Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 275

Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

Time to eradicate energy poverty in Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 2 luglio 2019

Around 11% of the EU population – 54 million Europeans, is affected by energy poverty. Yet, most EU countries still do not identify or quantify vulnerable energy consumers, and do not adequately target energy poverty measures.Highly concerned by energy poverty, the European Committee of the Regions has unanimously adopted the opinion ‘Multilevel governance and cross-sectoral cooperation to fight energy poverty’. It includes a series of proposals amongst which to develop further the European definition of energy poverty, targeted investments in energy efficiency, a revision of the single market that delivers low energy prices for households and time framed targets to end energy poverty.Rapporteur Kata Tüttő (HU/PES), Representative of Local Government of District 12 of Budapest, said: “Today over 50 million Europeans are forced to choose between heating and eating, living their lives in energy poverty. This has serious effects on the health and wellbeing of people and we know that women are more severely affected by it. The right to clean and affordable energy, which is also part of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, should be guaranteed to every European citizen. By leveraging investments in energy efficiency to renovate Europe’s building stock and by setting up specific social protection schemes and a properly functioning and competitive single market that delivers low energy prices for consumers, the EU will bring direct benefits and show its added value to citizens. A just energy and climate transition that does not leave anyone behind must start by eradicating energy poverty.” Basic energy prices for household consumers cannot be left to market self-regulation, Members agree. In order to limit excessive energy costs, cities and regions urge the EU to put into place legal frameworks providing Member States and local and regional authorities with the right tools to ensure affordable energy for all. In this sense, the CoR also echoes a call from the European Parliament on the European Commission to provide further guidance on when Member States are allowed to intervene in the market to avoid a ‘significant number of households’ being affected by energy poverty.Local leaders propose a moratorium on the termination or suspension of basic energy services for those citizens’ failing to pay.Cities and regions urge Member States to transpose into national laws the updated Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) by March 2020 at the latest. The new EPBD entered into force on 9 July 2018. It includes measures that will accelerate the rate of building renovation towards more energy efficient systems and strengthen the energy performance of new buildings.Yet, members recall that the renewed EPBD should be complemented with additional targets and investments to renovate Europe’s building stock without which efforts to eradicate energy poverty will be insufficient.Adequate warmth, cooling, lighting and the energy to power appliances are essential services needed to guarantee a decent standard of living and citizens’ health. Energy poverty occurs when a household suffers from a lack of adequate energy services in the home (EC).Local leaders want to see the Energy Poverty Observatory lifespan extended so to continue collecting and evaluating data as a key input for improving policies to eradicate energy poverty. Two thirds of Member States are not yet monitoring the development of energy poverty using quantitative metrics, members recall.

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Poverty gets into your skin: Lifepath issue 12

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 26 aprile 2019

The increase of socioeconomic differences may provoke biological changes that in turn translate into health inequalities. A recent study published on Aging by a group of scientists of the Lifepath project revealed that low education might have an impact on health at older age comparable to that of well-known risk factors such as obesity and alcohol abuse. According to the researchers, this effect is mediated by epigenetics modifications associated to biological aging.Poorer people are more likely to experience worse health throughout the course of their life, especially in older age. The risk of poor health is associated with a step-by-step decrease in socio-economic position, creating what has come to be known as a social gradient in health [Figure 1]. Lifepath is a European project that studied the biological processes underlying this association, in order to understand how socioeconomic conditions can “get under the skin”, as Paolo Vineis (Imperial College, London) synthesized during the final meeting of the project he coordinates, held in Geneva (CH).
Early age is a veritable game changer, and it is crucial to intervene to support poorer families and children to make them more resilient to adverse circumstances during life and to ensure a healthy ageing. “Studies from Lifepath show that children and adolescents from low socio-economic backgrounds were more likely to be overweight, having a higher Body Mass Index from as young as the age of three, then affecting health in adulthood. Biological markers in children, such as epigenetic age acceleration, were affected by the social position of the family as well, while living in disadvantaged neighbourhood negatively impacts on several cardiometabolic risk factors.
One of Lifepath’s goals was also to assess the impact of the 2008 recession in Europe. Lifepath researchers completed a study of health inequalities in 27 European countries that included the period of the 2008 banking crisis. “Most European countries have experienced many decades of mortality decline and the evidence suggests this was not derailed by the recession”, comments Johan Mackenbach (Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam). “This study likely reflects a level of resilience in most European countries built up through the provision of financially accessible health care and social support systems. However, mortality from smoking-related causes increased for younger less educated women and mortality from alcohol-related causes went up among less educated men and women”
Studies from Lifepath can be very useful to understand the real causes and biological mechanisms of growing health inequalities affecting our societies, but can also give useful suggestions to policy makers about timing of interventions in order to break the intergenerational transmission of health injustice”, says Michael Marmot (UCL, London). “Undoubtedly, the effects of education and social support in early life is as crucial as interventions on life style factors and on social conditions in adulthood”.

