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April 30, 2008

Minister Roche to open S&E Regional Assembly Conference on Interreg opportunities

Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly Annual Conference: EU Territorial Co-operation Programmes (Interreg) 2007-2013 - what's in it for regional and local bodies in Ireland? 16 May, Marriot Druids Glen Hotel, Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow. Contact: Karen Coughlan, Tel: 051 860700, Email: kcoughlan@seregassembly.ie

Posted by iroronan at April 30, 2008 12:43 PM

« Better regional input needed to future National Reform Programme | Main | Minister Roche to open S&E Regional Assembly Conference on Interreg opportunities »

April 29, 2008

20-21 May, Dublin Castle - Innovation for Regional Growth -

This non-technical workshop provides an opportunity for public bodies and companies to learn from successful examples of how regions and cities have already benefited from transforming satellite data into ready-to-use operational information for purposes including traffic and pollution management or infrastructure development.. The event, which will also look at influencing future EU policy and the development of industry services, is jointly organised by Eurisy, an NGO promoting the strategic importance of space for sustainable economic, environmental and social development policies, and the Assembly of European Regions (AER) with the support of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Enterprise Ireland. Further details from www.eurisy.org

Posted by iroronan at April 29, 2008 08:41 PM

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April 28, 2008

Better regional input needed to future National Reform Programme

Three year National Reform Programmes (NRP) setting out the measures to be taken to improve competitive economic performance were formulated in 2005 as part of the relaunch of the Lisbon Agenda and its refocusing on growth and jobs. Programmes were based upon an agreed set of guidelines, covering macro-economic, micro-economic and employment policies. Ireland’s Lisbon programme has since put in place a range of measures to support R&D, to address infrastructure deficits and to provide training and lifelong learning opportunities across the economy. With the forthcoming second generation of NRPs in mind, the European Council at its recent summit has pointedly acknowledged that "increased ownership of the growth and jobs agenda at all levels of government will lead to more coherent and effective policymaking". This recognition of the (potential) role of the local and regional level in delivering growth and a buoyant jobs market "invites the Commission and Member States to strengthen the involvement of relevant stakeholders in the Lisbon process " - setting out a vision whereby sub-national input and perspectives as well as those of economic and social actors should be more fully incorporated. This is a further emphasis upon the importance of territorial cohesion alongside its economic and social counterparts and is of importance to Ireland as the negotiation of the original NRP took place almost entirely within the social partnership process and has been explicitly tied in with ensuring the full implementation of the Towards 2016 agreement. The Council also "welcomes the progress made in targeting cohesion funds in support of national reform programmes" and calls on Member States "to ensure that expenditure reflects the earmarking commitments made". Further details from www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ec/99410.pdf

Posted by iroronan at April 28, 2008 08:10 PM

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April 26, 2008

Moves towards Better Air Quality

Better Air Quality The Environment Council of Ministers endorsed a new directive on 14 April to limit the amount of fine particle emissions in the air that can cause a range of health problems. The tiny airborne pollutants, dust and atmospheric microparticles in question are emitted from a wide range of sources, including transport, industrial facilities residential fireplaces and agriculture. They can have a significant negative impact on human health as they are small enough to pass unfiltered through the nose and mouth, penetrating deep into human lungs and bloodstreams where they can cause potentially fatal respiratory and/or pulmonary diseases including asthma, emphysema and bronchitis which collectively lead to the premature death of some 350,000 EU citizens annually. According to Commission studies, an average European lives eight months less as a result of fine particle matter in the air: this rises to 3 years less in more polluted areas. The new Air Quality Directive simplifies current European legislation on ambient air quality by merging five separate texts into a single legal act. As of 2010, the new rules require the 27 Member States to reduce such urban air pollution by 20% within 10 years. This figure is a target value to be attained by January 2010, but will become a binding ceiling from 2015. This is part of a series of forthcoming legislative proposals to improve air quality. These include further reduction of the Member States' permitted national emissions of key pollutants; reduction of emissions associated with refuelling of petrol cars at service stations; addressing the sulphur content of fuels; improving the eco-design and reducing the emissions of domestic boilers and water heaters; and reducing the solvent content of paints, varnishes and vehicle refinishing products. Further details from http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/08/st07/st07690-ad01.en08.pdf

Posted by iroronan at April 26, 2008 08:26 PM

« Ending Street Homelessness | Main | Moves towards Better Air Quality »

