Eurostat launched a report showing the progression of the European Union towards the 2020 social and economic targets.

The report highlights the main achievements of  EU 2020 targets
The report highlights the main achievements of EU 2020 targets

2020 is only three years from now and, surely, a lot has been already accomplished. Still there’s so much left to do in such short time. One major point raised by Eurostat is that he European Union lacks cohesion between its member States when it has to deliver better levels of employment and productivity while reducing the impact on the environment.

Europe 2020 targets cover five areas of concern: Employment, Research & Development, Climate Change & Energy, Education and Poverty Reduction. Each member state has its own national target within the common targets. By analyzing the data, Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, produced a report called “Smarter, greener, more inclusive?”, in which it details the Unions accomplishments since 2008, as well as it outlines the programs major trends.

The report thus highlights the “substantial progress” made in the area of climate change and energy, through the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, combined with an increase in the use of renewable sources of energy. Positive developments have been made also in education, through an increased tertiary education and a reduced number of early leavers from higher education.

The areas where progress was limited were employment and R&D expenditure, while poverty reduction has reached poor results since 2008.

When analyzing each EU Member State data, Eurostat shows there’s still a lack of cohesion among the 27 countries. When it comes to reducing greenhouse gases emissions, for example, States as Portugal and Denmark have surpassed their targets on energy consumption and efficiency when France and Italy are still far from honoring their commitments and are hardly likely to do so by 2020.

From the poverty reduction perspective, only a few countries, like Austria and Bulgaria, have shown a slight development, while Spain and Greece are struggling to reach the 2020 targets. Currently, 23% of the EU population faces the risk of poverty or social exclusion, while employment rates among females have risen since 2008, inducing a vulnerability of this gender group.

Access the full report here

All 2020 targets are directly or indirectly related to the UN Sustainable Development Targets and are part of the EU commitment to the social and economic inclusion of its population.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

The European Commission launched this week a report which addresses the challenges for the future of Europe regarding innovation and research.

The European Commission event took place in Brussels
The European Commission event took place in Brussels

Over 700 scientists, business leaders and policy makers have gathered this week in Brussels at the conference Research and Innovation – Shaping Our Future, where competitiveness, productivity and value generation were some of the key topics on discussion.

The report, entitled LAB – FAB – APP: Investing in the European Future We Want was initiated by an independent group of leading experts chaired by Pascal Lamy, President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute. The document highlights the idea that part of Europe’s success is due to research and innovation as two thirds of economic growth achieved in the last two decades by industrialised countries are attributed to investments in this area. The document included 11 recommendations that focused on maximising the impact of EU investments in research and innovation in order to increase prosperity and solve the biggest societal challenges on the continent.

Apart from being pretty much focused on policies and research budgeting propositions, the recommendations address some of the Sustainable Development Goals such as education and human rights.

The 11 recommendations for the future of innovation are as follows:

*1. Prioritise research and innovation in the EU while taking them into account in national budgets, with emphasis on a doubling of the budget covering post-2020 EU research and innovation programme

  1. Build a true EU innovation policy that creates future markets

  2. Educate for the future and invest in people who will make the change

  3. Design the EU R&I programme for greater impact

  4. Adopt a mission-oriented, impact-focused approach to address global challenges

  5. Rationalise the EU funding landscape and achieve synergy with structural funds

  6. Simplify further, privilege impact over process

  7. Mobilise and involve citizens

  8. Better align EU and national R&I investment

  9. Make international R&I cooperation a trademark of EU research and innovation

  10. Capture and better communicate impact*

For Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, “Research and Innovation make a big difference to enhancing productivity, boosting competitiveness and tangibly improving our quality of life. Europe is a global scientific powerhouse, but we need to better reap the benefits of this knowledge by turning it into value for the economy and society through innovation.”

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

EYA 2015 Winners
EYA 2015 Winners

Since 2009, the European Youth Award have been rewarding youth innovation and creativity in technology. The award is an undertaking of the International Center for New Media (ICNM), a member of Horyou, the social network for social good, which also organizes special events and grants awards to support innovation and entrepreneurship.

This year, EYA’s applications are open to European entrepreneurs, startups and students who dream to develop their creative potential and benefit from some of Europe’s leading business personalities’ mentoring. Speaking for ICNM, Birgit Kolb has granted us the following interview.

