Brussels News

European Commission Daily News 22nd Ma

Safe and resilient forests: Commission works for wildfire prevention in Europe and globally

Today, following the International Day of Forests, the Commission has published new guidelines to facilitate a better understanding of land-based wildfire prevention and effective responses. They point towards prevention measures that can be taken through governance, planning and forest management, and outline how EU Member States can access EU funding for wildfire resilience and work together at EU level. In recent years, the impact of wildfires on people and nature has increased. The new guidance looks at interconnected factors behind this increase, and provides an overview of existing principles and experiences on managing landscapes, forests and woodlands that can save lives. The European Green Deal announced a new EU Forest Strategy for 2021 to ensure effective afforestation, and forest preservation and restoration in Europe. This will help to reduce the incidence and extent of wildfires. The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 also aims to contribute to the EU and its Member States being adequately equipped to prevent and respond to major wildfires, which seriously damage forest biodiversity. The new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change puts emphasis on the need to strengthen the resilience of forests and includes several actions to support this objective. In addition, the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has developed country profiles under the Global Wildfire Information System (GWIS) to support wildfire management and disaster risk reduction globally and in particular in Latin America and the Caribbean. This work is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to support conservation and sustainable development of Amazon forests. There are at present more than 50 EU programmes on this regional priority, and the new budget for global Europe will also cover a specific Amazon strategy, coordinated with EU Member States. Read the JRC press release here. 

Long-term vision for rural areas: Vice-President Šuica and Commissioner Wojciechowski open ‘Rural Vision Week’

Today is the first day of Rural Vision Week, dedicated to imagining the future of Europe’s rural areas. Organised by the European Network of Rural Development, in close co-operation with the European Commission, the event will explore stakeholders’ aspirations for rural areas, the various challenges and opportunities rural areas face today and expect in the future. The event includes workshops on a fair and green transition, strengthening urban-rural partnerships, the role of farming, food production and digital innovations in rural areas, and finding smart solutions to demographic change.  Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica and Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, will participate in the opening session alongside the Portuguese Minister of Agriculture, Maria do Céu Antunes. Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira will participate in the high-level closing plenary on Friday 26 March. This event and its outcomes will feed into the Commission’s long-term vision for rural areas Communication to be published mid-2021. The Communication will draw attention to the specific needs of rural areas and commit to new actions to mobilise European, national, regional and local authorities and stakeholders to act on the needs and aspirations of rural areas and their residents. The results of the public consultation on the vision are available here. More information on the agenda here

World Water Day: Joint Statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius  

On World Water Day 2021, we celebrate all of the different ways in which water benefits our lives. We resolve to value water properly and safeguard it effectively for everyone. This year’s theme focuses on the ‘value of water’. Access to drinking water and sanitation are basic human needs and rights, and are fundamental for human dignity. At the same time, water is a shared resource, a critical ecosystem, and its use underpins various sectors of the economy. Together we must give water its true value, safeguarding this most precious of natural resources for everyone. Let’s make every drop count. A joint statement by the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius on the occasion of the World Water Day is available here

Climate diplomacy: EU, China and Canada co-convene the 5th Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA)

Tomorrow, Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Mr Huang Runqiu, China’s Minister for Ecology and Environment, and Mr Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister for Environment and Climate Change, will co-convene the 5th session of the Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA). The annual meeting, hosted this year by China, will be held virtually for the second time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MoCA is the first major ministerial meeting of the year on international climate action, and will be an important stepping stone towards the COP26 in November. Discussions will focus on how to enhance global ambition on emission reductions, while supporting cooperation and solidarity between the Parties. It is also an important forum for understanding country-specific challenges and opportunities in implementing low-carbon, resilient and sustainable policies and measures in a green recovery world. Participants will include Ministers from G20 countries and other key parties in the UN climate negotiations. The EU will urge its international partners to follow its commitment to net zero emissions by mid-century and undertake significant emission cuts by 2030 to put their countries on a pathway to uphold their Paris Agreement commitments. 

Read the European Commission Daily News in full here.

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