Caspian Brief: June 12, 2017
EXPO-2017 Exhibition Opens in Astana
The EXPO-2017 International Specialized Exhibition dedicated to Future Energy opened in Astana with a magnificent light and multimedia show.
“This is a new achievement in the promotion of our country and Kazakhstan’s national brand in the international arena. As we have selected Future Energy as the theme of this exhibition, we expect to be at the cutting edge of scientific progress,” commented Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, at the opening ceremony.
He emphasized the relevance of the themes of Astana EXPO-2017, given the need of the entire international community for environmentally balanced and sustainable development. It was also pointed out that the Exhibition would give impetus to the development of science and technology and would promote economic modernization in Kazakhstan.
The opening ceremony was attended by 20 heads of states and governments, including representatives of Russia, China, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Mongolia, Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, the King of Spain, as well as representatives of other CIS countries and countries outside the CIS.
Central Asia countries to accelerate the uptake of renewables
Countries of Central Asia and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have released a Communiqué on accelerating renewable energy deployment in the region. The Communiqué was released in the framework of the Energy Ministerial, Meeting the Challenge of Sustainable Energy at the Astana EXPO-2017 in Kazakhstan, IRENA said on June 11. The meeting identified six key areas to facilitate the uptake of renewables and help diversify the region’s energy mix, reflected in detail in a regional Action Plan.
“Covering over four million square kilometers, the countries of Central Asia are endowed with rich renewable energy sources that can drive sustainable economic development and growth,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “With renewable energy targets in place for 2020 and beyond, the region can now seize this transformative opportunity for a sustainable energy future, and the new Action Plan will help boost efforts of renewable energy uptake.”
During the Energy Ministerial at the Astana EXPO-2017, countries agreed that renewable energy plays a critical role in addressing the major regional challenges identified in IRENA’s analysis, including: rising electricity demand; aging power infrastructure; limited energy access for remote areas; and the impact of climate change on the energy systems.
Recently, the region has made strides in diversifying its energy mix, and installed 500 megawatts of new non-hydro renewable power capacity over the last two years. However, remote areas still lack reliable power and heat, issues which renewable energy and energy efficiency together can help address.
Speaking at the Ministerial, Mohamed El-Farnawany, Director of Strategic Management and Executive Direction at IRENA said, “The Action Plan reflects the commitment of the countries of Central Asia to further their economic development, through accelerating the uptake of renewable energy. It also enables them to reduce carbon emissions and fulfill their international objectives and national ambitions in this regard.”
Turkmenistan to host UN-Central Asia meeting on counter-terrorism
The “High-Level United Nations-Central Asian Dialogue on Implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia” will take place in Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat on 13 June, the Ashgabat-based United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy (UNRCCA) said.
Ministers and high level officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, accompanied by the heads of counter-terrorism agencies and/or national security organs will participate in the conference. The ministerial meeting will be chaired by the Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres.
The objective of the meeting is to review progress on the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPoA) in Central Asia. The JPoA is the first of its kind on regional implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The meeting will also define future strategic priorities for the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action.
This event comes at the conclusion of the second phase of the project “Towards the Implementation of the Joint Plan of Action for the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia,” which is being jointly implemented by the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) of the Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) Office and the United Nations Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia (UNRCCA), with the support of the European Union and Norway.
The High Level Dialogue will give political impetus to the need for Central Asian States to adopt a mutually reinforcing and coordinated strategic approach to address terrorism and the underlying conditions conducive to it.
Uzbek leader, UN chief discuss mitigating Aral Sea disaster
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev met visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Samarkand on 10 June, the national news agency UzA reported the same day.
“During the meeting, the two sides discussed the state of and prospects for the development of Uzbekistan’s cooperation with the UN and its organisations. They discussed pressing issues of regional and international nature, including issues related to mitigating the environmental consequences of the Aral Sea disaster. The two sides also considered strengthening global security and stability, solution of socioeconomic and environmental problems,” the report said.
“Uzbekistan will gradually develop cooperation with the UN and its organisations,” the news agency quoted the Uzbek president as saying.
Mirziyoyev thanked the UN chief for visiting the grave of the late President Islam Karimov. “The head of our state [Mirziyoyev] said it is noteworthy that the international community is widely acknowledging that Islam Karimov’s peace-loving policy, reasonable initiatives and practical work served as a firm basis for maintaining regional security and stability,” the report added.
OSCE assists Turkmenistan in implementation of migration programs
The OSCE assists Turkmenistan in implementation of programs on migration, reads a press release of the OSCE Ashgabat office.
Representatives of government institutions and public organizations discussed topical issues of migration and the role of the OSCE in migration governance at an OSCE-organized roundtable discussion that took place in Ashgabat.
The Center in Ashgabat, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Office of the Co-ordinator of the OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities (OCEEA), organized this event to contribute to the implementation of national migration-related initiatives of Turkmenistan in line with relevant OSCE’s commitments.
The event brought together officials from law-enforcement bodies, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the Mejlis (Parliament), Ombudsman and Justice Ministry as well as representatives of other relevant institutions and public organizations. A representative from the OCEEA presented OSCE’s mandate and best practices, as well as regional and national activities in the area of migration.
“OSCE participating states adopted a number of decisions which highlight economic and social aspects of migration and contributed to the development of the OSCE mandate in the area of migration,” said Ambassador Natalya Drozd, Head of the Center in Ashgabat.
“With its valuable expertise in several migration related areas, including labour migration management and migration data collection, the OSCE offers a unique platform for international and regional cooperation on migration-related issues.”
Azerbaijan becomes major oil supplier to Ukraine
Azerbaijan has become the major oil supplier to Ukraine, according to the data of Ukraine’s State Fiscal Service.
“Crude oil and gas condensate import to Ukraine has increased by 2.9 times in monetary terms in January-May 2017, as compared to the same period in 2016,” the data says.
Reportedly, Ukraine has purchased crude oil and gas condensate valued at $123.2 million in the first five months of 2017.
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan became the major oil suppliers to Ukraine, accounting for 83.4 percent and 12.6 percent of the country’s crude import, respectively.
UkrTransNafta OJSC, an operator of Ukraine’s oil transportation system, resumed the operation of an oil pipeline from Odessa to Kremenchug on March 10 and started transportation of Azeri Light oil to the Kremenchug refinery.
An agreement signed in late 2016, envisages transportation of at least 1.3 million tons of Azeri Light oil to the Kremenchug refinery in 2017.
The Kremenchug refinery has been processing Azeri Light oil since December 2016. Earlier, oil was delivered to the plant via railway.
Azeri Light oil is produced at the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli block of oil and gas fields.