October 6, 2022

Tag: PolicyEnergy

edu, Miscellaneous

East Asia and the Pacific: Extraordinary Meeting of the Friends of the Lower Mekong

On February 2, Counselor Tom Shannon and Senior Advisor to the Secretary Ambassador David Thorne led a U.S. delegation to the Extraordinary Meeting of the Friends of the Lower Mekong in Pakse, Laos. The Friends of the Lower Mekong, a donor coordination group, came together with the countries of the Lower Mekong to discuss the connection between water resources, energy needs and food security. Accompanying Counselor Shannon and Ambassador Thorne were representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Energy.

The health of the Mekong River is essential to the economic growth and sustainable development of the region. In Cambodia, the Mekong supports the rich biodiversity of a watershed that provides more than 60% of the protein intake for the entire country. The river irrigates the “rice bowl” in Vietnam, where more than half of the nation’s rice production is concentrated in the provinces that make up the Mekong delta. In Laos, Thailand, and Burma, the Mekong is an important artery for transportation, a water source for aquaculture and agriculture, and a generator of electricity.

Meeting participants discussed the challenges of ensuring a future in which economic growth does not come at the expense of clean air, clean water and healthy ecosystems. The meeting brought together senior officials from Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam alongside representatives from the United States, the Mekong River Commission, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the European Union, and the governments of Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

At the meeting, the U.S. delegation announced several new initiatives, including the launch of USAID’s Sustainable Mekong Energy Initiative (SMEI). Through the SMEI, the United Stateswill promote the use of alternative energy and low-emission technologies. The delegation also announced that the Department of State will organize and send a Sustainable Energy Business Delegation to the region later this year.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will provide technical assistance on hydropower management. In conjunction, Counselor Shannon and Ambassador Thorne announced that the State Department will contribute $500,000 in support of a Mekong River study on the impacts of hydropower on the community and environment.

The Friends of the Lower Mekong will also work together to strengthen the capacity of Lower Mekong countries to more effectively implement social and environmental safeguards such as environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental analyses. The U.S. government, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the Government of Australia plan to jointly develop a Regional Impact Assessment Training Center at the Asian Institute of Technology Center in Vietnam.

Under the auspices of the Lower Mekong Initiative the United States is continuing successful projects like Smart Infrastructure for the Mekong (SIM) to provide technical assistance to the region on land and water use management, renewable energy, and infrastructure development. $1.5 million will be spent on SIM projects in the Mekong region this year.

Read More
Legal Matters, PolicyAgriculture, PolicyRegional

Daily News 22 / 12 / 2014

Passenger rights: Eurobarometer survey shows one in three EU citizens are aware of their rights when travelling

The European Commission released today the results of a new Eurobarometer survey on passenger rights. Nearly one third of EU citizens are aware of their rights and obligations when buying a ticket to travel (31%), although 59 % said to be unaware of them according to the survey. The results also show a very high level of satisfaction among passengers who need assistance due to a disability or reduced mobility: 81% of them were happy with the assistance received. Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport said: “Citizens are my number one priority when it comes to European Transport and I want to ensure that they are aware of their rights when travelling. It is important that rights don’t only exist on paper. Today’s survey shows that progress has been made, particularly for persons with a disability or reduced mobility, but clearly more can be done. However let’s not forget that all EU citizens are covered by passenger rights under EU law wherever and however they travel – this is already a brilliant achievement for our Union. Now, our priority will be to make sure all Europeans know their rights when they travel. Let’s work together to achieve this!” For more detailed information click here. Video message from Commissioner Bulc on passenger rights. (for more information: Jakub Adamowicz – Tel.: +32 229 50595; Joshua Salsby – Tel.: +32 229 72459)

 

EU to support agriculture sector and improve education in Cambodia

The European Union has announced new funding of total €410 million under its bilateral cooperation with Cambodia over the period 2014-2020 to continue its support to Cambodia’s progress. The funds will help to strengthen agriculture and natural resource management, provide better education and implement governance and administration reforms. Cambodia has achieved outstanding socio-economic progress over the past 10 years. The majority of the population lifted out of poverty however remains highly vulnerable. The EU has therefore decided to increase its support to Cambodia to help the country’s ambitions to further reduce poverty, to promote equitable and sustainable growth and to enhance good governance, democracy and the rule of law. In addition to this bilateral programme, Cambodia will continue receiving support under other EU thematic and regional instruments and programmes. More details are available here. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229-69921; Sharon Zarb – Tel.: +32 229-92256)

EU increases humanitarian aid for South Sudan

The European Commission is increasing its life-saving assistance to South Sudan by €7.78 million, bringing its 2014 relief aid for one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises to more than €117 million. The new funds will provide shelter, water, hygiene and protection to the people affected by the conflict. They will also help South Sudanese refugees in Sudan. In addition, the Commission supports the overall refugee response in the Horn of Africa with around €50 million, which includes aid to South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. Humanitarian funding from the EU – its Member States and the European Commission – for South Sudan stands at over €273 million in 2014. The conflict in South Sudan has resulted in the death of tens of thousands and the displacement of two million people. More details are available here. (For more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69 921, Irina Novakova – Tel.: +32 229 575 17).

