Issue 34

May/June 2014

Research and innovation are at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy. With the 2014-2020 financial period having been agreed, funding programmes with an impact on environment, energy and climate action have now been published in a number of areas of significance to ENEP members. You will find attached a selected up-to-date picture of the the main sources of funding under Horizon 2020 for Research and Innovation and LIFE+ for environment and climate action.

Europe's largest environment conference – Green Week – focused on the economic debate this year. Under the banner “Circular economy – saving resources, creating jobs” over 3000 participants debated how Europe must move from its current linear economic model towards a more circular one.

On 1 July 2014, Italy will take over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. The official work programme is currently being finalised by the Italian Government and should be published in mid-June. Italy wants to make Rome and Milan the two centres for its presidency. The main reason for this is that the Expo 2015 is taking place in Milan, one of the EU major financial and business centres.

In this the final Environment Council of the Greek Presidency the main focus will be on climate and health-related points in the morning before moving on to environment issues after lunch. The main climate point will be a public debate on the policy framework on climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030. The main health point will be the Commission's GMO cultivation proposal. Over lunch, ministers are expected to discuss the recently adopted Commission Communication on Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 agenda.

During EUSEW 2014, a Committee of the Regions (CoR) conference on local and regional perspectives on the EU’s energy policy will discuss possibilities for better framework conditions for local and regional sustainable energy investment. The CoR rapporteurs, Mrs. Sirpa Hertell (FI/EPP), Mr. Christian Illedits (AT/PES) and Mr. Gusty Graas (LU/ALDE), will also present best practices from their constituencies illustrating the need for more EU and national support in order to achieve and exceed the 2020 targets.

EuropeAid’s new flagship initiative EU Biodiversity for Life (B4Life) is designed to halt biodiversity loss, fight wildlife crime and develop green economies in Least Developed Countries and those containing ‘biodiversity hotspots’, such as Madagascar, the Congo Basin, the West African forests, Tropical Andes and Mesoamerica. Ecosystems and their services in those and other areas covered by the programme are among the richest but also the most threatened of the world.

A landmark conference on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES), hosted by Commissioner Potočnik, took place in Brussels on 22 May 2014 and attracted over 300 participants. Speakers included Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture of the Netherlands, Pavan Sukhdev, who led the ground-breaking study on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), and Lisa Emelia Svensson, Swedish Ambassador Oceans, Seas and Freshwater.

Green Week 2014 took place in Brussels between 3 and 5 June under the theme Circular Economy, Resource Efficiency & Waste. During the conference, there was a clear consensus that binding waste targets set at EU level are necessary to drive the change from a linear to a circular economy.

In April the European Commission launched a consultation to inform the evaluation of the implementation of the EU Ecolabel Regulation (EC) 66/2010 by collecting views from stakeholders on the implementation of the EU Ecolabel Scheme, a voluntary environmental labelling scheme designed to promote products with reduced environmental impact and through this contribute to a more efficient use of resources and a higher level of environmental protection.

Citizens, organisations and public authorities have the opportunity to take part in a consultation on the future EU initiative on No Net Loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services from 05 June 2014 to 26 September 2014. The initiative’s aim is to help achieve the overall objective of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to halt biodiversity loss and conserve ecosystem services by 2020.