Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

August 2018
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Thursday, 16 August 2018
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.
Friday, 18 March 2005
MEPs want the EU's development policy to preserve its independence and not become part of economic cooperation. Parliament's Development Committee therefore rejected on Wednesday a regulation proposed by the European Commission to set up a single financing instrument for development cooperation and economic cooperation (known as the "umbrella regulation").

The committee opposed the proposal unanimously. According to the rapporteur, Gay MITCHELL (EPP-ED, IE), the "umbrella regulation" would result in the merger of two policy areas with quite separate goals and working methods, to the detriment of development cooperation. MEPs believe the regulation would also undermine Parliament's powers, since it would give extensive powers of implementation to the Commission and Council, at the expense of the Parliament's legislative and budgetary powers.
However, the regulation cannot be adopted without support from MEPs, since it has to do with defining EU development cooperation policy and thus comes under the codecision procedure.
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