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Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia Conference

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Academic conference: Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia

Second Edition

Dates: November 1-2, 2019

Venue: Armenian State University of Economics, Nalbandyan str. 128, Yerevan Armenia.

The focus of the conference is on modern China-Eurasia studies, in a multi-disciplinary social science perspective.

Organizers:

Argument

According to a roadmap drawn by Chinese Decision makers, by 2049, when People’s Republic of China marks its centennial, China must turn into a modern socialist country, rejuvenate the nation,  create favorable external conditions for the country’s reform and development;  safeguard the country’s sovereignty, security, and development interests; and  maintain world peace and stability to promote common development. For successful implementation of this roadmap, which will bring economic development and improvement to national security, China is trying to use the One Belt, One Road initiative, which consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The main aim of this Conference, which will be held for the second time in Yerevan is to provide a platform for researchers who do research on China-Eurasia economic and political relations to discuss and analyze the results and prospects of Chinese Օne Belt, one Road initiative and its influence in Eurasian continent in the era of of 70th Anniversary of the Peoples Republic of China.

The Conference will be an occasion to facilitate exchanges on common research subjects, compare perspectives and methodologies and promote interdisciplinary dialogue.

The participants will present their research during thematic panels. Each speaker will deliver a paper in English or in Russian. Among the different topics:

Topic 1: Political Relations between China and Eurasian States (Asian and European States)

Topic 2: Economic Relations between China and Eurasian States (Asian and European States)

Topic 3: Eurasia and One Belt, One Road.

Topic 4: Possible cooperation and contradictions between EU-China and EAEU-China.

Topic 5: People to people exchange between China and Eurasia

Topic 6: China and NATO

Topic 7: China and BRICS

Topic 8: China and ASEAN

Topic 9: China and Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Topic 10: China and Nordic States

Topic 11: China and Central and Eastern European States (16+1)

Topic 12: China and Muslim World

Topic 13: China and South Caucasus

Topic 14: China and Central Asia

Topic 15: China and Africa

Topic 16: China and Eurasian Mainland’s Security Issues (Cybersecurity, Nuclear proliferation, Environment, etc.)

Who can apply?

The Conference is designed for researchers in Humanities and Social Sciences. Among the different disciplines that will be considered: International Relations, Law, Economics, Culture, History, Political Sciences and Sociology, International Security Issues.

Practical arrangements:

No funding is available for accommodation and international travel. There is no attendance fee.

Registration details and schedule

1. A paper title and abstract (up to 400-1000 words) in English or Russian is to be sent by 12 October 2019 to Dr. Mher Sahakyan: info@chinastan.org

2. The selected participants will be notified about organizing committee decision within a week after sending their applications. Selected speakers will have 15 minutes for the presentation of their papers.

3.We intend to publish the best papers of the conference as a chapters in book at Armenian State University of Economics, YerevanArmenia. Invited speakers of the conference can send their full papers for peer review in English (up to 8000 words) till December 27, 2019.

Schedule and location

Armenian State University of Economics Nalbandyan 128, Yerevan, 0025, Republic of Armenia. Dates: 1-2 November 2019.

Deadline for submission: 12 October 2019

You can check out the information on the First Eurasian Research on Modern China-Eurasia Conference, October 25-26, 2018, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia

Organizers Contacts

“China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Foundation, Armenia

Website: https://chinastan.org/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverChinastan/

Email: info[at]chinastan.org

Armenian State University of Economics, Yerevan Armenia.

Website: https://asue.am/en

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Finance

Economic Inclusion Programs Now Benefit 92 Million People Worldwide

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Economic inclusion programs, which help boost income and assets of the world’s poorest, are on the rise in 75 countries, reaching approximately 20 million poor and vulnerable households, and benefitting nearly 92 million individuals. This surge comes at a crucial time, as more than 700 million people around the world face extreme poverty, a number on the rise for the first time in two decades.

According to the World Bank’s newly published “State of Economic Inclusion (SEI) Report 2020: The Potential to Scale,” economic inclusion programs —usually a combination of cash or in-kind transfers, skills training or coaching, access to finance, and links to market support— are fast becoming a critical instrument in many governments’ large-scale anti-poverty strategies. And they are likely to continue, especially in areas affected by conflict, climate change, and shocks, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the most stubborn challenges we face in development is positively transforming the lives of the extreme poor and vulnerable— a problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” saidMari Pangestu, World Bank Group Managing Director. “This report presents—for the first time—a systematic review of economic inclusion programs around the world, and sheds light on how governments can best invest in social protection, jobs, and financial inclusion, to help the poor build a better future for themselves.”

