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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
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*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  :
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- "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. 

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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.
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=> 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.
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=> 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" : 

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- "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).
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+ 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.

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- 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".

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=> 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".

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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".

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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.

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+ 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)...

(../..)


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(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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Facing a 70% Abstention threat in 2009 Election, EU endorses EuroFora's idea for Citizens' debates on crucial EU decisions !

- Different views on "Europe's Future", should be debated among Citizens at June 2009 EU Elections, thanks to political Parties' "Manifestos", says EU Parliament's Report


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
A main idea, initiated and promoted by EuroFora's founders since 1997: the vital need to develop European Citizens' democratic right to actively participate in multilingual debates on EU decisions, is formally endorsed by the EU from 2009 !

The move is a key attempt to overcome "catastrophic" Polls which warn that only ...30% of Citizens are ready to vote in the forthcoming June 2009 EU Election !  This was revealed by EU Commission's vice-president, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, during a "hot" meeting of EU Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education, during the December 2008 Strasbourg session.

Wallstrom faced criticism, but also suggestions from various MEPs, naturally worried by Abstention threats which herself found even "worse" than in 1999 or 2004...

A Report on "Active Dialogue with Citizens",examined at the same time, presented some useful practical tips, on "facilitating Interviews"; etc., but also a  potentialy important call to "incorporate the conclusions of ...debates...into (EU) policies, and take into consideration the expectations that Citizens have of the EU when deciding". An amendment even implies that Citizens' participation in debates on EU decisions is a democratic "Right".

More importantly, it finds that  a Debate "on the Future of Europe", (as French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked since 2007), would be a good idea " for the 2009 European parliamentary Elections", because "clarifying the political differences between the EU political parties would help citizens to identify themselves with, and choose between various concepts", for which "all parties (should) present their Manifesto".

A "Joint political declaration on Communicating Europe in Partnership", co-signed by "the European Parliament, Council and ... Commission", confirms that they "attach the utmost importance to improving communication on EU issues", by "enabling European citizens to exercise their right to participate in the democratic life of the Union, in which decisions are taken as openly as possible and as closely as possible to the citizens, observing the principles of pluralism, participation, openness and transparency".

This should "enable Citizens to exercise their right to express their views and to participate actively in the public Debate on European Union issues", while also "promoting the respect of multilingualism". In this regard, EU confirms its "wish to develop synergies with national, regional and local authorities as well as with representatives of Civil Society".

    It's since 1997 that a group of EuroFora's founders have officially presented a pioneer Project (then called "EIW", for "Europe in the World"), which aimed to develop Strasbourg's "Polyphonic music", by providing "Interactive information", on "main issues ... during the Decision-making process of European Organizations which engage in Transparent and Public Democratic Debates"

    This should be done, inter alia, by "exploring the potential of New Communication Tools (mainly Internet)", as well as classic-form debates, the 1997 EIW pioneer project's anounced in its "Synopsis". It was formally "accepted for evaluation" by EU Commission in Brussels in order to be examined for a grant in the framework of the "Research/Technology/Development (RTD) Programme in the field of Information Technologies", then called "ESPRIT", as a "Best Practice Pilot Project".

eiw_project_eu_program_esprit_ds_1997.._400

        But the vital, urgent Political need for EU to search new, efficient ways to reach the People and interact with European Citizens, was really felt in Brussels and elsewhere only after the unprecedented in History 1999 and 2004 Majority Abstention in EU Elections, followed by 3 "NO" in Referenda in France, the Netherlands and Ireland, on 2005 and 2008...
    In this New Political Landscape, we prepared a new, actualised and more developed version of our initial idea, in a simplified and more efficient form, thanks also to a large Experience accumulated during many years of EU/CoE/UNO Press work and Multi-lingual debates, with the New project "EuroFora" :

    On 2006 we presented in Public its main lines during Questions/Replies that we raised at two Press Conferences by EU Commission President, Jose Baroso, and mainly EU Commission's vice-President, in charge of Communication policy, Margot Wallstrom, together with EU Parliament's vice-president, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, in Strasbourg, (Videos available), and we reminded it at various brief contacts with Commissioner Wallstrom in 2007 and 2008.

    Meanwhile, a new Text was also presented for "EuroFora" Project mainly to certain Political and other personalities, at European, National or Regional/Local level, mainly in 2007, but also in 2008..

    Now, after the unexpected 2008 Irish "NO", and before the 2009 EU Elections, which are due to be of exceptionally crucial importance for Europe's Future, the moment has obviously come to launch that project, progressively, but in real practice.

    Whoever really cares for Europe and its Citizens is welcome to join, in one way or another. Only anti-European, anti-democratic, obscure or ignorant groups might oppose or attempt to "steal" and deviate the main idea.

    But European Citizens, incited by enlightened political leaders, are those who will finally write the real History.

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