Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

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Saturday, 20 January 2018
On 6 April 2005 the European Commission made a proposal for a spending programme for research and development from 2007 to 2013. This programme, in line with the Commission’s proposal on the overall budget for this period, envisages a doubling of EU funds for research and development. This reflects the EU’s political priority for growth and jobs. The Commission’s proposal is backed up by an impact assessment study which examines the link between research investment and increased competitiveness. The present background note highlights some of the findings of the impact assessment. It identifies the strong and positive impact that research and development in general, and the European Framework Programme in particular, has on the European economy. It describes the added value of working together at European level and the effect on job creation within the EU.
Today sees the launch of the new Xplora portal, a new European gateway for science education. Such initiatives will be an important part of improving Europe’s economic position in coming years, as more researchers are needed to drive innovation. Xplora provides resources for primary and secondary education and is aimed at teachers, pupils, scientists, communication professionals and others involved in science education. Xplora has been developed with funds from the Science and Society action of the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Development.
The aim of Xplora is to stimulate science education to make it more interesting for young people. Key features include:

Megalab – giving insight into innovative practical science approaches and projects
Fully searchable standards-based database of digital learning resources for science education
Virtual events – online expert discussions for schools
Guidance on freely available Open Source tools for science education
Tools for creating online communities
Science education news, information, teaching tips and ideas, simulations and science activities
The project that has developed Xplora – known as Pencil – is unique in bringing together science education experts in formal and informal teaching methods to develop innovative approaches and materials that raise pupils’ interest, knowledge and motivation. Pencil involves more than 13 scientific institutions, and is part of the wider Nucleus framework, a cluster of science education projects involving Europe’s major research laboratories, such as CERN and the European Space Agency. In addition, Xplora has set up content partnerships with other science institutions and organisations. The Portal is supported by a team of specialist science teachers from across Europe, who ensure that the content is of good quality and relevance and propose activities, resources and content.

Xplora will be launched at the Ecsite conference in Vantaa, Finland, which is being held 10-12 June. The patrons of the Xplora portal are Professor Benoit Mandelbrot, the eminent mathematician who discovered fractals and Ray Kurzweill, a leading expert in artificial intelligence. It is operated by European Schoolnet, a network of 28 Ministries of Education.
Thursday, 09 June 2005
European Commission President to appeal, with U2 Singer Bono, to put the EU on track to double development aid
European Commission President Barroso will tomorrow meet Bono, lead singer for U2 and a key campaigner on Africa, in the European Commission’s Headquarters, in Brussels. The aim is to appeal to EU leaders at the summit in Brussels the following week, to put their full political weight behind ambitious new development aid targets which would put the EU on track to double development aid in a decade (by 2015). The agreement on aid is a crucial part of the build up to the G8 summit in Scotland in July, which President Barroso will attend, and the review of the UN’s Millenium Development Goals in September. The meeting between the President and Bono will be followed by a joint press conference at 10.30 in the Berlaymont press room. Speaking before the meeting, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso said, “There is one clear purpose behind this meeting today, to send out the strongest possible signal about the level of ambition Europe wants for Africa in 2005. In seven days time, EU leaders from 25 countries will gather in Brussels for a critical summit meeting. With decisions on the European constitution and future budget on the table, there is a risk that important decisions on EU aid fall away from the public eye. My determination is clear, not let the issue of Africa fall back in the political landscape.”
“The gap between the world’s rich and poor has never been wider. 25,000 people die of hunger in the world every day. In sub-Saharan Africa, nurses and teachers are dying from AIDS faster than they can be trained. Life expectancy has collapsed to near medieval levels. If we are to make 2005 a unique opportunity for change, then there is an urgent need for a strong European response.” “In April, the Commission proposed to accelerate progress towards the Millennium DDevelopment goals. At the heart of these proposals are plans for Europe to spend 20 billion Euro more on aid per year by 2010.” “It is encouraging that EU development ministers have endorsed the aid increase. But given the ambition of our proposals and the level of engagement required, I ask EU leaders at next week’s summit to put their full political weight behind the new targets. This will enable the European Union to go to the table at Gleneagles on July 6th with a strong message about the level of European ambition for Africa in this critical development year.”
The current situation The European Union’s Overseas Development Aid for 2005 will be 46 billion Euro - making the European Union the biggest donor of overseas aid in the world.
The proposals In April this year, the Commission brought forward new proposals on Finance for Development as part of the preparations for the New York UN Summit in September which will review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. The Commission’s proposals set out:
• New and ambitious aid targets for EU Member States - a new intermediate
target for development aid of 0.56 per cent of gross national income by 2010 -
which would put Europe on course to reach, by 2015, the UN’s 0.7 per cent
target. In practical terms the new proposals would increase EU development
aid to Euro 66 billion in 2010, rising to more than 90 billion Euro in 2015.
• Plans to improve the coherence of EU development polices - particularly in
priority areas such as trade, agriculture and environment policies. And to improve the quality of EU aid, improving its focus on key areas identified by the African’s themselves as crucial to their development including: governance, infrastructure networks, trade, access to services and environmental sustainability.
• Plans to make Africa a priority - across the board - in terms of the volume of EU aid resources given, and the quality and coherence of all EU aid actions.

