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III Eurasian Research On Modern China And Eurasia Conference

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December 3-4, 2021, Russian-Armenian University.

Address: Russian-Armenian University, 123 Hovsep Emin St, Yerevan 0051

Organized by: “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Foundation, Armenia and Russian-Armenian University, Armenia.

Supported by: Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Armenia

December 3, 2021

Registration (10:30 Yerevan Time)

Welcome Address and Opening Remarks (11:00-12:00)

Prof. Dr. Armen Darbinian (Rector of Russian-Armenian University).

H. E. Mr. Yong Fan (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of PRC to the Republic of Armenia).

H.E. Ms. Zheng Wei (General Secretary of The Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization). (Via ZOOM). (Please follow translation from Russian to English via Zoom Link).

Dr. Mher Sahakyan (Director of “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia)

Family Photo of Conference Speakers and Special Guests, Reception (12:00-12:40)

Plenary Session (12:50-14:05)

Prof. Dr. Heinz Gärtner (Chair, Advisory Board, International Institute for Peace; Professor, University of Vienna; Chair, Advisory Committee for Strategy and Security Policy of the Scientific Commission at the Austrian Armed Forces, Austria)/Keynote Speech/. (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Zheng Yuntian (Director, World Socialism Institute and Assistant Director of BRI Research Center, Renmin University, China), /Keynote Speech/ (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Emilian Kavalski, (Inaugural NAWA Chair Professor, Complex Systems Lab in the Jagiellonian University of Krakow, Poland; Book Series Editor, Routledge’s “Rethinking Asia and International Relations” series), /Keynote Speech/. (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Süha Atatüre (Head of the Department of International Relations, Istanbul Gedik University, Turkey), /Keynote Speech/. (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Sergey Lukonin (Head, Sector of Economy and Politics of China, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences), /Keynote Speech/. (Please follow translation from Russian to English via Zoom Link).

Moderator: Dr. Mher Sahakyan (Director, “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia).

Panel 1. (14:10-15:25) Great Powers’ Competition in Eurasia in the Era of Changing World Order

Dr. Gina Panagopoulou (University of Piraeus, Greece), “Great Powers, Eurasia and the Pacific: The Two Pillars of the World – the Golden Apple of Discord.” (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Nirmal Jindal (Delhi University, India) “China and Eurasia in the New World Order․” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Seven Erdogan (Recep Tayyip Erdogan University, Turkey), “The Implications of the Common Choice for Multilateralism of the European Union and China for the Multipolar World in the Making.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Sebastian Contin Trillo-Figueroa (2020/2021 Asia Global Fellow, AsiaGlobal Institute, University of Hong Kong), “Seeking Strategic Sovereignty: The forthcoming Sino-European relationship within the Indo-Pacific.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Daniel Shapiro (Harvard University ‘20, U.S. Fulbright Student Research Fellow, US), “Great Power Competition in Eurasia: China’s Rise in the South Caucasus and its Effects on American Interests.”

Mr. Mateusz Ambrożek (PhD Candidate, University of Warsaw, Poland), “Equal Distance but not Hedging: Maintaining Equilibrium by Japan under US-China Competition.” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Dr. Ruben Elamiryan (Chairperson and Associate Professor at the Department of World Politics and International Relations of Russian-Armenian University, Executive Officer of IPSA RC41 – Geopolitics).

Panel 2. (15:30-16:55) Eurasia and Belt and Road Initiative

Dr. Christopher B. Primiano (KIMEP University, Kazakhstan) and Dr. James Paradise (Yonsei University, South Korea), “A Parallel Order: China’s Belt and Road Initiative as a Hub and Spoke System.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Maria Smotrytska (International Institute for Middle East and Balkan Studies, Austria), “China’s Nordpolitik: Toward a New Logistics Order in the North.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Connor Judge (Ashoka University / Harvard-Yenching Institute / International Foundation for Education and Research China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship), “Mongolia in China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Receptivity and Connectivity.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Shabnam Dadparvar (Tianshui Normal University, China), “China-Azerbaijan Relations within the Framework of BRI; Opportunities and Constraints.” (Via ZOOM).

