News Round Up

The Urban Unit along with a number of international partners and organizations co-organized International Conference & Exhibition on Environment 2019. The Units pavilion attracted hundreds of visitors because of its unique thematic presentation and research-based publications displayed.

The Punjab Environment Minister Mr. Muhammad Rizwan visited Urban Units display where he was briefed by the Mr. Hassan Ilyas Senior Specialist Environment and others on Units initiatives and projects related to environmental improvement.

Mr. Khalid Sherdil CEO and Abid Hussainy COO along with senior team visited the venue and responded to queries of national and international visitors and briefed them on agenda and mandate of the Unit in context with environmental initiatives.

The Sri Lankan delegation at the Units pavilion.
Ms. Mangala Vikrama Nikay Additional DG, Mr. Chitra Nande District Secretary and Ms. Kumari Jayshree DG from Environment Ministry Columbo also spoke on the occasion discussing Air Quality Issues. The delegation also commended the efforts of the Unit in organizing the conference.

The European Union has set up a 900 million euro ($998 million) budget to aid countries knocked by humanitarian crises, with Africa getting the largest share of the money.

The EU Commission, the blocs executive arm, claimed that in 2020 people in more than 80 countries will benefit from the money. Some 400 million euros ($444 million) will go to programs developed in Africa, while 345 million euros ($383 million) have been awarded to address calamity in the Middle East.

A further 111 million euros ($123 million) will be dedicated to programs in Asia and Latin America.
Janez Lenarčič, the EU commissioner for crisis management further announced, Even though conflict remains the main cause of hunger and displacement, its impact has become seriously worsened by climate change. Europe has a responsibility to show solidarity and support for those in need. Our assistance depends on full humanitarian access so aid organizations can do their lifesaving job.

The EU declared that with the help of 2020 EU aid will subsidize people suffering from the long-term conflict in Congo and malnutrition in the Sahel region, as well as those displaced by violence in South Sudan, Central African Republic and the Lake Chad basin.

Macron was elected in 2017 on a pro-European, pro-business platform and argued that France must become more globally competitive. He has started cutting taxes on business revenue and passed laws to make it easier to hire and fire workers and make it harder to get unemployment benefits. Emmanuel Macron used the splendor of the Palace of Versailles to seek the favor of international business leaders, insisting that his reforms are attracting investors despite six weeks of crippling protests and walkouts over his plan to overhaul the retirement system. Macrons government set forth a 2 billion-euro ($2.2 billion) contract for the French shipyard of Saint-Nazaire on the Atlantic coast. It will build two cruise ships for the company MSC, representing some 2,400 jobs over three years. MSC confirmed plans to build other ships in France for another 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion).

Macron mentioned, Good news doesnt arrive out of nowhere. It comes because we are implementing reforms, because our country is moving, mobilizing. I know that our heads are being filled with bad news and that were led to believe that everything is going to explode. But its not true. Later, in Versailles, Macron hosted 180 international business leaders, including top executives from Google, Netflix, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Samsung and General Electric. Many executives were stopping in route to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Coca-Cola declared it would invest 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) over the next 5 years in France, including in its Dunkirk plant. Japanese automaker Toyota said last week it will build a new car model at its plant in Valenciennes, northern France, which represents 400 jobs and 100 million euros ($110 million) in investments. Macron says his plan to unite over 40 different retirement systems into one will be fairer for all French workers. People who have special retirement deals are objecting to the changes, and a wide variety of workers are against any moves to raise the full retirement age from 62. The government says labor measures have started producing results and are creating more jobs. Frances unemployment rate has decreased this year to its lowest level in a decade, but at 8.6% it still remains among the highest in the European Union. The World Economic Forum in its report of global competitiveness 2019- an assessment of the competitive landscape of 141 economies – rated France at the 15, up from 22 in 2017.

A media talk on Punjab Development Agenda at Dr. Salman Shahs (Advisor to CM for Economic Affairs and Planning & Development Board) office, was held jointly by Planning and Development Department and the Urban Unit. Dr. Salman Shah, Secretary Planning & Development Department Mr. Imran Baloch and CEO Urban Unit Mr. Khalid Sherdil discussed Punjab Spatial Strategy with leading media personals of the country. The presentation was followed by an interactive session with representatives from various channels so as to apprise them of the current governments vision to steer Punjab on road to economic development. Mr. Iftikhar Ahmed, Mr. Mansoor Ali Khan, Ms. Ayesha Baksh, Mr. Salman Ghani, Mr. Ajmal Jami, Mr. Waleed Ahmed, P. J. Mir, Mr. Mubashar Luqman and many others from various channels were presented on the occasion.