The SEI Report is a result of a unique collaboration under the Partnership for Economic Inclusion (PEI). PEI is a dedicated platform to support the adoption and adaptation of national economic inclusion programs working with a variety of stakeholders, including national governments and bilateral, multilateral, non-governmental, research, and private sector organizations.

“Partnership is integral for program success given the multidimensional nature of program delivery.  BRAC’s engagement with PEI reflects our collective commitment to ensuring program approaches and delivery are informed by community needs, ground realities and local partner expertise,” said Shameran Abed, Director BRAC, an international development organization based in Bangladesh.  

The report examines over 200 programs, across 75 countries. It finds that governments around the world are increasingly scaling up economic inclusion initiatives through social safety nets. In-depth case studies covering the Sahel, Bangladesh, Peru and India highlight the evolution of economic inclusion programs, and how they are addressing challenges such as urbanization, gaps in human capital accumulation, adaptations to shock, and technological change.

The implications of COVID-19 feature broadly in the report, which looks at the fallout of the pandemic at the household as well as institutional level. Economic inclusion programs for the poorest show strong potential to improve livelihoods as part of integrated policy responses focused on containing the pandemic, ensuring food security and supporting medium term recovery. Experiences in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Zambia and other countries, show how economic inclusion programs can build on – rather than replace – social assistance programs.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of linking social protection and economic inclusion when it comes to protecting people against shocks. We continue to provide significant funding for social protection and jobs. But there is a strong potential for economic inclusion programs to build on pre-existing government social protection systems, and this may prove critical in the long-term recovery from the COVID-19 fallout,” said Birgit Pickel, Director for Global Health; Pandemic Prevention; One Health, in the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ.

The report reveals women’s economic empowerment is a key driver of interventions, with nearly 90 percent of programs surveyed having a gender focus. This is critical given findings from the report and other work from PEI which show that women make up the majority of workers in sectors such as education, retail travel, hospitality and domestic services, which have been most affected by COVID-19. Lessons from previous crises highlight the importance of this gender focus to avoid declining opportunities for women, de-prioritization of female health services, and increased gender-based violence.

“Economic inclusion packages are well positioned to support women to address the plurality of COVID-19 related impacts. In particular, the pandemic has highlighted the need to strengthen national systems, and to make sure that they are inclusive and equitable by design, so that women and others who have been historically marginalized are not left out,” said Olivia Leland, Founder and CEO of Co-Impact, a global collaborative focused on improving the lives of millions of people across the world.

The report also discusses key debates on program impact and costs, as these are critical factors affecting the sustainability of economic inclusion programs at scale. For example, the report sheds light on major lessons learnt from initiatives supported under the Sahel Adaptive Social Protection Program (SASPP), which was launched in 2014 to design and implement adaptive social protection programs aimed to help poor and vulnerable households become more resilient to the effects of climate change. One important lesson from that experience was the need to expand reach in a systematic and rapid manner.

Leveraging digital technology will be critical to leapfrog capacity constraints and to strengthen program management. Many programs are already utilizing government social registries, beneficiary registries, and other government databases to identify potential participants,” saidMichal Rutkowski, Global Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank.

Alongside the SEI, the PEI is also launching an online and open-access PEI Data Portal The data portal underscores a commitment to open access to support global learning and program implementation.

The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. It is supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. The WBG is making available up to $160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans and $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

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New COVID-19 strains ‘poised to unleash’ more severe infections

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Since September, the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened, infecting close to 100 million people, costing more than $3 trillion in lost wages and intensifying obstacles for peace and security around the world, the UN political chief told the Security Council on Monday. 

And while the pandemic has “hindered diplomatic action and complicated our peacemaking efforts”, Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs said via videoconference that it has “amplified the prevention challenge” and aggravated underlying dynamics of armed conflicts. 

Moreover, “new strains of the virus are poised to unleash more severe waves of infection at a time when health systems and social safety networks are already on the brink”, she told the meeting on the implementation of the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire

Pressing concern 

The pandemic’s impact on peace and security is a “pressing concern”, Ms. DiCarlo said.  

By upending lives and economies, challenging community relations and undermining trust in the institutions meant to address its fallout, she maintained that “the pandemic has exacerbated inequality and corruption; bred misinformation, stigmatization, and hate speech; and created new flashpoints for tension and increased risks of instability”.  

The situation is especially precarious for women, youth and marginalized populations, who are particularly vulnerable to income loss and escalating gender-based and domestic violence. 

Global ceasefire call 

In pointing to the momentum generated by the global ceasefire so nations can focus instead on fighting COVID-19, Ms. DiCarlo cited Libya as an example of how sustained political engagement, more unified support from the international community and commitment by the parties can lead to tangible progress.  

