American-Uzbekistan Chamber of Commerce

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Time: 10.00 am - 11.30 am
Date: Friday, April 21, 2017
Location: Washington, DC.  Details will be provided upon RSVP.
Note: Due to space limitations, the organizers reserve the right to register a select group of participants. 
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In order to enhance the Uzbek Parliament's role in the implementation of foreign policy activities to protect and promote the national interests on the global arena, expansion of international economic cooperation, the senators decided to introduce the post of first deputy chairman of the Uzbek Senate.
This post was introduced also to increase the Uzbek Parliament's role in the attraction of foreign investments and modern technologies to the regions of Uzbekistan, tourism development, strengthening the country's international image as well as strengthening parliamentary oversight in this sphere.
Sadiq Safayev, who served as chairman of the Uzbek Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, was elected as first deputy chairman of the Uzbek Senate.
The Uzbek Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs has been transformed into a committee on the issues of international relations, foreign economic relations, foreign investment and tourism.
On April 11, the World Bank and the Government of Uzbekistan signed a US$50 million Credit Agreement for the Modernizing Higher Education Project that will support the country in strengthening the management of its higher education system and improving its quality and relevance to the labor market, the World Bank said.
The Ministry of Higher and Specialized Secondary Education (MHSSE) will be responsible for the implementation of the Project, with technical support from the World Bank for the period 2017 to 2022. The Project will benefit not only students, teaching staff, and administrators of higher education institutions, but also the staff of educational government agencies. Employers and industries in Uzbekistan will benefit from research programs that are more relevant and collaborative, as well as from future higher education graduates who will be better prepared with the appropriate skills and knowledge expected of employees.
"In recent employer surveys, more than half of all employers cite the lack of adequately skilled workers as a key constraint to doing business in Uzbekistan. The Project signed today will strengthen higher education institutions in their ability to produce skilled graduates and to conduct quality, relevant research to further fuel economic development in Uzbekistan," said Hideki Mori, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan.
To strengthen the Government's management of the country's higher education system, the Project will finance the implementation of a higher education information management system to support policy analysis and the development of a quality assurance function consistent with good international practices.
At selected higher education institutions, the Project will also finance the modernization of basic teaching laboratories and advanced scientific research laboratories in priority areas of the economy. Importantly, this includes updating the curriculum to optimize the use of the updated laboratories, including training for faculties and staff. The Project will also support the establishment of a national e-library (electronic library) to improve the learning and research environment at Uzbekistan's higher education institutions.
To deepen the linkages between higher education and industry, and to improve teaching and learning processes, the Project will also finance an Academic Innovation Fund. This Fund will allow higher education institutions to submit their own innovative proposals for new initiatives that align with the Fund's objectives. The proposals will be evaluated by a selection committee based on criteria such as the impact, innovation, and sustainability of the initiatives, with some prioritization given to proposals based on their degree of citizen engagement and benefit for female students.
The Credit is from the International Development Association, the World Bank's concessionary lending arm, with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5-year grace period. The Government of Uzbekistan is also providing additional co-financing with its own funds. The Project aligns with goals associated with the Government of Uzbekistan's strategy to reaching upper-middle-income status by 2030.

Fatih Birol is Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. Forbes magazine has called him one of the most influential players on the world's energy scene. On a recent visit to the Asian Development Bank to sign a cooperation agreement and speak with staff, Mr. Birol shared his thoughts on Asia's energy future and the region's central role in addressing global climate change. Edited excerpts follow.
What is the energy outlook for Asia?
Asia's energy demand is growing very strongly. In fact, Asia is the engine of global energy demand growth. [People's Republic of] China, more and more India, but also Southeast Asia, are the engines of growth. Oil, coal, gas, electricity, renewables-all of them are driven by the Asian countries.
The decisions that will be taken in Beijing or New Delhi or Jakarta will affect everybody. Therefore, we all hope that they take the decisions taking into consideration sustainability for their countries, and for the region and the globe as well.
What do countries need to consider when making energy investment decisions?
