We found 30 articles for "trade"
We found 30 articles for "trade"
In recent years, China has evidently become a significant actor in the Arctic – a region located around the circumpolar north comprising territories of eight states and the Arctic Ocean. In 2013, China’s achievement of observer status at the Arctic Council – the high level inter-governmental forum of these eight circumpolar states – provided the country with legitimacy in its growing engagement with the Arctic region and its actors. A number of interests in the region motivates this engagement, most crucially that the Arctic is a resource rich region full of potential to further boost China’s local economy. The region contains, among other resources, approximately one-fourth of world’s undiscovered oil and gas resources. The increased melting of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean as a result of global warming is gradually opening access to water routes, and the region itself. The Arctic sea routes, in particular the Northern Sea Route (NSR), have already been identified as crucial navigation routes for China to expand its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to the Arctic. The expansion is now widely known as the Silk Road on the Ice or the Polar Silk Road wherein China closely cooperates with Russia and other Arctic states to promote the infrastructural development to operationalise the NSR. China’s investments in a number of projects are making the country an influential actor in the Arctic region. As such, China’s Arctic engagement is at times perceived as an attempt to enhance its ambitions, not only in terms of its economic interests, but also to move a step further towards gaining great power status in world politics. While China firmly commits to respect the sensitive environmental considerations existing in the Arctic and the sovereignty of the Arctic states, it also explicitly highlights its legitimate rights under international law, i.e., freedom of navigation through the Arctic sea routes. In this context, the following article explores the extension of China’s Silk Road Economic Belt to the Arctic vis-á-vis the possible geopolitical dynamics, and whether China’s increasing engagement in the Arctic accelerates its political ambition to expand its great power status.
Regional cooperation and integration are among the most important trends in contemporary international relations. The Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan have joined pre-eminent international organizations and institutions, such as the UN and OSCE. However, there are challenges, similarities and contradictions within the multilateral relationships in Central Asia (such as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Silk Road Economic Belt, Central Asia plus USA (C5+1), the EU strategy, Central Asia plus Japan, Central Asia–Republic of Korea and others). Moreover, there are link between local–regional–global processes in Central Asia. Descriptions and explanations must take into account particular local and regional situations, as well as internal and regional economies, cultures, and politics. Transformations are affected by the competitive international environment. Current and future Central Asian transformation will be prompted by interlinking local, regional, transregional, and global issues and challenges.
Ecoacoustics is a new discipline that investigates the ecological role of sounds. Ecoacoustics is a relevant field of research related to long-term monitoring, habitat health, biodiversity assessment, soundscape conservation and ecosystem management. Several life traits of the species, populations, communities, and landscapes/waterscapes may be described by ecoacoustics. Non-invasive programmable recording devices with on-board ecoacoustic metric calculations are efficient and powerful tools to investigate ecological systems. A set of processes in four [adaptive, behavioural, geographical, ecosemiotic] domains supports and guides the development of ecoacoustics. The first domain includes evolutionary mechanisms that join sound typology with the physical and biological characteristics of the environment and create frequency partitioning among species to reduce competition. The second domain addresses interspecific signals associated with geophysical and anthropogenic sounds that operate to shape temporary acoustic communities and orient species to select suitable acoustic habitats. The third domain pertains to the geography of sound, an entity composed of three subordinate acoustic objects: sonotopes, soundtopes, and sonotones, which are operationally delimited in a geographical and temporal space by the distribution of the ecoacoustic events. The ecoacoustic events allow the classification of complex configurations of acoustic signals and represent the grain of a soundscape mosaic. The fourth domain operates by ecosemiotic mechanisms within the species level according to a function-specific perception of the acoustic information facilitated by encoding processes.
The article looks at the processes, metaphors and politics of the “Silk Road” as an ideological concept and the ways in which “authenticity” is actively constructed, implemented and performed as a strategy for development by government, non-governmental agencies and business owners. Case studies from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan are touched upon and material from interviews, observations and examples from material culture presented. This project seeks to analyse: the culture of the textiles business in Central Asia and how this operates at the seams of national-ethnic identity within the Eurasian context; the formal and informal business practices of the everyday, operating within the discourses of economic development; and how consumer culture may be interrogated as a means for performing identity at the local and global perspectives. Contemporary intersectional approaches to understanding the business of textiles and fashion in Central Asia should redress the marginalisation of academic efforts across multiple disciplines to unite the region inwardly and outwardly and call for an integrated approach to considering both the cultural and economic value of handmade textiles, which acknowledges and makes visible the role of the artisan, the designer, the entrepreneur, the retailer and all the stages that exist in the value chain between production the final consumer. The precursors to the current framework of research necessarily lie in the work of scholars of development and industrialisation established during the Soviet period. Their expertise must be called upon to enrich the perspective presented here, which is focused on contemporary craftsmanship and enterprise in Central Asia and how current practices in design and business may offer fruitful opportunities for development of the New Silk Road project, both intellectually and economically.