April 24, 2008

28-30 May, University of Limerick, Learning Regions

The PASCAL research and policy development alliance aims to develop, and explain emerging ideas about place management, social capital and learning regions. PENR3L (PASCAL European Network of Regions of Lifelong Learning) is a programme designed to establish a dynamic working network of expertise centres and forward-looking local and regional authorities that will work together to accelerate the growth of learning cities and regions, ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The two initiatives are combining forces to showcase their findings with the ‘Learning Regions’ role in Regional Development and Re-generation’ conference. The key focus will be on the impact learning regions (including those which cross administrative and geographical boundaries and have both urban and rural dimensions) have in terms of regional regeneration and development outcomes that have flowed from the efforts to develop them. Programme and registration details from: www.ul.ie/dllo/conference/

Posted by iroronan at April 24, 2008 08:49 PM

« i2010: a mixed bag report for Ireland | Main | 28-30 May, University of Limerick, Learning Regions »

April 23, 2008

Ending Street Homelessness

A lack of emergency accommodation and outreach services catering for the needs of the homeless costs lives every Winter across Europe and can only be addressed effectively as part of a wider holistic strategy. That’s the key message of a European Parliament written declaration initially put forward by Mary Lou McDonald among others and adopted on April 10 which calls on the Council to agree on an EU-wide commitment to end street homelessness by 2015; on the Commission to develop a European framework definition of homelessness, gather comparable and reliable statistical data, and provide annual updates on action taken and progress made in EU Member States towards this goal; and on Member States to devise 'winter emergency plans' as part of a wider homelessness strategy. Homelessness was identified as a priority by the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council in 2005, and is a priority under the 'active inclusion' strand of the EU social protection and inclusion strategy. Further information from http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/plenary/writtenDecl/wdFastAdopted.do?language=EN

Posted by iroronan at April 23, 2008 08:17 PM

« Vocational Training mobility on its way | Main | Ending Street Homelessness »

April 21, 2008

i2010: a mixed bag report for Ireland

A report released on 18 April on the results so far for i2010, the EU's digital-led strategy for growth and jobs, shows that of the more than 250 million EU citizens regularly using the internet, 80% have access to some form of broadband connection. However, the key focus of the report is that this accessibility is far from evenly spread. On the issue of universal broadband service provision, market liberalisation in telecommunications has led to a concentration on providing service infrastructure to urban areas – leaving rural, remote, aging and poor areas which are seen to entail increased investment costs and unattractive rates of poor returns with substandard or no service. This is why EU rules on state aid permit public financing or partnerships to deliver broadband or other new technologies to such areas. With 64% DSL coverage in rural areas (2006), Ireland trails the EU average (72%) but its urban-rural gap is not as pronounced as Greece, Slovakia, Latvia, Italy, Poland, Lithuania or Germany. All told, i2010 contains a mixed bag of information society development reviews for Ireland: · National broadband coverage stands at 86% (2006) – slightly below EU average (89%). · At 17.4% of the population (2007), the gap is rapidly being closed on EU average broadband penetration (20%). · Broadband subscriptions doubled from 2006 to 2007 to account for 54% of the market, but the older narrowband technology remains very widespread (there are an above average number of households with an internet connection) – thus, on the more bandwidth consuming services and applications, Ireland is placed among the lowest ranking countries. · Public (32%) and (particularly) business (89%) use of e-government services is impressive despite more needing to be done to make such services fully available online and more sophisticated. · Medium and high Internet skill levels in the general population are not high; · While ICT skill levels are close to the average for the workforce there are concerns as to the falling percentage of employees having specialist skills. · The economy is among the leading performers in e-commerce and in use of certain related applications such as e-invoices. · There are very high levels of ICT use in facilitating coordination and greater integration between agencies (notably the Revenue Commissioners and the Companies Registration Office) and in making it easier for business to be set up and to meet associated compliance procedures. The Commission's i2010 report is available at: http://ec.europa.eu/i2010

