Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

March 2018
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Saturday, 24 March 2018
The European Commission today adopted a proposal for a new regulation on organic production, which aims to improve clarity for both consumers and farmers. The new rules will be simpler, and will allow a certain amount of flexibility to take account of regional differences in climate and conditions. Producers of organic food will be able to choose whether or not to use the EU organic logo. If they choose not to, their products must be labelled EU-organic. At least 95 percent of the final product will have to be organic to be labelled as such. Products containing GMOs will not be able to be labelled as organic, except those containing up to 0.9 percent of GMO content through accidental contamination. Imports of organic products would be allowed, as long as they comply with EU standards or come with equivalent guarantees from the country of origin.
The new regulation responds to the conclusions of the Council of October 2004 on the European Action Plan for organic food and farming (EAP) of June 2004 which provided an overall strategic vision for organic farming’s contribution to the Common Agricultural Policy. For the import regime, the new rules will apply from 1 January 2007. The new regulation is proposed to apply from 1 January 2009.

The new regulation will:
- define the objectives and principles of organic production while accounting for local conditions and stages of development,
- assure that the objectives and principles apply equally to all stages of organic livestock, aquaculture, plant and feed production as well as the production of organic foods,
- clarify the GMO rules, notably that the general GMO thresholds apply, that GMO products cannot be labelled organic and that specific thresholds for seeds can be adopted,
- render compulsory either the EU logo or - in its absence - a stylised indication ‘EU-ORGANIC’, imposing restrictions on labelling and advertising claims in order to promote the “common concept” of organic production,
- reinforce the risk-based approach and improve controls by aligning the control system to the official EU food and feed control system applying to all foods and feeds,
- improve the free circulation of organic goods by ensuring that EU rules guarantee the highest standards, reinforce the impartiality of the control system, mutual recognition of standards and - reduce the room for control bodies to authorise less strict rules,
- develop permanent import rules based on direct access for fully compliant products or access based on.

In the ACP context, the CTA supports the organic production in ACP countries by providing key information on production methods, main markets, certification schemes, etc.
Economic activities are a key driver of resource use. As economies grow, so does the use of natural resources. For instance, we use land to build housing and infrastructure and to dump our rubbish, soil for agricultural activities, forests to provide us with wood and fossil fuels to produce energy. These and other economic activities cause environmental impacts which have begun to threaten the resource base on which our livelihoods, and our future economic growth, depend.
The challenge for policymakers is to ensure more sustainable use of resources in an economy that is globalised and continues to grow. These are mutually reinforcing goals. Efficient use of resources contributes to growth, while inefficient use undermines the resource base on which the economy depends. Resource use must be managed in a way that it does not affect the capacity of ecosystems to produce the goods and services we need.
EU environmental policies on climate change or conservation of biodiversity, already tackle many individual aspects of resource use, but this progress is being considerably slowed down by ever-growing production and consumption volumes. We are causing less environmental stress per unit produced, but we produce so much more so that the overall environmental impact is increasing.

What is the objective of the Resource Strategy?
The Thematic Strategy on Sustainable Use of Natural Resources is the first initiative at EU level tackling environmental aspects of resource use in an overarching fashion.
Its objective is to reduce the overall environmental impacts associated with resource use and to do so in a growing economy. In other words: it seeks to de-couple environmental impacts from economic growth. In this context, de-coupling means that environmental impacts must first increase more slowly and then be reduced while the economy continues to grow.
A first draft of the ECHO strategy for 2006 is available. The Strategy paper outlines ECHO’s geographic priorities for 2006 based on the usual criteria of highest humanitarian needs and forgotten crisis. Interesting to note is the opening of disaster preparedness programmes in Western Africa and in the Horn of Africa in addition to the usual areas of the DIPECHO programme. In West Africa, disaster preparedness will focus on nutritional crisis and preparation for this type of crisis in most vulnerable countries. In the Horn of Africa, ECHO envisaged a regional decision on preparation to recurrent drought affecting populations and livestock.
The strategy also mentions reinforcing ECHO’s presence in the field and, in the context of deconcentration, an enhanced cooperation between ECHO’s field offices and delegations to address the link between relief, rehabilitation and development. Usual thematic issues are maintained as well as the grants facility for NGO partners.

See attached information on the differenet
The unit managing the ACP-EU Water Facility in EuropeAid organized a workshop on 9 December to discuss the outcome of the first call for proposals and the perspectives for the next one with European civil society organisations.
All information presented at the workshop is available on the Water Facility website.
The facility is organized in three strands: governance and management of the water sector / infrastructure / action at community level by CSOs. Under the third strand, the Commission received a great number of applications from European NGOs and to lesser extend form organisations in the ACP countries. Unfortunately this second category of applications contained many administrative and technical weaknesses and only a small number of them went through the second phase of the call. The EC was also disappointed by the fact that local authorities were rarely involved in applications received under the civil society strand. Regional and local authorities were more involved in the first strand centered on water sector governance, management and reform (including for regional basins management). The EC seemed also surprised by the fact that the private sector was practically absent as applicant or partner. The Commission was however satisfied with the fact that many NGO applications were poverty focused targeting poor rural population. Quite surprising for a Facility resourced with EDF funds, the role of the ACP states in the design of the programme and the selection of projects is very limited (one ACP secretariat representative in the selection committee) and the whole process is very much in the hands of EuropeAid with a limited role for delegations. Knowing that more facilities are under preparation or already decided (energy facility, governance facility, infrastructure facility), this new approach represents a worrying shift in the way EDF is implemented.
The discussion concentrated on lessons learnt from the first call to be taken into account in the second one planned in March 2006 with a budget between 175 and 220 million euros. The main limitation of the discussion came from the fact that the final outcome of the second phase of the first call is not yet known. One clear recommendation for the next call would be to encourage more and better partnership between EU and ACP organisations at all levels (state, local authorities, civil society) and among ACP organisations with different levels of experience, otherwise the Water Facility will be nothing more than one more service providing instrument with limited ownership and sustainability.
The EIB has just signed with Banco Interatlântico and Banco Comercial do Atlântico a finance contract aimed at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cape Verde to the tune of EUR 8 million (around CVE 890 million). The purpose of this credit line is to finance the investment projects of SMEs in the industrial, agro-industrial, tourism and related service sectors, health and education. These funds are being made available in the form of a “global loan” granted by the EIB - the European Union’s long-term financing institution - under the Cotonou Agreement Investment Facility. It is the EIB’s second credit line in support of Cape Verde’s financial sector. The funds will be allocated on a “first come first served” basis in a bid to encourage competition between the participating banks. Using a number of intermediaries will increase the chances of the EIB’s advantageous financing terms being passed on to the final beneficiaries. This is the second global loan granted in Cape Verde, the first EUR 5 million operation mounted in June 2003 under Lomé IV having been a resounding success. The present credit line has a twofold aim: to support Cape Verde’s private sector by financing investment projects with long-term euro resources; and to foster the development of the country’s financial sector.
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