Mrs. Shanjida Shahab Uddin (Research Officer, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Bangladesh), “Bangladesh in the Belt and Road Initiative: Strategic Rationale and Future Implications.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Dmitry Erokhin (Research Assistant, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, PhD Candidate, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria), “Determinants and Gaps in Chinese Outward Foreign Direct Investment in Belt and Road Initiative Countries.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Asantha Senevirathna (Senior lecturer, Sir John Kotelawala University, Sri Lanka), “China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and Sri Lanka: A Geopolitical Perspective.” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Prof. Dr. Zheng Yuntian (Director, World Socialism Institute, and Assistant Director of BRI Research Center, Renmin University of China).

Coffee/Pasties (17:00-17:20)

Panel 3. (17:25-18:25) China and the Middle East

Dr. Davoud Gharayagh-Zandi (Shahid Beheshti University, Iran), “China’s Strategic Development and Foreign Policy in the Middle East in the Second Decade of 21st Century: The Whys and the Wherefores.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Ozan Örmeci (Istanbul Kent University, Turkey), “Sino-Turkish Relations and The Belt and Road Initiative.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Haila Al-Mekaimi (Kuwait University, Kuwait), “China and the GCC: A Strategic Partnership.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Hussein Talal Maklad (Dean, Department of International Relations and Diplomacy, Al-sham Private University, Syria), “China’s Strategy Towards Syria”.

Moderator: Dr. Artur Israyelyan (Vice rector for International Cooperation and Public Relations, Yerevan State University).

Panel 4. (18:30-19:55) China, Central Asia, and South Caucasus

Dr. Marina O. Dmitrieva and Mr. Zakhar V. Davydov (Far Eastern Federal University, Russia), “Prospects for Multilateral Cooperation in Central Asia.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Sudhir Singh (University of Delhi, India), “Indian Perception of China- Central Asian Relationship.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Devendra Kumar (PhD Candidate, University of Hyderabad, India), “Domestic Drivers of China’s Central Asia Policy.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Sun Chao (Centre of International Studies, Jiangsu Administration Institute, China), “Semi-Presidentialism and Political Stability:A Reflection on Political Transition in the Caucasus.(Via ZOOM).

Dr. Salome Danelia (Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia), “Peculiarities of Innovative Development of Economy in Georgia.” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Mariam Topakyan (PhD Student, Faculty of International Relations, Yerevan State University), “China and South Caucasus: New Perspectives and Challenges”.

Moderator: Dr. Gevorg Melikyan (Lecturer, Russian-Armenian University; Assistant to the President of the Republic of Armenia).

__________________________________________________________________________________________

December 4, 2021

Coffee/Pasties (10:30-11:00)

Plenary Session: (11:00-11:25)

Prof. Dr. David Arase (Honorary Professor, Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong and Resident Professor, Hopkins-Nanjing Center of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies) /Keynote Speech/. (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Mrs. Lara Setrakian (Co-founder and CEO of News Deeply, Journalist, Entrepreneur & Impact Investor).

Panel 5. (11:30-12:35) China’s Cybersecurity Issues and Digital Silk Road

Prof. Dr. Annita Larissa Sciacovelli (University of Bari Aldo Moro, Italy), “EU – China Cybersecurity Cooperation.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Anahit Parzyan (Executive Director, “Nork” Social Services Technology and Awareness Center” Foundation, Armenia), “China’s Cyber Diplomacy in Eurasia: Will There be a Match?”

Prof. Dr. Giorgio Caridi (E-Campus University Rome, Italy)“Innovation and digitization of communication: how to skyrocket the BRI in Europe.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Nehme Elias Khawly (PhD Degree, INSEEC, Paris, France), “Revolutionizing Soft Power: The Digital Silk Road in Eurasia and the MENA.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Ruben Elamiryan (Chairperson and Associate Professor at the Department of World Politics and International Relations of Russian-Armenian University, Executive Officer of IPSA RC41 – Geopolitics), “Cybersecurity in NATO and CSTO: Comparative Analysis of Legal and Political Frameworks.” (Via Zoom).

Moderator: Mrs. Lara Setrakian (Co-founder and CEO of News Deeply, Journalist, Entrepreneur & Impact Investor).

Panel 6. (12:40-14:20) Russia-China-India Triangle; Territorial Disputes in South China Sea

Dr. Mher Sahakyan (Director, China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia), “Russian Greater Eurasian Partnership Strategy.”

