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
1Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned about dangers of playing games with terrorists in his speech at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. He said that some countries tried to use terrorists for achieving their own goals in the hope of “dealing with them or ,in other words, liquidating them later. To those who do so I would like to say: dear Sirs, no doubt, you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they are in no way primitive. They are just as clever as you are and you never know who is manipulating whom. The recent data on arms transfer to this most “moderate” opposition is the best proof of it.”We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but “fire-hazardous”. This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions. “We cannot allow these criminals who have already felt the smell of blood to return back home and continue their evil doings. No one wants this to happen, does he?” Putin said posing a rhetorical question.
2Russia’s fight in Syria reflects the Kremlin’s fears at home. Both Russia and the United States should face the fact that neither country’s policy is working. The fight in Syria has become a conflict between Assad’s struggling army and a collection of radical Islamic militant groups, of which Islamic State is the most dangerous. Some of these groups hate and fight each other, as well as Assad. But that does not make any of them palatable. The Assad regime’s collapse would be a big problem for Putin. Moscow increased its support for that brutal regime after the 2011 Syrian uprising. This was less out of love for Assad than because the Kremlin views Washington as the source of regional instability – orchestrating not only the Arab Spring but the other uprisings that brought down authoritarian leaders along Russia’s southern borders. Paul Stronski –Reuters
3Moody’s: Azerbaijan could benefit from lifted anti-Iranian sanctions. The nuclear deal and the associated lifting of economic and financial sanctions offer Azerbaijan the opportunity to boost foreign trade and investment with neighboring Iran, Moody’s Investors Service says in a report. According to the report, these new trade and investment opportunities could partially offset the credit negative effects: “The nuclear deal, potentially leading to lower oil prices and pressures on Azerbaijan’s government and export revenues.Thanks to its close geographic location and strong trade ties in the pre-sanctions period, Azerbaijan could benefit from a lifting of sanctions on Iran by increasing foreign trade and investment with its neighbor.
4Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbaev has urged the world to abandon nuclear weapons by the UN centenary in 2045. Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York on September 28, Nazarbaev said a world without nuclear weapons should become “the main goal of the humankind in the 21st century.” The president said Kazakhstan was the first country in history to close a nuclear site as it renounced the world’s fourth-largest nuclear arsenal. The weapons were part of the arsenal of the Soviet Union before it collapsed in 1991.Nazarbaev also urged the international community to find a swift resolution to the Ukrainian conflict and called for the “full implementation” of a cease-fire agreement reached in Minsk in February. Nazarbayev also proposed a “unified global network to counter international terrorism and extremism.”
5Turkmenistan has entered a new stage of strategic partnership with China by becoming its main gas supplier, according to the Turkmen Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources. Turkmenistan had supplied more than 125 billion cubic meters of gas as of August of 2015 through the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline, also known as the Central Asia-China Gas Pipeline. This is more than 35 percent of the total volume of Chinese natural gas purchased by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) after the commissioning of the first two, A and B, segments of the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
6Iranian’s U.N. Speech Appears to Favor Engagement. “President Hassan Rouhani of Iran suggested on Monday in his United Nations speech that the nuclear agreement with major powers including the United States had helped create the basis for a broader engagement, in what appeared to be a difference — in tone, at least — with his own leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei” Rick Gladstonesept –The New York Times
7OSCE chairperson-in-office, Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France, and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, in New York, OSCE press-service reported Sept. 29. Ambassadors informed Dacic about the latest surge in violence and the talks they have held with Azerbaijani and Armenian officials since. He strongly condemned the recent escalation, offering his condolences to the families of the victims, appealing to all to show maximum restraint and work towards de-escalation. Dacic expressed his full support to the work of the OSCE Minsk Group, and reiterated their call for advancing negotiations on a lasting settlement for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as for implementing confidence-building measures.
