World Economic Forum San Francisco Center Opens, Aims to Spread Tech Benefits


  • The World Economic Forum today opens the doors of its Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution at the Presidio in San Francisco, with Mayor Lee of San Francisco and Governor Inslee of Washington in attendance
  • The Center will convene start-ups, venture capitalists, the world’s leading companies, experts, academics, NGOs and governments to discuss how science and technology policies can benefit all in society
  • Among the opening’s more than 120 participants from a dozen countries are start-up founders, the CEOs of Salesforce, Kaiser Permanente, IDEO and Turkcell, and the presidents of five top global research universities

San Francisco, 24 March 2017  – The World Economic Forum on Friday opens the doors of its new San Francisco-based Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Its mission is to accelerate the deployment of technology and science for positive impact on individuals and society, while minimizing their downside risks. A plenary address by Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco and Governor Jay R. Inslee of Washington will mark the opening of the Center.

The latest developments in science and technology can see companies introducing innovations that make conventional regulations obsolete and break down boundaries and frameworks, creating unintended societal consequences.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is reshaping industries, challenging existing regulatory frameworks and redefining what it means to be a human,” said Murat Sönmez, Member of the World Economic Forum Managing Board and Head of the new Center, ahead of the opening. “We need to urgently develop policy norms and frameworks and apply these innovations to ensure their benefits affect us all. This is the purpose of the Center and its work starts today.”

Among the topics the Center will address are the jobs of the future, artificial intelligence and ethics, Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), cross-border data flows, civil drones, autonomous vehicles and the environmental commons.

“San Francisco has a long history of celebrating innovation and this Center will be another tool to foster that pioneering spirit,” said Mayor Lee. “The presence of the World Economic Forum in our city will help accelerate innovative science and technology policies, and ensure that they leave a positive lasting impact on our society.”

To achieve its goals, the Center will convene governments, academics, NGOs and other stakeholders from around the world in its San Francisco offices, alongside the world’s most innovative start-ups and leading companies. Over 120 such stakeholders convene at the Center on Friday, including Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland and Nicholas Dirks, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, as well as start-up founders and venture capitalists, and participants from Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Turkey and the UK.

“Technology companies cannot do their work in isolation. We must be aware of the effects our innovations have on societies and the environment as a whole,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce. “This global Center will allow us to much better understand the impact we have on society and the positive role we can play.” Benioff will serve as the inaugural chair of the Center’s Advisory Board.

The creation of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution was first announced in October and is capped today by the official opening of the offices at the historic Presidio of San Francisco, in the heart of Silicon Valley, the world’s leading center for technology start-ups, innovation and investing.

The official programme starts at 08.45 Pacific Time with a plenary session which can be watched on It will be followed by a full day’s programme of workshops and discussions.

About the Center: The Center is set up by the World Economic Forum with support from its inaugural partners Salesforce, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Palantir, SAP, Huawei, IDEO, Reliance Industries and Turkcell among others. The Center can host meetings for over 120 people and has initial capacity to grow to up to 80 staff.

Posted in Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Governor Jay R. Inslee, Huawei, IDEO, Kaiser Permanente, Marc Benioff, Mayor Ed Lee, Mayor Libby Schaaf, Microsoft, Murat Sönmez, Oakland, Palantir, Reliance Industries, Salesforce, San Francisco, SAP, State, Tech companies, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Theme, Turkcell, Uncategorized, Venue, Washington, World Economic Forum San Francisco Center | Leave a comment

New Partnership Aims to Boost China’s Environmental Policies and Circular Economy


  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between World Economic Forum and the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED) – a high level advisory body to the Chinese government
  • Collaboration will focus on how circular and sharing-economy models can create a more resource-efficient society in China
  • MoU comes as China sets ambitious targets to reduce waste and tackle carbon emissions

Geneva, Switzerland, 17 February 2017 – The World Economic Forum has signed an agreement to boost multi-stakeholder cooperation on environmental policy with the China Council on International Cooperation on Environment and Development, an influential advisory body to China’s State Council. The CCICED includes Chinese and international experts.

The MoU comes shortly after Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, stressed the importance of the UN Paris Climate Agreement in his keynote address at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos as “a hard-won achievement that is in keeping with the underlying trend of global development.”

