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EDITO
Sunday, 22 October 2017
In preparation for its consideration of medium and longer term emission reduction strategies, including targets, the European Council requested that the Commission prepare an analysis of benefits and costs of action against climate change, which takes account both of environmental and competitiveness considerations.

In response, the Commission on 9 February 2005 adopted the Communication on “Winning the Battle Against Climate Change” and a more detailed Staff Working Paper. The Communication outlines key elements for the EU’s post-2012 strategy. It highlights the need for broader participation by countries and sectors not already subject to emissions reductions, the development of low-carbon technologies, the continued and expanded use of market mechanisms, and the need to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. The EU position on the participation of developing countries is reflected in paragraph 6 and includes differentiated responsibilities and capabilities.
The chairs of the International Trade (Enrique Barón Crespo) and the chair of the Development Committees (Luisa Morgantini) will be putting oral questions (23rd February) to the Council and Commission on the New York Declaration on Action against Hunger and Poverty. This was signed in September 2004 by representatives of 110 countries at the United Nations, following an initiative from President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil. The same initiative led to proposals for innovative funding mechanisms for overseas development assistance. The MEPs want to know whether the Commission and Council are planning to take up these proposals.

The oral question is as follows:
"At the initiative of President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, of Brazil, on 20 September, the eve of the United Nations General Assembly’s annual debate, President Lula and the Presidents of France, Spain and Chile, as well as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan (the "Quintet against Hunger") gathered to discuss further international action to fight hunger, overcome poverty and increase finance and development. The Quintet rallied representatives of 110 Member States - including the more than 50 Heads of State and Government present - to adopt the New York Declaration on the Action against Hunger and Poverty.The Quintet had established a Technical Group on Innovative Financing Mechanisms, whose report served as the basis of the discussion. On 20 September they presented the idea of a Global Fund Against Hunger and Poverty based on innovative financing mechanisms. This initiative is part of the international effort to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which seek, among other things, to achieve universal access to primary education and reduce by half the levels of hunger and extreme poverty in the world by 2015. Among the various proposals for innovative ways of financing development, the report numbered taxation of financial transactions, taxation of the arms trade, creation of an international financial facility through which States could securitize their increases in future Official Development Assistance (ODA) on the bond markets, special drawing rights for financing development, international action against tax evasion and tax havens, increasing the benefits of remittances, establishing a mechanism for voluntary contributions through credit cards and the creation of ”ethical funds” providing opportunities for socially responsible investing. What is the preliminary assessment of the Commission concerning these mechanisms and which possibilities does the Commission envisage in implementing them?"

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The Commission intends to use the assessment of the Scientific Committee as a basis for establishing thresholds for GM traces which are scientifically-based, feasible in the field and economically sustainable. These threshold values will only be applied to GM crops authorised for cultivation which have already been subject to a complete assessment of risks to human health and the environment. These thresholds obviously have a financial impact on the production costs for seed producers, as well as for farmers (the GM content in seeds will have an impact on the costs of measures for ensuring co-existence in the crop production). The European Commission considered on 8 September 2004 that further additional technical and economic data were needed in order to establish scientifically-based, feasible and economically sustainable threshold values.
The Commission will take a decision on this issue as soon as additional data will be available. Currently, as no thresholds for the adventitious presence of GM seeds in other products are established, any seed lot containing GM seeds authorised for the cultivation in the EU has to be labelled as containing GMOs. Seed lots containing GM seeds that are not authorised for cultivation can not be marketed in the EU.
Tuesday, 22 February 2005
The European Commission has adopted a plan aimed at strengthening the rights of passengers in all modes of public transport. It has also adopted two legislative proposals on air transport: the first guarantees people with reduced mobility the same access to this form of transport as any other passenger; the second aims to ensure that all passengers have the right to be informed in advance of the identity of their carrier. This overall plan complements the rights already established for air passengers which entered into force on 17 February and the proposals already on the table at the Council and Parliament on the rights of international rail passengers.

Air transport: Europe reinforces passengers’ rights
As of 17 Febuary, citizens will enjoy new rights when flying. Thanks to a new Regulation applicable in all the Member States, greater protection is being afforded to air passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellation or long delays. See detail of indemnisation in attached document.

The European Commission launches a dedicated Environmental Information System based on satellite and computer-mapping technologies. This tool, developed by the Joint Research Centre, supports EU development activities in Africa, by providing information on food needs, helping the European Commission Humanitarian Office provide aid in the aftermath of natural disasters and other emergencies, and assisting long-term development through sustainable management of natural resources.
The Joint Research Centre’s crop monitoring and forecasting system assesses agricultural productivity in over 30 countries vulnerable to crises and food shortages; the Horn of Africa is particularly important because of recurrent food crisis and the absence of a regional monitoring system. Monthly reports describing current crop condition, yield prospects and the likelihood of food shortages are issued from April to October. During this period, continuous exchange takes place with the EU offices in Africa, African institutions and UN partners. In 2004 the focus was on North-Sudan’s Darfur region, and the regions of Mauritania and Mali suffering from desert locust plagues

The European Commission and European Space Agency have launched an initiative to establish, by 2008, a European capacity for global monitoring for environment and security (GMES) to support the Union’s political goals regarding sustainable development and global governance. GMES will facilitate and foster the operational provision of quality data, information and knowledge, this Observatory will help extend the application of the GMES initiative to Africa.