Autonomous recording is commonly used to examine the structure of avian communities in a variety of landscapes. Many birds return to the breeding grounds in May yet acoustic surveys typically begin in June. In many species, singing activity declines through the breeding season and so detections may be lower later in the season. The aim of our study was to compare the species richness and the community composition measured early (mid-late May) and later (mid-late June) in the breeding season. We recorded the community of singing birds at 13 locations in York Region, Ontario, Canada woodlots over two days using autonomous recorders. We used spectrographic analysis to scan recordings and identify all vocalizing species. We found that species richness was significantly higher in early recordings compared to later recordings with detections of both migrants and residents displaying this trend. Most food and foraging guilds were also detected significantly less often later in the season. Despite changes in species richness, the proportion of the community represented by each foraging guild did not vary between early and late recordings. Our results suggest that acoustic recordings could be collected earlier in the breeding season, extending the survey period into May. If the primary goal of monitoring is to document species presence/absence then earlier recordings may be advantageous.
This study examines ethno-cultural associations—public institutions representing interests of minority groups—and discusses their role in the development of civil society in ethnically rich Kazakhstan. Minority associations developed in Soviet times inherited Soviet-era property and certain charitable and social practices. The Soviet footprint translates into hierarchy and state subordination. Based on interviews with representatives of associations and their visitors in Almaty, the study focuses on their quotidian activities and attempts to explain why these associations are providers of various resources for civil society development. The findings show evidence of the state being a part of the institutional synergy in the civil sphere. As part of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan and being “government-organised NGOs,” ethno-cultural associations add their voice on “togetherness” and “unification” of diverse nationalities and to the official rhetoric of the new patriotic act. Despite transparent loyalty to the authorities and lacking a formal political agenda, cultural and social activities of these associations remain relatively autonomous. The study concludes that their real non-decorative functions deal with creating unionism, providing opportunities for social capital development, and fostering an understanding and appreciation of ethnic diversity. These associations have a potential to bridge the gap between communities while providing platforms for civic exchanges and being intermediaries between the public, the state and their kin states.
There is considerable debate over how and in what form Central Asian (CA) states should conduct relations among each other and with other post-Soviet states. The notion of the “Silk Road” has become one of the symbols of extended economic and political cooperation. Notably, however, Japan (Silk Road Diplomacy, 1996–1999), China (One Belt, One Road [OBOR] or the Belt and Road initiative [BRI]) and South Korea (Silk Road Strategy, 2011) have used the rhetoric of reviving the Silk Road to imply closer engagement with the CA region but with different connotations. This paper focuses on the formation of this discourse of engagement with the CA region through the notion of the Silk Road in China, South Korea and Japan and raises the following questions: What are the approaches that facilitate the most effective ways of engaging CA states under this “Silk Road” rhetoric? What are the principles that have detrimental effects on the successes and failures of the engagement of China, Japan and South Korea? The primary objective of this paper is to address these questions and to stimulate debate among both academics and policy makers on the formats of engagement and cooperation in Eurasia.
The term energy security is undergoing a sea change from a state-centric economic conception to a sociological one. The definitional aspect is undergoing a transformation because of the changing pattern of relations between “energy producing and consuming states” along with “transit states”. Eurasia is one such region where the broader definition of energy security can be applicable. The existence of historically rooted social conflicts like Chechnya, South Ossetia, Crimea, “simmering discontent” in Siberia and Far East, and primordial apprehensions between ethnic groups (Armenian and Azeri) in Nagorno Karabakh are providing a structural basis for the accentuation of regional conflicts. Most of these conflicts are taking place in Eurasia due to existence of natural resources like energy. Often competition over controlling transportation corridor is also generating societal tension. Some of these trajectories are putting this geopolitical space into a “cauldron.” Against this backdrop, Constructivism is emerging as a major theoretical approach to study the securitization processes in Eurasia.
