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Monday, August 31, 2009

Millán Millán: “Research showed that torrential rains in the Mediterranean were increasing at the same time that Atlantic rains were decreasing”

Dr Millán in the Spanish press this week

Dr. Millán Millán, director of the Center for Environmental Studies in the Mediterranean (CEAM), participated today in the 14th Summer School of the Assembly of European Regions, hold in Valencia this week.

During his speech, Mr. Millán lectured on the historical trend of changes in rainfall cycles in the Mediterranean basin, affecting the rains all over Europe. Specifically, the scientific pointed out that as early as the year 1974 the European Commission started its research on atmospheric pollution, which led to findings on the lack of summer storms in the Mediterranean.

"European Commission DG Environment discovered that torrential rains in the Mediterranean were increasing at the same time that Atlantic rains were decreasing", stated Dr. Millán.

According to this expert, "the Mediterranean has a unique atmospheric circulation system in which water vapor goes up to the mountain and comes back to the sea without rainfalls". The importance of this model justifies that "the European Commission has earmarked 200 million euro to study this phenomenon".

Dr. Millán is, besides the director of CEAM since its creation in 1990, author of 96 scientific publications and other works. He is member of several international and European scientific committees and has received an honorary doctorate from Universidad Miguel Hernández from Elche (Alicante-Spain).

The CEAM has worked with Wateregio in drafting the project proposal 'Waterstar' for the last Interreg MED call.

Hübner in “Deep Water” at AER Summer School in Valencia

L. to R.: Mr Klipp, SG of the AER, Ms Hübner, MEP Chairwoman of the Committee REGI, and Mr Ripoll, Valencian Regional Deputy Minister in charge of EU affairs

Valencia (E), 28th August 2009.

In her first speech as chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Committee for Regional Development, Danuta Hübner has said that water will be a “major priority” of the EU’s Regional Policy. “There are regions that will require specific responses, which will be more affected than others by droughts, floods or water scarcity,” Ms H
übner said today. “That is why, more than ever, the European regional policy 2007-2013 will be ambitious in its environmental initiatives at local and regional level.” Ms Hübner was speaking on the final day of the Assembly of European Regions’ (AER) 14th annual Summer School, hosted by the Spanish region of Valencia.

Focusing this year on water issues, the week-long event in the city of Valencia brought together around 150 regional politicians, officers and young people, along with international experts and EU officials, to address the many challenges related to water.

AER president Michèle Sabban, speaking earlier this week, said: “We are not in Valencia by accident. Spain is the European country most threatened by desertification and drought.” “By bringing young people together with experts and politicians to discuss this increasingly global problem, we hope to promote a new “water culture” in the regions. The young people here can take back to the regions what they have learnt this week, thereby raising awareness among peers who will face the consequences tomorrow of what we do today.”

The summer school featured expert speakers, roundtables and workshops, along with study visits where participants could see firsthand the Valencia region’s expertise in water management.

Valencia’s deputy minister for European affairs, Rafael Ripoll, noted that the region of Valencia, whose strong commitment to addressing water scarcity has made it a European leader in the field, is the “perfect framework to talk about promoting the better use of water across all the European regions.” Background The proper management of water plays a key role in maintaining biodiversity, human health as well as in economic and social development. The “blue” challenge is of huge importance as the world enters a water crisis. Safe access to water for all is one of the Millennium Goals, while water savings can be improved by around 40% in Europe.

By bringing together decision makers, officials and young people, the AER Summer School in Valencia aimed to provide the tools to regions to tackle the challenges of water management. Participants were able to share experiences, develop new instruments to raise awareness and define strategies to contribute to creating a water-saving culture across the regions of Europe.

Find more information about initiatives in the field of water at:
Find more information about AER’s 14th Summer School at:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Opening ot the AER Summer School on water

AER secretary-general Klaus Klipp underlined in his speech at the 14th AER Summer School opening in Valencia the paramount importance that cooperation between regions in EU programmes and projects plays in tackling climate change.

Mr. Klipp emphasised the need to create regional lobbies to stand up for common European issues, such as water scarcity and droughts. He also noted that AER is currently developing several projects in the field, related to tourism, renewable energies and climate change.

Together with the director-general of the Valencian Regional Office in Brussels, Juan Manuel Revuelta, Mr. Klipp explained the goals of the 14th AER Summer School, which this year has gathered over 150 participants from across wider Europe to discuss policies related to water and climate change.

Since 1996, AER’s summer schools have been bringing together politicians and other representatives from youth civil society and regional authorities, along with European and regional experts, to explore a different topic every year.

At this year’s event, Mr. Revuelta highlighted the commitment of the Valencian Region to “face the problem of water scarcity, droughts and desertification which affects our region, as well as other places in the south of Europe”.

Mr. Revuelta also supported the major role of interregional cooperation in addressing this situation. The director-general further explained that “Fundación Comunidad Valenciana – Región Europea has attracted 66 million euro to the Valencian Region in European funding, mainly in projects related to environment and energy efficiency”.

For this reason, Mr. Revuelta stated that “the Valencian Region leads the way in obtaining European environmental projects”.

He also stressed the role of the Fundación in establishing European partnerships in water issues, such as Wateregio, the European Water Network, which brings together 10 regions committed to finding solutions against water scarcity and droughts.

Specifically, the programme ENPI Mediterranean Basin has launched a new call, to be closed on October 20th, which welcomes the submission of projects in the field of cross-border cooperation. Likewise, the programme Life + has launched another call, to be closed on September 15th; Ecoinnovation, to be closed early September, and EuropAid, which allocates 70 million euro for initiative regarding environment, renewable energies and energy efficiency.

AER contacts:
Jascha Scheele j.scheele@aer.eu
Wateregio contact:
Alfonso Alcolea aalcolea@delcomval.be