number of sessions organised at the mentioned exhibition stand as part of the SCEWC programme covering a wide range of Smart City related topics. The full programme is available at http://www.smartcityexpo.com/en/agenda-2018.
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