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Healthcare, Poverty, and Education are Closely Linked – How Do We Move Forward?

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 19 gennaio 2018

london-centralLondon. According to Dr. Charles (Chuck) Basch, author of Healthier Students Are Better Learners, health issues, which disproportionately plague low-income urban minority youth, play a major role in limiting students motivation and ability to learn.It is estimated that 800 million people are spending at least 10 percent of their household budget on out-of-pocket health care expenses, and nearly 100 million people are being pushed into extreme poverty each year due to health care costs. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 aims to achieve Universal Healthcare for all people by 2030.According to Kara Hanson, Professor of Health System Economics at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, there are two main challenges for healthcare in low and middle-income countries. The first challenge is the “growing burden of non-communicable diseases.” Hansen says that “more than half of the disease burden in lower-middle income countries is due to non-communicable diseases, and even in the lowest income countries, non-communicable diseases are responsible for one-third of the disease burden.”The Millennial Bloggers can be found all around the world. They are innovators and are dedicated to education; their merit can be seen throughout their efforts to educate and lead.“There are so many challenges confronting humanity that we need to be deploying capital differently,” says Bonnie Chiu who argues that “impact investing is the key to funding universal access to healthcare.” A Columbia University study found that in 2008, the average doctor in the US earned $186,582, while in Canada, a country with higher healthcare satisfaction, the average doctor earns $125,000. “Broadening taxation and reducing spending would be ideal ways to balance the books,” says Jacob Navarette. “A truly modern health system needs to focus on enabling choice within itself,” notes James Kernochan.The Millennial Bloggers are Alusine Barrie, Sajia Darwish, James Kernochan, Kamna Kathuria, Jacob Deleon Navarrete, Reetta Heiskanen, Shay Wright, Isadora Baum, Wilson Carter III, Francisco Hernandez, Erin Farley, Dominique Alyssa Dryding, Harry Glass, Harmony Siganporia and Bonnie Chiu.CMRubinWorld launched in 2010 to explore what kind of education would prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing globalized world. Its award-winning series, The Global Search for Education, is a celebrated trailblazer in the renaissance of the 21st century, and occupies a special place in the pulse of key issues facing every nation and the collective future of all children. It connects today’s top thought leaders with a diverse global audience of parents, students and educators. Its highly readable platform allows for discourse concerning our highest ideals and the sustainable solutions we must engineer to achieve them. C. M. Rubin has produced over 600 interviews and articles discussing an expansive array of topics under a singular vision: when it comes to the future of children, there is always more work to be done.

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Almost 23 million children in the EU are poor

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 1 dicembre 2016

europeMore women and men are living on the edge of poverty and social exclusion today compared to 2010, according to a new study by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). Young people, lone parents, migrants, people with disabilities and families with three or more children are most at risk of poverty.
Today, almost 23 million children in the EU grow up in poverty. There is also clear evidence that a heavy dependence on a father’s income in many families increases the risk of poverty and insecurity. Especially when unexpected life events occur, such as job loss, family break-up, serious illness or even death. The study shows that if a father were to lose his job, 70 % of couples with children would fall into poverty.“We need to ensure better career options for women, fair wages and better social systems, such as pension schemes that consider the different needs and challenges women and men face. These will help protect not only women against poverty, but also the whole family, including men and children”, said Virginija Langbakk, EIGE’s Director.
Employment is crucial in safeguarding people against poverty, however a job is not always enough. A third (36 %) of men and a quarter (25 %) of women who are poor are employed. Many working men live in poor households because their wives or partners are out of the labour market or earn very low income. Women with children have a relatively low employment rate. Only half (55 %) of women with three or more children have a job. With the arrival of each additional child, the economic independence of women shrinks. The need to care for children, parents or sick and disabled relatives keeps many women out of paid work and this has life-long consequences for their career, financial situation and ultimately on pensions.‘In an inclusive society, people’s well-being and life chances should not be pre-determined by their gender or other social factors. Nor should children create a poverty risk’ said Virginija Langbakk.

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80% of Roma are at risk of poverty, new survey finds

