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Home arrow newsitems arrow UfMediteranean Urban development chairs French+Egyptian Ministers Richert+Baradai to EuroFora on EWE

UfMediteranean Urban development chairs French+Egyptian Ministers Richert+Baradai to EuroFora on EWE

Written by ACM
Thursday, 10 November 2011

*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/- The two co-Chairs, from both sides of the Mediterranean, of the 1st UfM. Ministerial Summit on Urban Sustainable Development, French Minister Philippe Richert, and Egyptian Minister Mohamed Fathi El Baradai, as well as Ambassador Serge Telle, responsible for all Union for the Mediterranean (UfLM)  projects in its inceptor, French President Sarkozy's Elysee palace administration, replying to "EuroFora"s questions, stressed the crucial and dynamic importance of Climate and/or Extreme Weather Events' topical issues needing a succesful, New Model of Urban development during the City Population "Boom" expected in the area in the forthcoming period up to 2025  :
- "EuroFora" asked both main actors, Ministers Richert and Baradei, as well as Ambassador Tille, whether "Global Warming",  "Extreme Weather Events", and related potential risks in the Mediterranean could and should be dealt with by adequate Euro-Mediterranean concrete Projects also on Urban issues, (including "Renewable Energies, as f.ex. "Solar", Research, High-Tech, etc), what we might hope to achieve in this regard from that policy in the foreseeable future.

- "Projections show that we are due to have, before 2025 in the Mediteranean bassin area , a further augmentation for more  than  +20% in the Urban Population",  started by observing the EU Co-Chairman from the EU, French Minister for Territorial entities, and President of Strasbourg' s Region Alsace, Philippe Richert,  in reply to "EuroFora"s question.

- This "risks to become the 1st cause of Greenhous Gases", and, "given the magnitude of the expected Demographic and Geographic developments" there, we face a "Risk of a huge "Explosion" in Greenhouse Gases' Emissions, that we must prevent", warned the experienced in Climate issues co-Chairman of UfM's Ministerial Summit on Urban sustainable development.

=> Therefore, "we have the political Will" to seek to build a New Model of Urban development, able to "offer enough Economic Activities" to the rapidly growing Number of Populations there, but also to "preserve an Environmental Quality", by facing the issues of a "greater Density" of populations (i.e. in Urban centres), as well as the "Social links", and the "Solidarity" between People, i.e. what makes the basic "Quality of Living Together", Richert ambitiously concluded, making an indirect but obvious reference to the 1st Collective Resolution on Urban issues adopted today in Strasbourg by the UfM Ministers.

- On all these issues, we aim to prepare several Concrete Projects, (according to the practical inspiration of the Union for the Mediterranean from its inception, back on July 2007, by the Paris' Summit of Heads of State/Government from EU and third Mediterranean Countries, spreading from Turkey to Morocco, including Israel, etc), making good use of "European experiences", as well as all Mediterranean's Historic Culture and Natural Resources, also with the active contribution of Fund Raisers, which were present today in Strasbourg, such a, f.ex., the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, the French Agency for Development, etc, and various other Partners from the Public and Private sector", Richert added.

- "The big Changes, of primary importance, that we are currently experiencing in the Mediterranean region open up new Perspectives but also Challenges (such as Climat, Weather and Urban Populations, etc : Comp. supra), on which we must be Vigilent", he advised. 


Because "Mediterranean Cities are particularly Exposed to Global Warming's Effects" : Thus, f.ex. "the Mediterranean was marked, by the 4rth Report of the IPCC, among the Regions due to face the Most Extreme Weather Events in the World", which risk to provoke both Economic Destructions and Human losses !", Richert earlier warned.

- In fact, as he observed,  while, already, 2 out of 3 inhabitants in the Mediterranean area live in Urban areas, soon it's due to concern more than 3 our of 4 Persons". "In such a context, risks are huge, while Mediterranean Cities are spreading" all over its Southern Coasts, so thzt "Mediterranean Cities must take their part in the fight against Climate Change and Global Warming, particularly by ameliorating Energy Efficiency", since, "Cities, at a Global level, consume 2/3 of Energy and provoke more than 60% of C02 Emmissions". Therefore, "we must all unite together our forces, in all concerned Countries, both Governments and Private sector", in order to succesfully face such "Major Challenges", also by "a Diplomacy of Projects", UfM's Urban Ministerial Summit's co-Chairman pleaded.

- Thus, f.ex., among others, on Renewable Enerhy Sources, a "Solar Plan" could make good use, in this regard (See supra)  of Mediterranean's Natural Resources, from which, at a 2020 Horizon, we expect f.ex. to reach "a capaciy of 20 GIGA Wats", as Richard noted.


=> Indeed, f. ex. "in Egypt alone, we are currently Building more than 17 New Cities across the Country", said to "EuroFora" the other Co-Chairman of the Union for the Mediterranean's 1st Urban Ministerial Summit, Egyptian Minister for Urban Development and Housing,  Mohamed Fathi Al-Baradai, who was in Strasbourg together with Minitser Ahmed Ateya for Local Development.        

 - That's why, the experienced Egyptian Minister, and UfM's Co-Chair on Urban Development policies, went on to stress to "EuroFora" that one of his Expectations is to create a win-win Partnership between the EU and the 3rd Mediterranean Countries in this area, mainly "by exchanging Solar Energy to be produced in Southern Mediterranean Countries (f.ex. by projects such as Germany-led "Desertec", on Production, and France-led "TransGreen", on Energy Transport), for European Technologies, f.ex. also on Sea Water Desalination, etc", as El Baradei told us.