She also spoke about the opportunity it has brought about for Afghan peace negotiations to “end decades of instability and conflict”, disarmament efforts underway in Mozambique, and hope for peace in eastern Ukraine. 

Notwithstanding these positive developments, some situations have witnessed dangerous escalation, such as clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus. 

‘Political stress test’  

“One thing is clear: The pandemic has served as a political stress test as much as a structural and public health one. It has laid bare where acute crisis is seen as an opportunity to gain advantage on the battlefield or as a pretext to perpetuate or entrench oppressive practices”, said Ms. DiCarlo.   

But she added, “it has also confirmed that where there is real political will to make and sustain peace, almost no barrier is insurmountable, especially if there is support from the global community”.  

‘Tip of the iceberg’ 

To date, close to 99 million people are confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus around the world, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures. Almost a quarter of them live in countries facing humanitarian or refugee crises, Humanitarian Affairst chief Mark Lowcock, said in his update.  

“As the tip of the iceberg, most cases are still not in the figures”, he stated, noting that many poor countries are amidst a dangerous second wave and new and more infectious variants will make the situation worse. 

Acknowledging that while vaccines “show the way out”, he said that “no one is safe until everyone is safe, and the risk that the most fragile countries are at the end of a long, slow moving queue for the vaccine imperils us all”. 

Lethal secondary consequences  

In assessing the economic effects of the pandemic, Mr. Lowcock highlighted a bleak picture for the most vulnerable, estimating that 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection, “almost entirely down to COVID”. 

He painted a grim picture of the worst global economic contraction in 90 years; a decade of lost per capita income growth; looming sovereign debt defaults; extreme poverty rising for the first time in 20 years, triggering a steep upsurge in food insecurity and multiple famines; and disappearing public services.  

“In more than 20 countries in which my office is present, disruption in routine immunization campaigns leaves millions of children vulnerable to killer diseases like measles and cholera”.  

An appeal to the Council 

While the humanitarian community has managed to scale up assistance, the effort has been outpaced by the growing scale of this crisis, according to Mr. Lowcock. 

He appealed to the UN Ambassadors for $35 billion to support the Global Humanitarian Overview, which aims to reach 160 million people; strengthen international financial institutes that provide for their most vulnerable; and action for equitable vaccine distribution.  

“The next six months will be crucial. Today’s decisions will determine our course for years to come”, he concluded. 

COVID repercussions 

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, head of Peace Operations, told ambassadors that already complex political situations have continued to feel the strain of COVID-19 – delaying the peace process in South Sudan, limiting contacts between the two communities in Cyprus, exacerbating the political and economic situation in Lebanon and being used as a pretext to establish an unconstitutional presidential transition in the Central African Republic. 

He noted that backlogs in peacekeeper rotations, due in large part to the pandemic, are now being loosened and described how UN peacekeeping has adapted to COVID, including during the drawdown in Sudan’s Darfur operation, patrols in Mali as well as in supporting host States. 

Testing collective resolve 

COVID-19 has also “put a spotlight on the importance of women’s leadership during crises”, said the UN peacekeeping chief, reminding that they are on the frontlines, coping with the fallout and helping to mitigate the political risk associated with the pandemic. 

“The pandemic presents a test to our collective commitment to international peace and security”, spelled out Mr. Lacroix, as he saluted the “courage and tenacity” of the women and men serving in peace operations and the Council’s “strong and steadfast” support in addressing the “unprecedented challenges” to peace. 

Meanwhile, Atul Khare, Under-Secretary for Operational Support, stressed the need to ensure that the necessary equipment and training modules to address COVID threats are made readily available for peacekeeping operations. 

He lauded the States that have provided the capacity for “medical evacuations” and advocated for inclusive discussions on how to ensure that peacekeepers and UN police can receive COVID vaccinations in a timely manner.

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Global Business Leaders Committing to Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics

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A growing coalition of 61 top business leaders across industries announced today their commitment to the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, a set of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics and disclosures released by the World Economic Forum and its International Business Council (IBC) in September 2020, that measure the long-term enterprise value creation for all stakeholders.

The Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, drawn from existing voluntary standards, offer a core set of 21 universal, comparable disclosures focused on people, planet, prosperity and principles of governance that are considered most critical for business, society and the planet, and that companies can report on regardless of industry or region. They strengthen the ability of companies and investors to benchmark progress on sustainability matters, thereby improving decision-making and enhancing transparency and accountability regarding the shared and sustainable value companies create.