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 30 novembre 2016

povertyWidespread deprivation is destroying Roma lives. Families are living excluded from society in shocking conditions, while children with little education face bleak prospects for the future, a new report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. The report analyses the gaps in Roma inclusion around the EU to guide Member States seeking to improve their integration policies.
“Our manifest inability in Europe to honour the human rights of our Roma communities is unacceptable. The levels of deprivation, marginalisation, and discrimination of Europe’s largest minority is a grave failure of law and policy in the EU and its Member States,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “The publication of these findings provides an opportunity to galvanise policy makers into action and focus resources on redressing this intolerable situation.”The Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II): Roma – selected findings report shows that:
80% of Roma interviewed are at risk of poverty compared with an EU average of 17%. 30% live in households with no tap water and 46% have no indoor toilet, shower or bathroom.
30% of Roma children live in households where someone went to bed hungry at least once in the previous month.
53% of young Roma children attend early childhood education, often less than half the proportion of children their age from the general population in the same country.
Only 30% of the Roma surveyed are in paid work, compared with the average EU employment rate for 2015 of 70%.
41% of Roma feel they have been discriminated against over the past 5 years in everyday situations such as looking for work, at work, housing, health and education.
82% of Roma are unaware of organisations offering support to victims of discrimination. The survey findings indicate that despite Member States’ efforts, they are still falling short of most of their integration targets, a key element of the EU’s 2011 National Roma Integration Strategies Framework. The results underline the need for:
early childhood learning support and integrated schooling
better employment opportunities and greater social protection to eradicate poverty
targeted education and training to specifically help Roma youths and Roma women in their transition from primary to secondary education, and thereafter find work.
The report is based on a survey that collected information in nine EU Member States, derived from nearly 8,000 face-to-face interviews with Roma. It is part of the Agency’s Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS II), which collected data on immigrants and ethnic minorities’ discrimination and victimisation experiences and income and living conditions in all 28 EU Member States. (foto: poverty)

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There is a growing consensus that current narratives around poverty have failed and that a new approach is needed to create a good society

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 28 ottobre 2016

londraLondra. One that requires collective action from government, charities, business and communities and which is willing to try new ways of working. This was the message to come out of an event and special report, organised by the Webb Memorial Trust.
Andrew Curtis, senior programme manager at Oxfam, said: “There is growing consensus that the narratives used in the third sector, however well-meaning and right, have been rejected. Poverty is a term that is politically divisive, creates stigma and is highly contested to the point of still having to persuade people that poverty exists in the UK. We need to create a new way of speaking, to speak with those directly affected not for them, and we need to speak louder.” Olivia Bailey, research director at the Fabian Society, said: “Language matters. Talking about poverty describes the problem but it doesn’t generate enthusiasm for solutions. We need to find a new framework that is a rallying point for people to get behind a raft of policies. The American Dream tapped into that aspiration. We should think about the ‘British Promise’, which should be the security to know if you need help it is there.” Dr Michael Orton, Warwick University Institute for Employment Research, said: “A shared vision means not working in silos. It means consensus building. Working together should be at the core of what we do. Instead of launching into ideological deconstructions of that vision, we should [each] focus on the bits that we can work with.”Rys Farthing, a social policy analyst who specialises in youth and poverty, said: “Our ways of trying to create a world without poverty have been tried and tested and got us this far. We need to try every tactic we can think of to keep winning. Working with children and young people as a solution is a strategy we haven’t tried much yet. It might be a way to find some new pathways to progress.”

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Poverty and Inequalities on the RiseJust Social Models needed as the solution

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 17 febbraio 2015

povertyA study of the impact of the European crisis and austerity on people, with a special focus on Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and SpainSpeakers include: Antonio Tajani (European Parliament Vice-president, EPP), David-Maria Sassoli (European Parliament Vice-president, S&D), Lieve Fransen (Director for Social Policies & EU2020 at the EU Commission, Jorge Nuño Mayer (Caritas Europa Secretary General), Walter Nanni (Head of Caritas Italiana Research Unit). Tiziana Ciampolini (Head of Caritas Torino Observatory). Moderator: Susanna Petruni (TG1 RAI Vice-director).In addition, representatives from Caritas Greece, Caritas Italy and Caritas Spain will present the situation in their countries, based on their work on grass-root level with the poor and unemployed.
The report, commissioned by Caritas Europa and Caritas organisations in 7 EU Member States, is the third annual edition in a series of in-depth examination on the impact that current policies are having on people in the EU countries worst affected by the economic crisis. It describes the human impacts of the crisis and of austerity policies, and documents the growing number of people struggling with poverty and inequalities.The Report also informs on measures undertaken by the EU and national authorities and on the impact of the “Troika Programmes”. Furthermore, it shows how the crisis has affected access to social services and healthcare, and deepened the difficult situation of children and their families.The last two editions of the Crisis Monitoring Report were well received and acknowledged by many European stakeholders; institutions, civil society organisations and media. (Photo: poverty)

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Poverty and Inequalities on the Rise Just Social Models needed as the solution

