Category Archives: eco

EU call for sustainable use of pesticides

The report on the sustainable use of pesticides Directive adopted  by the Commission takes stock of progress made by the EU Member States in applying measures to reduce the risks and impacts of pesticides.

“I know first-hand that citizens are concerned about the impact of the use of pesticides on their health and the environment. We take these concerns into consideration and we are working with the Member States to achieve sustainable use of pesticides in the way we grow and produce our food. I will continue encouraging and supporting Member States in their task of implementing the measures to reduce risks derived from the use of pesticides”. Said  Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Commenting on the report.

It covers a wide range of topics such as aerial spraying, information to the public or training of professionals. The report indicates insufficient implementation of the Directive on the sustainable use of pesticides.

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EU €550 million for health of oceans

“Three years ago I was asked by President Juncker to define the EU’s global ocean role. I think together we have delivered. Our policies on land, like our commitment to the circular economy and reduced plastic waste; and at sea, on marine pollution, on protected areas, and on harnessing the ocean’s clean energy, clearly demonstrate this. The European Union is earning respect and inspiring action across the planet”. Said Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

More than six billion euros committed by public and private actors to better manage our oceans at European Union-hosted conference in Malta.

The European Commission has announced over €550 million of EU-funded initiatives to tackle global oceans challenges, at the Our Ocean Conference 2017 in Malta, co-hosted by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

The commitments announced in Malta made by the Commission and by other public and private actors from 112 countries around the world reached over €6 billion. The resources will be invested to strengthen the fight against marine pollution and enlarge protected areas, reinforce security of the oceans, foster blue economy initiatives and sustainable fisheries and intensify the EU efforts against climate change, in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals under Agenda 2030. Participants also announced the creation of new Marine Protected Areas spanning more than 2.5 million km², or more than half the size of the entire European Union.

The full list of over 400 commitments (36 from the EU, over 200 from third country governments, more than 100 from business and several others from NGOs, foundations, research institutes and international organisations) are available online.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: “The European Commission has demonstrated with concrete pledges its strong commitment to the sustainability, security and prosperity of our oceans. If they are at risk, so are we, for the oceans nourish our planet and our people, and they connect us to our partners around the world.”

High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “The sea is a global common. It is Our Ocean because it belongs to humanity, to each and every human being. We all have a responsibility to preserve what’s common – to preserve it as a treasure and avoid that it turns into a threat. The European Union believes that a globalised world needs a more cooperative global governance. We believe in the power of diplomacy, we invest in it, we believe and invest in the power of common rules and international institutions. And it is difficult, actually impossible, to imagine a global governance without a cooperative oceans’ governance.”

Commissioner Neven Mimica said:“These two days have delivered on our Sustainable Development Goals ocean commitments. Small-scale fishermen around the world have a better chance of fishing safely, legally, and sustainably. Food chains are more secure. Coastal areas more protected. We are acting on the climate challenge. For many of our developing country partners, sustainable ocean governance is a question of survival. The road ahead is still long, but we are moving in the right direction.”

The Our Ocean Conference has brought together public and private actors from six continents, who are collectively committed to the cause of better ocean governance and the sustainable use of the oceans. EU commitments reach far beyond its geographical region, to support sustainable international ocean use worldwide, focusing in particular on developing countries.

For the first time, the Conference gathered significant commitments from the private sector, including Airbus, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Marks & Spencer, Carrefour, Royal Caribbean Cruises, AXA, Sky and others.

Commitments will be tracked and reported at the next Our Ocean Conference in Indonesia in 2018.

EU – FAO against waste in food supply chains

 “Food loss and waste represent an unacceptable, unethical and immoral squandering of scarce resources and increase food insecurity, while AMR marks a grave societal and economic burden,” adding: “We are becoming more united, more efficient and more strategic in how we tackle these issues, and as such, this agreement should be celebrated.” Speaking at a signing ceremony at FAO’s Rome headquarters, Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis said.

Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis and the Director-General of Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) José Graziano da Silva agreed to ramp up collaboration between the two organisations in tackling the problems of waste in food supply chains and antimicrobial resistance. Globally, one-third of all food produce for human consumption – 1.3 billion tonnes – is lost or wasted, each year, causing massive financial losses. The increased use – and abuse – of antimicrobial medicines in both human and animal healthcare has contributed to an increase in the number of disease-causing microbes that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines used to treat them, like antibiotics. This makes AMR a growing threat that could lead to as many as 10 million deaths a year and over €85 million in losses to the global economy by 2050.

EU-China: new water policy for climate change

 

“Today’s signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on establishing an EU-China Water Policy Dialogue is not just welcome, it is essential. We are demonstrating our commitment to jointly address common water challenges. Water is the source of life. Climate change, pollution, increasing demand and wastage have put pressures like never before. We are showing that a global problem needs global action.” Said Commissioner for the Environment, Marine Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.

Commissioner Vella, and Chinese Minister of Water Resources, Chen Lei, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Water Policy Dialogue between the EU and China. The signature which took place at the High Level Conference of the Water Platform in Turku, Finland, is a sign of political commitment to the co-operation on water policy, and will help implement the joint priorities between the EU and China in the water sector.  The Dialogue between the EU and the Ministry of Water Resources will give political steer to the Chinese Europe Water Platform and cover a number of areas such as developing and enforcing legislation to protect water, integrated water resources management, dealing with water disasters, adaptation to climate change, and improving cooperation on international water issues. Today’s signature with China comes less than a year after the EU – India Memorandum of Understanding on water cooperation.

