Press Releases

Article from the Times of Malta – Saturday, 17th October 2009

Poverty campaign in Sliema
SOS Malta is planning to highlight the plight of poor people in Sliema today to mark World Poverty Day.

The awareness campaign at the Plaza Shopping Centre will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will hone in on poverty and the Millennium Development Goals.

This campaign forms part of a larger initiative undertaken by SOS Malta under two development projects – the Media Engagement in Development Issues and Promotion, and Save Women’s Lives – funded by the European Commission.

IP/09/1840
Brussels, 30 November 2009
World AIDS Day 2009 – European Commission tops a billion Euros invested in the fight against the global AIDS epidemic

On the eve of World AIDS Day 2009 (1st December), the European
Commission can announce that it has invested over one billion Euros in the
fight against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. As a founding member of the
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the European
Commission has to date pledged €1,072.5 million covering the period 2002-
2010 and has recently made new policy commitments to do more, better,
together. According to the latest figures, new HIV infections have been
reduced by 17% over the past eight years and that the most progress is seen
in sub-Saharan Africa. However worldwide, the number of people living with
HIV now reaches 33 million, with the fastest spread of the epidemic occurring
on the threshold of the European Union, in the neighbouring countries of
Eastern Europe.
Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Karel De Gucht said: “Despite
recent hopeful trends, it is a fact that more than 2 million people die from AIDS every
year, with 70% of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS remains the
most deadly virus of our time and the EU, as the biggest donor worldwide, is
committed to do more in the fight against AIDS.”
Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said: “We need to renew and refocus our
actions to where they are most needed. In Europe today, the number of new
infections is increasing among certain groups and in specific regions. There is no
time for complacency. Prevention and early testing are still the best weapons in the
fight against HIV/AIDS.”
European Commission Action:
– As the world’s largest donor, the EU has collectively provided the majority of the
significant increase in recent years of international financing earmarked for
HIV/AIDS.
– EU contributions to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria have almost quadrupled: From $403 million in 2003 to $1,546 million,
representing around 55% of world contributions in the years 2004-2008.
– The EU Member States and the European Commission have a common
programme for action and decided together to call for stronger, more effective
and more concerted efforts through External Action (2007-2011).
– The Commission is increasingly channelling its funds available through budget
support to strengthen health systems as one of the main ways to confront AIDS.
This new instrument is thought to be particularly beneficial for health systems,
providing longer-term and predictable financing.
– Budget support has increased from €1,425 million for 2002-2006 to €2, 571
million for 2007-2011
2
– The Commission has also adopted a new Communication (26 October 2009) on
combating HIV/AIDS in the European Union and neighbouring countries for
2009 -2013 with the view of addressing the unfortunate trend of increasing
infections in Europe. It focuses in particular on the promotion of prevention, and
on the implementation of measures targeting most at risk groups and particular
geographical areas mostly affected by HIV/AIDS.
Background:
Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 60 million people have been infected
with HIV and 25 million people have died of AIDS related causes.
Although important progress has been achieved in preventing new HIV infections
and in lowering the annual number of AIDS –related deaths, AIDS continues to be a
major global health priority. The number of people living with HIV worldwide
continued to grow in 2008, reaching a total of 33.4 million. In 2008, 2.7 million
people became newly infected, and 2 million people died from AIDS-related
causes.
The epidemic appears to have stabilized in most regions, although prevalence
continues to increase in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and in other parts of Asia
due to a high rate of new infections. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily
affected region, accounting for 71% of all new HIV infections in 2008. 14.1 million
children in sub-Saharan Africa have lost one or both parents to AIDS, and AIDS
remains the top killer in the region.
More information:
http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/development/pdf/AIDS_day_info.pdf
http://ec.europa.eu/development/index_en.cfm

02nd December, 2009

No. 2041 Press Releases

MALTA’S PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE EUROPEAN UNION INAUGURATES MEDIP TRANSNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION IN BRUSSELS

Malta’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, Ambassador Richard Cachia Caruana, yesterday inaugurated the Media Engagement in Development Issues and Promotion (MEDIP) trans-national photographic exhibition at the EuropeAid Cooperation Office in Brussels.

The project MEDIP is run by six European NGOs and is an awareness campaign on development issues through the media. The project climaxes with the photo exhibition.

Six NGOs are partners in this project: SOS Malta, the Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights (Hungary), the Jaan Tonisson Institute (Estonia), the European Institute of Cyprus, Slovene Philanthropy, and the Civil Society Development Foundation (Romania).

During the exhibition, Ambassador Cachia Caruana, Permanent Representative of Malta to the European Union, presented a commemorative trophy to the winner of the photographic exhibition. The trophy was collected by Ms Iuliana Rada on behalf of the winning photographer, Mr Silviu Pavel (Romania).