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 14 febbraio 2015

povertyA study of the impact of the European crisis and austerity on people, with a special focus on Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain. Speakers include: Antonio Tajani (European Parliament Vice-president, EPP), David-Maria Sassoli (European Parliament Vice-president, S&D), Lieve Fransen (Director for Social Policies & EU2020 at the EU Commission, Jorge Nuño Mayer (Caritas Europa Secretary General), Walter Nanni (Head of Caritas Italiana Research Unit). Tiziana Ciampolini (Head of Caritas Torino Observatory). Moderator: Susanna Petruni (TG1 RAI Vice-director).In addition, representatives from Caritas Greece, Caritas Italy and Caritas Spain will present the situation in their countries, based on their work on grass-root level with the poor and unemployed.
The report, commissioned by Caritas Europa and Caritas organisations in 7 EU Member States, is the third annual edition in a series of in-depth examination on the impact that current policies are having on people in the EU countries worst affected by the economic crisis. It describes the human impacts of the crisis and of austerity policies, and documents the growing number of people struggling with poverty and inequalities.The Report also informs on measures undertaken by the EU and national authorities and on the impact of the “Troika Programmes”. Furthermore, it shows how the crisis has affected access to social services and healthcare, and deepened the difficult situation of children and their families.The last two editions of the Crisis Monitoring Report were well received and acknowledged by many European stakeholders; institutions, civil society organisations and media. (Photo. Poverty)

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Strong families are our best defence against poverty

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 14 settembre 2014

(FILES) Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez MaradiaAround 150 people from the Vatican, Caritas organisations, pontifical universities, religious congregations and Italian dioceses will gather in Rome on 18th September to discuss “The Family: a resource to overcome the crisis.” The outcome of the meeting will form a basis for proposals to the upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly Synod of Bishops on the family held at the Vatican.
Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, will open the meeting. He said, “The economic crisis has increased inequality and exclusion. With so many challenges, our blood families, our global human family and our spiritual family have become more important than ever in ensuring we don’t fall into loneliness and desperation. Where economic and social systems fail, the solidarity and protection of families are the best defence against poverty.”
The financial crisis which started in 2008 has pushed millions of families into poverty and left the world more unequal than ever. In many countries there are fewer jobs and families even in wealthier countries are finding it increasingly hard to feed themselves.
The seminar will look at the psychological effects of the economic crisis, migration and the pastoral and spiritual approaches for facing the challenges of the crisis, among other things.
Caritas organisations in many countries offer a variety of services such as food and clothes banks, counselling, loans, job training, healthcare and lodging to help people to cope with the crisis.
The meeting will look at how Caritas as the charitable arm of the Church can work through families to better promote development.
Around 150 people from the Vatican, Caritas organisations, pontifical universities, religious congregations and Italian dioceses will gather in Rome on 18th September to discuss “The Family: a resource to overcome the crisis.”
The outcome of the meeting will form a basis for proposals to the upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly Synod of Bishops on the family held at the Vatican.
Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, president of Caritas Internationalis, will open the meeting. He said, “The economic crisis has increased inequality and exclusion. With so many challenges, our blood families, our global human family and our spiritual family have become more important than ever in ensuring we don’t fall into loneliness and desperation. Where economic and social systems fail, the solidarity and protection of families are the best defence against poverty.”
The financial crisis which started in 2008 has pushed millions of families into poverty and left the world more unequal than ever. In many countries there are fewer jobs and families even in wealthier countries are finding it increasingly hard to feed themselves.
The seminar will look at the psychological effects of the economic crisis, migration and the pastoral and spiritual approaches for facing the challenges of the crisis, among other things.
Caritas organisations in many countries offer a variety of services such as food and clothes banks, counselling, loans, job training, healthcare and lodging to help people to cope with the crisis.

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Bishops call for leaders of hope

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 17 gennaio 2014

gaza-mapAs bishops from Europe, South Africa and North America we came to the Holy Land to pray with and support the Christian community and the cause of peace. In Gaza we witnessed the deep poverty of the people, and the courageous presence of the small and vulnerable Christian communities there.Gaza is a man-made disaster, a shocking scandal, an injustice that cries out to the human community for a resolution. We call upon political leaders to improve the humanitarian situation of the people in Gaza, assuring access to the basic necessities for a dignified human life, the possibilities for economic development, and freedom of movement.In the seemingly hopeless situation of Gaza, we met people of hope. We were encouraged by our visit to tiny Christian communities, which day after day, through many institutions, reach out with compassion to the poorest of the poor, both Muslim and Christian. We continue to pray for and support the priests, religious and laypeople working in Gaza. They exercise a ministry of presence, care for disabled children and the elderly, and teach the young.Their testimony of faith, hope and love gave us hope. This is precisely the hope needed at this moment to bring peace, a peace that can only be built on justice and equity for both peoples. Palestinians and Israelis desperately need this peace. For example, in the Cremisan valley the route of the security barrier threatens the agricultural land held for generations by 58 Christian families. The current peace talks come at a critical time. Now is the time to ensure that the aspirations for justice of both sides are fulfilled.We urge public officials to become leaders of hope, not people of obstruction. We call upon them to listen to the words of Pope Francis, who recently said to the Diplomatic Corps: “The resumption of peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians is a positive sign, and I express my hope that both parties will resolve, with the support of the international community, to take courageous decisions aimed at finding a just and lasting solution to a conflict which urgently needs to end” (13 January, 2014).As we leave the Holy Land, the bishops and people of the local Church remain in our hearts. They are not alone. Together with them we are people of hope. We pray that the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land will reinforce hope in the region. We believe a lasting peace is possible.