Energy investments are critical. They are critical for economic growth and social life. When you look at the lead time of energy investments they are very, very long. When you build a power plant you have to live with this plant for 40 or 50 years. Therefore, you have to make the right choices.
Perhaps three suggestions for when you look at energy investments, the right energy investment decisions.
Number 1: Countries need to read the global energy markets, what's happening, carefully. No country today is an energy island. They have to see what's happening to oil, gas, renewables markets.
Number 2: Countries need to learn from each other-from their mistakes, from their achievements-in order to have a source of inspiration for their own policies. So best practice learning.
Number 3: I would suggest not to take the decisions on ideological terms but more pragmatic terms. What is good for my own country? What is good for business, economic growth, social life, and environment? Be more pragmatic.
How can Asia contribute to "decarbonization" and the Paris Agreement goals?
Asia has two major environmental challenges. One of them is climate change and the other one is air pollution. I think Asian countries should take the responsibility, in line with their contributions to these problems, to find a solution.
What they can do is, number one, using energy much more efficiently. Energy efficiency, in our view, is the first fuel and using energy efficiently at home, in cars, in industrial sectors is the key priority. This doesn't need new discoveries. With existing technologies and with the right policies, we can use energy much more efficiently and reduce the carbon footprint and local pollutants such as SO2, NOX, and particulate matter.
In addition to energy efficiency, of course, make the most out of renewable energy. It can be hydropower; it can be solar, wind, geothermal. I think we have to make the most out of this in the context of affordability.
But there are other options. Some countries may want to make use of nuclear power, such as PRC and India are doing today. Some countries may want to switch from coal to natural gas to reduce their emissions. So there is not one single option. There are different options and every country needs to make their best menu in line with their economic and social responsibilities and the challenges they have in front of them.
The success of Asia in addressing climate change will also determine the success of the world in addressing climate change as the bulk of emissions are coming from this very important and economically growing region.
How can countries mobilize private sector investment in energy?
Energy investments, in general, are capital intensive decisions. Those decisions need to be taken very carefully. The private sector needs to see that there is a strong profit for them. Money goes where it makes profits rather than where it is needed. This is why governments need to provide an attractive investment framework.
It can be renewables, it can be oil or gas or others, but the important thing is to have the right investment framework and provide predictability for investors. If you give an impression to investors-as has been the case in some countries-one step forward, two steps backwards, and you do not give the right, predictable investment framework I am afraid it will be very difficult to raise investment from the private sector.
Predictability is key .
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a new database presenting detailed figures and insights on projects supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts as the institution moves closer to its $6 billion annual climate financing commitment by 2020.
"The launch of the Climate Change Financing Database is a testament not only to ADB's objective to lead the climate efforts in Asia and the Pacific, but also to our commitment to remain transparent and accountable," said ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Bambang Susantono. "We're hoping that the database will serve as a tool to ensure that current and future climate efforts are effective, efficient, and sustainable."
The database is presented in the information portal featuring ADB's growing climate change projects and graphs that can be sorted and searched through keywords and filters. Available information includes infographics based on country, financing instrument, region, source, sectors, and other parameters. The database's layout is also mobile-friendly, for better user accessibility. ADB is the first multilateral development bank to present a consolidated climate change portfolio with detailed information on financing.
ADB has been scaling up its investments in climate change projects and increasing access to climate finance for its developing member countries (DMCs) in the region. Last year, ADB approved a total of $3.7 billion in climate finance investments from internal sources, with $2.65 billion earmarked for climate mitigation projects and $1.08 billion for climate adaptation efforts. Including financing from external sources, ADB delivered over $4.4 billion in climate finance in 2016.
In response to climate action commitments made under the COP 21 Paris agreement by its DMCs, ADB is also developing a Climate Change Operational Framework. The framework outlines how ADB will deliver on its $6 billion goal by 2020 and the anticipated growth in DMC demand for ADB support for climate action to 2030.
The database is expected to facilitate greater interest and understanding of ADB's significant and extensive work in the sector, while helping the bank provide better assistance to its member countries. The website will be developed and updated continuously. Data has been updated as of 31 March 2017.
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.
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