UN General Assembly President defends landmark migration compact

“The Compact allows enormous flexibility for countries to use the parts of the compact that can be adapted to their sovereign decisions and existing legal frameworks…it is a cooperation instrument,” said Ms. Espinosa, briefing reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.She described the Global Compact for migration as a landmark agreement which will help ensure that migrants everywhere in the world have their rights safeguarded and are treated fairly.The compact, which is due to be adopted at a conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, in December, sets clear objectives to make migration safe, orderly and regular; addresses the concerns of signatory governments and reinforces national sovereignty; and recognizes the vulnerabilities faced by migrants.Ms. Espinosa said that she has been encouraged by the commitment of Member States and expects the Morocco conference to be a success: “Migration is part of the way the world develops, interacts and interconnects. We have seen lately unusual migration flows that need to be tackled and addressed multilaterally. And the response is precisely the Global Compact.”As for reports that a number of countries are backing out of the agreement, the Assembly President said that the decisions of Member State governments must be respected: “We fully understand the decision of some countries that have decided they are not ready to commit, and it’s perhaps because they are taking the issue migration very seriously, and they need to have greater discussions and conversations domestically.”Ms. Espinosa also highlighted the importance of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference, known by the shorthand COP24, taking place in Katowice, Poland, this December. Describing climate change as a “survival issue,” she said that urgent action on the environment is one of her priorities as President, and that the world needs to move as soon as possible towards a green economy, generating low carbon technologies, which will produce thousands more jobs, and a cultural shift in production and consumption patterns is needed if we are to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5º Celsius. read more

Europe backs ambitious pedestrian protection measures

Europe backs ‘ambitious’ pedestrian protection measures The European Commission has today announced that it supports the commitment made by the motor industry to improve pedestrian protection. Describing the industry’s voluntary targets as ambitious but realistic, Erkki Liikanen, Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, said that the commitment was an important step towards reducing deaths and injuries among pedestrians and other road users. Industry proposals set targets for changes to vehicle design which will limit the effect of a pedestrian impact and prevent accidents occurring in the first place. However, unlike the long drawn out legislative route, industry measures promise to bring about benefits sooner rather than later. By 2005, 80 per cent of the aims of a directive will have been achieved, a full three years ahead of schedule. And by the time legislation would finally be in place, 100 per cent of the benefits will have been achieved. Commenting on the Commission’s announcement, SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said, ‘The motor industry has already made significant cuts in CO2 emissions from new cars through constructive dialogue with Europe. Now we are ready to deliver on voluntary targets set for pedestrian protection. I am delighted that the Commission has backed a voluntary agreement, which promises real benefits through tough but achievable targets.’ Member States and the European Parliament will now be consulted by the Commission on the proposals. The industry urges MEPs to support the Commission’s view and opt for a negotiated agreement before a final decision is made towards the end of the year. Note to editors: The European automotive industry is already committed to a voluntary agreement to reduce CO2 emissions by 25 per cent by 2008 from 1995 levels. ACEA, the European automobile manufacturers association, recently reported that CO2 output from new cars is falling by an average 2.5 per cent per year. The industry is on target to reach the 140 g/km threshold set for average CO2 emissions from new cars by 2008. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more