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Conference of European Churches wants lending to be responsible

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 4 dicembre 2013

Schengen Agreement

Schengen Agreement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is urging lenders to act in a responsible way to ensure that debts can be repaid in a reasonable time period during a time when it said the unemployment of you people has become a “scandal”.”In the past, debt was seen as something to be ashamed of but now it has become a way of life for both governments and individuals, exacerbated by the fear of social exclusion,” the Governing Board of CEC said in a statement.”European churches are aware that poverty is a material deprivation and is also a threat to human dignity. It affects the self-understanding of people as created in God’s image and violates a person’s dignity,” the Governing Board which met from November 26-29 said in a statement on December 2.”The unemployment of young people in Europe has become a scandal,” the Board said noting discussions on this at other meetings of CEC.It noted that at the end of 2013 youth unemployment in the 28 nations of the European Union stood above 23.5 percent up by 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier.”But huge differences exist and there is still a growing divergence: In Germany (7.7 percent) and Austria (8.7 percent) youth unemployment is quite low, but in Spain (56.5 percent) and Greece (57.3 percent) even the official data are alarming,” said CEC.”This situation affects not only young people’s social situation and income; it robs them of the essence of their lives. The household incomes of families, employment rates and poverty percentages – the divergences in Europe are growing and the gap between so-called Nordic and the South and countries on the peripheries is deepening.””CEC said that in next year’s European Parliamentary elections, “There should be European debates on the reduction of poverty, inequality and divergences in Europe.””They must reflect solidarity with the common European good, the values for which CEC stands,” the CEC Governing Board said. It noted that poverty is one aspect of social exclusion and the prevention of full participation in daily life.”There should be European debates on the reduction of poverty, inequality and divergences in Europe. They must reflect solidarity with the common European good, the values for which CEC stands,” the CEC Governing Board said.

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Notre Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 23 novembre 2013

Jacques Delors

Jacques Delors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jacques Delors Institute publishes a study commissioned by the Federal Chancellery of Austria on the impact of the reforms currently implemented or mooted on national welfare states in the EMU.
As Jacques Delors underlines in the foreword of this study, national welfare states, to which Europe’s citizens feel immensely attached, play a central role in EU countries whatever the differences there may be among the member states. Even though the welfare state was already facing a dual challenge in terms both of funding and of effectiveness before 2007, the current crisis has only worsened the tension weighing down on welfare states.The economic downturn has translated into a significant rise of unemployment and poverty levels, in particular in the euro area periphery, whereas growing pressure to consolidate national budgets is forcing significant cuts in social spending. At the same time, the crisis has led to a major reform of the European economic governance and the current debate suggests deepening the process of integration within the euro area in the fiscal, economic, banking and political fields.In the first part of this study, Sofia Fernandes and Kristina Maslauskaite present an overview of the state of ”Social Europe” today with an emphasis on the consequences of the new economic governance on national employment and social policies and the impact of the current crisis on national welfare states. In the second part of the study, the authors propose three possible scenarios for EMU’s future. These scenarios are built on different assumptions and they include a set of initiatives in the fields of the fiscal, economic, banking and political union as well as EMU’s social dimension. The authors assess each scenario on the basis of their main consequences for the euro area economy and for national welfare states from core and peripheral member states.

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World Growth Lauds President Yudhoyono’s Support for Palm Oil Industry