Dr. Alexander Korolev (Associate Professor, Deputy Head of the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics), “Political and Economic Security in Eurasia: IR English School Perspective.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. DAI Weijing (Peking University, China), “Competition for Leadership: China and Russia in Eurasian Integration.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Orazio Maria Gnerre, (PhD Student, University of Perugia, Italy), “The Strengthening of the Sino-Russian Partnership in the World Context.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Vishal Kumar Baswal (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India), “The Role of India, China and Russia in Emerging World Order.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Junuguru Srinivas (Gitam University, India), “China and India View on Emerging Global Order: A Comparative Analysis.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Prasanta Kumar Sahu (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India), “India- Russia Relations and the Emerging Geopolitics in Eurasia.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Dai Yulong (ShanghaiTech University, China), “Malaysia’s “Flexible Nail” Role in Solving its Territory Disputes with ASEAN Neighbors.” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Dr. David O’Brien (Institute of East Asian Politics, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany)

Panel 7. (14:25-15:35) Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Eurasian Economic Union, NATO. China’s Energy Security

Dr. Mahesh Ranjan Debata (Jawaharlal Nehru University, India),“Shanghai Cooperation Organisation at 20: An India Perspective.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Elżbieta Pron (University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland), “China and International Institutions – the Case of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and China’s Foreign Policy in Central Asia.” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Jayshree Borah (Doctoral Candidate, Shanghai International Studies University, China), “Regional Multilateralism and China: China’s push for SCO as platform for Regional Security Multilateralism?” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Angie Hesham (PhD Student University of Hull, United Kingdom), “NATO Tilt Towards China.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Pavel Barakhvostov (Belarusian State Economic University, Belarus), “The Problems and Prospects of the Eurasian Economic Union at the Present Stage.” (Via ZOOM).

Mr. Ahmet Faruk ISIK (PhD Student, Shanghai International Studies University and Research Assistant, Shanghai Academy of Global Governance and Area Studies), “In the Context of Energy Security, Role of The Renewable Energy; Chinese Example.” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Mr. Daniel Shapiro (Harvard University ‘20, U.S. Fulbright Student Research Fellow, US).

Coffee/Pasties (15:40-15:55)

Panel 8. (16:00-16:55) Sino-Russian and Sino-Mongolian Relations: Historical Aspects of Relations

Dr. Oksana Ermolaeva (Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, New Europe College, Romania),(B)order-Making in the Russian/Soviet Empire at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century: East – West Dimension.” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Ulyana Fedorenko (Research Fellow, VSUE, Russia), “China and Russia: An Old Strategic Partnership, but A New Format of Interaction.(Via ZOOM).

Dr. Borjgin Shurentana (Inner Mongolia University, China), “Mongolia’s Relations with China in the Post-Cold War Era: An Analysis from the Perspective of Social Cognition.”

Dr. Zhengji Ju (Nanjing University, China), “Germany, Britain and Russia in Xinjiang?” (Via ZOOM).

Moderator: Dr. Robert Ghazaryan (Director-Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia).

Panel 9 (17:00-18:25) China and Central and Eastern European Countries; Vaccine Diplomacy; People to People Exchange between China and Eurasia

Dr. Sanja Arezina (Counselor with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Research Associate-Assistant Professor at Belgrade University, Serbia.2020/2021 Asia Global Fellow, AsiaGlobal Institute, University of Hong Kong), “Chinese Relations with Central and Eastern European Countries in a New Era of Global Transformation.”

Mr. Marko Savić and Mr. Todor Lakić (PhD candidates and Teaching Assistants, University of Montenegro),“China and Montenegro: Balancing Between Debt, Vaccines and Diplomacy.” (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Olga Zalesskaia (Blagoveshchensk State Pedagogical University, Russia), “Interregional Interaction Between China and Russia in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: When will the Russian-Chinese Border in the Far East Open?” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Evgenii Gamerman (Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia), “International ‘Covid Diplomacy’ in Eurasia.” (Via ZOOM).

Ms. Ani Margaryan (PhD Candidate, Nanjing Normal University, China), “The Chinese Art of Pandemic Period as the Reflection of its Fight Against and Victory Over COVID-19.” (Via ZOOM).

Prof. Dr. Song Lilei (Tongji University in Shanghai, China) and PAN Jingke (PhD Student, Heidelberg University, Germany), “The Soft Connectivity between China and Europe:  People-To-People Linkages Should Never Be Ignored.” (Via ZOOM).

Dr. Nare Haroyan (PhD Degree, Shanghai Normal University, China), “Interpersonal Conflicts between Different Cultural Individuals at Multicultural Workplace. Case Study: China”.

