Ref. :  000028020
Date :  2007-11-07
Language :  English
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"Climate and Environment – factors of peace and development in the XXI century"

Speech by José Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission
(European Development Days, Lisbon, 7 November 2007)


Your Excellencies,

Honoured Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is both an honour and a privilege for me to join you today for the opening of the second celebration of "European Development Days". This year, we focus on two questions which are crucial for Europe and the rest of the world: climate change and sustainable development. We must also use this event to assess, critically, whether we are making the necessary progress towards the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals.

I would like to start by thanking the Portuguese Presidency for the strong support it has given to this initiative, and for its backing for European Union action in these areas, as reflected in the Prime Minister's speech a short while ago.

I am especially pleased at the presence of so many other significant figures from governments, as well as of course so many representatives from institutions and civil society from all around the world. Indeed, the attendance of so many decision-makers, professionals, specialists and other actors in the field of development makes the European Development Days a significant event in itself. Really, Lisbon this week is where Davos meets Porto Alegre.

This year's programme reflects in particular the importance of local actors - from local authorities to the private sector, NGOs, and charitable foundations - in both development cooperation generally and in the struggle against the effects of global warming.

I think we all know from our previous experience of development work that we have to pool all our efforts and resources. This is every bit as true for climate change. We have to work together to offer a comprehensive response to this global emergency - while there is still time.

For the writing is on the wall, and let’s be clear, this is a development problem. If we fail to restrict the growth of global warming now, the effects of climate change and the consequent natural disasters will be dramatic, putting at risk the very existence of some island countries and coastal regions, the survival of many peoples around the world, not to mention biodiversity. If we miss our target of cutting CO2 emissions by at least 50% from 1990 levels by 2050, the consequences of climate change in social, economic and environmental terms could be both irreversible and uncontrollable. To be more specific, it will directly hinder our efforts to reduce poverty and hunger in the world.

Climate change, in short, constitutes a threat to global security: let us just imagine, in the latter part of this century, the struggle we face over access to sources of energy and natural resources, the migratory pressures which could lead to conflicts.

But the world is now starting to react. 2007 has been a defining year in terms of international mobilisation and setting us on a path for more effective joint action. The recent initiatives by the European Union constitute the most ambitious strategy in the world for combating climate change. This strategy includes ambitious but credible mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making the transition to a low-carbon-intensity economy. It puts Europe in the position to take a strong lead in the negotiations for an international agreement on climate change for the post-2012 period.

It was especially gratifying last month at the meeting of the UN General Assembly on climate change to see that there is growing support for launching these negotiations at the UN conference on climate change in Bali at the end of the year.

Political leaders worldwide are collectively beginning to recognise the urgency of joint action to meet the challenges posed by climate change, not least as a result of the strong mobilisation of public opinion and citizens from around the world. Ordinary citizens have indeed played a pivotal role in pushing the climate change agenda.

This unprecedented mobilisation culminated last month in the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to ex-US Vice-President Al Gore and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This award reinforces the growing awareness in the world that environmental and climate issues will be important factors for peace in the 21st century.

But sometimes we focus on the negative aspects too much. It is an enormous challenge, but we should look to accentuate the positive. In my view, we are on the threshold of a new era, a transformation from a high carbon present to a low or zero carbon future.

So yes, we recognise that climate change means recognising a duty of solidarity towards developing countries, which are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. For this reason, the European Commission is proposing a new alliance between the EU and the developing countries most affected by climate change and with the fewest resources to cope with its effects. Our proposal for a Global Climate Change Alliance, which will be debated this week during the European Development Days event, proposes greater cooperation between the European Union and these countries, with a view to integrating the struggle against climate change into development and poverty-reduction strategies. We will play our part in that, in offering increased financial support for measures to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change and for the technology transfer needed by the most vulnerable countries.

At the same time we also have to remember that climate change represents a great technological opportunity for developing countries to leapfrog the high carbon phase of development.

We know that most of the countries that are least developed and most vulnerable to climate change are in Africa. Therefore, within the framework of the new EU-Africa Strategic Partnership, the European Union intends to launch an EU-Africa Strategic Partnership in the energy sector at the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon next December. One of the objectives of this partnership will be to develop the financial and human resources needed to establish a sustainable energy policy in Africa. The purpose of this is to provide favourable conditions for investment in infrastructure in the field of energy, including renewable energy, as well as transparency and market stability.

Our underlying view is that development is not just about numbers, but also about values. Solidarity is part of the European vision of development, as is respect for human rights and good governance, democracy and the rule of law. These different dimensions should also be part of the vision of development held by Europe's partners. For Europe, these questions are inextricably linked.