8Head of Tehran Chamber of Commerce Masoud Khansari said Oman is interested to launch joint ventures with Iran in the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. “Both sides can benefit from expansion of trade ties in this strait; Oman would be Iran’s gateway to African countries while Iran connects the Arab country to its other 15 neighbors such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, etc.,” Khansari said. He referred to the trade turnover between Iran and Oman during the past years, which stood at most at $400mln, and underlined that the amount should increase in future regarding the existing capacities. The Iranian official expressed content that construction of joint free and special zones in recent years has multiplied the opportunities for common investments between Tehran and Muscat since both enjoy tax exemption or even customs relief in such zones.
9Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev discussed issues of cooperation with major US companies. Nazarbayev met, in particular, with managers of the leading American companies, investment funds and financial institutions, such as the Guggenheim Partners LLC, JP Morgan, Pfizer, Blackstone, Cisco Systems and others, according to the press service of the president of Kazakhstan. The meeting reviewed the ways to increase the US companies’ participation in the further development of Kazakhstan’s economy and the possibilities to cooperate in creation of an international financial center in Astana. Nazarbayev drew the meeting participants’ attention to the fact that today the US companies are represented in almost all sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy, and urged the US side to assist the development of cooperation on a mutually beneficial ground.
10Azerbaijan and Serbia will establish a joint working group on cooperation in the information and communication technologies. The issue was discussed as part of the meeting between the Azerbaijani Minister of Communications and High Technologies Ali Abbasov and Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajic, who is on visit to Baku as part of the IV meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation. The sides agred to hold the first meeting of the working group in Belgrade, and the second meeting in Baku as part of the 21st international exhibition and conference Bakutel-2015 on December 2-5. The ministers expressed their interest in developing cooperation in the field of telecommunications and information technologies.
Knowledge Exchange Program between World Bank and Parliamentarians of Nepal
Members of the Federal Parliament in Nepal and officials from the World Bank held consultations and development policy dialogue at a knowledge exchange program held today. Over 40 members of the Parliamentary Finance Committee and the Parliamentary Secretariat took part in the program.
“These engagements with the representatives of the people of Nepal are a key part of our role and responsibility as trusted partners in Nepal. They allow us to exchange ideas, and to better understand the vision of the Nepali people in reducing extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. It also allows us to share experiences on development narratives from the rest of the world.” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, “The country’s path of nation-building and sustainable development relies on sound policies and institutions, and the Parliament is key in ensuring that these are both in place.”
During the program supported by the World Bank and facilitated by the Parliament Secretariat, the Country Manager Faris H. Hadad-Zervos introduced the World Bank Group operations in Nepal, its instruments, country partnership framework and areas of development support. This was followed by a synopsis of the Bank’s analysis of latest macroeconomic and development updates, presented by World Bank Senior Country Economist Kene Ezemenari. Xiaoping Wang and Rabin Shrestha, Senior Energy Specialists from the World Bank then presented on the current scenario of the power sector in Nepal.
“The program was a great opportunity to understand the World Bank Group operations and explore avenues of cooperation and support in the days to come,” said Krishna Prasad Dahal, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, “Extensive sharing of data, information and practical knowledge will help pinpoint the direction of future policies and refine our responsibilities as lawmakers.”
The World Bank is engaging the Nepali Parliament in various ways. Through the Integrated Public Financial Management (PFM) Project supported by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (financed by Australia, Switzerland, DFID, EU, Norway and USAID), The World Bank is currently supporting the Parliament of Nepal through strengthening of the PFM capacity of technical staff in the Secretariat. Knowledge exchange opportunities will be provided to MPs within this program. Provincial Parliaments will also be progressively targeted since they can benefit from the expertise of the Federal Parliament to build their own.
Africa Industrialization Day 2018 celebrated in Côte d’Ivoiren
On the occasion of Africa Industrialization Day’s (AID) worldwide celebrations, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and SME Promotion organized an event to discuss the importance of industrialization for the development of Africa with a particular focus on Côte d’Ivoire.