Moderator Dr. Anahit Parzyan (Executive Director, “Nork” Social Services Technology and Awareness Center” Foundation, Armenia).

(18:30) Official Closing Ceremony of the Conference.

Academic Council:

Dr. Mher Sahakyan (Director, “China-Eurasia” Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia. 2020/2021 Asia Global Fellow, AsiaGlobal Institute, University of Hong Kong, China).

Dr. Artur Israyelyan (Vice rector for International Cooperation and Public Relations, Yerevan State University).

Dr. Zheng Yun-tian (Director, World Socialism Institute, and assistant director of BRI research center, Renmin University of China, PRC).

Dr. Konstantin Kurylev (Professor, Department of Theory and History of International Relations of Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, founder, and Editor in-chief of the “Post-Soviet Studies” academic journal and Head of the Centre of Post-Soviet Studies, Russia).

Dr. Robert Ghazaryan (Director-Institute of Oriental Studies, National Academy of Sciences, Armenia).

Dr. Bin Ma (Associate Professor at the Center for Russian and Central Asian Studies, Institute of International Studies, Fudan University, PRC).

Dr. Ruben Elamiryan (Chairperson and Associate Professor at the Department of World Politics and International Relations of Russian-Armenian University, Executive Officer of IPSA RC41 – Geopolitics).

Dr. Sanja Arezina, (Counselor with the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Research Associate-Assistant Professor at Belgrade University, Serbia.2020/2021 Asia Global Fellow, AsiaGlobal Institute, University of Hong Kong).

Dr. Sudhir Kumar Singh (Professor, Dyal Singh College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India).

Dr. Suha Atature (Professor and Chair of International Relations – Gedik University, Turkey).

Dr. Alexander Korolev (PhD, Deputy Head of Eurasian Sector, Higher School of Economics, Russia).

Dr. Boris Vukićević (Associate Professor-University of Montenegro, Montenegro).

Dr. Varuzhan Geghamyan (Assistant Professor-Yerevan State University, Director-ARDI Institute, Armenia).

Dr. Vakhtang Charaia (Director, Center for Analysis and Forecasting at Tbilisi State University, Georgia).

Dr. Anahit Parzyan (Executive Director, “Nork” Social Services Technology and Awareness Center” Foundation, Armenia).

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About Russian-Armenian University

Russian-Armenian University (RAU) offers a diverse range of undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs. The main language of instruction is Russian; however, we offer courses in Armenian and English as well. Upon graduation, students receive two Diplomas: Armenian and Russian. The University comprises 31 Departments and 8 Institutes. The University prepares specialists with up-to-date knowledge and skill ensuring their place in the competitive job market. RAU is widely recognized for its prominent activity in the regional educational and scientific environment, and it continues to expand its work internationally. The University’s growing international network provides students and lecturers with various opportunities for mobility. At RAU, we have long identified scientific research as our priority. Students of all levels are encouraged to embark on scientific explorations and participate in research conferences. Professors and postgraduate students conduct activities geared towards solving fundamental issues of modern science, their research interests varying from Natural and Computer Sciences to Social Sciences and Humanities. We conduct research at laboratories based within the Institutes of RAU and in cooperation with major Armenian science centers, including the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia.

Please click the link below to join the webinar and for translation:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86778503993?pwd=MmNGdWw3TUdieUFndm92amVLZVphdz09

Passcode: 850963

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Burkina Faso: Former colony orders French troops to leave

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A soldier from Burkina Faso stands guard along the border with Mali and Niger during a military operation against terrorist suspects.(file photo) © Michele Cattani

Burkina Faso has demanded the withdrawal of French troops stationed on the territory of the West African nation, local media reported, citing a government decision. Relations between Paris and its former colony have been on a downward spiral for months now, with the local population blaming France for their security problems.

Agence d’Information du Burkina (AIB) reported that the government of Burkina Faso had suspended a 2018 agreement with France, which regulated the deployment of its service members in the country. Paris now has one month to remove its soldiers, the agency said.

France currently has 400 troops in the African country, who are stationed there as part of efforts to combat Islamist terrorist groups in the region.

In November 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron officially announced the end of anti-insurgent ‘Operation Barkhane’ in the Sahel region, which has been largely viewed as a failure. In doing so, France also vowed to “reduce the exposure and visibility of [its] military forces in Africa.”

The Sahel is a region in northern Africa that includes Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, and a number of other neighboring countries.

