Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

May 2018
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Saturday, 26 May 2018
For Europe to meet the Lisbon and Barcelona targets of increasing research investment and to offset the ”brain drain” of recent decades, much more must be done to bring non-EU scientists into the European research area. On Wednesday the EP Civil Liberties Committee gave its backing to plans by the European Commission to create a special residence permit for non-EU researchers, although MEPs called for greater protection of rights such as family reunification and direct access to social security systems.
The aim of the draft directive is to make Europe more attractive to international researchers by offering them a renewable residence permit with some privileges which differ from a normal visa: once a scientist is invited by a host research organisation in the EU to conduct a research project for more than three months, this person would be entitled to obtain in less than 30 days a residence permit for the duration of the research project in the Member State in question, without needing to apply for a work permit.
Parliament is only being consulted on this legislation and any amendments it adopts are non-binding on the Council of Ministers. The Civil Liberties Committee, in a report by Vincent PEILLON (PES, FR), is urging that mandatory provisions be added on family reunification so that direct family members (spouse or partner, children under 21 or dependent parents) will have the right to join the researcher. The Council wants these measures to be optional for Member States. MEPs would also like the researcher and relatives to have full access to the national sickness insurance scheme. MEPs see mobility as an essential factor in the transfer of knowledge and formation of scientists’ networks, so they passed an amendment to allow the visa holder to conduct part of his/her research work in another Member State. However if the researcher wishes to stay there for more than three months, the second Member State may require a new hosting agreement.
This new directive will be a small but crucial step in the achievement of the ambitious agenda set in Lisbon and Barcelona in 2002, where Member States committed themselves to invest 3% of the national GDP in research and recruit 700,000 researchers in Europe by 2010.

Information auprès de: Maria Andrés Marìn - tel. (32-2) 28 44299;e-mail:
Louis Michel was pleased that the UK placed illegal logging on the agenda of the G8, as the practice is responsible for vast environmental damage in developing countries and impoverishes rural communities which depend on forest products for a living. It is estimated illegal logging costs governments in developing countries of an estimated €10-15bn every year in lost revenue. It is also closely associated with corruption, and serves to fuel the cycle of bribery and graft which does so much to curtail growth and prosperity in the developing world. However, Commissioner Michel expressed disappointment at the lack of new concrete outcomes.
To build on a commitment taken at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, in May 2003 the Commission published an EU Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The Action Plan sets out a new and innovative approach to tackling illegal logging, which links the push for good governance in developing countries with the legal instruments and leverage offered by the EU’s own internal market.

The core components of the Action Plan are support for improved governance in wood-producing countries, and a licensing scheme to ensure only legal timber enters the EU. This licensing scheme will initially be implemented on a voluntary (but binding) basis, through a series of partnerships with wood-producing countries. Other areas where the Commission proposes action include co-operation with other major consumer markets to stop the trade illegally-harvested timber; and efforts to ensure on legally-harvested timber is sourced through public procurement contracts in the EU.
The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, welcomed today the clear commitment of the G8 members to put Africa high on its agenda and to coordinate its efforts to increase the international support for development. Louis Michel took part in the G8 Environment and Development Ministerial meeting in Derbyshire, UK.
Commissioner Michel stressed that “more should be done for and by Africa. I welcome the priority given to Africa by the UK’s Presidency of the G8 and looks forward to build on this commitment during the UK’s Presidency of the European Union in the second semester of 2005”.The European Commission welcomed the report of the Commission for Africa as an important contribution in what is a key year for development. The EC shares its emphasis on the role that trade can play as a driver of growth for Africa’s development. The EU “Everything But Arms” scheme fully opens the EU market to least developed countries.
Commissioner Michel will come forward in April with a package of proposals on the future orientation of EU development policy, including an ambitious initiative on Africa, which will be developed in connection with the updated development policy statement.
Monday, 21 March 2005
Commissioner Louis Michel invites Paul Wolfowitz to Brussels to present his views on Development. European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, sent today an invitation to Mr. Paul Wolfowitz to present his views on Development and the role of the World Bank. Mr. Wolfowitz has been nominated by the US President, George W. Bush, as the candidate to the Presidency of the World Bank, a key actor in Development. Commissioner Michel said: “I am looking forward to meeting Mr Wolfowitz in Brussels to listen to his ideas on Development, the main challenges ahead and his vision for the World Bank as a major actor.” Mr. Michel underlined that “as the world’s largest aid donor, the European Union has built a strategic partnership with the World Bank to pursue its main goal, which is poverty alleviation. This institution plays a crucial role in addressing the development challenges, a huge task that can only be tackled by a joint effort of the international community”.
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The international observance of 22 March as World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United National Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. See some of the policies and projects underway in the European Commission to address issues related to water management and supply, both within the EU and abroad. The United Nations will announce 2005 to 2015 the “Decade of Water” in order to support the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals and the European Union will use this decade to achieve good water status for all European waters. EU programmes include: research – a new report on climate change and water-, environment, sustainable use of EU water resources, conservation of the Marine Environment, action programme for floods - Flood risk management and development- Improving access to safe water.

The ACP-EU Water Facility
In its conclusion of March 2004, the EU Council decided to create a €500 million ACP-EU Water Facility, with a first tranche of €250 million already made available. The Council will decide soon on the mobilisation of a second allocation of €250 million for the Water Facility in the framework of the performance review of the European Development Fund.
The overall objective of the ACP-EU Water Facility (WF) is to contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development through the achievement of the specific MDGs and WSSD targets on water and sanitation in ACP countries. The objective of the Water Facility is to boost the sustainable delivery of water and sanitation infrastructure and to improve water governance and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) practices in ACP countries by helping to address the financing gap. The Water Facility has been developed to be a catalyst, to promote initiatives, build capacity in partner countries, and to be an instrument that can provide the missing link in financing sustainable activities and programmes in the water and sanitation sector. In addition to proposals ready for implementation, the first Call for Proposals will also lead to support preparation of new proposals, reinforce capacity and improve the enabling environment for further investment in water and sanitation.
The Water Facility has been designed through a strong consultation process, soliciting comments and inputs through a dialogue with EU and ACP partners from public authorities, civil society, the business community and international bodies.

The Financial Challenge
The EU is already the largest provider of funding for water-related development aid and scientific cooperation. There is a need however for a significant increase in funding for water and sanitation, as well as better use of development aid to leverage more resources from a large range of sources (public and private, local and international), if the MDG targets are to be met. The EU Water Initiative has included a major assessment of financing water sector development and the Camdessus Panel report ‘Financing Water for All’ published in 2003 stresses that the flow of funds has to roughly double, with increases from all sources.Assistance for water projects in National and Regional Indicative Programmes Activities in the water and sanitation sector are taking place and being prepared as part of the National and Regional Indicative Programmes of ACP countries and regions. More than €400m is allocated to water and sanitation under the 9th EDF in 14 ACP countries.

On a separate note, see discussions on the 2nd Alternative World Water Forum held from the 17 to March 20, 2005, in Geneva (Switzerland). The Forum’s key objective is to further develop and promote institutions and public policy that will finally provide access to potable water for all human beings and have water management done in a democratic, united and sustainable manner.