The collaboration will explore how circular and sharing-economy models can create a more resource-efficient society in China, and will also focus on other areas including oceans, the potential of new technologies for the environment, and climate change. An early output will involve research using anonymized data from sharing-economy companies and the analytical support of the MIT Senseable Cities Lab.

China has ambitious plans to reduce waste and tackle carbon emissions. Its government has promoted the recirculation of waste materials through targets, policies, financial measures and legislation. The goal is a “circular economy”, which includes closing industrial loops to turn outputs from one manufacturer into inputs for another and reducing the consumption of virgin materials and the generation of waste.

“In the past decade, China has made important progress in both the theory and practice of the circular economy, bringing environmental and economic benefits to key industries. For instance, with an annual output of over 2 trillion yuan, the resource recycling industry is growing by 15% annually and employs more than 30 million people. The application of big data and a new round of technological revolution will deepen regional and international cooperation in circular economy, and facilitate the realization of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” said Fang Li, Assistant Secretary-General of CCICED Secretariat, and Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office at the Ministry of Environmental Protection, People’s Republic of China.

“China is pursuing the world’s largest public-private renewable energy and green-infrastructure investment programme and is also committed to accelerating the circular and sharing economy, driven by technology and business-model innovation to promote mass innovation and entrepreneurialism and to decouple growth from resource use. Through this unprecedented collaboration, which includes harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution for the environment, we are delighted to help support China’s leadership in environment and economic transformation,” said Dominic Waughray, Head of Public-Private Partnership and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.

“This collaboration shows China’s commitment to exploring new economic models for sustainable and inclusive growth. We believe that our joint work will yield important case studies and policy recommendations for leaders. We hope that this partnership can serve as a role model for collaboration with other thought leaders in China who are committed to improving the state of the world,” said David Aikman, Chief Representative Officer, China, and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum.

The collaboration will form part of the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, a global project with regional hubs in China, Africa, North America, Latin America and Europe. The platform is chaired by Frans van Houten, President and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Philips, Netherlands; Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, USA; and Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi. It is hosted by the World Economic Forum with support from Accenture Strategy.

The agreement was signed at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017 by Fang, Aikman and Waughray, and It was witnessed by Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change of Canada, and International Executive Vice-Chair of the CCICED, who added: “China can play an important role in accelerating the shift to a clean-growth economy. I am very pleased to see the Council build on its accomplishments by joining this new partnership.”

A key collaborator in the World Economic Forum’s circular economy initiative is the Ellen MacArthur FoundationDame Ellen MacArthur, its founder said: “In 2009, China was the first country to adopt circular-economy legislation, clearly recognizing the need to address the gap between anticipated economic demand and the supply of finite resources. Today’s announced collaboration between the Chinese government and the World Economic Forum, which is committed to accelerating the transition to a circular economy, sends a very strong signal of the importance of this topic and its take-up globally.”

Accenture Strategy is pleased to see this MoU signed for the Chinese Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy. We look forward to assisting the work of the hub on transforming consumption patterns through sharing and circular models, and to helping enable mass entrepreneurship and innovation,” said PeterLacy, Global Managing Director, Strategy and Sustainability, Accenture, United Kingdom.


Posted in 2017, Accenture Strategy, Advisory Body, Canada, Catherine McKenna, CCICED, China, China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, Consultant, David Aikman, Davos, Dominic Waughray, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Erik Solheim, Fang Li, Foundation, Frans van Houten, Funding, Global Environment Facility, Keywords, Minister, MIT Senseable Cities Lab, Naoko Ishii, Office Holder, PeterLacy, President, Programme, public-private renewable energy and green-infrastructure investment programme, Research Lab, Royal Philips, Switzerland, UNEP, virgin materials, World Economic Forum, World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Xi Jinping | Leave a comment

International Olympic Committee Press Release View this press release online December 15, 2016 IOC, USOC and NBCUniversal Announce Olympic Channel Partnership in the United States

New Linear Olympic Channel in the U.S. Devoted to Olympic Sports, Athletes and Stories to Launch in Second Half of 2017

Partnership Includes Significant Commitment of Olympic Sports Programming Hours on NBC & NBCSN

In a ground-breaking collaboration to connect fans to the Olympic Movement all year round, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and NBCUniversal have created a comprehensive Olympic Channel content and distribution partnership in the United States, all three parties announced today.

