The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has endorsed a new 5-year country partnership strategy (CPS) to establish a stronger foundation for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Afghanistan.
The 2017-2021 strategy is expected to provide $887 million in grants to Afghanistan, a founding member of ADB, through 2020. Sovereign operations will focus on energy, transport, and agriculture and natural resources. To date, ADB has provided over $4.9 billion in grants and loans to the country.
“ADB is one of Afghanistan’s leading partners in infrastructure and regional cooperation and brings in-depth experience delivering projects in fragile and conflict situations,” said Samuel Tumiwa, ADB Country Director for Afghanistan. “Our new CPS brings a holistic approach combining infrastructure investments with capacity building for the government to ensure ADB projects make an impact in reducing poverty and encouraging growth.”
Despite marked improvements since 2002, Afghanistan still faces a severe infrastructure deficit that negatively affects the country’s economic growth and job creation. Only about 32% of the population has access to grid-connected electricity and more than 70% of the interprovincial and interdistrict roads remain in a poor state. Only 10% of irrigated land has formal irrigation systems, with the rest relying on inefficient informal systems that hold back productivity, higher incomes, and job opportunities. The country’s security situation has hampered economic growth, averaging 1.4% during 2014-2016. With the poverty rate close to 40%, there is still a need to improve the country’s infrastructure, climate resilience, and gender equality.
Under the new CPS, ADB will align its work closely with Afghanistan’s foremost development priorities, including the National Peace and Development Framework, the self-reliance and reform agendas, and National Priority Programs. ADB operations in Afghanistan will focus on three strategic pillars: expanding access for women and men to economic opportunities, markets, and services; building stronger institutions and human resources through better governance and skills development; and increasing the country’s environmental sustainability as well as resilience to climate change and disasters.
ADB will continue to develop Afghanistan’s potential as a cross-regional transit point for both transport and energy initiatives, with emphasis on the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) corridors and regional energy initiatives. Additionally, trade facilitation initiatives under CAREC will increase regional trade and create greater opportunities for local businesses. In 2016, ADB approved a grant to prepare the Salang Corridor rehabilitation project to improve the efficiency and safety of movement of goods and people in Afghanistan and across Central Asia.
In the energy sector, ADB has helped deliver electricity to more than 5 million people in Afghanistan who used to receive only 4 hours of power in Kabul, while other cities were even worse off in the 2000s. ADB will support the increase in the country’s electrification rate, play a major role in power transmission both regionally and domestically, and promote clean energy, including through solar power.
To improve transport and connectivity, ADB will continue the development of the road network including CAREC regional corridors to help improve regional trade and local growth. Support for operation and maintenance will ensure the road network provides sustainable benefits. ADB’s key support to the transport sector includes the establishment of the first railway line between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, which carries around 3 million tons of freight per year between the two countries. A comprehensive Transport Sector Master Plan Update was developed to cover roads, railways, civil aviation, urban transport, trade logistics, and other related operations in the next 20 years.
Another key to poverty reduction is development of agriculture and water resources. ADB’s focus will be on provision of irrigation and watershed management, and on the development of agriculture market infrastructure and business through value chains. ADB will also support infrastructure that delivers safe water through improved water storage and delivery systems. These activities will mitigate the effects of droughts and floods, reduce soil erosion, and help restore forest areas.
Through ADB’s support, more than 160,000 hectares of irrigated land have been rehabilitated and upgraded, with work continuing for an additional 260,000 hectares. The investments have resulted in improved rural livelihoods, economic growth, and better water resources management. As part of its commitment to using high-level technology in its operations, ADB will help climate-proof these projects, for example by flood-proofing roads and designing irrigation systems that are resilient to floods or droughts.
Over the coming years, ADB will strengthen its engagement with the private sector and improve the business environment for economic growth and job creation. ADB will promote public-private partnerships, which can be leveraged to support more investment and better operations and maintenance of critical infrastructure.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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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