Europe's experience in cross-border cooperation also makes it particularly well placed to propose – and not to impose – values and rules that will contribute to enabling developing countries to take greater advantage of globalisation more generally.

We know that globalisation involves new risks, but it also offers new opportunities for developing countries in terms of their integration into world trade. We must respond by shaping globalisation. Europe will continue to play a leading role in the Doha round negotiations, for example, which are of fundamental importance to development, and will do everything in its power to ensure that they reach a successful conclusion by the end of the year, and we will continue to push for an equally successful outcome to the negotiations aimed at establishing Economic Partnership Agreements with the ACP countries.

We in Europe have to remember that we are only a small part of the world. Going back to climate change, Europe is now responsible for only 14% of global carbon emissions. We cannot act alone. All of our international partners need, therefore, to be involved in the struggle against global warming - and no longer just in terms of raising awareness, because the consequences of inaction are already becoming apparent all over the world. The time has come for concrete action, which these Development Days should help to define.

History books often speak of heroic acts, but they rarely mention the pragmatic, detailed, preventive measures which head off large-scale catastrophes. Prevention is generally a silent and thankless task. It is an activity which is difficult to measure or reward. But our efforts to protect the planet will be judged by future generations – because they will know the state of the planet that we bequeath to them. Let us not fail in this task.

Welcome, once again, to the Development Days, and thank you for your attention.


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 flecheThird progress report on economic and social cohesion
 flecheThe EU and the US: a bilateral partnership for global solutions
 flecheChinese textiles imports investigation: use of the urgency procedure
 flecheEU proposes WTO consultations with China on two textile product categories
 fleche Partenariat Union européenne/États-Unis: la Commission propose de renforcer les relations économiques et politiques
 fleche President Barroso meets Afghan President Hamid Karzai – and announces details of Afghan reconstruction programmes for 2005/2006
 flecheNouveau site Web et budget de 6 millions d’euros pour l’établissement de relations en vue de la recherche de partenaires commerciaux appropriés dans l’Union européenne élargie
 fleche Mr Olli Rehn, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enlargement
"Prioritisation: where should Turkey focus its energies"
Forum Istanbul - Istanbul, 5 May 2005

 flecheThe new Europe Direct information network: Europe on your doorstep
 flecheImproving and extending the use of ICT to make the most of Europe’s cultural and audiovisual heritage
 flecheThe European Union on your doorstep: new generation of information relays launched
 flecheEuropean Commission welcomes breakthrough in WTO agriculture talks
 flecheNew tools for knowledge and growth: EU scientists propose priorities for research infrastructures
 flecheClimate change: Commission hails entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol
 flecheWomen and the elderly are crossing the digital divide, but the poor still lag behind, says new EU report
 flecheTsunami: Commission takes further action to help rebuild fisheries and aquaculture sector in tsunami-hit areas
 flecheErasmus Mundus: 69 universités supplémentaires participent au programme
 flecheTranslating the Monterrey Consensus into Practice: the Contribution by the European Union
 fleche European Commission launches public debate on economic migration
 flecheCommission pledges €140 million to help eliminate the threat of anti-personnel land mines
 flecheEuropean handbook on integration
 flecheFirst European handbook on integration of immigrants presented by European Commission
 flecheEU-India Summit: towards a strategic partnership
 flecheQuestions for the general public concerning the future European Fundamental Rights Agency
 flecheDiscours de M. António Vitorino à la Conférence des Présidents des commissions compétentes en matière d'immigration des parlements de l'UE
 flecheEU-WTO: In WTO review of trade policy EU will stress its support for the multilateral trade system
 flecheWhat Europeans think of the EU’s farm policy
 flecheDeveloping countries: the Commission proposes system of trade preferences for 2006-2008
 flecheCommission appeals against WTO sugar ruling
 flecheEnlargement - Turkey's progress towards accession
 flecheLa Commission approuve un rapport sur la gouvernance européenne (2003-2004)
 flecheCommission launches new portal giving all citizens of the enlarged EU access to better information on their rights
 flecheCommission grants Euro 93 million to upgrade European Research and Education Internet (GÉANT)
 flecheStrengthening economic governance and improving the Stability and Growth Pact
 flecheCountdown 2015 - Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights for all : London, 31 August - 2 September 2004
 flecheGeneral information concerning in-service training (stages) with the European Commission
 flechePortail sur les possibilités d'éducation et de formation dans l'ensemble de l'espace européen
 flechePresident-designate Barroso unveils his team
 flecheImmigration & asylum : current state of play
 flecheBarroso, José Manuel
 flecheWith oil prices surging, Loyola de Palacio recalls the necessity of having a concerted European approach to the issue of security of energy supplies
 flecheEuropean Commission approves 5.75 million euros for crises in Asia