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 23 febbraio 2012

oil palms in malaysia

Image via Wikipedia

Melbourne – World Growth today fully commended recent remarks by Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for acting decisively to protect Indonesia’s multi-billion dollar palm oil industry. The Indonesian palm oil industry, as well as that of Malaysia, have come under attack from governments and NGOs with wild claims of tropical rainforest destruction, destruction of the orang-utan and unsustainable business practices. World Growth Chairman Ambassador Oxley made the following statement: “The President’s remarks to Jakarta’s diplomatic corps show strong government support for an industry which it believes is sustainable. This is a direct message to governments represented at the gathering that activities to limit the Indonesian palm oil industry are frowned upon by Indonesia.
“The global campaign by EU-funded NGOs against South East Asia palm oil producers is intentionally designed to drive away customers and erect barriers to prevent market access. Examples of this include European import restrictions on Indonesian palm oil biofuel that are discriminatory and WTO inconsistent. Other members of the WTO, namely Brazil, Malaysia and the United States have already warned about discriminatory EU restrictions on biofuel imports.
“European Governments are now also pushing discriminatory tariffs to favour certain products, which are certified as sustainable by NGOs. There is growing concern in the international trade community with these anti-free trade strategies to use sustainability systems to restrict trade. There is also concern about the tactics used to pressure business and governments to adopt them. Leading this effort is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
“The Indonesian Government should be commended for developing its own system to verify the sustainability of Indonesian palm oil. A government-sponsored system gives consumers confidence in the sustainability of the product it is buying. The United States Government uses a similar approach to verify the health and safety of its beef exports.
World Growth also cited ample research showing that claims used by NGOs to push their global agenda that palm oil is a leading driver of tropical rainforest destruction in South East Asia are incorrect. Here are the facts:
– The palm oil industry in South East Asia contributed to only 3 per cent of total deforestation between 1990 and 2005 according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation;
– The palm oil plantations occupy less than 1 per cent of the agriculture land globally, while accounting for more than a third of the global trade in vegetable oils;
– The industry is a significant employer, with more than 600,000 Malaysians and over 1 million Indonesians employed directly by the industry and downstream sectors;
– Malaysia is a carbon sink, sequestering more than 220 million tonnes per year, to which the palm oil industry is an important contributor; and
– Both Malaysia and Indonesia are firmly committed to forest conservation, maintaining pledges to conserve more than 50 and 25 per cent of their forests, respectively.
To speak with World Growth’s experts or find out more about its work, please email media@worldgrowth.org or call +1-866-467-7200.
World Growth is an international non-governmental organization established to expand the research, information, advocacy, and other resources to improve the economic conditions and living standards in developing and transitional countries. At World Growth, we embrace the age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and create jobs and opportunities. World Growth supports the production of palm oil and the use of forestry as a means to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. World Growth believes a robust cultivation of palm oil and forestry provides an effective means of environmental stewardship that can serve as the catalyst for increasing social and economic development. For more information on World Growth, visit http://www.worldgrowth.org.

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Trade War Looms With Failure of the Kyoto Protocol blockquote

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 6 dicembre 2011

Durban, South Africa – Global trade expert, World Growth Chairman Ambassador Alan Oxley, a former Ambassador to and Chairman of the GATT, warned today that if the imminent failure of the Kyoto Protocol drives the EU to expand use of climate change trade barriers, it could trigger a trade war in which it could be the major loser. Ambassador Oxley’s comments came following a special seminar on Trade and Climate Change today in Durban hosted by the WTO, South African Department of Trade and Industry and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), where World Growth released a new report, “Avoiding Green Protectionism.” The report demonstrates that if officials and negotiators ensured measures they adopted did not impede free markets, they would not need to resort to growth-sapping unilateral trade barriers.
Ambassador Oxley also pointed out airline carbon taxes are not the first EU carbon trade barrier – the EU is already imposing restrictions on imports of biofuels and now timber products. Other members of the WTO, namely Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States have already complained about discriminatory EU restrictions on biofuel imports, noted Ambassador Oxley.“And now Canada’s former Ambassador to the WTO, John Weekes, has called for Canada to file a legal complaint against the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive on similar grounds.“The decade of campaigning for the Kyoto Protocol emboldened environmental groups like Greenpeace and WWF to push for anti-dumping penalties to restrict imports of timber products and now biofuels, such as palm oil.“The illegal logging trade bans are ugly, blunt tools and the wrong response – the incidence of illegal logging worldwide is small and declining. These bans are being promoted by Green groups as part of their global campaign to restrict commercial forestry.“The resort to Green Protectionism is as futile as the effort to secure global support for the cut in emissions mandated in the Kyoto Protocol. If environmental officials had paid attention to this simple fact when the Protocol was negotiated, there might today be on the table the basis for global agreement to reduce emissions which most countries could support.”
World Growth is an international non-governmental organization established to expand the research, information, advocacy, and other resources to improve the economic conditions and living standards in developing and transitional countries. At World Growth, we embrace the age of globalization and the power of free trade to eradicate poverty and create jobs and opportunities. World Growth supports the production of palm oil and the use of forestry as a means to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. World Growth believes a robust cultivation of palm oil and forestry provides an effective means of environmental stewardship that can serve as the catalyst for increasing social and economic development. For more information on World Growth, visit http://www.worldgrowth.org.

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Match Against Poverty

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 29 settembre 2011

Ronaldo with Real Madrid.

