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Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

March 2019
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Friday, 22 March 2019
In the last ACP-EU E-Courier,the Director of CTA calls for more science, technology and innovation (ST&I) for ACP countries.
“Countries in the (SADC) region need to increase the productivity of their people through better education, promoting science and technology, and developing new skills – Tomaz Augusto Salomão” Malkata, M., SciDev.Net, Dec. 12, 2005
There is global consensus that developing countries must place greater emphasis on the application of science, technology and innovation (ST&I) to achieve sustainable development. The ACP region grapples with rising unemployment, poverty and food insecurity (hunger and starvation) and declining capability to compete in domestic, regional and international markets. In light of that, governments are recognizing that they must build indigenous ST&I capacity to respond effectively to these challenges. The agricultural sector is vital for social and economic stability. Therefore, interventions promoting ST&I must also address the sector’s inherent systemic weaknesses.
Countries with low indigenous S&T capacity have underperforming or weak economies. In 2004, the International Academy of Science, recommended that each nation should develop a S&T strategy based on local priorities and that developing nations should commit between 1 to 1.5% of their gross domestic product (GDP) to S&T capacity building. Mashelkar (2005) identified several critical factors for building indigenous technological capacity in developing countries. These included a conducive policy environment, entrepreneurship, promotion of a culture of innovation, access to technology, an educated and skilled work force, and an emphasis on indigenous efforts involving “learning by doing”. Emphasis is on the policy environment as it influences the capacity of enterprises to innovate and the calibre of the human capital available to support the transformation.
The paucity of S&T policy plans, inadequate networking and limited human and financial resources are hindering the advancement of the ST&I process in the ACP region. A platform was established in 2002 to enhance S&T collaboration within and across the ACP sub-regions and between the ACP region and the EU. Since then, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has supported the annual meetings of the Advisory Committee on S&T for ACP Agricultural and Rural Development and contributed to building capacity. The Committee has encouraged CTA to work in collaboration with its ACP, EU and international partners to strengthen ACP capacity in the analysis and formulation of S&T strategies and policies.
At its 4th meeting held in November 2005 at CTA Headquarters in Wageningen, the Netherlands, the Committee suggested to disseminate the ACP policy briefs on biotechnology and biodiversity and the proposed methodology for analysing and bridging the gaps in the Agriculture, Science, Technology and Innovation (ASTI) System elaborated by CTA and its ACP partners. Special attention should be given to tertiary education in agriculture, the need for ACP universities to re-engineer themselves especially the agriculture curriculum and the urgency for bringing these issues to the attention of policy makers.
Illegal logging and the trade in illegal timber are prominent among factors contributing to the rapid loss of global forests. This rapid destruction adversely affects many of the world‘s poorest people, who depend on forest resources for a living. Illegal logging fuels corruption and undermines the rule of law in many woodproducing countries. It also deprives governments of vital revenues to
spend on poverty reduction programmes. The World Bank estimates that developing country governments are currently losing some US$10-15 billion annually due to illegal logging.
The European Commission is leading efforts to address this serious problem, through an EU Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). The action plan sets out an approach that aims to use the influence of the EU market to help in the fight against illegal logging and curb related trade in illegally-harvested timber.
The main elements of the Action Plan are support for improved governance in wood-producing countries, and a licensing scheme to ensure only legal timber enters the EU. These elements will be implemented through partnership agreements with wood-producing countries. EU Member States agreed to proposals to implement the action plan in October. Commissioner Louis Michel, European welcomed this development, highlighting that “only by working in close partnership with timber-producing countries can we hope to have a real impact; the partnership agreements provide producing countries with the incentives and support required for them to fight illegal logging.” Efforts to develop partnerships are now underway in Ghana, Cameroon and Malaysia and Indonesia. Funds of €17m were committed in 2004 to support pilot programmes addressing key themes that will arise in the partnership agreements, including independent monitoring of timber harvesting operations,. A grant of €3m was also provided to support international and regional dialogue on improving forest governance and combating illegal logging; and a €15m programme of technical assistance is due to begin in Indonesia in early 2006. Implementation will now accelerate in 2006, when formal talks are due to begin on partnership agreements.
Neil Scotland- European Commission
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Tuesday, 24 January 2006
The 2703rd Council Meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries was held in Brussels on 23 January 2006.
The Council adopted a regulation approving a protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for in the agreement between the EU and Seychelles on fishing off Seychelles for the period from 18 January 2005 to 17 January 2011 (13539/05). The fishing opportunities provided for in the protocol are expressed in vessel numbers (40 tuna seiners and 12 surface longliners) and concern Spain, France, Italy and Portugal.
The financial contribution is set at EUR 24 750 000 (EUR 4 125 000 to be paid annually over 6 years).
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The 2703rd Council Meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries was held in Brussels on 23 January 2006. The Council unanimously adopted in first reading a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing accompanying measures for sugar protocol countries affected by the reform of the EU sugar regime. This adoption takes place after the opinion issued by the European Parliament on 15 December and on the basis of a compromise text between the two institutions.
The accompanying measures are part of a multi-annual adaptation strategy which pursues the objectives of enhancing the competitiveness of the sugar and cane sector, where this is a sustainable process, in particular in terms of the long-term economic viability of the sector, taking into account the situation of the different stakeholders in the chain, promoting the economic diversification of
sugar-dependent areas. In 2006 a specific assistance plan will be defined with particular attention to be given to cost effectiveness, sustainable impact and the clear definition and monitoring of objectives and indicators of achievement.
A financial amount of €40 million has been scheduled to finance measures for 2006 for the 18 ACP Sugar Protocol countries.
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The European Parliament took a firm grip of the EU's long-term budget on Wednesday, overwhelmingly rejecting the agreement reached by the heads of government in December and calling for negotiations over the level of the provisions for 2007-2013 as well as spending plans. MEPs were particularly critical of the €862 billion in funding agreed by leaders, which compares unfavourably with the €975 billion proposed by the Parliament in June.
MEPs reject the European Council’s common position in its current form, because it does not guarantee an EU budget enhancing prosperity, competitiveness, solidarity, cohesion and security in future, in compliance with policies already decided by the Council itself.
The agreement fails to fulfil commitments made towards the new Member States and does not provide for a sufficient and detailed flexibility mechanism, a firm commitment to undertake the review with a clear role for the European Parliament or sufficient accompanying measures for example to ensure better implementation and control of expenditure of funds in Member States.
The resolution was adopted with 541 in favour, 56 against and 76 abstentions.
Nevertheless, Parliament welcomes the fact that Council managed to come up with a position, which allow the opening of negotiations. The European Parliament wants a firm commitment that it will be involved in talks on the revision of the EU budget as well as an improved mechanism to come up with supplementary funds should the need arise, i.e. a new, better version of the so-called "flexibility instrument"
Talks will continue on Monday 23 January in a trialogue to be held in camera after the first meeting on 18 January between President Borrell, President Barroso and Chancellor Schüssel. The Commission is expected to hand in its draft inter-institutional agreement on the financial perspective in early February upon which parties will then negotiate. While there is no deadline as such for the completion of the negotiations, there is a shared willingness to wrap it up by this spring.
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