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April 2019
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EDITO
Saturday, 20 April 2019
If globalisation has certainly had positive effects on the economy, then there should in turn be advantages for everybody. Its negative effects, notably in the social sector, need to be offset by policies that make globalisation work for mankind. These sentiments were reflected in the report by Slovenian MEP Mihael Brejc (EPP-ED, SI) on "globalisation and its social dimension".
The report went on to say that EU actions in this field could, if successful, serve as an inspiration to other parts of the world. To contribute significantly to the ongoing debate of how to counteract the negative effects of globalisation worldwide, the European Union needs to act in a coherent way through its internal and external policies. This the key message of the report on the social dimension of globalisation.
Certain actions of good practice could even serve as an example to other parts of the world; other EU policies have to be reformed to be compatible with the development policy. MEPs highlight various actions they believe to be taken at EU level and expect the Commission to come forward with concrete proposals and the necessary resources.
For the Parliament, globalisation must be a process with a strong social dimension based on universally shared values, respect for human rights and individual dignity which is fair, inclusive and democratically governed, provides opportunities and tangible benefits for all countries and people and is linked to the Millennium Development Goals.
Social rights, social dialogue and human rights should be given greater importance in the EU's various external programmes. The EU's partnerships should include a social pillar covering among other things labour standards. Through bilateral agreements the Commission should ensure that, at the least, ILO (International Labour Organisation) standards are respected in order to ensure humane working conditions.
The EU should use its bilateral relations to ensure that jobs which are moved off -shore or relocated outside the EU do not end up being performed in sweat shops in the third world but instead, jobs of high quality are created.
MEPs support the Commissions efforts to raise awareness among multinational companies of their social responsibility, which have as yet had limited effect. They consider that the social and environmental responsibilities of multinationals should be clearly established, and that EU action in this area should be stepped up.
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Tuesday, 15 November 2005
Who gets Community funding? What influence do the lobbies have? What rules of conduct do those in charge of the European institutions have to follow? These are some of the questions often asked by Europe’s citizens about ‘Brussels’. Therefore the College of Commissioners has today decided to launch a European Transparency Initiative. A Green Paper is to be published by the beginning of 2006 to launch a debate with all the stakeholders on how to improve transparency on the Community Funds, consultation with civil society and the role of the lobbies and NGOs in the European institutions’ decision-making process. Discussions will also be started at interinstitutional level to promote the EU’s framework on professional ethic[s]. Lastly, the European Commission will continue its progress on transparency by taking concrete action to improve its own transparency vis-à-vis Europe’s citizens. This initiative is a logical complement to Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate.
As one of this Commission’s main strategic objectives, this initiative is designed to increase the transparency with which the EU handles the responsibilities and funds entrusted to it by the European citizen. This is an essential condition for the legitimacy of any modern administration and a key element in European citizens’ trust in their public institutions.
Over the last few years the European Commission has made major advances in the field of openness and transparency, in particular: publication of the 2001 White Paper on European governance, the drafting of precise rules on ethical standards in the new Staff Regulations for its officials and the introduction of codes of conduct, clear rules on access to documents, and making detailed information on Committees and expert groups available.
The development policy of the EU should also be more known to the EU citizens as well as to the citizens of the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
A new monitoring system to deal with natural disasters: Commission launches pilot phase of GMES
Natural and manmade catastrophes in Europe, America, Asia and Africa, coupled with increased security needs, have further reinforced the case for improved monitoring systems. The European Commission is pressing ahead with plans to introduce the first three earth observation services concerning emergency management, land and marine monitoring. After GALILEO, the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) has become the second EU flagship in space policy. It will gather relevant data, for example concerning environmental pollution, floods, forest fires or earthquakes in support of public policy makers’ needs. GMES will ensure that crisis situations can be better anticipated and managed. It can provide the foundation for evidence-based environmental policy making, as well as the information required to ameliorate its effects on citizens.

Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen responsible for enterprise and industry policy said: “GMES will improve our capacity to respond to natural catastrophes. At the same time it will promote the competitiveness of the European space industry.” Extreme weather events and natural or manmade crises constantly occupy a major place in the news. It is clear that it becomes a priority for the EU to look for solutions that can provide a basis for a response in these situations and, in the longer-term, seek to prevent their recurrence.
From 11 areas identified earlier as potential initial GMES services, the Commission has selected emergency management, land monitoring, and marine services. These will now enter into their pilot operational phase.
In the short term and as a first step, the Commission will set up a GMES organisational structure, operating within the Commission, to strengthen the management of GMES, including the development of three pilot services to be ready in 2008:
- The Emergency Management service aims to reinforce the European capacity to predict and respond to crises and emergencies associated with natural and man-made disasters.
