Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

February 2018
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EDITO
Saturday, 24 February 2018
On October 24-25, an informal Development Ministers Council was held to discuss issues related to the Development Policy Statement, trade and development, the EU-Africa partnership, and the quality of aid delivery. The summary report lists a number of decisions and agreements, amongst which to increase aid for the South Asian earthquake, to double sustained aid by 2010, and to facilitate market access for developing countries. In parallel with this meeting, BOND and CONCORD, in cooperation with Make Poverty History organized an international conference for civil society organizations on Europe’s role in making poverty history – 28 October 2005
Friday, 28 October 2005
The UK Presidency hosted an Informal meeting of European Union Development Ministers on the 24 and 25 October in Leeds, chaired by Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn.
Jan Egeland, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefed Ministers on the urgent need to respond to the South Asian earthquake. He called for more aid, particularly for shelter and helicopters. Ministers agreed that more money and help needs to be given. European Commissioner Louis Michel said that he would put an additional 80 million Euros (around £54 million) of EC funds to help those affected by the earthquake. This would be in addition to the 110 million Euros (around £70m) of support already committed by Member States and the Commission. Further pledges are expected at a UN meeting in Geneva tomorrow. Ministers also agreed to work to strengthen the UN’s capacity to respond to future disasters.
When Development Ministers last met in May, they agreed to double aid to developing countries by 2010. At Leeds, Development Ministers agreed on the importance of delivering on these commitments and providing sustained predictable funding. Responding to a presentation by Mark Malloch Brown, the UN Secretary General’s Chief of Staff, Ministers agreed that the EU as a whole should actively support reform of the UN, including through improved coordination at country level.

There was a full discussion about the proposed new Development Policy Statement which will set the framework for future European aid spending. The Statement and measures to improve the effectiveness of EU aid, will be debated when Development Ministers meet again on 21-22 November in Brussels.
With only six weeks to the World Trade Organisation meeting in Hong Kong, Ministers were joined by Peter Mandelson, the EU Trade Commissioner. They agreed the importance of increasing opportunities for developing countries to trade their way out of poverty. Although trade between developing countries was important, the EU could do more, notably by: making it easier for producers in developing countries to sell their goods in Europe; providing targeted aid to help producers to take advantage of this increased access; and providing assistance to producers, in sectors such as sugar, who will be affected by changes to the world trading system.
Finally, the meeting discussed the Commission’s recent Communication on Africa. The President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, spoke about how the EU can best support stability, prosperity and development in Africa, in particular by working to strengthen African institutions. There will be further debate on 21-22 November with a view to agreeing a new EU Africa strategy at the European Council of Heads of Government in December. The food crisis in Southern Africa and the situation in Darfur were also discussed.
Wednesday, 26 October 2005
The offices for the European Investment Bank Regional Representation for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean in Tshwane (Pretoria) were today officially inaugurated by Dr Tomaz Salomão, Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and European Investment Bank’s Vice President Mr. Torsten Gersfelt. This representation office, the third to be opened by the EIB in sub-Saharan Africa, is to play a key role in the EIB’s commitment to build closer ties with its customers and expand operations in the Southern African region, within the framework of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, and the Investment Facility, a funding instrument created by the Agreement and managed by the EIB since its official launch in June 2003. At the same time the new representation will develop stronger links with the South African business community in both the public and the private sectors in the context of the European Investment Bank’s role in the relationship between the European Union and the Republic of South Africa.
The Tshwane Regional Representation intends to increase the effectiveness of EIB activities, in particular in the private sector, and to reinforce its identity. As EIB Vice President Torsten Gersfelt said: “The new Representation Offices underline the EIB’s commitment for support to Africa under the Cotonou Agreement and for South Africa under the special mandate of the Bank. South Africa as the host for the third of our offices in sub-Saharan Africa, underlines both the importance of our relationship with South Africa itself and with the SADC region, which is represented today by Dr. Salomão.”
The EIB Representation in Tshwane will add value in terms of operations and flexibility and European Development Finance in the whole Southern Africa region and potential investors from Angola, through Mozambique, Swaziland and countries on and in the Indian Ocean will have a point of contact and for advice on European Investment Bank and other community financing of projects.
The EIB Regional Representation will also help to improve co-ordination with the European Commission’s grant aid in the whole region in support of governance, regulatory and judicial improvements through the national indicative programmes (NIP) in the region. It will connect with the wide network of local antennae of the “CDE”, Centre for Development of Enterprise and “Pro€invest”, the private sector support instruments under the Cotonou Agreement.
In addition it will strengthen synergies with the EIB’s partners in the European development financing institutions group, the EDFI, and with the World Bank group and other peer institutions.
Two other Regional Representations have been opened in sub-Saharan Africa in 2005, one for East and Central Africa, in Nairobi.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will adopt, at its plenary session of 26-27October 2005, an opinion on the reform of the sugar market. The Committee considers that the reform proposed by the Commission goes too far in terms of production and price reductions. The EESC warns of the risk of considerable job losses, in particular in regions which are often already vulnerable.
In its draft opinion, prepared by Mr. BASTIAN (France, Group I - Employers), the EESC recognises the need to reform the sugar market, but considers that the proposed reform goes too far in terms of production and price reductions.
According to the Committee, the implementation of the proposed reform will have an important impact on the European sugar sector, and will result in particular in the loss of at least 150,000 jobs in regions which are often already vulnerable.
In its opinion, the European Economic and Social Committee
- supports the demand of less developed countries to negotiate sugar import quotas with the European Union;
- stresses the need for price reductions to be spread over time and strictly limited to international commitments;
- recommends maintaining the intervention system;
- calls for the partial compensation to be paid to planters, for the loss of income resulting from reductions in beet prices, to be increased, as far as possible, and allocated in full;
- supports the Commission’s proposal regarding the restructuring programme, but calls for a right of codecision for planters, and for aid to be granted to planters affected by closures of mills, to enable them to restructure their operations;
- stresses the need to mobilise the European Structural Funds and Social Funds in order to ensure, over and above the necessary compensation, that the employees affected by the restructuring of the European sugar industry are given the broadest possible access to retraining opportunities;
- considers that it is necessary and urgent for the sugar sector to be included in the energy debate (a biofuel policy) as a means of offsetting the negative effects of the reform;
- calls on the Council to be attentive to the situation.
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The not-for-profit association “Groupe One” is launching a new site on sustainable development, Brussels, Belgium, 13 October 2005.
“Groupe One”, a sustainable development and local economic development research and action group announces the opening of its site www.info-durable.be, devoted to sustainable development and aimed at the general public providing daily news, useful links, practical advice, etc. to help you participate in sustainable development.
Two new articles will be published every week on sustainable development themes which affect all our lives: housing, well-being, mobility, climatic change, etc.
Over the months, quizzes, games and competitions and numerous other surprises will be added to the vast range of useful information published on the site.