During the second half of 2017, the partnership will launch a new U.S. television network under the “Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA” brand that will offer fans year-round Olympic-sport programming from around the world, with an emphasis on their favourite American athletes and teams. The new partnership complements the Olympic Channel, which launched as a worldwide digital platform following the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Additional details about the launch of the new linear cable channel will be provided at a later date.

Along with the Channel, the partnership also brings additional coverage of Olympic sports programmes that will appear exclusively on other NBCU platforms – including NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Digital outlets. The first such coverage begins this Saturday, 17 December, with the Team USA Winter Champions Series.

The three organisations will collaborate to produce and distribute Olympic sports and Olympic-themed programming on a year-round basis between the Games, providing continuity that reflects the idea that, even though the Olympic flame is extinguished at the end of each edition of Games, the athletes’ own compelling stories and journeys continue.

The collaborative programming will emphasise live events from a broad portfolio of summer and winter Olympic sports. It will also include Olympic-themed original content produced by all three parties, such as original programmes produced by filmmakers from around the world commissioned by the global Olympic Channel; rich archival footage from the IOC and NBCU’s library of Olympic features and documentaries; and original Team USA programming contributed by the USOC.

“Through this exciting new partnership with the USOC and NBCUniversal, we will ensure that U.S. audiences are more closely connected with the Olympic Movement through a more personalised experience,” said Mark Parkman, General Manager of the Olympic Channel. “The evolution of the Olympic Channel in the United States is a significant milestone as we expand our distribution options across the globe in conjunction with our broadcast and National Olympic Committee partners. Placing a spotlight on Olympic sports outside the Games themselves will ultimately bring them more deserved attention and help them grow.”

“The launch of the ‘Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA’ partnership marks an exciting opportunity to promote and celebrate Olympic and Paralympic sport year-round,” said Scott Blackmun, USOC CEO. “Additionally, launching in conjunction with the inaugural Team USA Winter Champions Series broadcast is a great way to serve the fastest-growing fan base in American sports.”

“This is wonderful news for fans of Olympic athletes and Olympic sports, and we’re proud to partner with the IOC and USOC to bring the vision of the Olympic Channel to life in the United States,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “The Olympic Channel partnership will provide multiple, year-round platforms to highlight the incredible achievements and inspiring stories of Olympic athletes and the Olympic values they represent, including a full-time home for Olympic sports when we launch the new linear channel in 2017.”

Following the launch of the global digital product and in partnership with rights-holding broadcast partners and National Olympic Committees, the Olympic Channel is developing localised versions, which will offer region- and language-specific user experiences on linear and digital platforms in certain territories, leading to more personalised experiences for Olympic fans around the world.


About the Olympic Channel

The Olympic Channel is a multi-platform media destination where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. Offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Olympic Channel was launched in August 2016 in support of the IOC’s goal, set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, of providing a new way to engage younger generations, fans and new audiences with the Olympic Movement. Founding Partners supporting the Olympic Channel are Worldwide TOP Partners Bridgestone and Toyota. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at

About the USOC

Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the U.S. Olympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. As such, the USOC is responsible for the training, entering and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan-American and Parapan-American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements throughout the country. For more information, visit

About NBC Olympics

A division of NBC Sports Group, NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s Olympic Games coverage. It is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights on all platforms to all Olympic Games through to 2032.

Posted in 2016, Gary Zenkel, Mark Parkman, NBC Olympics, Olympic Channel, Scott Blackmun, Uncategorized, USOC | Leave a comment

Joint News Release by SPAD & the Land Transport Authority (LTA) – Memorandum of Understanding is a Major Milestone for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail Project

19 Jul 2016


Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) welcome today’s signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Government of Malaysia and the Government of the Republic of Singapore on the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) Project, by YB Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Malaysia’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and H.E. Minister Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport. The signing ceremony, which was witnessed by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, signifies Malaysia and Singapore’s firmest commitment yet to this iconic project.

The MOU reflects the outcome of extensive discussions between officials led by the Ministry of Transport and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) of Malaysia, and the Ministry of Transport and Land Transport Authority of Singapore, since the project was first announced by the Prime Ministers of both countries at the 4th Singapore-Malaysia Annual Leaders’ Retreat in February 2013. The MOU captures the key points of agreement on the project, which include the technical parameters, commercial model, customs, immigration & quarantine (CIQ) clearance, safety & security matters, regulatory framework, as well as project management. Please refer to Annex A for the highlights.

