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No. 212, 7 December 2018
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
So states article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of which we commemorate on 10th December. It has been 70 years since it was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris. To celebrate, the OHCHR is inviting everyone to pledge to stand up for Human Rights. Take the pledge now!
On 3rd December, the EU celebrated the International Day for People with Disabilities. Throughout 2018, the EU has achieved progress on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The European Accessibilities Act is set to be passed in the coming weeks and will help the inclusion of people with disabilities in our society and economy. This is a key principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Not forgetting Trade, the EU attended the G20 summit which highlighted the need to respect the rules based international order. G20 leaders agreed to make progress towards updating the World Trade Organisation.
Last but not least, the EU is at COP24 in Katowice Poland where it will organise a series of events to celebrate the 6th EU Energy Day.
This year's UN climate conference is a key moment for implementation of the Paris Agreement. Parties aim to finalise detailed rules that will enable the landmark accord to be put into practice across the world.
Just last week, the European Commission presented a strategic vision on how the EU could achieve climate neutrality by 2050. This stands us in a good stead to enter the negotiations!
EU Energy Day at COP24
One of the side events at COP24 is the 6th EU Energy Day.
It will showcase the initiatives launched to support a clean energy transition in the EU and beyond, The EU will advertise the progress already made towards delivering on its commitments, including the 2030 targets and the Clean Energy for all Europeans package.
This year EU Energy Day is dedicated to
For more information about the COP24 and the EU's ambitions follow this link.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk represented the European Union at this year's G20 Summit, in Buenos Aires.
The theme of this year's Summit was "building consensus for fair and sustainable development." Along with the EU, leaders from 19 countries emphasised the need to defend the multilateral rules based international order. International trade and investment are important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. They supported reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to improve its functioning and agreed to review progress at their next Summit in Osaka in June 2019.
At the Summit, President Juncker said the EU has made significant progress on the implementation of its ambitious trade agenda, pointing to recently agreed trade deals with Japan, Canada, Vietnam and Singapore and ongoing negotiations with Mexico, Australia, China, India, Indonesia and New Zealand.
He also highlighted the importance of "swift and determined action" for WTO reform and asked the G20 to provide strong political support to the ongoing efforts.
You can read the entirety of Jean-Claude Juncker's address here.
For more information about the G20, follow this link.
Human Rights Day is celebrated on 10 December every year. The promotion and protection of human rights is at the heart of multilateralism, a central pillar of the UN system, and a core and founding value of the EU. The EU stands up and continues to relentlessly support human rights defenders, to speak out against the shrinking civil society space, and to use political and financial action to support them.
On 25th November, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, HRVP Federica Mogherini met with this year's two Nobel Peace Prize winners. Denis Mukwege is a Congolese doctor who has devoted his entire life to healing women who have suffered from sexual violence. Nadia Murad is a Yazidi girl who has become a symbol of the resistance against Daesh. They were both invited to the the EU Development ministers’ meeting and the EU decided to mobilise five million euros more in support of their initiatives. You can watch their press conference with Federica Mogherini here.
On 4 and 5 December the European Union hosted the first High-Level dialogue on “Advancing the role of Women in Peace Processes” between Syrian and Yemeni Women representatives in Brussels. At the closing session the women representatives presented HR/VP Mogherini with concrete recommendations, followed by an exchange of views on how to bring those forward.
Twenty prominent female political representatives and representatives from civil society, including academics and human rights activists, gathered to share experiences about the role of women in peace processes, mediation, peace building and conflict resolution. This dialogue is in line with the EU's full commitment to the implementation of the Women Peace and Security Agenda and support to inclusive peace processes, greater women political participation and empowerment.
To learn more, follow this link.
Ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December, Commissioner Marianne Thyssen talked about the progress the EU made on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2018.
The provisionally agreed European Accessibility Act aims to improve the lives of more than 80 million Europeans with disabilities. Soon, they will have at their disposal more accessible products and services, such as phones, computers, e-books and e-commerce. This is a concrete realisation of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which aims to create a barrier-free Europe for all European citizens.
Learn more about the European Day for Persons with Disabilities here.
To protect its democratic systems and public debates and in view of the 2019 European elections as well as a number of national and local elections that will be held in Member States by 2020, the EU is presenting an Action Plan to step up efforts to counter disinformation in Europe and beyond.
The Action Plan focuses on four areas key to effectively build up the EU's capabilities and strengthen cooperation between Member States and the EU:
On 5 December, HRVP Mogherini attended the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting. She spoke about cooperation in the Balkans, the EU's work in Afghanistan as well as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. She then answered questions about the EU's policies towards Russia.
On 6 December, HRVP Federica Mogherini participated in the 25th Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council in Milan.
The annual meeting provides the Foreign Ministers of the 57 OSCE members an opportunity to review and assess the Organisation's activities and strengthen dialogue on security issues in the OSCE area. Federica Mogherini delivered a speech in the first plenary session and held several bilateral meetings in its margins, including with Pavlo Klimkin, Foreign Minister of Ukraine, and Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.
Learn more here.
Europe's ICT Inovation Partnership with Australia, Singapore and New Zealand (EPIC) is about to visit Wellington to discuss AI at two special events:
The round table will discuss new strategies and upcoming initiatives in the field of AI technologies with researchers, industry and politics from Europe and New Zealand.
Round Table Programme: https://epicproject.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/EPIC_RoundTable_program.pdf
Top AI academics and industry leaders present what AI really is, what it can and can't do, how it affects companies, changes industries and its economic and social impact. The panel will share case studies from NZ and the EU. To register follow this link.
Industry Panel Programme: https://epicproject.eu/fileadmin/user_upload/EPIC_IndustryPanel_program-compressed.pdf
Lifeswap is a series of short animated Skype conversations between two young men, Jörg, from Münster, Germany and Duncan, from Wellington, New Zealand. Facing their respective quarter life crises, Jörg and Duncan decided it was time for a change. They spontaneously bought plane tickets to the other side of the world and are now signed up to live each other’s lives for a whole year.
The Goethe-Institut New Zealand, Education NZ and most importantly Lifeswap creators, Steffen and William, have the great pleasure of inviting all NZ-based friends, family and fans to the Embassy Theatre in Wellington on December 12th from 5pm until 8pm (screening starts at 6pm).
William and Steffen will be giving a talk before handing over to Duncan and Jörg, their somewhat naïve but widely loved and very loyal pixelated friends, who will take us through all 10 episodes back to back. Then…(drum roll)…we will premiere the never-seen-before EPISODE 11! It’s an occasion not to miss!
Register for free here.
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