Paris ended another military mission in neighboring Mali last August after relations went sour, with the government calling France’s military involvement “not satisfactory.”

Hundreds of people protested in the Burkina Faso’ capital Ouagadougou against the French military presence, chanting anti-French slogans.

Mohamed Sinon, one of the main leaders of the collective that called the demonstration, said it was to show support for junta leader Traore and the security forces fighting jihadists. “We are a pan-African movement and we want cooperation between Burkina Faso and Russia, but also the strengthening of friendship and of cooperation with Guinea and Mali,” he added.

Protesters carried huge posters showing the presidents of Mali and Guinea — both of whom also came to power in coups — as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A source close to the government clarified it was “not the severance of relations with France. The notification only concerns military cooperation agreements”.

Sources familiar with the matter told AFP that France’s preferred option would be to redeploy its forces in the south of neighbouring Niger, where nearly 2,000 French soldiers are already stationed.

French troops withdrew from Mali last year after a 2020 coup in the former French colony saw its rulers also inch closer to Russia.

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European farms mix things up to guard against food-supply shocks

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By ETHAN BILBY

‘Items in this section have limited availability due to supplier production issues,’ ‘Sorry, temporarily out of stock’ and ‘Sold out’ are all signs that became familiar as recent global upheavals exposed how precarious our food supply is.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to bare shelves in supermarkets as shipping routes were cut off. The war in Ukraine has affected the supply of essential grains.

But increased climate change stands to cause even greater disruption. Researchers say part of the solution to mitigating that risk is for farms to become more mixed through some combination of crop cultivation, livestock production and forestry, a move that would also make agriculture more sustainable. 

For Dr Sara Burbi, assistant professor at Coventry University in the UK until December 2022 and now an independent researcher, COVID-19 was a wake-up call.

‘Suddenly, we experienced first-hand what happens when value chains are not resilient to shocks and what happens when globalisation, with all its intricacies, does not work anymore,’ she said. ‘We saw highly specialised farming systems fail when they over-relied on external inputs that they had no access to.’

Climate change, according to Burbi, could provide even bigger global shocks ranging from widespread crop failures to lower yields or damage from flooding. More sustainable agriculture is essential to ensure food supplies can withstand the impact of climate change and unexpected local, national and even global crises.

Beneficial combos

During her tenure at Coventry University, Burbi coordinated the EU-funded AGROMIX project, which runs until end-October 2024.

As part of the project, pilot farms across Europe are experimenting with combining crop and livestock production in one farm (mixed farming) and with pairing farming and forestry activities (agroforestry). Poultry grazing in orchards is an example of a mixed-farming approach. The results reveal interesting synergies and promising effects, including improvements in soil health.

‘For a long time, forestry and agricultural activities have been considered at odds, as we have pushed for more and more specialised land uses,’ Burbi said. ‘This has led to loss of soil fertility and a sharp decline in biodiversity, coupled with an increased dependence on external inputs to compensate.’ 

A combined system can increase the cycling of nutrients needed in the soil for crops to grow. It can also help to regulate air and water quality, prevent land degradation and even provide biomass and food on-site for livestock.

One site in Switzerland, for instance, found that mixed farming helped keep soil quality high, while more specialised farming tended to deplete it.

AGROMIX will use 12 pilot sites and nine experimental ones, spread across three climatic zones (Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean), to develop recommendations for farmers on combining productivity with greater sustainability and climate resilience.

Although mixed farming has been practiced for a long time, it is only recently that scientists have begun to measure biophysical data on such sites and provide real evidence to support approaches that work.

The project has found that the presence of trees on pasture has measurable benefits to animal health and welfare, especially in extreme heat when they provide a canopy of much-needed shade.

Trees and hedgerows can also offset greenhouse-gas emissions from livestock, increase the carbon sequestration capacity of the land, provide a haven for biodiversity and help prevent flooding.

The project wants to work closely with farmers, taking into account their needs and priorities.

‘Knowledge integration can empower key actors, in this case farmers, to embrace the transition to sustainable farming,’ Burbi said.

The next step will be designing agriculture systems that are totally energy independent and, as a result, even more sustainable.

Forest focus

The EU-funded MIXED project at Aarhus University in Denmark is also focused on combining mixed farming systems with agroforestry to make agriculture more efficient and resilient.