The MOU will guide the development of a legally-binding Bilateral Agreement to be signed by both Governments towards the end of this year. It also reiterates the Governments’ commitment to ensure that all project tenders are conducted in an open, fair and transparent manner, so as to encourage participation from technology and service providers worldwide.

Both Governments agreed that each will take responsibility for developing, constructing and maintaining the civil infrastructure and stations within their own countries, which will be undertaken by MyHSR Corporation and LTA (as InfraCos) in Malaysia and Singapore respectively. Through international tenders, an assets company (AssetsCo) will be appointed to provide and maintain the HSR trains and its associated systems (e.g. track, power, signalling and telecommunications), while two train operating companies (OpCos) will be appointed to operate the HSR services. OpCo International will operate the cross-border services (i.e. the Express Service and the Shuttle Service), while OpCo Domestic will operate the Domestic Service within Malaysia. Please refer to Annex B for an illustration of the HSR services and the relationship between the InfraCos, AssetsCo and OpCos.

Both Governments agreed that the HSR will have eight stations – the termini in Bandar Malaysia and Singapore, and six intermediate stations in Putrajaya, Seremban, Ayer Keroh, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri. Please refer to Annex C for an illustrative map of the location of the stations. All stations will be designed to integrate with the local public transport systems to ensure seamless connectivity. The trains will run at a top speed of more than 300km/h. To facilitate swift and seamless travel, both Governments agreed to co-locate CIQ facilities at three locations – Singapore, Iskandar Puteri and Kuala Lumpur – so that international-bound passengers will need to undergo CIQ clearance by both Malaysia and Singapore authorities only at the point of departure. Please refer to Annex D for an illustration of the co-located CIQ concept for passengers travelling between KL and Singapore.

Both Governments also agreed to form a Bilateral Committee comprising representatives from both Governments to manage and regulate aspects of the project which might impact the cross-border services. In addition, a Joint Project Team comprising representatives from MyHSR Corporation and LTA will be formed to coordinate joint aspects of planning and development works prior to the commencement of operations. As a next step, the Joint Project Team will call for an international tender next month to appoint a Joint Development Partner to provide technical support to both countries on the project.

Both Governments agreed to work towards commencing HSR operations by around 2026.

About SPAD

The Land Public Transport Commission or Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD) is the planning, regulatory and enforcement authority for all land public transport matters in Peninsular Malaysia. Established on 3 June 2010 under the Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat Act 2010, the Commission falls directly under the purview of the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

About MyHSR Corporation

MyHSR Corporation is a company incorporated in 2015, wholly owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated. As the project delivery vehicle for the KL-SG HSR project, MyHSR is responsible for the development and implementation of the project.

About LTA

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Transport of Singapore. The HSR Group within LTA will be responsible for the engineering design development and implementation of the project, working closely with relevant agencies in both Singapore and Malaysia.

Posted in 2016, Country, Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail Project, Malaysia, Project, Singapore | Leave a comment

Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore 2015 open with four days of dynamic marketplace and insightful conferences

ATF2015SINGAPORE, 02 DECEMBER 2015 – Asia’s leading television and film event, the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) and ScreenSingapore (SS) 2015, was officially launched this morning by Guest-of-Honour, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information (Singapore).

As part of the Singapore Media Festival (SMF), the opening ceremony of ATF and SS 2015 also heralded the official launch of the 2nd edition of SMF, which will see other established media events being held during the two-week long media festival.

Taking place at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre from 2 – 4 December, the 16th edition of ATF – a sister event of MIPTV and MIPCOM and the 5th edition of SS, is anticipating 5000 international industry players from the television and film industry to convene at the two co-locating events to buy, sell, finance, distribute and co-produce content across all platforms. A pre-market conference was held the day prior on 1 December 2015.

Asia’s TV & Film Content Industry Goes from Strength to Strength

Anticipated to record an even bigger show than 2014, this year’s ATF and SS will house major studios and 16 official pavilions such as Australia, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and United Kingdom. With a strong emphasis on digital trends and the freshest content, participants of ATF and SS will have access to over 670 international content sellers that are leading the industry’s digital transformation.

At the ATF’s pre-market conference held on 1st December, notable market leaders comprising D.J. Lee, President, Media Content Business, CJ E&M (Korea), René Rechtman, Head, International, Maker Studios (USA) shared their expertise and experiences on the content industry, elaborating on current hot topics and digital trends such as Into The Future: Asia’s Move Forward and Development and Expansion in Asia’s Digital Marketplace respectively.