These leaders and their organizations, including Dow, Unilever, Nestlé, PayPal, Reliance Industries and Sony have today committed to:

  • Reflect the core metrics in their reporting to investors and other stakeholders (e.g. annual report, sustainability report, proxy statements, or other materials) by reporting on the metrics most relevant to their business or briefly explaining why a different approach is more appropriate
  • Publicly support this work and encourage their business partners to do so
  • Promote the further convergence of existing ESG standards, frameworks and principles to support progress towards a globally accepted solution for non-financial reporting on common ESG metrics

In making these commitments, business leaders are signalling that ESG factors are increasingly critical to the success and long-term viability of all businesses. This clearly represents the intent from leading global companies to integrate sustainability into their core strategy, operations and corporate disclosures.

“Stakeholder capitalism becomes now really mainstream,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum. “The public commitments from companies to report not only on financial matters but also their ESG impacts are an important step towards a global economy that works for progress, people and the planet.”

“We have to deliver great returns for our shareholders and help drive progress on society’s most important priorities,” said Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO of Bank of America, and Chairman of the International Business Council. “That is stakeholder capitalism in action. Common metrics will help all stakeholders measure the progress we are making and ensure that the resources capitalism can marshal – from companies, from investors, and others – are directed to where they can make the most difference.”

The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Bank of America, Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC, curated the set of 21 core and 34 expanded metrics over the past two years with the support of over 140 stakeholders.

The metrics include non-financial disclosures centred around the four pillars: people, planet, prosperity and principles of governance. Intentionally built on existing standards, the pillars include metrics such as greenhouse gas emissions, pay equality and board diversity, among others.

By adopting and reporting on these metrics and disclosures, the business community will continue to catalyse greater cooperation and alignment among existing standards and encourage progress on the development of a systemic, globally accepted set of common standards for reporting on sustainability performance.

The full list of companies that have agreed to implement reporting on the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics includes:

  • Accenture
  • Adecco Group
  • African Rainbow Minerals
  • Allianz
  • Banco Santander
  • Bank of America
  • BBVA
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • bp
  • Clifford Chance
  • Credit Suisse
  • Dell Technologies
  • Deloitte
  • Deutsche Post DHL
  • Dow
  • Eni
  • Ecolab
  • Ecopetrol
  • Equinor
  • EY
  • Fidelity International
  • HEINEKEN
  • HP
  • HSBC Holdings
  • IBM
  • JLL
  • Kearney Inc.
  • KPMG
  • Mahindra Group
  • Majid Al Futtaim
  • Mastercard
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Medtronic
  • Mercuria Energy Group
  • Mitsubishi Corporation
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc.
  • Nestlé
  • Novo Nordisk A/S
  • Palo Alto Networks
  • PayPal
  • Publicis Groupe
  • PwC
  • Reliance Industries
  • Repsol
  • Royal DSM
  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • Royal Philips
  • Salesforce
  • Schneider Electric
  • Siemens
  • Solvay
  • Sony
  • Sumitomo Corporation
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG)
  • Suntory Holdings
  • Takeda Pharmaceutical
  • Total
  • UBS
  • Unilever
  • Yara International
  • Zurich Insurance Group

Expert thoughts:

“Runaway climate change, environmental degradation and social inequality are some of the biggest problems that the world faces,” said Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever. “Companies’ annual reports and accounts might not be the first mechanism for change that would spring to mind, but standardized and mandatory non-financial reporting is critical to creating a new form of capitalism that tackles these problems. The Forum’s IBC work is an important step forward and we are providing our wholehearted support.”

“Although there is growing demand from investors who recognize that ESG disclosure is vital for good investment decisions, there is no agreed international framework yet,” said Geraldine Matchett, Co-CEO and Chief Financial Officer and Member of the Managing Board, Royal DSM. “I hope the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics are a first step towards the convergence of existing metrices and standards. This will be one of the fastest ways to accelerate the systemic change the world needs, putting investors on the right track, helping to change consumer behaviour for the better, and helping companies to do the right thing.”

“The Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics represent a great stride forward towards equipping investors, corporates, society and regulators with a common set of relevant ESG metrics,” says Ilham Kadri, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Committee, SOLVAY SA. “SOLVAY is committed to delivering superior profitable growth that is sustainable and responsible. It welcomes enthusiastically these metrics as an opportunity to engage in dialogue on an aligned, transparent and factual basis in order to address the important challenges that our societies face.”

“Today is another step forward in the growing impact of stakeholder capitalism. It’s not just about words, but about companies setting clear metrics, measuring our progress, and holding ourselves accountable,” says Marc Benioff, Chair and CEO, Salesforce. “Only then can we provide long-term growth for our shareholders, build trust with all stakeholders, and truly improve the state of the world.”

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