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January 2019
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Thursday, 24 January 2019
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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In May 2000 the Commission announced a major reform of the management of its external aid programme, the main objectives being to make radical improvements in the speed and quality of EC external aid, while ensuring robust financial procedures. A key component of the reform is the extensive devolution of aid management tasks and responsibilities to the Commission Delegations. As a result of devolution, Delegations are now responsible for project preparation, contracting, and financial and technical implementation, and they have received substantial extra human and technical resources. Devolution also has important consequences for the central services of the EuropeAid Cooperation Office (or EuropeAid) in Brussels, as their role is moving away from direct management of projects towards monitoring and supporting Delegations.
The devolution of aid management responsibilities to 78 Delegations constituted a major reorganisation of the Commission's services in the area of external aid and its implementation is a considerable achievement, with almost all Delegations operating under devolved management by end 2004.
Regarding the Commission's management of the devolution process, the Court has found that in general Delegations have been reasonably well prepared to operate under devolved management, but that the preparation of the headquarters' (HQ) services has been less well planned, lacking both analysis and consultation.
Regarding the results of devolution, it is still too early, after less than two years of devolved management, to see the envisaged improvements in the speed and quality of EC external aid. Also, the lack of a complete set of performance indicators at an early stage in the devolution process makes it difficult to measure progress against the main objectives.
For the time being, problems in recruiting staff in Delegations with appropriate expertise and using this expertise in an optimal way, difficulties experienced by HQ in providing support to Delegations, as yet inadequate financial information systems and complicated procedures are limiting the expected results of devolution in terms of increased speed and improved quality of project management.

On the basis of its observations the Court recommends that:
- the Commission introduces appropriate indicators, relating to both speed and quality of aid, which measure progress from year to year and against standards to be set;
- the Commission ensures that its recruitment procedures, salaries and other conditions of employment can attract staff with the appropriate expertise to fulfil the increased staffing needs of its Delegations;
- thematic expertise present within HQ services is organised in order to provide good quality support to Delegations in an efficient way;
- HQ's monitoring and support role is further developed, notably by improving the financial information systems and addressing outstanding training needs;
- in order to optimise the results of devolution, the Commission continues to pay particular attention to the simplification, harmonisation and clarification of financial and contractual procedures.
The EU is facing unprecedented demographic changes that will have a major impact on the whole of society. Figures in the Green Paper on Demographic Change launched today by the Commission show that from now until 2030 the EU will lack 20.8 million (6.8 per cent) people of working age. In 2030 roughly two active people (15-65) will have to take care of one inactive person (65+). And Europe will have 18 million children and young less than today.

What should we do?
Many of the issues are the responsibility of the Member States but they concern the whole of the EU. The Commission wants to open a debate on how to tackle them and what role the Union should play. For example, should EU policies for work-life balance and equal opportunities be harnessed to boost the population? How should immigration into the EU be managed?
At a two day hearing on 14-15 March, European Parliament Members from the Civil Liberties Committee and the Development Committee discussed the EU’s immigration policy, the links between legal and illegal migration and the integration of migrants into society. To combat illegal immigration, they recognised the need for an EU policy to facilitate the entrance and living of third country nationals in the EU. It was also recommended to consider as a separate issue the question of immigration and security.
The Commission will organise an European Conference on July 11th in Brussels where it will gather experts, high-level policy makers, civil society, to discuss the follow-up on this Green paper.

International migration and its consequences is a major topic on the European policy agenda and yet there is a dearth of research on the subject as it affects the EU as a whole. A network of specialist institutions was set up with European funding to fill this knowledge gap.To be able reliably to inform policy-making in this area, 19 European research institutes agreed to form a Network of Excellence called IMISCOE (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion). The Network of some 300 respected researchers pools together a wide set of skills and experience in an international research setting. The partner institutes have put into place an integrated, multidisciplinary research programme which, while comparing the situation in Member States, keeps Europe as its central focus.