Focusing the spotlight on kids content at Junior@ATF, animation studios such as Little Airplane Productions (USA) and UYoung Culture & Media (China) offer producers key insights into how they are combining international talent and resources to develop top grade animation content that appeals to both Asian and international markets through Holding Hands: Making Asian and Western Collaborations Work.

For Formats@ATF, several media distribution heavyweights such as iQiyi (China) and MNC Group (Indonesia) will be discussing more on the uprising trend of the industry’s hunger for Asia’s original productions.  The panellists will share their analysis of how the significant budget expenditure can affect how content creators acquire these productions to deeper audience loyalty and increase intellectual property in On the Prowl for Asia’s Original.

Film professionals at ScreenSingapore can look forward to silver screen experts such as Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Dhruv S Sinha, General Manager, Hollywood and Overseas Business, Reliance Entertainment & Phantom Films and Chieko Murata, Vice President, Local Productions, Japan & Southeast Asia, International Film & Television, Sony Pictures Entertainment. They will bring light to the trends and developments of film financing and distribution in the industry to achieve success.

Ms Yeow Hui Leng, Senior Project Director of Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore, Reed Exhibitions said, “As the region’s preferred integrated TV and film content event, ATF & SS present the quintessential marketplace for international content sellers to connect with the regional Asian content buyers and sellers. Attendees benefit from meeting the best in the entertainment content industry, to buy and sell content, co-produce and distribute their productions. As a conference, the ATF & SS grant participants the opportunities to imbibe knowledge from guest speakers and visiting thought leaders. Through ATF & SS, we are excited to collectively move the industry forward to the next level.”

Launch of ATF Formats Pitch 2016 with all3media International

Steve Macallister, Chief Executive Officer of all3media International (UK), announced at the 1st December’s pre-market conference that it will collaborate with ATF as the global partner of ATF Formats Pitch 2016 – a competition aimed to facilitate the exchange of ideas and talent between the leading international distribution arm of award-winning content and asian-based producers.

Well-known in the region for licensing show formats such as Are You Normal, GoogleBox, Sexy Beast and Undercover Boss, all3media International said that the endorsement of the creative competition with ATF is aligned with their mission to work with the best creators of the television industry.

“We are delighted to be supporting this initiative as a key element of our strategy in Asia is to build relationships with the local production community. Great content always travels and we are keen to tap into the excellent talent base in the region,” said Macallister.

ATF will be announcing the details for the calls for submission during the second half of 2016. Forming the judging panel are representatives of key creative powerhouses such as Studio Lambert, Lion TV as well as major local and European broadcast commissioners. The winner of the inaugural ATF Formats Pitch 2016 will receive a cash prize and bespoke consultancy with a range of all3media producers as well as a trajectory to distribution via all3media International.

Advancing the Future of Southeast Asia’s Films

2015’s edition of ScreenSingapore will showcase its inaugural Southeast Asian Film Financing (SAFF) Project Market – an innovative project conceived and created through the partnership of ScreenSingapore, Southeast Asian Audio-Visual Association (SAAVA) and the Ties that Bind (TTB).

The SAFF is an initiative to springboard 10 promising filmmakers and their productions into the industry, connecting them with investors, commissioners and co-production partners from around the globe. A total of 148 highly promising project submissions from 22 countries were received at the end of 30 September when submission closed. Selected projects will be awarded in the prize presentation ceremony to be held on the 4 December.

With the convening of multiple delegates from around the world at the ATF and ScreenSingapore, the future of Film and Television within the region is looking bright as participants and speakers alike come together to engage in Asia’s premier entertainment content platform.

For more information on the list of speakers and topics, please visit

Posted in 2015, Asia Television Forum 2015, City, Event | Leave a comment

IMFC Statement by Tharman Shanmugaratnam Deputy Prime Minister & Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies

On behalf of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Republic of Fiji, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, Vietnam

International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) October 9, 2015 –


  • Growth prospects remain differentiated across the global economy, as markets adjust to concerns about growth in emerging economies, and expected interest rate normalisation in the US. Stronger fundamentals and policy buffers across SEAVG economies position the region to weather the current uncertainties. The Fund’s adaptive efforts to become more agile in supporting the membership’s transition towards sustained inclusive growth are critical. In particular, we welcome the Fund’s renewed commitment to improve engagement with countries in post-conflict and fragile situations, small states and low-income countries.

