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2nd Silk Road Tourism Conference in Croatia

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On 24 April 2018, the 2nd Silk Road Tourism Conference, co-organized by Chinese Southeast European Business Association (CSEBA) and Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (SRCIC), was successfully held in Dubrovnik Croatia. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to the Republic of Croatia Hu Zhaoming, SRCIC Vice Chairman and Secretary General Li Zhonghang, CSEBA President Mario Rendulić, and Vice Mayor of Dubrovnik City Jelka Tepšić addressed the opening ceremony respectively. Over 300 participants from China, Croatia, Republic of Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria were present at the conference.

H.E Hu Zhaoming specified in his speech that Croatia is located at the juncture of the maritime and land Silk Roads so it can make a full use of its unique geographical advantage to strengthen the interaction between Europe and Asia with its airports and harbors. He added, “As a place where Eastern and Western civilizations meet with each other, Croatia can serve as a bridge of cultural exchanges. Tourism is the best way to improve understanding and respects among people along the Belt and Road countries. Therefore I hope the Croatian side provides measures to attract more Chinese companies to come and invest in hotels, sea ports, airports, and other tourism facilities. The golden time for tourism cooperation between China and Croatia is coming. ”

SRCIC Vice Chairman and Secretary General Mr. Li Zhonghang said, “In the past 2000 years, the ancient Silk Road has been an embodiment of friendship and cooperation among Asian, European and African people. As the oldest and most influential platform for trade and cultural exchange in human history, it is an invaluable legacy from our forefathers. The modern Silk Road is another great project that calls for all Belt and Road countries to join hands and contribute to building up a global community with a shared future. ”

SRCIC Deputy Secretary General and President of Tang West Market Finance Holding Co. Ltd. Huang Dahai introduced the project of High-end Silk Road Business Travel, Silk Road Alliance of Transnational Financial Leasing, and Silk Road Cultural Industry Fund at the forum.

At the signing ceremony, a strategic cooperation agreement was signed between SRCIC and CSEBA with the consensus for coordinated efforts in promoting the economic and trade cooperation between China and Central Eastern Europe as part of building up a community with a shared future.

After the event, Mr. Li had meetings with Mr. Shovket Hazari, Macedonia State Tourism Advisor, Mr. Damir Davidopvic, Secretary of State in Montenegro Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, and Mr. Andriana Petkova, Chair of the Managing Board of the Bulgari-Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce.

Later that day, Mr. Li was interviewed by Croatian state broadcaster Hrvatska Televizija (HRT), Xinhua News Agency, and Phoenix TV, and shared his views on strengthening the cooperation between CSEBA and SRCIC to contribute to the economic growth of both China and Croatia.

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Smart city matchmaking in Barcelona

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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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UN sounds alarm as Venezuelan refugees and migrants passes three million mark

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The number of refugees and migrants who have left Venezuela worldwide has now reached three million, the two main United Nations agencies advocating for them announced on Thursday, flagging the need to increase support for the countries which are hosting large numbers of displaced Venezuelans.

According to the UN office for humanitarian coordination (OCHA), most of the 3 million are currently hosted by countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, accounting for about 2.4 million refugees and migrants from Venezuela. Colombia has the highest number with over one million, followed by Peru with half a million, Ecuador with some 220,000, and Argentina with 130,000.

In addition to South American countries, countries in Central America and the Caribbean also recorded increasing arrivals of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. Panama, for example, is now hosting 94,000 Venezuelans.

Commending these countries’ “open-door policy,” Eduardo Stein, who heads the joint effort on behalf of refugee agency UNHCR and migration agency IOM for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, noted however that “their reception capacity is severely strained,” and is “requiring a more robust and immediate response from the international community if this generosity and solidarity are to continue.”

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, noted during a recent visit to Peru, that every Venezuelan she had met described the situation in their country as “desperate,” adding that she heard “stories of people dying because of a lack of medical care and medicine… and tragic accounts of violence and persecution”.

With these rising numbers of families fleeing Venezuela, their basic needs have increased, along with the communities hosting them.

Governments in the region are leading the humanitarian response and working to coordinate efforts based on the Quito Declaration for example, adopted in September and which has been an important step towards a regional approach to scale up the response and harmonize policies.

To support this response, the UN and its partners have appealed for US$220 million to address the needs of 406,000 people across Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $17.2 million earlier this year.

In addition, a humanitarian regional response plan is underway to be launched in December, with a focus on four areas: direct emergency assistance, protection, socio-economic and cultural integration and capacity-building for governments of receiving countries.

The governments from the region are scheduled to meet again in Quito on 22 and 23 November to continue moving the regional process further.

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Globalization Cannot Be Stopped – but It Can and Should Be Better

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Global GDP has doubled since 1990, but further global integration, while inevitable, must be accompanied by structural reforms that enable greater international cooperation as well as policies that support more inclusive, sustainable societies. This was the finding from the opening plenary of the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils which began today in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The purpose of the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils is to convene the world’s best network of experts to identify new ideas and models that can be applied to critical global challenges. In his opening remarks, Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum, told participants: “Globalization cannot be stopped, but it can be improved. It should be more inclusive, sustainable and job creating. We need to stop seeing trade as a weapon but instead see it as a strong, positive force for inclusive, poverty-eradicating growth.”

“Globalization’s future is no longer about physical trade. It is about knowledge, information and technology. Digital trade already accounts for 12% of international trade, and data flows are predicted to increase another fivefold by 2022. The result will inevitably be not less globalization but more, different, globalization,” he continued.

His Excellency Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future of the United Arab Emirates, in his opening address told participants: “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, shape it and implement it. In today’s world, governments cannot create the future singularly; it is important to involve everyone from the private sector to youth, international partners and others in creating policies.”

On the power of the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to bring about a more inclusive and sustainable future, Al Gergawi said: “The collective mind provided by technology is much smarter than the individual mind. The wisdom of the crowd is a common saying; however, this saying is multiplied a thousand times when talking about and using technology.”

In a special televised session to mark the beginning of the meeting, Miroslav Lajcak, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, told participants that any global architecture in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution needed to be shaped by greater cooperation between nations. “In my 30 years as a diplomat I see less and less dialogue. Even when leaders speak these days there are more monologues and less willingness to accept that they do not own the truth. What is needed is a platform where leaders can discuss openly and honestly where our planet is heading.”

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