EYA Festival Workshop
EYA Festival Workshop

– What is EYA and when was it created?

The European Youth Award (EYA) is a pan-European contest for young people, entrepreneurs and startups creating digital projects to improve society. It was called into life in 2012 by Prof. Peter A. Bruck, Honorary Chairman of the International Center for New Media, and is conducted under the patronage of the Council of Europe and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.

The Winners Event (EYA Festival) is a unique event combining knowledge, innovation, networking, inspiration and motivation. It takes place in Graz, Austria, in November of each year.

– What are your goals in supporting innovation among youth?

The goals of the European Youth Award are

  1. Showcasing and promoting the most innovative digital projects by young developers, entrepreneurs and start-ups from all over Europe.
  2. Demonstrating young people’s creative potential and entrepreneurial spirit.
  3. Taking action on Europe’s most pressing issues such as employment, resource management, health, education, urban development, cultural diversity and social inclusion.
  4. Contributing to the progress towards the goals defined for Europe 2020 by the Council of Europe.
  5. Connecting next generation of IT pioneers with experienced experts from business, technology, education and science.
  6. Encouraging inspiration and international exchange of knowledge, ideas and visions.
Festival Gala Ceremony
Festival Gala Ceremony

– In times of technology and business disruptions, how do you support socially and environmentally responsible innovations?

We believe that knowledge and a vibrant network are the key factors for success. Therefore, we support EYA Winners by giving them an international stage to pitch their project and get comprehensive feedback from experts, mentors and students analyzing the winning projects profoundly.

The EYA network is a most vibrant and lively one. Individuals attending one of our events usually say that it is a very unique experience that they would have never wanted to miss. They usually feel like they have become a member of a new family where they can receive support and guidance any time.

That’s how we think that socially and environmentally responsible innovations can be supported best.

– Can you mention some interesting innovative projects that participated in the last editions?

Sure, plenty! All of the EYA winners are very unique. Perhaps the following links are good examples to show the great variety of EYA and its projects: I Mirabilia, Jerry Do It Together , GovFaces and Aprendices Visuales.

European Youth Awards
European Youth Awards

– How many applications do you expect this year? Call the Horyou community to participate and apply their projects!

We expect more than 100 applications this year. The deadline is on July 31 – we kindly invite the Horyou community to take this unique chance and apply now with their creative, digital project with impact on society!

Projet d'amélioration des techniques de cuisson au Cambodge. Credits : GERES
Projet d’amélioration des techniques de cuisson au Cambodge. Credits : GERES

Le GERES (Groupe Energies Renouvelables,Environnement et Solidarités), ONG française créée en 1976, travaille sur de nombreux projets de développement durable en Europe mais aussi en Afrique de l’Ouest et en Asie du Sud-Est et centrale. L’organisation s’intéresse aux enjeux énergétiques, environnementaux et de réduction de pauvreté, causes interdépendantes et qui l’interrogent sur de nombreux territoires.

L’organisation travaille en partenariat avec les acteurs locaux et cherche toujours à s’adapter au mieux aux contextes socioculturels des pays dans lesquels elle intervient.

Le chargé de communication de l’organisation, Mathieu Grapeloup, a accepté de répondre à nos questions.

1. Pouvez-vous nous présenter brièvement le GERES ?

Le GERES est une ONG française qui va fêter ses 40 ans cette année ! Notre mission principale est d’améliorer les conditions de vie des populations tout en préservant l’environnement. Nos solutions dépendent des différents contextes géographiques où nous intervenons : la transition énergétique en Europe et en Méditerranée, le bioclimatisme en Asie centrale, la gestion de la biomasse en Asie du sud-est ou encore l’accès à l’énergie en zone rurale en Afrique de l’Ouest. Nous avons également une forte expertise sur les changements climatiques depuis plusieurs années.

2. Vous avez ouvert le premier centre d’information sur l’energie au Tajikistan il y a peu. Pouvez-vous nous expliquer quelle sera la fonction principale de ce centre et ce qu’il va pouvoir apporter ?