‘It’s not only about economic efficiency, but also environmental and climate efficiency,’ said Professor Tommy Dalgaard, the project coordinator. ‘Agriculture needs to be resilient to change, all kinds of change.’

Working with around 100 farmers across Europe, MIXED has created networks to study the different ways in which mixed farming and agroforestry can be used.

One focus is on the take-aways that can be gleaned from the traditional agroforestry techniques used in the Tagus Valley of Portugal, in an area known as the Montado.

‘They have these big cork oaks that are often more than 100 years old with grazing cattle below them,’ said Dalgaard. ‘In the winter, they can plough the soil and make small fields with cereal so they can harvest a winter crop and then in the dry season the cattle can be there.’

It is possible to have these green, vegetated areas because of the ancient oak trees, which create shade and sustain the water cycle.

The concern is that drought may threaten the oaks, so researchers from the project are trying to work out how best to preserve the system as well as how to adapt it to new areas.

Danish farms in the project have taken a different approach, looking at how farmers can use coppicing to create a carbon sink. Coppicing is a pruning technique that cuts trees to ground level, causing new shoots to grow rapidly from the base to form a bush.

These are then usually harvested every 10-20 years for biomass fuel, meanwhile also giving shelter and shadow to free-range, high-value livestock such as sows with piglets. Cutting the bushes to create mulch also helps to improve soil quality and avoids burning them, according to Dalgaard.

The project’s ultimate aim is to build up a European database demonstrating examples of mixed farming and agroforestry, highlighting the benefits and advising on best practices. Essentially, it is about inspiring more farmers to adopt mixed farming and agroforestry methods and supporting them in the process.

‘We need real-life examples,’ said Dalgaard. ‘We now have some concrete examples of farmers, agricultural landscapes and value chains that can report good results from having done something in a different way.’

Research in this article was funded by the EU. This article was originally published in Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation Magazine.

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Astana hosts 18th Iran-Kazakhstan Joint Economic Committee meeting

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Photo: Iranian Agriculture Minister Javad Sadati-Nejad (R) and Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov sign MOU documents in Astana on Thursday.

The 18th meeting of Iran-Kazakhstan Joint Economic Committee meeting was held on Thursday in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, at the end of which the two sides signed a comprehensive document to expand cooperation in numerous areas including trade, agriculture, environment, tourism, science, and technology, education and sports.

As IRIB reported, the two countries’ Joint Economic Committee meeting was co-chaired by Iranian Agriculture Minister Javad Sadati-Nejad and Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov.

Sadati-Nejad and Smailov held talks before the two countries’ joint meeting to discuss major areas that should be agreed upon in the event’s concluding document.

Speaking to the press after the joint committee meeting, Sadati-Nejad said that according to the signed memorandum of understanding (MOU), 30 percent of the trade between the two countries will be in the field of agricultural products.

According to the agriculture minister, the two countries are also going to establish a commercial-agricultural joint venture in order to develop trade in the Persian Gulf countries, Central Asia, and West Asia.

In this meeting, Amir Yousefi, the vice-chairman of the Agriculture Committee of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) also said that Kazakhstan is a good option for extraterritorial cultivation due to the good water conditions and the quality of soil, which should be considered by Iranian investors.

Reaching $3b of annual trade on agenda

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Sadati-Nejad announced that the two countries have put an annual trade of three billion dollars on the agenda, expressing hope that signing the comprehensive MOU would pave the way for achieving this target.

“The presidents of the two countries have aimed to increase the level of trade to three billion dollars; currently this number is around 500 million dollars,” the minister said.

Mentioning the developments in the two countries’ banking relations, the official said that the expansion of relations in the agriculture sector is of special importance for both sides.

He further noted that a joint committee will be formed in the next month to pursue this goal, saying: “Kazakhstan has requested Iran’s engineering services in modern irrigation and desalination areas, and we have expressed our readiness to provide them with the mentioned services.”

Iranian trade center to be opened in Almaty

During the meeting of the two countries’ expert committees which was held prior to the main event on Wednesday, Amir Abedi, the head of the Iran-Kazakhstan Joint Chamber of Commerce, announced that the business office of Iran-Kazakhstan joint chamber will soon be opened in Almaty.

Pointing to the capacities of Iran and Kazakhstan for the development of economic relations, Abedi considered Kazakhstan’s market as a strategic destination for Iranian businessmen.

The 17th Iran-Kazakhstan joint economic committee meeting was held about a year ago in Tehran.

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