 

EU releases emergency funds for humanitarian assistance to Libya

The European Commission is giving €2 million in emergency funding to assist scores of Libyans who have been forced to flee their homes because of worsening violence in the country. The funding will provide essential humanitarian assistance and protection to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict. It will be used to provide food, shelter, medical assistance and psycho-social support. The approaching winter will also increase the need for warm clothing, heaters and insulated shelter. “It is clear that there are huge needs and the emergency aid we are providing can be a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable families caught up in the conflict,” said the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. A press release is available with more details. (for more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229-69921; Irina Novakova – Tel.: +32 229-57517)

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Nutreco by SHV

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of Nutreco by SHV, both of the Netherlands. Nutreco is active in the production, sale and distribution of nutritional products for fish and livestock animals, under brands such as Trouw and Skretting. SHV operates worldwide in energy distribution (SHV Energy), cash-and-carry wholesale (through Makro stores in South America), heavy lifting and transport activities (Mammoet), mechanical engineering components and industrial services (ERIKS), oil and gas (Dyas), and private equity (NPM Capital). The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because the activities of SHV and Nutreco do not overlap. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website in the public case register under the case number M.7471. (for more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.:+32 229 56182; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Mergers: Commission approves IMS Health’s acquisition of parts of Cegedim, subject to conditions

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of part of the customer relationship management and strategic data business of Cegedim S.A. of France by IMS Health of the US. The decision is conditional upon IMS’ commitment to divest parts of its primary market research business and to grant third party access to the structure underlying its sales tracking data, the so-called “brick structure”. The Commission had concerns that the proposed transaction could lead to less choice and higher prices for customers of standardised primary market research services. Also, the Commission had concerns that IMS Health could refuse to give access to its “brick structure” to its competitors. This would have prevented IMS Health’s competitors from competing effectively on the market. The commitments address these concerns. The full press release is available here. (for more information: Lucia Caudet – Tel.:+32 229 56182; Carolina Luna Gordo – Tel.: +32 229 68386)

Culture: Europe’s historical sites up for the European heritage label  

Today, sixteen historically and culturally important sites around Europe have been recommended to receive the European Heritage Label (EHL). The label celebrates the cultural diversity of the continent and highlights a sense of a shared European belonging. A series of information and educational activities related to the sites will also be organised. The sites have been selected by an independent panel set up by the European Commission, and are spread across 10 Member States. They include sites in Germany (Sites of the Peace of Westphalia in Münster and Osnabrück; Hambach Castle); Greece (the Heart of Ancient Athens);  Spain (Archive of the Crown of Aragon; Residencia de Estudiantes); France (Abbey of Cluny; Robert Schuman’s House); Hungary (Pan European Picnic Memorial Park); Italy (Museo Casa Alcide De Gasperi); Lithuania (Kaunas of 1919-1940); Poland (Union of Lublin; the May 3 Constitution of 1791; the historic Gdańsk Shipyard; Portugal (General Library of the University of Coimbra, Charter of Law of Abolition of the death Penalty); and Slovenia (Franja Partisan Hospital). The Commission will formally nominate the sites in February 2015. More information about the EHL and the sites can be found here. (for more information: Lucia Caudet  – Tel.:+32 229 56182, Mirna Bratoz – Tel.:+32 229 87278)

Read More
EuropeanParliament, Miscellaneous

EIB and Bhutan sign a Framework Agreement for capital investments

EIB and Bhutan sign a Framework Agreement for capital investments

No download formats are defined.

EIB and Bhutan sign a Framework Agreement for capital investments

Román Escolano, EIB Vice-Président and Bhutan ‘s Finance Minister, Lyonpo Namgay Dorji

08/12/2014

Rights Free

On Thursday 4 December, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union’s long-term financing institution and Kingdom of Bhutan signed a Framework Agreement under which the Bank can start financing capital investments in the country.

The agreement was signed by the EIB Vice-President with special responsibility for the Bank’s activities in Asia, Román Escolano and his Excellency Lyonpo Namgay Dorji, Finance Minister of the Royal Government of Bhutan in Thimphu, capital of Bhutan.

The EIB is the long-term lending institution of the European Union and its shareholders are the EU Member States. Its remit is to make long-term finance available for viable projects in order to contribute towards EU policy objectives. Outside the EU, the Bank support projects that contribute to economic development in countries that have signed association or cooperation agreements with the EU or its Member States.

In Asia, the European Investment Bank has so far signed Framework Agreements with Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

The signing of the Framework Agreement represents the first step of the EIB to support development projects in Bhutan. EIB is cooperating closely with the European Commission and the EEAS, in support of the EU’s policy objectives in the country. In pursuing sustainable investments in Bhutan, the Kingdom of Bhutan and EIB already discussed potential projects in the country, namely in the areas of energy and water infrastructure.

The EIB has been active in Asia since 1993 under mandates granted by the EU Council and the European Parliament. During this period the EU bank has signed contracts in the region for a total of EUR 5.6 billion. On 1 July 2014 the EU’s new External Lending Mandate, covering the period 2014-2020, entered into force. Part of the current mandate is dedicated to Asia, enabling the EIB to finance operations that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation or the development of sustainable economic infrastructure. Additionally, the EIB can also draw on its own resources under the Climate Action and Environment Facility or the Strategic Projects Facility to finance relevant projects on a selective basis.

Read More