Ce centre va ressembler aux Points Info Energie que l’on peut trouver en France : les agents qui travaillent vont pouvoir accueillir, informer et conseiller la population sur les solutions d’économie d’énergie qui permettront plus de confort et une meilleure maîtrise des dépenses énergétiques dans les logements.

3. Vous êtes aussi à la base d’un film réalisé sur la première zône d’activité électrifiée 100% renouvelable au Mali. Quelles sont les avancées principales qui vont découler de la mise en place d’une telle zône ?

L’objectif est de regrouper des entreprises d’artisanat et des services sur un même site dédié qui offre un espace de travail adéquat et un service électrique en continu, 100% renouvelable et autonome. Il va permettre à la population d’accéder à des produits et services jusqu’alors inexistants, trop coûteux ou difficiles d’accès, tels qu’une boulangerie, une fabrique de glace,internet ou encore une radio communautaire.

Première zône d’activité électrifiée 100% renouvelable au Mali. Credits : GERES
Première zône d’activité électrifiée 100% renouvelable au Mali. Credits : GERES

4. La COP21 a eu lieu il y a peu et le GERES est très impliqué dans les
questions environnementales. Quelles sont les actions principales que vous essayez de mettre en place dans ce domaine ?

Le GERES a participé à toutes les conférences des Parties sur le climat (COP) depuis celle de Bali en 2007. Nous avons une expertise à faire valoir sur les deux piliers de la réponse aux changements climatiques : l’atténuation (réduire les émissions de gaz à effet de serre) et l’adaptation (prendre des mesures de résilience face aux changements en cours ou à venir). Ces aspects sont pris en compte dans la plupart de nos projets. Nous faisons également un travail de plaidoyer sur la question auprès des décideurs dans le cadre de la Commission climat et développement de Coordination SUD dont nous sommes chefs de file. Nous défendons par ailleurs une certaine vision du développement : la Solidarité climatique. Il s’agit de faire des efforts au nord pour réduire nos émissions et à la fois d’accompagner les pays en développement dans une croissance bas-carbone.

5. Y a-t-il eu une réalisation qui a eu une importance toute particulière pour le GERES durant ces dernières années ?

Le plus gros projet du GERES de ces dernières années a été la diffusion de plus de 3 millions de foyers améliorés au Cambodge pour réduire la pression sur la biomasse. Près de la moitié de la population urbaine et péri-urbaine a pu améliorer sa technique de cuisson pour émettre moins de CO2. C’est un succès considérable.

6. Avez-vous un projet que vous espérez mettre en place prochainement et dont
vous souhaiteriez nous parler ?

Nous avons toujours des projets. Une soixantaine sont menés actuellement à travers le monde. Notre souhait, cependant, ce serait de retourner en Inde. Historiquement, c’est l’un des pays auquel nous nous sommes intéressés en premier et nous y avons mené un beau projet de diffusion de bâtiments bioclimatiques entre 2010 et 2013. Nous y reviendrons peut-être bientôt pour travailler sur l’agriculture durable.

7. Que pensez-vous d’Horyou et de sa communauté dont vous êtes un membre
actif ? Qu’est ce que la plateforme vous apporte dans le cadre de votre action?

Horyou est un très beau concept de réseau social avec une équipe très sympa et motivée qui le porte. Cette plateforme mériterait d’être encore plus connue pour que ses effets positifs puissent se démultiplier !

8. Notre philosophie s’articule autour de valeurs universelles que nous retrouvons dans le slogan « Dream Inspire Act ». Qu’est ce que ces 3 mots évoquent pour vous et votre organisation ?

Les personnes qui travaillent au GERES peuvent avoir des parcours de vie différents mais elles sont toutes là parce qu’un moment donné elles ont rêvé de participer à la construction d’un monde « plus durable » ou parce que quelqu’un ou quelque chose les a inspirées. Mais une fois « géressien », un seul objectif nous anime : agir.

8. Si vous pouviez partager un message avec l’ensemble des membres de la
communauté Horyou, quel serait-il ?

Nous souhaitons une excellente année 2016 à toute la communauté ! Dans le sillon de la COP21, il y a plein de beaux projets à construire pour enclencher la transition vers un monde durable. Réalisons-les ensemble !