What next?
EU leaders will meet in Brussels for a European Summit on June 16th /17th. Top of the agenda are issues relating to the EU constitution and the future financing of the Union. At the same time, EU leaders should agree to back the Ambitious new targets for aid proposed by the Commission in April. An agreement on aid at the Summit would represent a very significant achievement in itself. It would also send President Barroso - who will attend the critical G8 Summit
in Scotland on July 6th to speak on behalf of the EU - to the table with a very powerful message about the level of ambition the EU expects from its global partners for renewed action to reach the Millennium Development Goals.

See Eurostep call
Following the meeting that took place between Bono and President Barroso on 9 June 2005, Eurostep calls on President Barroso to show the Commission’s commitment to an effective agenda for development, by ensuring that the EU’s aid is effectively used to save lives in developing countries – as both U2 Singer Bono and Barroso publically stressed as being a priority.This can only be achieved with a clearly defined instrument focused on the eradication of poverty in developing countries for the financial periond 2007-2013.
Commissioner Louis Michel Congratulates the ACP-Group of States on their 30th Anniversary
The ACP-Group of 79 states of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific celebrates is 30th anniversary today. Created by the Georgetown-agreement of 1975, the group has increased from the 18 founding members to its current size. In a congratulation message, Louis Michel, Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, stressed the importance of the ACP group as a privileged interlocutor for the Community within the developing world: Over the past 30 years, the ACP group of States has been a crucial partner of the Community. Let us continue to build upon this fruitful and rewarding partnership.

The Partnership with the ACP group constitutes the cornerstone of Community relations with Africa, the Carribean and the Pacific. The ACP group is associated to the EU through the Cotonou agreement of June 2000. The Cotonou Agreement focuses on poverty reduction as its principal objective, to be achieved through political dialogue, development aid and closer economic and trade cooperation. Within its framework, the European Union makes 13.8 billion EUR available for development in the ACP countries through the 9thEDF (European Development Fund). The revised Cotonou agreement, which is due to be signed on 24 June 2005, will focus in particular on poverty reduction and include stronger security and human rights provisions. The revised agreement will ensure the continuation of the EU’s co-operation with ACP countries for the overall purpose of reaching the Millennium Development Goals and in order to cooperate further on matters of security, the fight against terrorism, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and in relation to the International Criminal Court.
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Wednesday, 08 June 2005
As the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states celebrates its 30th anniversary this week, it is also urging the developed world not to forget the challenges its members face.
The 79 members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states celebrated the 30th anniversary of the group's creation Monday (Jun. 6) under the banner of cultural diversity and interaction between ACP countries, Europe and the rest of the world.
In celebration of its 30 years of existence, the ACP group will organise a number of events throughout the month of June 2005 and beyond, designed to sensitise the public to the realities experienced by the populations of the member countries, their creativity and socio-economic potential, in collaboration with several institutional and cultural partners, declared Sir Kaputin, the secretary-General of the ACP Group. One of the greatest achievements of ACP-EU cooperation is that it has invented a new type of relations between rich and poor countries. Some 20 years of EU-ACP cooperation and consolidation of the solidarity among the ACP states have forged a solidarity which is impervious to any fragmentation of the ACP block or dissolution of the ACP entity, he said. This cooperation reposes on solidarity, partnership and commitment devoid of all political considerations that are likely to hamper bilateral relations, he added. At the beginning of the 21st century, the ACP group is the largest regional grouping on the international scene, and is a force to be reckoned with in institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The ACP was created Jun. 6, 1975 when 46 countries signed the Georgetown Agreement in Guyana, confirming their common identity founded on solidarity and the desire for economic and social development, in cooperation with the EU. They later awarded the group a legal status by creating a permanent structure -- the ACP Secretariat based in Brussels. Since then the group grown and now comprises 79 member states spread across three continents. Since its foundation, the ACP group has been involved in special cooperation relations with the EU through unique partnership agreements -- from the four successive Lomé Conventions which accorded non-reciprocal trade preferences to the ACP countries, to the most recent Cotonou Agreement which links the EU and 77 ACP countries. The latest agreement signed in June 2000 in Cotonou in the West African country Benin is designed to fight poverty through political dialogue, development aid and closer economic and trade cooperation, and requires ACP countries enjoying special trading status with the EU to respect human rights and democratic principles. The agreement has to be reviewed every five years. Sir Kaputin says the Cotonou Agreement is an important success as far as the ACP group is concerned, but says it fails to meet all of the group's demands. A revision of the Cotonou Agreement will be signed by the ACP group and the EU member states in Luxembourg later this month.