Global and Regional Prospects

  • Against a backdrop of generally heightened risks, prospects for growth continue to be uneven across regions. Advanced economies (AEs) are expected to stay on a path of modest expansion while the headwinds buffeting emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) have intensified. The recent rise in global risk aversion reflects to a large extent uncertainty over the timing of the policy rate increase in the US and concerns about the near-term growth outlook in EMDCs. Commodity exporters are facing severe terms-of-trade reversals, precipitated in part by the economic slowdown in China, which is undergoing an important transition to consumption and servicesdriven growth. The concomitant pullback in investment amid a slowdown in export activity has in turn resulted in a decline in the region’s trade flows, accentuated by the ongoing consolidation of supply chains. At the same time, the lack of clarity on the advent of interest rate normalisation in the US, alongside greater volatility in capital flows and exchange rates, have constrained policy responses in the region. Nevertheless, inflation remains low across the region, driven in part by the lower commodity prices.
  • The SEAVG economies will generally remain on a moderate growth trajectory, with support from domestic demand and a modest improvement in exports, although individual country outturns could vary. Increased public investment would also provide a boost to economic activity in some countries. On the whole, the region has built up stronger fundamentals, larger policy buffers and more robust financial systems since the Asian Financial Crisis. These improved fundamentals and the continued strengthening of prudential regulation and supervision will help the region to better weather the current uncertainties.
  • In the medium term, the growth outlook for SEAVG economies remains positive, with urbanisation and regional integration proceeding apace. There is however potential to do much better; for example, by providing a compelling narrative of reform and acting decisively on the implementation of such reforms. This will help to reshape expectations, lengthen the horizons of markets, and boost investor confidence. In the short term, the emphasis is on addressing the confidence deficit in markets with clear communication and measured policy interventions, including maintaining orderly conditions and undertaking appropriate fiscal measures. In the medium-to-long term, governments should continue to pursue prudent fiscal and monetary policies, domestic structural reforms and deeper regional integration, which can spur new investment, raise human capital, enhance productive capabilities and underwrite sustainable growth.

IMF Surveillance and Policy Priorities

Surveillance and Financial Stability

  • We welcome the Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda and in particular the emphasis on refining the Fund’s core activities to deliver better support to the membership. The Managing Director’s Action Plan appropriately highlights the need for the Fund to become more agile, achieve greater integration of its policy advice across sectors and deepen its engagement with its members and regional bodies to more effectively support the membership in their transition to a new era of sustainable inclusive growth. We support these efforts and particularly welcome greater Fund engagement at both the bilateral level as well as through regional bodies such as ASEAN.
  • We also welcome the strengthening of the Fund’s surveillance capacity to better support its membership through more robust assessments of the global economy and risks to financial stability. We are supportive of the Fund’s initiatives to develop and disseminate analytical frameworks for macro-financial linkages, macro-structural analysis, and management of capital flows. In this regard, we note positively the successful completion of several pilot Article IV consultations, including the Philippines, where macro-financial analysis was more fully integrated into staff projections and policy advice, and we look forward to an action plan for similar analysis to be gradually incorporated into other Article IV reports.

International Monetary System

  • As a steward of the international monetary system, the Fund – through its multilateral and bilateral surveillance – can play a meaningful role in facilitating policy coordination at the global level. With economic growth remaining uneven across regions and greater uncertainty in the global economy, we welcome the Fund’s plans to review the adequacy of the global financial safety net architecture and encourage the Fund to continue to intensify its cooperation with regional financing arrangements and regional surveillance units. In addition, we are encouraged by the progress in the Fund’s quinquennial review of the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) currency basket and look forward to the strengthening of the SDR’s role and attractiveness as an international reserve asset.

Financing for Development

  • We welcome the Fund’s active involvement in the post-2015 global development agenda. With a universal membership and its mandate to promote economic growth and stability at both the national and global level, the Fund is in a unique position to contribute to the collective global vision of sustainable economic development. Given the range of issues involved, we note that the Fund has focused on issues deemed macro-critical to achieving growth sustainability and on topics where it has strong policy expertise, including fostering economic diversification, strengthening domestic revenue mobilisation, closing infrastructure gaps and financial deepening and inclusion. We also look forward to greater collaboration between the Fund and other development partners to exploit synergies, build international consensus and garner support for these global goals.