Pour en savoir plus, visitez leur page Horyou ou leur site internet!

Written by Laurie Martin


It is a universally established fact that misbehavior in finance and bad judgment in monetary policy were two major catalysts of the world recession that has touched almost every economy over the last few years. Financial institutions are the driving force of an economy; they allow businesses to produce and consumers to spend and so their actions have a very real impact on our lives.

There were times when austerity measures would reinstate reason and measure in that seemingly wild arena but now, technological revolution with the hyper connectivity and infinite openings that it offers, is providing the world of finance with a chance to make a real social impact; and this time, for good.

This is happening right now in Ireland and specifically at Bank of Ireland, in Grand Canal Square, in Belfast, whose Head of Innovation, David Tighe, I met at MoneyConf.

We had an energetic chat on how banking has a real chance to turn its reputation around and start being a facilitator rather than a drain on the economy. He told me how Bank of Ireland has finally acknowledged the impact of start-ups on Ireland’s economic growth, as they are now a core element of their strategy.


To that effect, Bank of Ireland has set up a workbench in its Grand Canal Square branch with plans to expand to the major cities across the country. Put simply, it is a space where start-ups can come any day to work and build their business in an innovative and vibrant environment with free WIFI, free coffee and snacks, a network of like-minded people, and staff to answer all financial questions.

BOI Innovation Hub is completely aligned with Horyou when it comes to the interdisciplinary model as both believe in the power of cross collaboration and sharing of ideas. Diversity should be celebrated and the best results come from convergence of different experiences, thoughts and skills.

I challenged David on the fact that a bank is still a profit seeking institution; so what’s in it really for them? He said that as an enterprise bank, ‘start-ups are our product’. He believes that with the right advice and support, start-ups can grow, create real value and become driving force of growth in the economy.


I was also happy to hear that along with supporting potentially high return companies, sustainability is key consideration; entrepreneurs are realizing the competitive advantage of long-term servicing. And this is not just about environmental impact; sustainable business is built with a long-term focus in mind, be it environmental or economic.

This is why Bank of Ireland, and hopefully many more institutions, will continue to support start-ups; the end goal of solely financial gain is changing to that of financial gain plus social good. They have society in mind, and we hope that from now on, other banks will too.

By Dearbhla Gavin

On June 21st, the Horyou team attended a wonderful barbecue on the banks of Lake Leman hosted by the girls of Girl be Heard. The girls are in the midst of their European Human Rights Tour but were able to make a quick stop in Geneva. It was lovely getting acquainted with the girls, representatives from various NGOs and the U.S. Mission over dinner.

Issues relating to women’s rights are not strictly confined to the developing world; there are also a number of issues in most Western societies. Even though women’s rights and their position in society has moved forward in some ways, there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. One problem many women face is an inability to get their voices heard. What is the cause of this silence? Well, the vicious circle of non-expression that leads everyone – male or female – to keep quiet when their voice is truly needed to make a difference. The objective of GBH is to create an environment where individuals can feel safe and secure enough to share their stories and speak out. The performance hopes to function as a vehicle to perpetuate communication, listening and empathy. The Girl be Heard project is a New York-based, non-profit theater company that brings global issues affecting girls center stage, thus empowering young women to tell their stories. “If a girl can change her own life, she can change the lives of girls everywhere,” their slogan proclaims.

Sharing stories, as opposed to just dry claims, allows the sharer to include context as well as their own personal, emotional and raw stamp. This is how the Girl be Heard crew is doing it: The stories they share about young American girls and their experiences become more than just gender issues; they are stories of the struggle of humankind.

The show comprises spoken word, voice and guitar. The girls develop a subject within six months and work on how they can share their story with the help of a specialist. Positivity met sadness, and despair was chased away by all the smiles we saw on each and every face present, as if to say: “Yes, the subject is heavy to carry, but we will make a change together.” This approach promotes compassion, inclusion and a way for these brave women to be heard.

Even Mrs Suzan LeVine, recent U.S. ambassador in Switzerland, made an appearance and delivered a short speech in support of the cause. We at Horyou enjoyed the show so much, we went back for the following performance shown at the United Nations Office in Geneva.







photo 5 copy

photo 1 (5) copy 3

An overview of their great performance is here.

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