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December 16, 2009

2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion - in Ireland

The Office for Social Inclusion and EU International within the Department of Social and Family Affairs is the National Implementing Body for the EU Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion 2010. A National Programme to guide EY2010's implementation in this country has been prepared. This document is based on three cross cutting themes reflecting the priorities for social inclusion set down in the 2006-2008 National Strategy for Social Protection and Social Inclusion (NSSPSI) Report - child poverty; access to quality work and learning opportunities; and access to services for older people and people with disabilities. Additionally, specific themes to be focused on relate to marginalised groups and areas such as urban and rural disadvantage, migration and ethnic minorities, Travellers, and homelessness as well as to technical monitoring and evaluating processes (e.g. Poverty Impact Assessment, measuring poverty, Indicators, and data availability and research).

A series of roundtable/seminars and national conferences are to be held regionally over the year in relation to these themes in order to increase public awareness of the existence and effect of poverty and social exclusion, and to determine how it can be eliminated. Marginalised groups and disadvantaged communities are particularly encouraged to get involved in organising and participating in such events as (in a non-funded sense) are stakeholders including employer organisations, trade unions and sporting and cultural organisations.

The Year in Ireland will be formally launched on 5 February 2010 in Dublin Castle. The European Anti-Poverty Network are organising the 'Building Social Europe: from Crisis to Opportunity' international conference at Croke Park on 19 February. Designated ''Social Inclusion Weeks'' in May and October will see local authorities organising activities and events.

Ireland’s National Programme

EAPN conference

Posted by iroronan at December 16, 2009 07:47 PM

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December 16, 2009

European Green Capital

The search has begun to find the cities (above 200,000 inhabitants) that will become the European Green Capitals for 2012 and 2013. The prestigious award recognises and showcases cities and local authorities that demonstrate a commitment to ambitious sustainable development and environmentally-friendly standards, to solving environmental problems to become more attractive and healthy places, and to factoring the environment into urban planning.

Entries will be assessed on the basis of 11 environmental criteria, including local contribution to fighting global climate change, waste production and management, nature and biodiversity, transport, air and water.

Further information
Deadline:1 February 2010.

Posted by iroronan at December 16, 2009 06:20 PM

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December 14, 2009

Interreg NWE latest Irish project approvals

The Steering Committee of the North West Europe Programme conditionally approved 14 more projects (from 37 applications) at its 5th meeting in Brussels on 8- 9 December. Four of these involved Irish partners:

- Senior Enterprise, led by the Mid-East Regional Authority, will support and tap into the potential of people aged 50+ as an undervalued resource for entrepreneurial activity and enterprise creation in their local communities. The focus will range across new businesses start-ups (alone or with others); investing in or acquiring businesses started by others; and advising or supporting innovation in SMEs.

- The SUCCESS project, which involves the Dublin Regional Authority, has been awarded EUR2.8m from the ERDF to establish a 'carbon card' scheme in four major city regions in order to change the patterns of citizen and consumer behaviour towards activities which will increase sustainability and reduce CO2 emissions. The project is led by Belfast City Council with Brussels and Liverpool being the other participants.

- CODEMA (City of Dublin Energy Management Agency) will be using their involvement in the GREENOV project to develop expertise, and stimulate the innovation capacity and economic prospects of SMEs active in sustainable renovation of buildings as part of the transition to low-carbon cities and a sustainable economy.

- DIT, Bolton St.'s Dept of Transport Engineering are partners to Enevate which will enable cooperation and collaboration to accelerate the introduction and growth of the market for Electric Vehicles (EV) across the NWE programme area.

Interestingly, none of the approvals were within the 'Environmental Challenges' category whereas 'Innovation', 'Connectivity' and 'Strong and Prosperous Communities' were all represented on several occasions. The programme has now allocated in excess of half of its overall budget. Its 6th Call for Proposals will open from 12 March to 9 April 2010.

Contact: ajordan@seregassembly.ie

Posted by iroronan at December 14, 2009 06:29 PM

« ESPON tools for local spatial planning | Main | Interreg NWE latest Irish project approvals »

December 13, 2009

'Inclusive Cities'

A portal to feature news on the latest urban social affairs developments in the EU, key documents, and a calendar of relevant events has been launched. The Inclusive Cities website reflects a partnership between the European Commission and EUROCITIES funded by PROGRESS (the EU Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity), revolves around a collection of real-life examples of social affairs practices and strategies used by cities to alleviate and counteract social problems. The information is categorised both by city and by policy area (education, health, housing, etc) in a bid to provide inspiring examples of work to alleviate poverty and social exclusion.