“Industrialization represents the best means to create more employment and to improve the living conditions of the population,” said Souleymane Diarrassouba, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Trade, Industry and SME Promotion, during his welcome speech. “The government of Côte d’Ivoire, in collaboration with the financial and technical partners, is engaged in promoting the industrialization of the country.”
After reading a Joint Statement of the African Union Commission, the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa and UNIDO on the occasion of the AID event held in Vienna, Tidiane Boye, UNIDO’s Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, quoted UNIDO’s Director General, LI Yong: “AID 2018 represents an important occasion to raise awareness of the importance of a concerted programmatic approach to the promotion of rapid and inclusive industrialization in Africa.” Boye also paid tribute to H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, for his engagement as Champion of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa.
The event was an opportunity to present the main findings of UNIDO’s Industrial Development Report 2018 – which focuses on the importance of demand as a driver of industrial development – and perspectives on the development of the pharmaceutical global value chain in Africa.
Nicola Cantore, UNIDO Research and Industrial Policy Officer, pointed out that under the right set of conditions, the consumption of manufactures can set in motion a virtuous circle of industrial development – comprising income creation, demand diversification and massification of consumption – but that this virtuous circle often requires specific policy measures to attain socially inclusive or environmentally sustainable industrialization.
”For Côte d’Ivoire, a gap still needs to be filled in terms of increasing the share of manufacturing exports in total exports and the technological contents of exports, which are still too dependent on primary goods,” Cantore said.
The social dimension of industrialization was well-captured by the presentation of Assane Coulibaly, UNIDO’s Lead ECOWAS Coordinator for Pharmaceuticals GMP Roadmap Initiative, who explained how the development of local capabilities in the pharmaceutical industry is a key step to ensure affordability and availability of medicines essential to the development of an effective health system.
The event was attended by representatives of the government and the private sector.
World Bank Group Announces $50 billion over Five Years for Climate Adaptation and Resilience
The World Bank Group today launched its Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience. Under the plan, the World Bank Group will ramp up direct adaptation climate finance to reach $50 billion over FY21–25. This financing level—an average of $10 billion a year—is more than double what was achieved during FY15-18. The World Bank Group will also pilot new approaches to increasing private finance for adaptation and resilience.
“Our new plan will put climate resilience on an equal footing with our investment in a low carbon future for the first time. We do this because, simply put, the climate is changing so we must mitigate and adapt at the same time,” said World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva. “We will ramp up our funding to help people build a more resilient future, especially the poorest and most vulnerable who are most affected.”
The increase in adaptation financing will support activities that include:
- Delivering higher quality forecasts, early warning systems and climate information services to better prepare 250 million people in at least 30 countries for climate risks;
- Supporting 100 river basins with climate-informed management plans and/or improved river basin management governance;
- Building more climate-responsive social protection systems; and
- Supporting efforts in at least 20 countries to respond early to, and recover faster from, climate and disaster shocks through additional financial protection instruments.
In addition to boosting finance, the Plan will also support countries to mainstream approaches to systematically manage climate risks at every phase of policy planning, investment design, and implementation.
“This Action Plan is a welcome step from the World Bank,” said Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and co-chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation. “The world’s poorest and most climate vulnerable countries stand to benefit from its increased finance and support for longer term policy change.”
The Action Plan builds on the link between adaptation and development by promoting effective and early actions that also provide positive development outcomes. For example, investing in mangrove replanting may protect a local community against sea level rise and storm surges, while also creating new opportunities for eco-tourism and fisheries. Early and proactive adaptation and resilience-building actions are more cost-effective than addressing impacts after they occur.
The Action Plan also includes the development of a new rating system to create incentives for, and improve the tracking of, global progress on adaptation and resilience. The new system will be piloted by the World Bank in FY19-20 and rolled out to projects in relevant sectors by FY21.
The Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience forms part of the World Bank Group’s 2025 Targets to Step Up Climate Action which were launched in December 2018, during the UN’s COP24 in Poland.
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