- The Land Monitoring service will deliver timely, important information on land use and land cover changes for a number of identified areas at European, national and local scale.
- The Marine Services will provide data, information products and indicators on the condition of the seas.
See also effort by the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States to establish a Natural Disasters Facility to prevent and respond adequately to the effects of natural disasters on their economies.
UN Development Fund For Women Urges Embedding Gender Equality In Aid Programmes
Some 130 experts met in Belgium at a conference organized by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the European Commission to highlight the role of gender in development assistance, as aid allocations are increasingly driven by partnerships between donor and recipient countries. “Because ‘ownership’ is central to the new aid strategies, it must include women, who are not only citizens but key stakeholders in their country’s development,” Noeleen Heyzer, the executive director of UNIFEM, said. “We need to look at how to improve women’s ‘ownership’ of the new aid instruments, and how to make governments and donors more accountable to achieving gender equality in their implementation of development programmes,” she said.
The conference follows three important events in 2005 that have linked commitments to gender equality with development cooperation goals – the 10-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action that came out of the 1995 women’s conference, the adoption of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the 2005 World Summit.
Speaking at a press conference, Koos Richelle, Director-General of the Directorate for Europe Aid Cooperation of the EC, said that the main aim of the meeting was to see how to develop new ways to embed gender equality and women’s empowerment within the new trends in development cooperation. “After 60 years of development cooperation, its time to change the way we deal with this. Earlier, we had been too focused on inputs. Now we are focusing on outputs, on targets and results because these are measurable, promises are not,” he said. Out of the recent pledge by world leaders to increase aid by $50 billion a year by 2010, he said that $37 billion of this would come from the European Union. Coordination among the donor community, and close partnership with recipient governments would be critical to ensure this aid effectively enhances development, including ensuring that gender issues are not only mentioned in the new aid mechanisms but really implemented, he added.
Much of the conference debate around accountability within the new aid architecture will draw from a publication by NGOs Eurostep and Social Watch called “Accountability Upside Down.” The report examines to what extent gender equality is being promoted within the context of international efforts to eradicate poverty, by looking at a sample of nine bilateral donors’ aid programming. “The key question of the book is how do we make national ownership a responsibility of all sectors of a society, and how do we hold not just recipient governments, but donors, accountable for their policies,” said Mirjam van Reisen, author of the report and director of Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA). The report concludes that there are few, if any, mechanisms for tracking accountability within the new aid architecture, and even fewer where implementation of national obligations to gender equality are concerned. It argues, however, that there is potential in the new aid modalities to advance gender equality. “One area is national capacity-building. As an analogy, we all use computers today, and the more we use them the more we need IT support, not less. The same applies to gender equality — the more we progress, the more capacity we need to build,” said van Reisen.
Monday, 14 November 2005
The ACP cotton producing and exporting countries will, from now on, have a website where they can give and receive information about news in the cotton sector. The website offers content in both French and English is one of the elements making up the action plan accompanying the EU-Africa Partnership for cotton, concluded in Paris just about a year ago. At the Paris Form, held on 5th and 6th July 2004, the European Union and ACP cotton producing and exporting countries (all African) approved a partnership and adopted a joint plan of action on cotton intended to support the development of the cotton sector in Africa. The action plan takes in elements relating to marketing and the development of the Partnership. It places particular emphasis on the coordination and communication mechanisms. Th ese two essential factors should be of help in researching the optimal use of the resources made available to support the development of the partnership. It is to this end that the new site has been launched, after the first essential coordination phase which comprised the setting-up of the steering and monitoring committee (COS-Cotton) in September 2004, a permanent forum where the various people involved in the development of the sector take concerted decisions regarding the implementation of the action plan.
This new space where information can be exchanged is an access portal for all the specific initiatives developed in relation to the cotton sector, whether by region, subject or sector. Its aim is therefore clear: to allow all those active in the sector, especially those from ACP countries, quickly to identify, from a single address, the sources to which they can turn to study certain areas in greater depth, according to their requirements. The site, which has just been launched, can also act as a platform for the expression of specific concerns, discussion and interaction between all those active in the sector.
Documents relating to the Paris Forum, notably the partnership action plan, various publications grouped according to the action plan themes, the presentation of ACP participants involved in working on the cotton business, an online discussion forum, the latest developments and news from the sector, a calendar giving some of the major forthcoming events in the sector… This is some of the information available via the site.
To echo the words of Ambassador Euloge Hinvi, Ambassador for Benin and President of the ACP-EU Partnership Steering and Monitoring Committee, “it is now up to those involved to act and make good use of the new web resource being made available, so that it will work to help the development of the cotton supply line throughout the African countries of the ACP Group”.
The CTA supports the EU-Africa partnership on cotton in its information and communication programme (publications, workshops, website, e-forums, rural radio programmes).