Further information

Posted by iroronan at December 13, 2009 11:10 AM

« Transport & the Environment policy brochure | Main | 'Inclusive Cities' »

December 11, 2009

ESPON tools for local spatial planning

A 2-3 December seminar in Malmo discussed and showcased how planning and development policy-making can be enriched by analysis derived from the activities of the ESPON 2013 observation network for territorial development and cohesion. The seminar was organised to demonstrate how an awareness of the broader context of territorial issues and trends drawn from the network's pan-European research activities - including comparable analyses and scenarios on framework conditions for the development of large and small areas - offers important opportunities for regions and cities to appreciate and realise their development potential. This includes aspects of comparative advantage, network positions and spheres of influence.

ESPON has already produced many recognised results with its first set of Applied Research and Targeted Analyses projects having introduced elements of the European dimension into regional and local development analysis and policymaking. Many of these research approaches, techniques and tools were profiled at the event and a report will be made available in early 2010.

Further information

ESPON 'Trends in Accessibility' report

Posted by iroronan at December 11, 2009 01:42 PM

« Adult Learning Awards | Main | ESPON tools for local spatial planning »

December 11, 2009

Transport & the Environment policy brochure

The European Commission's Transport Research Knowledge Centre have published a policy brochure focusing on transport and its effects on the environment.


Posted by iroronan at December 11, 2009 11:27 AM

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December 11, 2009

Adult Learning Awards

The European Association for Adult Education (EAEA) has launched its 2010 Grundtvig Awards - 'Innovative Approaches in Adult Education and Learning'. The priority for nominated projects this year will be demonstrating how teaching and the development of key competences has contributed to social inclusion in terms of issues such as cross-cultural language communication; entrepreneurship; and cultural expression. Projects do not necessarily need to have been funded by the European Commission.

Further information
Deadline: 3 April 2010.

Posted by iroronan at December 11, 2009 09:25 AM

« UK trials 'whole area' approach to public services | Main | Adult Learning Awards »

December 08, 2009

New Public Procurement thresholds

As of 1 January 2010 the WTO agreement on Government procurement will enter into force, meaning that new public procurement thresholds will be applicable in the EU. The Commission Regulation 1177/2009 published on 30 November will modify the figures defined in the existing Directives on Utilities (2004/17/EC) and Procurement (2004/18/EC). The transaction cost figures above which tendering must take place have been revised downwards by approximately 5-6% in all cases.


Posted by iroronan at December 8, 2009 06:15 PM

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December 08, 2009

UK trials 'whole area' approach to public services

A new British local government pilot programme is looking at how a ‘'whole area' approach to public services can offset the impact of the economic downturn by uncovering radical new solutions to not only achieve better value for money, but also better local services more tailored to local needs. The Total Place approach seeks to identify and avoid overlap and duplication between organisations, delivering a significant change in both efficiency and service improvement between the different agencies at local level, as well as in their interaction with central Government.

Thirteen pilot areas in England are adopting at least one of the various themes for investigation in order to explore in more detail how public money flows into a place and how the delivery system can be improved regardless of institutional structure. The pilots aim to identify and make widely available innovative models to deliver better, user-led local government services for less outlay. They will also identify ways in which central Government’s delivery structures could be changed to remove obstacles to frontline collaboration and innovation.

Further information

Posted by iroronan at December 8, 2009 02:22 PM

« Project: Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co. Council Urban rehabilitation | Main | UK trials 'whole area' approach to public services »

December 06, 2009

Orientation Paper on Future of Cohesion Policy

Outgoing Regional Commissioner Pawel Samecki has presented an orientation paper looking at the goals that future cohesion policy and Europe's regions as key actors should pursue in response to the challenges of the 21st century. The crux of the document, which comes at a time when post-2013 EU policy agendas are being shaped, argues that cohesion policy should continue to focus on addressing market failures and ensuring that regions make full use of their development potential in the context of European economic integration. Aspects of improving future performance and the simplified delivery of results are also addressed.

Orientation paper

Posted by iroronan at December 6, 2009 06:00 PM

« Sustainable urban development research: cities' viewpoint | Main | Orientation Paper on Future of Cohesion Policy »

December 04, 2009

Project: Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co. Council Urban rehabilitation

SURE is a newly-approved URBACT II Thematic Network involving DUn Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and
local authorities from Hungary, Cyprus, Finland and Portugal. The network's overall objective is to enhance sustainable growth by focusing on the diversification of local economies in areas of medium-sized cities where a few economic sectors tend to dominate disproportionately.

This is to be achieved by developing an integrated socio-economic urban rehabilitation model based on heightened
community involvement, to complement ongoing physical renewal efforts, in deprived residential and partly industrial
urban areas. The intention is to use the network as an opportunity to build the capacity of community leaders, partners and stakeholders in disadvantaged areas - mainly in terms of enterprise development and local employment - and to draw up community-led Local Action Plans to coordinate the harnessing of existing services, proper targeting of local needs, and attracting required investment. Loughlinstown and Shanganagh, which have been designated by the national RAPID urban regeneration framework programme, are the target districts in the Irish case.