The ambient acoustic environment, or soundscape, is of broad interest in the study of marine ecosystems as both a source of rich sensory information to marine organisms and, more broadly, as a driver of the structure and function of marine communities. Increasing our understanding of how soundscapes affect and reflect ecological processes first requires appropriate characterization of the acoustic stimuli, and their patterns in space and time. Here, we present a novel method developed for measuring soundscape variation, using drifting acoustic recorders to quantify acoustic dynamics related to benthic habitat composition. Selected examples of drifter results from sub-tidal oyster-reef habitats in Pamlico Sound, North Carolina, USA, and from coral reef habitats in St. John, US Virgin Islands, highlight the efficacy and utility of this approach in quantifying soundscape variation in diverse habitats. The platform introduces minimal noise into the acoustic recordings, and allows sampling at spatial scales that might typically be overlooked using stationary hydrophone methods. We demonstrate that mobile hydrophone recording methods offer new insight into soundscape variation and provide a complementary approach to conventional passive acoustic monitoring techniques.
This article takes a long historical perspective on the Silk Road, attempting to see it from a Chinese point of view. It focuses on five themes that figure in the Chinese imagination of the Silk Road, all rooted in China’s history. These include influences that came to China via the Silk Road in prehistoric and early historic times, patterns of military expansion of Chinese power in the Western regions, the threat of invasion from the northern and north-western frontiers, commercial exchanges and individual travel. Individuals journeyed across the Silk Road for diplomatic, military, commercial and sometimes religious reasons and the various themes overlap to some extent. Some myths are also dispelled: first, the Silk Road was not one route but many; second, other commodities besides silk travelled along it and third, the maritime Silk Road should also be included in the concept. Under Mongol rule, the route was at times an unbroken corridor between East and West on which many people travelled in both directions. When the Mongol empire broke up, travel overland was restricted again, which may have been why China took to the seas in the Ming. At present, China is building a New Silk Road to connect with the rest of the world in a more integrated way than ever before. The focus of this article is on establishing the patterns of the past in the hopes that it will contribute to the discussion of whether these patterns will be repeated in the present or if we are in completely uncharted territory.
This article argues that the Security Dilemma can in fact be abolished by integrating the militaries into one common global organisation, possibly under one common command. The existence and workings of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are an approximate example of this ideal in a geographically limited space. For illustrating this argument, this article discusses the logic of the Prisoners Dilemma, as the intellectual model underlying the Security Dilemma, and proposes an alternative version of the Prisoners Dilemma. It is then argued that the Security Dilemma only persists in a politically and economically ever farther integrated world because the international militaries are not integrated and hence partial anarchy persists at least in the military realm. The solution to remaining international conflicts, such as arguably one between NATO and Russia recently, would be to expand NATO to include “threatening” states’ militaries until all militaries are joined in a global organisation, a truly global NATO. Finally, revised non-violent functions for NATO, as well as a global welfare state and an early warning system for civil wars, are proposed and discussed.
In line with the development of socio-ecological perspectives in conservation science, there is increasing interest in the role of soundscape perception in understanding human-environment interactions; the impact of natural soundscapes on human wellbeing is also increasingly recognized. However, research to date has focused on preferences and attitudes to western, urban locations. This study investigated individual emotional associations with local soundscape for three social groups living in areas with distinct degrees of urbanization, from pristine forest and pre-urban landscapes in Ecuador, to urban environments in UK and USA. Participants described sounds that they associated with a range of emotions, both positive and negative, which were categorized according to an adapted version of Schafer’s sound classification scheme. Analyses included a description of the sound types occurring in each environment, an evaluation of the associations between sound types and emotions across social groups, and the elaboration of a soundscape perception map. Statistical analyses revealed that the distribution of sound types differed between groups, reflecting essential traits of each soundscape, and tracing the gradient of urbanization. However, some associations were universal: Natural Sounds were primarily associated with positive emotions, whereas Mechanical and Industrial Sounds were linked to negative emotions. Within non-urban environments, natural sounds were associated with a much wider range of emotions. Our analyses suggest that Natural Sounds could be considered as valuable natural resources that promotes human wellbeing. Special attention is required within these endangered forest locations, which should be classified as a “threatened soundscapes,” as well as “threatened ecosystems,” as we begin to understand the role of soundscape for the wellbeing of the local communities. The methodology presented in this article offers a fast, cheap tool for identifying reactions towards landscape modification and identifying sounds of social relevance. The potential contribution of soundscape perception within the current conservation approaches is discussed.