Image via Wikipedia

Geneva/Hamburg Football stars Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane announced today that the ninth annual Match Against Poverty will take place in Hamburg, Germany on 13 December 2011, with most of the proceeds going towards addressing the ongoing food crisis in the Horn of Africa. As Goodwill Ambassadors for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ronaldo and Zidane will gather a team of other famous soccer players for a friendly game against an all-star side from German team Hamburger Sport-Verein (HSV). HSV is one of Germany’s oldest and most successful clubs, and the only one to have consistently played in the country’s football league, the Bundesliga, since it was founded in 1963. The 57,000 tickets for the match at the club’s Imtech Arena go on sale today. The annual Match Against Poverty seeks to mobilize the public to fight against poverty and promote action on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) -eight internationally-agreed goals which seek to end extreme poverty worldwide by 2015.
Football legends Ronaldo and Zidane have been the driving force behind the Match Against Poverty since its inception in 2003. Two thirds of the match proceeds will be used to bolster humanitarian and recovery activities in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The UN is working in these countries to provide emergency food aid, water, shelter and health services, while working on longer term development plans.
HSV will donate the remaining 33 percent of the event’s profits to the club’s initiative, Der Hamburger Weg (The Hamburg Way), to promote corporate social responsibility among its sponsors/partners, and to support diverse community development projects focused on sports, youth, education and protection of the environment.
Carl-Edgar Jarchow, chairman of HSV, said the entire team is honoured to be a part of this important event. “We are glad to join in UNDP’s efforts against poverty this year. Football is a great way to get people together for a good cause,” Jarchow said. “The players are also really excited to be playing against legendary champions such as Zidane and Ronaldo.”
Proceeds from the previous eight Matches Against Poverty have benefited projects in more than 27 developing countries, including recent recovery efforts in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods.
As in past years, the Match is supported by football’s governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). The Match will take place at the Imtech Arena from 19:30 local time. Ticket prices range from 8 Euros up to 20 Euros and will be available as of October 4 at http://www.hsv.de/ticket To donate to the Horn of Africa crisis, visit: http://www.undp.org/hornofafrica (map)

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Consultation on Poverty

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 10 novembre 2010

Budapest.  In the opening speech of the conference H.E. Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, President of CEC, stressed that: ‘”Economic liberalism that was self regulatory before, has arrived at the limit of its expression… There is a crisis of values that places man in front of his own responsibilities, as a person in relation and as a person in relationship.” Churches cannot stand outside of this process, there is active role that churches have to undertake in responding to challenges coming to us from the society we are living in. “We have to promote the development of a new lifestyle, while getting rid of the pressures of the economy and consumerism; we must focus on an ethics of responsibility for our life, conducive to sustainable development.  Faith and works are intimately related,” underlined Metropolitan Emmanuel.  During its opening day, the conference was adressed by Mr Imre Nyitrai, Deputy State Secretary in the Ministery of National Resouces of the Hungarian government. In his presentation, he outlined the strategy of the Hungarian government for addresing poverty. Mr. Nyitrai stressed that there is a close link between employment and poverty. “Particular attention has to be given to child poverty and to do all that is possible to stop the intergenerational transfer of poverty.”  A strong social engagement of the churches is expected. “In particular in contributing to social services, in helping victims of natural disasters and in providing necessary education,” emphasised Mr Nyitrai.
In the theological elaboration of the theme of the conference, Prof. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Univertsity of Bamberg, concluded: “It is not only the Bible but also the teachings and great traditions of our churches that speak a clear language concerning the very moral basis of economic activity. The goal of economy is for a just participation for all members of society.”

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Poverty and social exclusion

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 3 ottobre 2010

‘Do not deny justice to your poor people’ is the title of a report presented today in the European Parliament by the main European Churches and their organisations. The text contains 14 political recommendations addressed to the EU and the Member States, which when implemented would ensure poverty in Europe would be drastically reduced. It was presented on the occasion of a conference that was opened by Mr Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, and attended by 150 participants. The text highlights the common experience and convictions of Churches, Caritas and Eurodiaconia; it analyses the various aspects, causes and effects of poverty; Finally, it presents the joint recommendations of Caritas Europa, the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches (CSC of CEC), the Secretariat of COMECE and of Eurodiaconia to the European Union institutions and to the Member States for a stronger social Europe. MEPs from the four main political groups as well as representatives of the EU Commission and of the Belgian EU presidency reacted positively to the proposals. After having published this reflection on poverty and elaborating joint recommendations, the four Christian organisations now offer EU policy makers permanent cooperation in order to reach the ambitious but necessary target of eradicating poverty on our continent.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 120 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 associated organisations. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg. The Church and Society Commission of CEC links member churches and associated organisations of CEC with the European Union’s institutions, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, NATO and the UN (on European matters). Its task is to help the churches study church and society questions from a theological and social-ethical perspective, especially those with a European dimension, and to represent common positions of the member churches in their relations with political institutions working in Europe.

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Combat poverty with the EU

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 11 luglio 2010

In the context of the European Year 2010 for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches (CSC of CEC) and the Secretariat of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) will meet with representatives of the European Commission to discuss EU’s policies to combat poverty and social exclusion. The churches in Europe will plead for a stronger political commitment of the European Union and its Member States to work towards a society that enables everyone to live in dignity.  In June 2010, the European Council agreed on a poverty and social exclusion target of lifting 20 million people out of poverty by 2020. However, Member States have been left free to set their own national targets on the basis of the most appropriate indicators, taking into account their national circumstances and priorities. If this political decision is a good step in the direction of the reduction of poverty and social exclusion, then the lack of political incentives for Member States might thwart the practical implementation of this strategy Keynote speakers at the Dialogue Seminar are the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Mr László Andor, Archbishop em. Jukka Paarma from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, Bishop Giuseppe Merisi, Bishop of Lodi and President of Caritas Italia and Philippe Courard, Belgium Secretary of State for Social Inclusion and Combat against Poverty (tbc.).  Dialogue Seminars have a longstanding tradition in the cooperation between the European Commission and the Churches in Europe. Since their beginning in the early 1990s, they have proved to be a significant discussion forum for matters of common concern. They represent an important element of the open, transparent and regular dialogue between the European Commission and the Churches in Europe.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 120 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 associated organisations. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg. The Church and Society Commission of CEC links member churches and associated organisations of CEC with the European Union’s institutions, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, NATO and the UN (on European matters). Its task is to help the churches study church and society questions from a theological and social-ethical perspective, especially those with a European dimension, and to represent common positions of the member churches in their relations with political institutions working in Europe.