The initial Development Phase, including completing baseline studies, building stakeholder involvement and developing a detailed methodology, runs until May 2010 whereupon results will be evaluated to determine the appropriateness to proceed to the Implementation Phase where partners would exchange and work together to each develop full Local Action Plans. DLR County Council has previous Interreg experience through Southside Partnership's involvement in the North West Europe SPAN (Strategic Planning Action Network) project to review
engagement and participation in physical planning processes and in local governance structures.

List of newly approved URBACT networksNote: All require additional partners by May 2010 – contact the lead partner.

Posted by iroronan at December 4, 2009 06:36 PM

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December 03, 2009

Sustainable urban development research: cities' viewpoint

Representatives of the recently concluded Sixth Framework project URBAN MATRIX have presented their recommendations on how to ensure that future EU research policies correspond with the challenges of sustainable urban development (SUD). The 'Shaping future EU research funding for Sustainable Urban Development' paper outlines areas that the project partners feel the European Commission should consider addressing when designing future EU research funding programmes as well as including suggestions on encouraging cities to become more actively involved in both SUD information exchange and in EU-funded research projects.

Urban Matrix involved a four-year knowledge exchange among 8 cities to support local authority engagement with SUD issues including by improving dissemination and implementation/use of current and future EU legislation and of EU project outputs. A key output was the compilation of case studies of practical local urban planning initiatives from across Europe. These include examples of eco-support for municipal organizations (Helsinki), renewable energy and energy efficiency clustering (San Sebastian), and community air pollution monitoring (Sheffield) as well as gasworks redevelopment (Belfast), and integrated waste, water and energy systems (Stockholm).


Further information

Posted by iroronan at December 3, 2009 10:17 AM

« New South Tipperary Co. Council water management project | Main | Sustainable urban development research: cities' viewpoint »

December 03, 2009

Green Digital Charter

14 European cities have taken an initiative to commit to harness Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to address climate change, especially to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions. By signing the 'EUROCITIES Green Digital Charter' on 27 November during that network's conference on local government action for a green recovery, the mayors of these cities, which range in population size from Reykjavik (120,000) to Vienna (1.5 million), have agreed to:
- Deploy five large-scale ICT pilot projects before 2015;
- Decrease ICT's direct carbon footprint by 30% by 2020; and
- Create a partnership of cities on ICT & Energy Efficiency to work until 2011.

Among the activities which are expected to put this pledge into practice are regulatory incentives; establishing new types of public-private partnerships with business, industry and the voluntary sector; and sharing expertise and practice with other cities. The Green Digital Charter is led by Manchester and builds on 'Greenshift Europe', an initiative of a group of UK cities.


Greenshift Europe

Posted by iroronan at December 3, 2009 10:04 AM

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December 02, 2009

New South Tipperary Co. Council water management project

South Tipperary County Council and Waterways Ireland are among the partners in a newly-approved Interreg 4C project. Waterways Forward aims to improve the management of inland waterways and the regions adjacent to them by promoting an integrated, sustainable and participatory approach.

The partners, public authorities and other relevant institutions from 12 European countries, will each bring forward good practices and share their experiences as part of the joint design of recommendations for management models and regional action plans to implement these in particular circumstances: including the River Suir as far inland as Clonmel. The models are intended to create a sound basis for devising and applying policies to boost the all-round socio-economic development of such waterways areas in a balanced manner while respecting the environment.

Only 10 percent of all submitted projects have been approved under this particular call. The next call for proposals will open on 9 December but will be dedicated exclusively to Capitalisation Projects focusing specifically on the transfer of already existing good practices into Structural Funds Regional Programmes. A further call for the more standard Regional Initiative Projects has been confirmed to be opened in late 2010. This is likely to be targeted on particular themes.


Posted by iroronan at December 2, 2009 09:45 AM

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December 02, 2009

'EU 2020 Strategy' Consultation

The process of formulating a successor to the current Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs in order to greatly shape the future direction of EU policy-making over the next decade moved a step closer on 24 November with the launch by the Commission of a consultation on what's being called the 'EU 2020' Strategy.

Interested parties are being asked to contribute their views on the best ways to provide a new framework for creating and consolidating economic recovery by delivering greener and more socially inclusive growth(a ''sustainable social market economy'') where prosperity can flow from knowledge, innovation and better use of resources.

The 2020 Strategy is intended to focus on key policy areas where collaboration between the EU and its Member States (who will be invited to set national objectives) can deliver the best results through improved delivery. A set of themes has been put forward as drivers of the Strategy:
o Creating value by basing growth on knowledge;
o Empowering people in inclusive societies; and
o Creating a competitive, connected and greener economy.

The Commission will table a detailed proposal incorporating contributions received to the Spring European Council in March 2010. Although there is no explicit mention of the role of regions or Cohesion policy in the current consultation document, the Commission has acknowledged that the Strategy can only be effectively pursued
through partnership between the EU, national and regional/local levels.

Submission deadline: 15 January 2010

More information

Posted by iroronan at December 2, 2009 09:39 AM