Support for Countries in Post-Conflict and Fragile Situations, Small States, and Low-Income Countries

  • We are heartened by the Fund’s commitment to improve engagement with countries in post-conflict and fragile situations, small states and low-income countries. The Fund can play a critical role in building institutional capacity, supporting effective reforms and enhancing macroeconomic management in these countries. Myanmar and Nepal, two members of our constituency, have benefitted significantly from these efforts. The recent scaling up of the Fund’s technical assistance for Myanmar and prompt efforts to provide urgent support for Nepal following the recent earthquakes, underscore the Fund’s relevance and vital contributions that are valued by its membership.
  • We encourage the Fund to build on these commendable efforts to further strengthen the effectiveness of its engagement with small states and low-income countries by tailoring its surveillance and policy advice, and improving its delivery of capacity building initiatives. In this regard, we urge the Fund to continue leveraging on its regional technical assistance centres (RTACs) as well as training institutes. Two pilot capacity building workshops organised by the Asia and Pacific Department in collaboration with RTACs in Thailand and Fiji, as well as the Singapore Regional Training Institute, were well-received by participating member countries and we look forward to more of such targeted capacity-building efforts by the Fund.

Quota and Governance

  • Finally, we would like to reiterate our deep disappointment with the lack of progress toward the full implementation of the 2010 IMF Quota and Governance Reforms. Our constituents reaffirm our commitment to maintaining a strong, well-resourced, and quota-based IMF. In light of the delays, we urge the Fund to undertake the necessary steps to secure an interim solution that will make meaningful progress towards the objectives of the 2010 reforms while ensuring that the Fund remains capable of meeting members’ needs and supporting the stability of the international monetary and financial system.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IOC announces emergency two million dollar fund to help refugees

source: IOC

The International Olympic Committee today announced a two million dollar fund that will be made available to National Olympic Committees for programmes focused on refugees.

Friday 04 September 2015 – We have all been touched by the terrible news and the heartbreaking stories in the past few days. With this terrible crisis unfolding across the Middle East, Africa and Europe, sport and the Olympic Movement wanted to play its part in bringing humanitarian help to the refugees. We made a quick decision that we needed to take action and to make this fund available immediately,” said the IOC President, Thomas Bach. “We have a long term relationship with the United Nations and with the UNHCR and we draw on their help and expertise.  We know through experience that sport can ease the plight of refugees, many of them young people and children, be they in the Middle East, Africa, Europe or in other parts of the world. Our thoughts are with the many refugees risking their lives and the lives of their families to escape danger. ”

NOCs and other interested parties will be asked to submit projects to the IOC for funding. The fund itself is made up of one million dollars from the IOC and a further one million from Olympic Solidarity. 

President Bach added that “because of the nature of the crisis the assessment of projects and the distribution of funds will be carried out extremely quickly. We are able to work on the ground with our partners in the National Olympic Committees and the expert agencies to get help to where it is needed most urgently.”

The IOC already works with a number of United Nations agencies to help refugees around the world.  In April 2014 the two organizations signed a historic agreement aimed at strengthening collaboration. 

The IOC has been working with the UNHCR for two decades and has already seen thousands of refugees benefit from sports programmes and equipment donated by the IOC. 

Last year IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge completed his first mission as Special Envoy of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General for Youth Refugees and Sport.

With the goal of raising awareness on the conditions of youth refugees and the impact of sport for their well-being, Rogge visited Syrian refugees currently living in the UN camp of Azraq, located in the desert 100 kilometres east of the Jordanian capital, Amman. The camp currently hosts more than 5,000 shelters housing some 18,000 refugees.

Since 2004, the IOC and UNHCR have organised a “Giving is Winning” programme.  This global solidarity campaign allows athletes, officials and sponsors of the Olympic Games, National Olympic Committees , International and National Federations, and other Olympic Movement stakeholders to donate tens of thousands of clothing items to help refugees . The campaign has already collected over 170,000 items of clothing, which have reached refugees in 23 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.

In 2013 and 2014, the IOC, Worldwide Olympic Partner Samsung and the UNHCR joined forces to distribute IOC Sports Kits to more than 180,000 internally displaced young people living in refugee camps in 20 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

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