Towards better management of water, energy and land: Commissioner Piebalgs welcomes publication of European Report on Development
Andris Piebalgs has welcomed the European Report on Development 2011/2012, which will be presented today in Brussels. Funded by the European Commission and seven Member States, this annual independent report sheds light on the most important development concerns from a European perspective. This third edition examines the pressing issue of water, energy and land constraints and how they interrelate. It looks at how these resources can be managed effectively with the ultimate aim of promoting growth that is both socially inclusive and sustainable.
Commissioner Piebalgs commented: "This report is particularly relevant and timely ahead of the UN Rio+20 conference and in the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All. Water, energy and land are crucial resources for development and human well-being and scarcity cannot be overcome by piecemeal actions. Agriculture and energy are already among the Commission's development priorities as set out in our Agenda for Change, and will form a key part of our effort to boost the impact and effectiveness of EU development policy."
The pressure on resources is increasing as the demand for water and energy is expected to rise by 40% and for food by 50% by 2030. Under the title Confronting scarcity: managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth the European Report on Development looks at the roles of the public and private sectors in managing natural resources for inclusive and sustainable growth.
In the run up to the UN Rio+20 conference on sustainable development it urges the international community to change its approach to managing water, energy and land resources. A crucial role is suggested for the public sector in creating the right framework, and developing appropriate policies. The private sector is urged to adopt more sustainable business models.
The report calls on the EU to adopt an ambitious integrated approach to the management of the “Water-Energy-Land Nexus” that addresses the wide-ranging impacts stemming from specific actions. Finally, the report highlights the potential that innovative solutions can have. One such solution are so-called payments for ecosystem services, (e.g. for activities that benefit or protect environmental resources).
The European Report on Development
With the European Report on Development, Europe provides a platform for discussion and contributes to building common ground between various stakeholders from around the globe on pressing issues of development. It is an independent report, its recommendations are the result of academic research. The 2011/2012 edition was written by a team led by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), in partnership with the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), and the German Development Institute (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik) (GDI/DIE). The report is the main output of the “Mobilising European Research for Development Policies” initiative supported by the European Commission and seven EU Member States, namely Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The EU's work on energy: Europe is a world leader in supporting developing countries in their efforts to improve access to energy services. The European Commission alone devoted €278.5 million to energy programmes in developing countries in 2010, and it has committed €420 million to its Energy Facility for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in the period 2006-2013. On 16 April, Commission President Barroso announced a new Commission initiative that will provide access to sustainable energy for an additional 500 million people in developing countries by 2030. More information on energy, including project examples can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/what/energy/sustainable/documents/factsheet-energy-for-all_en.pdf
The EU's work on water and sanitation: Since 2000, the EU has been committed to meeting the Millennium Development Goal of better access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. EU aid is making a difference: just covering the time since 2004, thanks to support from the European Commission, more than 32 million people have gained access to improved water supply and 9 million to sanitation facilities. Financing for EU water and sanitation programmes, which helps build infrastructure for drinking and waste water systems, and provide basic sanitation and hygiene, amounts to almost €400 million per year; programmes are implemented in over 30 countries. More information: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/what/environment/water-energy/documents/wate_presspack_7-3-12_en.pdf
The EU's work on food security: The European Commission has played a leading role in tackling hunger and malnutrition for many years. The EU is the world's largest grant donor to food security. In the face of the 2007/08 food price crisis, the EU was the first donor to proactively design a specific instrument (the Food Facility) to help countries cope with worsening food insecurity caused by volatile food prices.
Providing enough and the right food to people in Africa remains an important focus of the Commission's work, especially in regions that are regularly hit by droughts. The Commission has recently adopted initiatives of more than €400 million to respond in the short, medium and long term to the food crises in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. Food security is also at the top of the development agenda of international fora such as G8 and G20. The European Union is the largest contributor to the G8 L'Aquila Food Security Initiative, with a pledge of USD 3.9 billion to food security over three years, and will remain a major actor in this sector.