EU, China, Canada: joining forces to strengthen global action

 

“The EU remains committed to the Paris Agreement and its full and swift implementation. Domestically, we are progressing steadily with the finalisation of the measures to reduce our emissions by at least 40% by 2030. Internationally, we are strengthening our existing partnerships and seeking new alliances. Our aim is to raise global climate ambition, follow through with concrete action and support our partners, in particular the most vulnerable countries.” Said Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete.

The European Union, Canada and China are joining forces to strengthen global action in the fight against climate change. They will co-host a Ministerial Meeting on Climate Action on 15-16 September in Montreal, Canada. This gathering, a first of its kind, seeks to galvanise global momentum for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and will bring together ministers and high-level representatives from 34 economies that are part of the G20 and other invited countries. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will jointly lead the roundtable discussion on climate action and clean growth.  The meeting in Montreal takes place only days after this year’s State of the Union Address by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker where he underlines that he “wants Europe to be the leader when it comes to the fight against climate change. Set against the collapse of ambition in the United States, Europe will ensure we make our planet great again. It is the shared heritage of all of humanity” (read #SOTEU2017 SPEECH/17/3165). Two months before the next United Nations climate conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany, the meeting will also provide the space for discussions on the expected outcomes of upcoming UN climate talks.

MDBs contribute to global climate challenge in 2016

 “The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting new climate related investment around the world. This year’s report reflects the EIB’s recognition of the vulnerabilities of developing and emerging economies to climatic uncertainties with its focus on investment outside Europe. Together with other multilateral development banks we are pleased to back investment in transformational projects that cut emissions and address a changing climate. We welcome this opportunity to improve effective measurement of the impact of our shared climate engagement strengthened by the EIB’s unique experience of financing schemes across Europe and around the world.” Welcoming the report, Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for climate action,

The world’s six largest multilateral developments banks (MDBs) continued to make a strong contribution to the global climate challenge in 2016, increasing their climate financing in developing countries and emerging economies last year to US$ 27.4 billion from $25 billion in 2015.

Of this total, US$ 21.2 billion or 77 per cent was dedicated to climate mitigation finance, with the remaining 23 per cent devoted to climate adaptation.

Combined with additional co-financing from other investors, the total amount of financed mobilised for climate action reached US$ 65.3 billion last year.

The MDBs have reported jointly on climate finance since 2011. Collectively, the banks have committed over US$ 158 billion in climate finance during the past six years.

The latest MDB climate finance figures are detailed in the 2016 Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’ Climate Finance, combining data from the African Development Bankthe Asian Development Bank the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bankthe Inter-American Development Bank Group and the World Bank Group.

Broken down by region, the largest share of last year’s MDB climate finance went to South Asia, with 20 per cent, followed by East Asia and the Pacific and non-EU Europe and Central Asia, with 19 and 18 per cent, respectively. The Middle East and North Africa at 9 per cent and Sub-Saharan Africa at 7 per cent received the least climate finance.

The MDBs also reported again on climate finance according to financial instrument. The vast majority of finance, 73 per cent, was provided in the form of investment loans.

The MDBs’ methodologies for climate finance tracking align with the Common Principles for Climate Change Mitigation Finance Tracking, jointly agreed by the MDBs and by the International Development Finance Club (IDFC) and first published in March 2015.

The MDBs and the IDFC agreed on the Common Principles for Climate Adaptation Finance Tracking in July 2015.  The MDBs and the IDFC have begun taking the next steps to harmonise their approaches in tracking adaptation finance.

The MDBs are continuing to work to update their joint tracking methodologies for mitigation and adaptation, to support the goals of the Paris Agreement, playing a key role in defining the finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development.

EU launches new Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre

“The Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre builds on the Joint Research Centre’s expertise in knowledge management, offering policy makers relevant information in a timely manner and a format that is easy to use. It is the fourth Knowledge Centre launched by the Commission in the last two years, after the ones on migration and demography, territorial policies and disaster risk management, and another important step in further strengthening the sound evidence base we need to tackle the societal challenges facing the EU.” Said Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, responsible for the Joint Research Centre.

On 20 July, the European Commission will launch a new Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre to better support EU and national policy makers and stakeholders with science-based evidence in this field. This online platform will not primarily generate knowledge, but will collect, structure and make accessible knowledge from a wide range of scientific disciplines and sources on the bioeconomy, the sustainable production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into valuable products. The Knowledge Centre is being created by the Commission’s in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre, in cooperation with Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, added: “The launch of the Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre marks an important step in bringing the different policy areas of the bioeconomy closer together. In order to face global and geopolitical challenges, a coherent strategy needs an excellent knowledge hub, in particular to address questions cutting across the policy areas of the bioeconomy family.

The bioeconomy represents a significant part of the EU economy, with potential for growth through innovation in agriculture, forestry, bioenergy and biomass but also in chemicals, materials, waste management and others. The Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre will support the European Commission in the review of the 2012 Bioeconomy Strategy, taking into account new political and policy developments, such as the COP21 Paris agreement, the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the Circular Economy Package.

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