 flecheThe role of broadband networks in securing knowledge-based regions
 flecheThe humanitarian crisis in Greater Darfur, Sudan- response of the European Commission - UPDATE EU by far the biggest donor

 flecheEndangered wildlife: Commission wants tighter rules to protect wild animals and plants from unsustainable international trade
 flecheGeneral overview of active WTO dispute settlement cases involving the EC as complainant or defendant
 flecheEU’s Position on the Middle East Conflict
 flecheEU-Latin American and Caribbean Summit
 flecheLamy, Pascal
 flecheCox, Pat
 flecheProdi, Romano
 flecheEuropean Commission Statement on the European Parliament elections
 flecheCommission proposes action to secure the social dimension of globalisation
 flecheEU-Latin American and Caribbean Summit: moving the strategic partnership forward
 flecheEU takes action to foster international sustainable fishing
 flecheWTO-DDA: EU ready to go the extra mile in three key areas of the talks
 flecheStatement of President Prodi on enlargement
 flecheCommission takes further steps to ensure access to medicines for poor countries
 flecheCroatia: Commission recommends opening of accession negotiations
 flecheCommission prepares the necessary steps to welcome a united Cyprus into the European Union on 1 May 2004
 flecheWTO India - GSP: WTO confirms differentiation among developing countries is possible
 flecheCommission adopts new safe harbour for licensing of patents, know-how and software copyright
 flecheAir pollution: Commission takes legal action against 10 Member States
 flecheCommission Spring Economic Forecasts 2004 -2005 for the euro area, the European Union and the Acceding and Candidate countries
 flecheCommission recommends concrete action to promote growth and employment in the enlarged Union
 flecheEurope needs more scientists: EU blueprint for action
 flecheThe European Commission and Philip Morris International confirm discussions
 flecheNew EU Centre for Disease Prevention and Control adopted
 flechePresidency Conclusions Brussels European Council 25/26 march 2004
 flecheCommission concludes on Microsoft investigation, imposes conduct remedies and a fine
 flecheKey data on health 2002 Health in the EU under the microscope
 flecheEU acts to increase transparency, efficiency and predictability in the use of trade defence
 flecheEU-Canada: Commission agrees design of future EU-Canada Trade and Investment Enhancement Agreement
 flecheBiodiversity: Commission sounds alarm on need to reduce global biodiversity loss
 flecheDeveloping countries: Commission adopts action plan to help developing countries fight agricultural commodity dependency and support the development of the cotton sector in Africa
 flecheEuropean Union signs landmark tourism accord with China today in Beijing
 flecheLa Commission appelle à un renforcement des relations entre l'UE et la Russie
 flecheTrade implications of EU enlargement: Facts and Figures
 flecheThe future of WTO
 flecheWestern Balkans proceed with economic transition
 flecheRomano Prodi President of the European Commission. 2004 Spring Report. Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament.
 flecheCommission reports on progress towards meeting 'Johannesburg' commitments
 flecheEuropean Research Network extended to the Balkans with EU Support
 flecheCommission calls on Member States to keep up the momentum in tackling poverty and social exclusion
 flecheEuropean Commission stands behind the Kyoto Protocol
 flecheUS Steel: EU welcomes termination of US steel safeguard measure
 flecheCommission launches preparations for Balkan participation in Community programmes
 flecheWTO and agriculture: Fischler's five tests to kick-start stalled talks
 flechePresident Prodi statement World Aids Day
 flecheEC action against HIV/AIDS
 fleche2003 review of the EU economy: On the verge of new patterns of economic growth?
 flecheEU- WTO: European Commission proposes to put Doha Round of trade talks back on track
 flecheCommission discusses amendments to EU Constitution
 flecheEU-India Summit: An opportunity to strengthen relations
 flecheCommission adopts five new humanitarian aid decisions worth over EUR 11.5 million
 flecheCommission and United Nations join forces to launch humanitarian appeals for 2004
 flecheCommission proceeds with excessive deficit procedure for Germany
 flecheEU-Mercosur: Ministerial meeting to roadmap free trade negotiations
 flecheState of play on GMO authorisations under EU law
 flecheComenius Week
Highlighting the European dimension at school

