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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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Pierre Pflimlin's visionary line : Honouring the Memory of the man who wanted to build Europe on the Mountains, based on Spirit !



One of EuroFora's best inspirators is naturally Pierre Pflimlin :

We had a chance to personally meet the dynamic and experienced former President of both EU Parliament and CoE's Assembly, France's Prime Minister and Strasbourg's Mayor, only at his 90th anniversary, during an Historic speech at the Council of Europe, exceptionally full of people.

But his energetic figure looked more like a youngster of 19 years old, eager to win the Olympic games !..

Visionary, 2P was, from many points of view :

His daughter, Antoinette, Artist-decorator, and Senator Jung, President of a group of friends, confirmed us an Historian's revelation, that Pflimlin had initially the idea to build all European institutions (EU Parliament, Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights, etc) at the spectacular heights of Oberhausbergen hills, with an eye-catching view of both French Vosges and German Black Forest Mountains, in the midst of a Forest : A real vision to create a brand New European Headquarters with a big ambition !

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Pflimlin stroke back a Decade ago, at his Historic 1997 farewell speech :

He urged Europeans to find another, more substantial way, to lift Europe to more important Heights in Future :

- "On which basis can we imagine the birth of a great Europe ?", he asked.

"Certainly an Economic basis ! A solid market economy, meeting also the needs of social justice. A Political basis : Europe must become a strong Political Power, able to influence World's changes, naturally for Peace."

"But I believe that the essential foundation of a greater Europe should be of Spiritual nature : .... The great pacific Revolutions were Spiritual Victories" : They expressed "People's main motivation to live in a society with our Values of Liberty, Democracy, respect for Human Dignity".

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"Here is the task to be accomplished. It's very difficult".

"The Time approaches when I'll have to pass over the torchlight. God willing, this torch should enlighten the path of those who are going to build, tomorrow, the great Europe, marked by this Spirit".


(Extract from the Book "Pierre Pfilmin : Alsacian and European", 2007. Texts by Senator Louis Jung, by the long-time f. Director of Strasbourg's Newspaper DNA, Alain Howiller, and by f. EU Parliament's Press Director, Paul Collowald : See dedications, hand-written by the authors, the day the book for Pflimlin's 100th Aniversary was launched at Strasbourg's Press Club and European Parliamentary Association's headquarters, 13 April 2007).




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