=> Topically, this "concrete project"-inspired UfM move timely responds to Decisions just taken, last week in Cannes, by the 2011 "G-20" Heads of State/Govenment Summit (Comp. "EuroFora"s NewsReports from the spot), where leaders, while "addressing  the Challenges of Development", (on which had earlier focused a landmark Speech by 2011 G20 Chairman, French President Sarkozy, about ways to link Help to Poor Countries' Development with Growth stimulation in the Advanced Countries : See "EuroFora"s earlier NewsReport), "Recogniz(ed) that the lack of Infrastructure dramatically hampers Growth Potential in many Developing Countries, particularly in Africa", and, therefore, declared their "Support" to, "and Highlight 11 Exemplary Infrastructural Projects", on which they  "call on the MDBs, working with Countries involved, to pursue the Implementation" : 


- "In the Mediterranean region", the G20 Summit selected "2 Projects" for such Infrastructures,  including "the Mediterranean Solar Plan (MSP)", due to "develop Solar Energy in the Mediterranean region, and Export this Energy to European markets", which "concerns 5 Countries : Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan", according to the 2011 "G20" Summit's conclusions. (Comp. "EuroFora"s NewsReports from Cannes).
+ Meanwhile, Ambassador Serge Telle, in charge of all Union for the Mediterranean's projects in its inceptor, French President Sarkozy's Elysee Palace's team, replying to another "EuroFora"' question also on reported risks for more "Extreme Nature Events", such as Earthquakes, Heatwaves, Fires, Desertification, etc. particularly in the Mediterranean area, stressed the need for "Natural Catastrophes' risk to be taken into account particularly in the Construction sector, mainly on Housing, in order to both Anticipate and Reduce their impact", as he laconically but substantially pointed out.


- However, in addition to modern, High-Tech. innovations obviously needed for a really "New Model" of Urban sustainable development in the Mediterranean, able to create a Know-how which could, afterwards, be eventually "exported" also in other areas of the World, sometimes, there is also a Traditional, Historic and Cultural know-how in Mediterranean civilisations' over-Millenary lifespan, about certain original and practical ways to Build Houses and/or organise Cities in some territories, which could and should be preserved, valorised and used anew today probably in modernized versions, observed also  French Presidential "Elysee" palace's UfM mission's Expert, responsible for Territorial Development, Gilles Pennequin, briefing earlier Strasbourg's Journalists at the CoE, including "EuroFora".


=> The most important thing is that "from now on, a Road-Map exists, endorsed at a Political level, for an Urban Sustainable Development policy in the Mediterranean, allowing to make an overall Map with the measures due to be taken throughout all the Countries in the Mediterranean area, as well as to prepare the selection of concrete projects, while also working with the Barcelona (Spain) based UfM Secretariat, stressed, among other key results of the Strasbourg's Ministerial Summit, Antoine-Tristan Mocilnikar, an Engineer who is also responsible for Environment and sustainable development issues in the UfM. mission at the French Presidential palace Elysee, speaking later to "EuroFora".


Indeed, the Official, collective "Declaration" adopted today in Strasbourg by the 1st Ministerial Conference of the Union for Mediterranean on sustainable Urban Development, which gathered here  35 EU and third Mediterranean Countries, including more than 17 Ministers and other specialized Senior Officials and/or Experts, clearly stresses from the outset, starting already from its Article No 1, that all participants are "Aware of the Interplay between Urban/Territorial Development and Climate Change and the Environment".


Therefore, they officially "call on each UfM Member (Country) to define, when it's not yet the case, a national Stratefy of sustainable Urban Development ... enabling Cohesion between Socio-Economic and Environmental aspects", so that even "Local Planning and Capital Investment Planning", can "reflect Priorities and impacts".

+ Moreover, the Natural Environment-oriented French Expert and UfM Official also found useful to eventually do in the foreseeable Future a Comparative study of the situation evolving throughout all the various Seas surrounding Europe, f.ex. Mediterranean, Baltic and North, Black, etc., since it could result in some interesting obsevations on main differencies, similarities or parallels, which might lead both to Regionaly specific and overall, general findings and conclusions.


+ Mocilnikar  said that in reaction to an interesting fact, typical of the choice of Strasbourg as a symbolic also way to involve also Central/Northern EU Countries in the EU-African issues at stake in the Mediterranean, which, in a way, also attests of UfM main idea's possible success : "EuroFora" was earlier positively surprised when we saw, inside CoE's Committee of Ministers' Plenary room, during the 1st Urban sustainable development Ministerial Summit of UfM, addressed by its EU-side co-Chair, French Minister for Territorial entities, Philippe Richert, (See supra for his Reply to "EuroFora"s question), even .... a Finland's Senior Officer, from the Permanent Representative to the CoE, sitting side by side with a reportedly rather active Greece's representative, Mrs Mourmouras (by an extreme coincidence, a relative of New Minister responsible for Privatization, and deputy Minister of Economy, Professor John Murmuras)..  - "In addition to the fact that we (Finland), as EU Country, we are Members of the UfM, we are also interested into comparing UfM's organization's way to work with that of Baltic >Sea's, where there are many specific, independent bodies on various sectors, but not an overall organizatio of the whole, as in the Mediterranean", the sympathetic Finnish Senior Official explained to "EuroFora". As for "Solar" issues, she kindly invited "EuroFora" to visit a rare quality, pittoresque Natural location, Rovenismi, 1h.30 time AirFlight from Helsinki, "at the Polar Circle, in the North of Finland", where the Sun never sets down, as she promissed, (also advising to visit Scandinavian Countries during Summer time, and Mediterranean Countries during Winters)...



(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. Watch out for a possible Final Version, more accurate and complete, asap).



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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?

CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...


Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..


"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

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- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock


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PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.


Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...


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