The photographic exhibition on development is being organised by the NGO SOS Malta together with DG AIDCO (EuropeAid Cooperation Office). SOS Malta President Claudia Taylor-East was accompanied by Monique Falzon, Project Officer and Susan Ellul, Project Assistant, SOS Malta.

… / speech attached
DOI – 26.11.2009

Speech by Ambassador Richard Cachia Caruana, Permanent Representative of Malta to the European Union, at the inauguration of the Media Engagement in Development Issues and Promotion (MEDIP) transnational photographic exhibition – European Commission, EuropeAid Cooperation Office, Brussels – 25 November 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen

This evening’s event is the culmination of the Media Engagement in Development Issues and Promotion project, known as MEDIP. Claudia Taylor East has taken us though the project’s development and it is clear, also from the power and quality of the photographs that we see around us, that it has been a major success. As we await the announcement of the winning photograph, I would like to share a few thoughts regarding the MEDIP experience and the positive results that can be achieved when non-governmental organisations from different Member States work together with a single aim.

At the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000, one hundred and eighty-nine countries pledged to work together towards a more just and humane world. This ideal was articulated in the form of eight fundamental goals, which became known as the Millennium Development Goals. These countries also signed the Millennium Declaration promising to ‘free men, women and children from the dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty’. However, these brave intentions cannot be achieved by governments alone – the support of the public in general is needed if we hope to translate these goals into tangible results, and they therefore need to be communicated to as wide an audience as possible.

We all know the average attention span of today’s global media. It is a challenge for these initiatives to get decent media exposure. Indeed, this was evident from a Eurobarometer study on the ‘Citizens of the new EU Member States and Development Aid’, published in September 2007, which indicated that media coverage about the Millennium Development Goals has been low within the participating countries and that public awareness about development issues in general was also rather poor.

This is what the MEDIP initiative aimed to change though an intensive programme to raise media awareness on development issues and the Millennium Development Goals. It was originated and implemented by six non-governmental organisations, namely SOS Malta from Malta, the Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights from Hungary, the Jaan Tonisson Institute from Estonia, the European Institute of Cyprus, Slovene Philanthropy, and the Civil Society Development Foundation from Romania.

I have no doubt that the fact that this initiative originated from these organisations, each of which boast a record of impressive achievements in the field of international development, gave it credence and made the media take notice. These particular non-governmental organisations have, over the years, received the support of their respective governments while the MEDIP project itself received the financial support of the European Commission.

The EU has long believed that civil society organisations lie at the heart of an open and active society and, thanks to forward-looking and socially-oriented government policies, have helped empower citizens in an ever more dynamic and socially-progressive Europe. I am happy to say that representatives of civil society, like the ones involved in this project, also represent Europe’s efforts to move beyond European development and to take on a more decisive role in matters related to global development.

I am sure that the MEDIP programme of highly targeted media awareness training on development issues and the Millennium Development Goals will lead to greater media interest on these issues thus allowing them to be communicated to a wider audience. This aim becomes ever more vital as we move closer towards the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. As the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently urged: “Time is short. We must seize this historic moment to act responsibly and decisively for the common good.”

Ladies and Gentlemen

With this deadline in mind, we can better appreciate the value of events such as this exhibition, where strong images of poverty and injustice bring home the need and the urgency for all the participating countries to move forward on the Development Goals. Allow me therefore to conclude by thanking the six MEDIP organisations for the initiative as well as for their commitment and dedication.

DOI – 26.11.2009

Copyright 2000-2009, Department of Information – Government of Malta

Article from the Independent online – 02 December 2009

MEDIP transnational photographic exhibition in Brussels

Malta’s Permanent Representative to the European Union, Ambassador Richard Cachia Caruana, yesterday inaugurated the Media Engagement in Development Issues and Promotion (MEDIP) trans-national photographic exhibition at the EuropeAid Cooperation Office in Brussels.

The project MEDIP is run by six European NGOs and is an awareness campaign on development issues through the media. The project climaxes with the photo exhibition.

Six NGOs are partners in this project: SOS Malta, the Foundation for Development of Democratic Rights (Hungary), the Jaan Tonisson Institute (Estonia), the European Institute of Cyprus, Slovene Philanthropy, and the Civil Society Development Foundation (Romania).

During the exhibition, Ambassador Richard Cachia Caruana, Permanent Representative of Malta to the European Union, presented a commemorative trophy to the winner of the photographic exhibition. The trophy was collected by Ms Iuliana Rada on behalf of the winning photographer, Mr Silviu Pavel (Romania).

The photographic exhibition on development is being organised by the NGO SOS Malta together with DG AIDCO (EuropeAid Cooperation Office). SOS Malta President Claudia Taylor-East was accompanied by Monique Falzon, Project Officer and Susan Ellul, Project Assistant, SOS Malta.

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