 flecheBulgaria, Romania and Turkey make significant progress towards accession criteria
 flecheAcceding countries expected to be ready for accession, urged to tackle remaining issues
 flecheForeign Sales Corporations (FSC): Commission prepares for the imposition of countermeasures on US products
 flecheEU/Russia Summit, Rome, 6 November
 flecheRemoving obstacles to development: Commission proposes EUR 250 million to support African-led peace keeping operations in Africa
 flecheAccelerating the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria: Commission commits further EUR 170 million to the Global Fund
 flecheAfghanistan: Commission Proposes EUR 79.5 million for Fourth Reconstruction programme
 flecheEnvironmental democracy: Commission promotes citizens' involvement in environmental matters
 flecheEU Cohesion Policy: Commissioner Barnier visits Cyprus
 flecheSingle-hull oil tankers banned from European ports from 21 October 2003
 flecheHIV/AIDS: European Research provides clear proof that HIV virus cannot pass through condoms
 flecheA european knowledge society in a global community
 flecheCommission provides support to OLAF and Belgian authorities on investigation into fraud in grain trade prices
 flecheEU complies with WTO ruling on Hormone beef and calls on USA and Canada to lift trade sanctions
 flecheEU-Andean Community: Second Round of Negotiations for new Political Dialogue and Co-operation Agreement
 flecheEurobarometer : latest survey shows growing support for key EU policies in acceding countries
 flecheCommission acts to boost efficiency and flexibility of EU development assistance to benefit the poor
 flecheCommission proceeds with excessive deficit procedure for France assesses
 flecheCinedays 2003: long live European cinema!
 flecheEuropean industry leaders and EU policymakers meet to plan for security research
 flecheEuro area economy demonstrates initial signs of recovery
 flecheEuropean Commission, eight acceding countries and US sign Bilateral Investment Understanding
 flecheTrade in Cotton: constructive proposals to solve African problem
 flecheCommission adopts opinion on the European Constitution
 fleche"State of play of Agriculture Negotiations"
 flecheWorld cotton day: EU sympathises with concerns of African countries
 flecheKey areas for decision in Cancun
 flecheEverything you wanted to know about Cancun
 flecheJoin EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy in an on-line chat September 4 2003
 flecheEuropean Commission regrets the request for a WTO panel on GMOs
 flecheEC and US propose a framework for a joint approach on agricultural questions in WTO
 flecheTrade in agricultural goods and fishery products. EU – US Joint Text on Agriculture

 flecheWTO Farm Talks/Cancun: EU’s Fischler calls for renewed effort to bridge differences
 flecheEU-US Summit - Washington
 flecheThessaloniki European Council - Presidency Conclusions
 flecheAccess to medicines: EU clears plan to ensure delivery of cheap medicines to developing countries
 flecheLe Conseil Éducation adopte les critères de référence européens
 flecheOMC SERVICES - L'UE propose d'améliorer les échanges commerciaux - au bénéfice des pays en développement
 flecheLa Commission propose de créer un Fonds européen pour l'eau doté d'un budget d'1 milliard d'euros
 flecheEU survey results: Europe goes on-line for health information, but still prefers more traditional sources
 flecheLa lutte contre les maladies transmissibles dans les pays en développement: la Commission resserre son programme d'action
 flecheMultilingualism in the European Commission: A long-standing tradition and an asset to the European Union
 flecheSustainable agriculture for developing countries: the options offered by life sciences and biotechnology
 fleche'Your Voice in Europe': new Commission portal aims to give citizens a bigger role in policy making
 flecheAgriculture: plus grande ouverture du marché et réduction du soutien faussant les échanges
 flecheCombating digital illiteracy, promoting virtual campuses and virtual twinning of schools: the e-learning programme's aims (2004-2006)
 flecheLa Commission place la politique industrielle au premier plan de ses préoccupations
 flechePascal Lamy salue l'achèvement des négociations sur l'adhésion de l'Arménie à l'OMC
 flecheForum européen du tourisme: promotion du développement durable dans le tourisme
 flecheLibéralisation des services : l'Union européenne lance un consultation publique sur les demandes pour l'accès au marché européen
 flecheEU - Russia economic and trade relations: an overview
 flecheL'Union européenne va négocier des accords de partenariat avec des Etats d'Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique
 flecheL’UE poursuit sa bataille pour étendre l’accès aux médicaments pour les pays en développement
 flecheL'Europe lance un partenariat avec les pays en voie de développement pour lutter contre le sida, la malaria et la tuberculose
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