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South Africa: Sports Hope to Poor Communities

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 13 giugno 2010

Cape Town HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and football icon Zinédine Zidane, in his capacity as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), visited today a sports community center in the municipality of Gugulethu in Cape Town, South Africa. The Ikhaya Lemidadlo Sport for Development is a community center for sports activities and youth education in the municipality of Gugulethu, 14 km from Cape Town. The initiative, which was launched in 2009, resulted from a partnership between the Principality of Monaco, UNDP, the World Alliance of Cities against Poverty network  and the City of Cape Town. The Prince and Zidane were accompanied by Ms Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape, Daniel Plato, Mayor of Cape Town, and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development, Wilfried Lemke. The population of Gugulethu (80,000) is very young (60% under 25) and the area is particularly poor. The first beneficiaries are local children and young teenagers. Unemployed youth between the ages of 18 and 25 were identified and trained as sport coordinators. They in turn are training younger children. About 1,200 children participated in a variety of events including soccer, softball, athletics, and general recreational activities. The programme is expected to be replicated as a model in other cities across Africa.
UNDP is the UN’s global network to help people meet their development needs and build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working as a trusted partner with Governments, civil society and the private sector to help them build their own solutions to global and national development challenges. Further information can be found at http://www.undp.org

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Extreme Poverty in Africa

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 2 maggio 2010

New York. UNDP Chief Helen Clark begins a four-country tour of Africa tomorrow to highlight progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the run up to the MDGs Summit in September 2010. She will travel to Mali, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and South Africa. Helen Clark will meet with Heads of State and Ministers, as well as touch base with women leaders and members of civil society, and visit development projects. In Mali, she will also tour the historic city of Timbuktu and meet with women mango farmers. In Burkina Faso, she will tour a project which facilitates access to energy for rural women, and will visit a centre for the reintegration of sex workers.  In Tanzania, Helen Clark will travel to Zanzibar to visit the Jozani Forest, protected in 2007, and tour the National Electoral Commission in Dar es Salaam to speak with newly-registered voters. In South Africa, she will kick off a promotional pre-World Cup MDGs football match in Pretoria with young girls and boys who are part of a sport and development project. While Sub-Saharan Africa remains the developing region with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty, poverty rates have dropped rapidly since 1990, hovering around 46 percent in 2008. The financial and economic crisis has slowed that progress, however, over the past year. Sub-Saharan Africa has also succeeded in reducing by 17.4 percent, between 2001 and 2008, the number of adults and children newly infected by HIV and AIDS, and access to anti-retroviral therapy has been expanded in many countries. The region continues to show overall progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Gender parity in primary education will be achieved in most countries in Africa by 2015. The number of seats held by women in parliament has increased in at least 31 countries. Many individual countries around the region have recorded impressive gains on specific Goals. Ethiopia has tripled its net primary school enrolment ratio since 1990. In Malawi and Niger, the under-five mortality rate has fallen by at least 40 percent since 1990. In 2008, Rwanda elected a majority of women, 56 percent, to its lower chamber of parliament – the highest level of female representation of any country in the world. South Africa successfully halved the proportion of people lacking access to safe water. In 2007, about 85 per cent of the population had access to safe drinking water In spite of these successes, major challenges remain. Progress on fighting hunger has been slow, although the proportion of undernourished people fell from 32 percent of the population in 1990-92 to 29 percent in 2008. Deforestation continues to be a worry, with a loss of forest cover from 2000-2005 of 4.1 percent. Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest emitter of carbon dioxide, but it stands to be the region most affected by climate change, compounding existing environmental and energy challenges and threatening to undo progress towards the MDGs, unless there is more global action on adaptation and mitigation. There has been little  advance on reducing maternal mortality in the region, with the number of deaths out of 100,000 births dropping from 920 in 1990 to 900 in 2005. Earlier this week, Helen Clark met with G8 Development Ministers in Halifax, Canada, to discuss the September MDGs Summit and the need to re-energize the global MDGs effort with a concrete action plan to accelerate progress. She stressed the importance of key ingredients to success, including inclusive economic growth, strong national leadership, public investment, social protection, access to energy, and investing in women and girls (Read Helen Clark’s speech at the G8 ministers meeting).

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