Reaffirming the strategic importance of the European Neighbourhood, Conclusions adopted today by the Foreign Affairs Council welcomed the 15 May progress report ‘Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy’ issued by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and the European Commission.
“[The Council] welcomes the good progress made in advancing the Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the countries of the Southern Mediterranean and looks forward to the implementation of the Roadmap accompanying the joint Communication, in dialogue and cooperation with partners, also with the aim of developing synergies with the Union for the Mediterranean and other regional initiatives.”
On the Eastern Neighbourhood, the Council Conclusions said: “[The Council] also welcomes both the good progress made in the implementation of the Eastern Partnership and the joint Communication of the High Representative and the Commission proposing a Roadmap to guide bilateral and multilateral work in view of the autumn 2013 Summit. It looks forward to the Roadmap’s endorsement at the forthcoming Eastern Partnership Ministerial meeting and to its subsequent implementation.” (EU Neighbourhood Info)
European Training Foundation meets partners to discuss regional project on continuing vocational training
The role of social partners, quality of training and effective funding mechanisms emerged as the key issues when the European Training Foundation (ETF), an EU agency, and its partners met in Tallinn, Estonia, to discuss and review the findings of the regional project on continuing vocational training (CVT) in Eastern Europe. The three-year project, launched in 2011, aims to strengthen the role of CVT in the context of socioeconomic challenges faced by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
According to an ETF press release, participants agreed that the role of social partners (employers and in particular trade unions) should be further enhanced to improve CVT policies. Moreover, adopting special legislation on CVT and adult learning is important to universalise access to lifelong learning, while giving more chances to higher risk groups (e.g. low skilled or elderly) to take part in continuing education and training. The participants found the Estonian example in this field very useful. They agreed that international cooperation and sharing experience, as facilitated by the ETF, is crucial in facing the challenges in all these areas.
- Partners from Armenia and Georgia found it valuable to work with the ETF on the development of the validation of non-formal and informal learning.
- Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine plan to explore the role of sectoral skills councils to support forecasting training needs to respond better to current labour market needs.
- Moldovan participants believe that the development of methods for training needs’ assessment for better quality and relevance are essential to make CVT and adult learning provision more attractive and the policies more sustainable.
The European Training Foundation is an agency of the European Union established to contribute to the development of the education and training systems of the EU partner countries. With an annual budget of €18 million, its mission is to help transition and developing countries to harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems in the context of the EU’s external relations policy. (EU Neighbourhood Info)
EU project promoting forest-based beekeeping in Georgia
The WWF-Caucasus Programme Office (WWF-CauPO) has just completed a campaign to promote beekeeping in Machakhela Gorge, Adjara Autonomous Republic, south western Georgia. The activity was held from March to June as part of the EU-funded forestry project ENPI FLEG.
According to a press release from ENPI FLEG (the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) Programme), the activity aims to address the socio-economic needs of the local population, and to contribute to easing the pressure on local wood resources, especially fuelwood. The idea is that the successful promotion of the beekeeping business will significantly increase the income of local households, and that this will eventually reduce pressure on wood resources.
The pilot sites were located in the villages of Zeda Chkhutuneti, Kokoleti and Chikuneti in Mahcakhela Gorge, bordering with Turkey. In all, about 20 representatives of households were selected and subsequently trained in beekeeping. After the training, they received, free of charge, beehives with bee families (five beehives per household) as well as other equipment and medicines, necessary to start a beekeeping business. The condition for acquiring the equipment was that, after two years, each beneficiary would transfer one bee family to another household representative from Machakhela Gorge free of charge.
The €6 million European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument (ENPI) Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) Programme supports governments, civil society and the private sector in the development of sound and sustainable forest management practices, including the prevention of illegal forestry activities. (EU Neighbourhood Info)