Posted by iroronan at April 21, 2008 08:20 PM

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April 21, 2008

Vocational Training mobility on its way

Students in higher education have been able to avail of a European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to underpin cross-border mobility exchanges since 1989. Now learners in manual or practical activities are set to get their own EU-wide system to recognise national vocational education and training (VET) qualifications after the Commission proposed plans on 10 April to harmonise them into a comprehensive system. The proposed new European Credit system for Vocational Education and Learning (ECVET) will look to improve trainee mobility across Europe by ensuring that the very fragmented framework of national education systems are much better integrated and that training completed in one Member State is recognised in another. This should give an estimated 17 million trainees more access to and choice of lifelong learning opportunities. The system "will make it much easier for individual trainees to complete their training courses in different training establishments and in different countries thereby boosting mobility of learners throughout Europe" explained Education Commissioner Ján Figel. If ultimately adopted, Member States would implement the initiative on a voluntary basis. For more information on ECVET visit http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/educ/ecvet/index_en.html

Posted by iroronan at April 21, 2008 08:12 PM

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April 19, 2008

European Regional Studies Association 2008 Congress: Culture, Cohesion & Competitiveness - Regional Perspectives: 27-31 August, Liverpool

The 2008 ERSA Congress will be jointly hosted by the University of Liverpool Department of Civic Design and by the British & Irish Section of the Regional Science Association International. The programme will be organised around a variety of topics and include plenary sessions with lectures by distinguished keynote speakers, including Professor Ed Glaeser (Harvard). A number of topics will reflect the central theme of 'Culture, Cohesion & Competitiveness ', but there will be provision for other regional and urban development topics in a programme including: Cultural regeneration; Climate change; The evidence base for regional policy; Regional analysis of enterprise formation, deformation and survival; The development of air transport in European regions; Labour mobility in the extended EU; The regenerative role of river basin management; Spatial targeting and urban policy; GIS and spatial analysis; Local dimensions of sustainable development; Globalisation and regional competitiveness; Migration, diasporas and development; Social segregation, poverty and space; Rural and local development; Dublin & Liverpool: two cities compared; Cross-border cooperation and development; Renewable energy; Regeneration of urban districts; The future for regional policy in Europe; Public health and regional prosperity; Spatial econometrics; Long-term unemployment and lagging regions; New technologies, innovation and space; Public finance and regional development; Sustainable development and regional economic strategies; Spatial economic analysis; Retail development and competitiveness; Agglomeration, clusters and polic; City and regional marketing; Location of economic activities and people; City Regions and governance; Infrastructure, transport, mobility and communication; Learning regions; and New frontiers in regional science: theory and methodology Further details from http://www.liv.ac.uk/ersa2008/index.htm

Posted by iroronan at April 19, 2008 09:23 AM

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April 04, 2008

Regional Assembly Annual Conferences

Details of the 2008 Annual Conferences of the Border, Midland & Western and Southern & Eastern Regional Assemblies.

1 May, Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise. Quality of Life: Improving the Region's Competitive Advantage, (BMW Regional Assembly Annual Conference). Speakers include Mr. Nicky Brennan, President of the GAA, on "the Contribution of Sport to The Quality of Life" and Eanna Ni Lamhna, broadcaster and President of An Taisce, on "Do We Get the Rural Environment We Deserve?" Download the brochure. Contact: Pauline Grennan, Tel: 094 9862970, email pgrennan@bmwassembly.ie

16 May, Marriot Druids Glen Hotel, Newtownmountkennedy, Co. Wicklow. EU Territorial Co-operation Programmes (Interreg) 2007-2013 - what's in it for regional and local bodies in Ireland? (Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly Annual Conference) Contact: Karen Coughlan, Tel: 051 860700, Email: kcoughlan@seregassembly.ie

Posted by iroronan at April 4, 2008 10:15 AM

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April 01, 2008

Call due: ICT Policy Support Programme - funding for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability...info days on 23&24 April, Brussels

Funding for ICT use in Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in 'urban areas' and 'public buildings and spaces including lighting' will be available through a call to be launched on 29 April.

This is within the context of the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP), part of the Competitiveness and Innovation framework Programme (CIP). The call covers Objectives 2.1 (pilot actions on "ICT for energy efficiency in public building and spaces, including lighting") and 2.3 (networks for "consensus building and experience sharing in ICT for energy efficiency and sustainability in urban areas" relating to smart distributed power generation or sustainable urban development and management). The Commission Directorate-General for Information Society and Media are organising two info and brokerage days in Brussels on 23 (afternoon, Objective 2.3) and 24 April (all-day, objective 2.1). Register on webpage: http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/sustainable-growth/infoday20080423-24_en.html

Posted by iroronan at April 1, 2008 03:16 PM