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No. 214, 19 December 2018.
The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) concluded late Saturday evening in Katowice, Poland. The major achievement of the conference was the approval by 196 countries to a "rulebook" overseeing the implementation of the Paris Agreement. This is an important step in limiting global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.
The rulebook is an early Christmas present for the EU, as it continues to fight against climate change, encourage cutting emissions and promote international action.
On that note, the EU Delegation to New Zealand would like to wish you happy holidays! This will be our last newsletter for the year but we will be back with more EU news in January!
This year, for the first time, New Zealand became part of the EU's High Ambitions Coalition at the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24).
European Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and NZ Climate Change Minister James Shaw met and agreed to strengthen their bilateral cooperation on emissions trading systems. The EU and NZ will hold regular technical and policy meetings to discuss the key design features and implementation of our emissions trading systems, respective developments and possible implementation challenges, with a view to exploring options towards enhanced cooperation between the two systems.
Read more about their agreement here!
The completion of a clear rulebook for the implementation of the Paris Agreement was the EU's top priority going into the negotiations of the COP24 in Katowice. This was achieved on 15 December.
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said "the EU played an instrumental role in reaching this outcome, working with allies from both developed and developing countries and with major economies, in particular China, to raise ambition and strengthen global efforts to fight climate change."
He added: "The Paris rulebook is fundamental for enabling and encouraging climate action at all levels worldwide – and success here also means success for multilateralism and the rules-based global order. The EU will continue to lead by turning our commitments into concrete action, leaving no one behind in the transition to a climate-neutral future, and inspiring other countries to make this necessary transition."
To learn more about COP24's key outcomes, follow this link.
After 12 months and over 11,500 events involving 6.2 million people, the European Year of Cultural Heritage is reaching its conclusion. Throughout the year, the EU celebrated the tangible, intangible, natural and digital elements that define Europe's past and guide its future. Cultural heritage is intrinsic to European identity and 2018 has been an excellent commemoration of its importance.
The climax of the European Year of Cultural Heritage took place at the #EuropeForCulture closing conference. It was held in Vienna on 6-7 December, showcasing successful projects and discussing the legacy of the year. There was also a session addressing the importance of young people’s participation in preserving and taking responsibility for our cultural heritage.
Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, presented the first-ever European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage during the closing conference in Vienna. The Framework for Action establishes 5 main areas of continued action for Europe’s cultural heritage. It includes over 60 actions that will be implemented by the European Commission in 2019 and 2020.
You can learn more about it by following this link.
During European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the European Union and UNESCO have developed a new project to strengthen the connections between youth, heritage and education. The project has 2 main components:
-Intangible cultural heritage will come into the classroom. Part of this project will include training workshops aimed at integrating intangible cultural heritage in core subjects of educational curricula. Activities can include, for example, the use of traditional bells to explain the expansion of soundwaves in physics, or the use of traditional sauerkraut preparation to demonstrate the scientific process of fermentation.
-Second, it seeks to empower a new generation of heritage professionals through a Young Heritage Experts Forum. It will involve heritage experts between 25 and 32 years from the European Union's Member States. Participants will be empowered to become and remain advocates for cultural heritage and sustainability in their home countries.
Learn more about the project here.
"On International Migrants Day, the European Union reaffirms its enduring commitment to protect migrants' human rights, to prevent perilous irregular journeys and ensure opportunities for legal and safe pathways instead."
HR/VP Federica Mogherini and the EU Commission made a statement on the occasion of International Migrants Day on 18 December. The International Organization for Migration, a trusted partner of the EU, has chosen "Migration With Dignity" as the theme to mark this year's International Migrants Day, calling on the international community to safeguard the fundamental rights of migrants, their security and dignity.
Migration is a global challenge that requires a global response. With over 258 million migrants worldwide, the EU continues to contribute to managing migration in a humane way. Through its partnership approach the EU works with countries of origin, transit and destination as well as international organisations to save lives, assist migrants and refugees, ensure the respect of their human rights as well as fight smugglers and traffickers.
1. No more automatic country redirects when shopping online
In February 2018, MEPs adopted a regulation to end geo-blocking, obliging retailers to give people access to goods and services on the same terms all over the EU, regardless of where they are connecting from.
2. Better parcel delivery
MEPs adopted new rules in March 2018 to make the international parcel delivery market more transparent and competitive and to reduce the barriers consumers and e-retailers encounter when purchasing products online in the EU.
3. Access to your paid content services across the EU
The portability regulation applicable to all EU countries enables consumers to access their portable online content services when they travel in the EU in the same way they access them at home.
4. Free wifi in public spaces
In order to enjoy digital content users need reliable high-speed connections. WIFI4EU, a funding scheme to promote free wifi connectivity in public spaces across the EU, opened for applications in 2018. The objective of the WIFI4EU European initiative is to provide more than 6,000 communities across the EU with free high-speed wifi connection by 2020.
5. Upcoming rules on cheaper international calls and 5G
In November, MEPs voted in favour of the telecom package, which aims to cap calls between EU countries at 19 cents per minute and text messages at six cents from 15 May 2019. The rules also aim to boost the investment needed to make 5G connectivity available in European cities by 2020.
6. Data protection
The General Data Protection Rules (GDPR) is fully applicable since 25 May 2018. The rules give consumers more power over their digital presence, including the right to information about how their data is used, and to delete content they no longer want visible online.
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