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March 2019
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Tuesday, 19 March 2019
On 22 July the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, took part in the third Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Indian Ocean Commission in Antananarivo, Madagascar. At the meeting he underscored the added value of regional integration and cooperation initiatives as an effective means of development, combating poverty and achieving fairer integration in the world economy.
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A European Union offer of 40 million Euros (about $48 million) to help African Caribbean and Pacific countries deal with deep cuts to sugar prices next year, was the main subject of a meeting of ACP ambassadors.
The chair of the meeting, Grenada''s George Bullen told BBC Caribbean Radio they''re far from satisfied with it. "40 million for 18 countries. You dont have to be a rocket scientist to see that''s not a lot of money".

EU should offer more
What are they hoping to get? "Britain has said they feel it should be 100 million (Euros) next year", Ambassador Bullen claims, "and up to 500 million for the next 5 to 7 years. This is the type of ballpark figure we''re looking for".

The cuts will hit hard at the Caribbean sugar industry, with estimated financial losses of up to 95 million dollars a year. The St Kitts government has already decided there''s no future in sugar, and is closing its factories.

A hard sell
The EU''s Agriculture Council had met in Brussels Monday the day before the ACP ambassadors did. It was the first chance European countries have had to discuss the coming cuts, and that was the meeting from which the multimillion aid package emerged.
Mr. Bullen said Tuesday he understands as many as 10 countries did not like rescue package offer. "There were one or two who wanted the cuts to go even further, but we believe these were a minority. We believe there will be some sort of compromise", he told the BBC.

Source BBC News
The European Union through its European Partnership Agreements with the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states is encouraging common Agricultural policies for regional groupings like CARICOM. Through this approach to policy implementation in order to deal with regional blocs rather then individual countries, ACP countries like The Bahamas would have to synchronize its Agricultural policies to conform with the regional perspective if it is to benefit from EU/ACP Agricultural programs.
A lack of aid agencies and poor infrastructure are factors which will make the distribution of aid more difficult in the famine-stricken country of Niger, according to Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, the European Commission Spokesman for Development. “One of the biggest problems is that Niger is not a common playground for non-governmental organisations for a number of reasons – it is the second poorest country in the world, it is a huge country with a very nasty climate, and there are also many administrative problems”, Mr Tardio told IPS News. He said that even though the money needed to feed the estimated 3.6 million people who are facing starvation may be available, getting it to those most in need is often difficult. The readiness of aid agencies to respond to emergency situations has also been highlighted as an issue by Steffen Stenberg from the EU’s humanitarian office (ECHO), he said: “The problem is that many NGOs are not geared for emergency situations as most of them work on long-term development issues. This means that it is not easy for them to go into emergency mode.” In addition to this concern Mr Stenberg questioned the UN’s capability to ensure all donations would be properly spent, and highlighted the need to secure a long term solution to guard against future food crises. “If you don’t have the means of implementation you can throw all the money at a crisis but you don’t get anywhere, so we will have to look at the UN’s capacities to implement donations.”
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Sunday, 31 July 2005
The European Commission will provide the aid through its Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) which comes under the responsibility of Commissioner Louis Michel. The decisions allocate €400 000 for the victims of the drought in Haiti and €500 000 to strengthen the Red Cross’ capacity in the Caribbean. The aid will be implemented by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Haiti and by the Pan American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU) of the International Red Cross Federation in the Caribbean.

“The European Commission has been active in the region for many years. It has granted €13.9 million in humanitarian aid following the socio-economic crisis and the natural disasters which hit Haiti in 2004 and again this year. The rest of the Caribbean has been allocated almost €9 million since 2004, used exclusively to respond to natural disasters. Putting European solidarity into action remains crucial for these very vulnerable countries”, said Mr Michel.


From November 2004 to April 2005, southern Haiti was hit by a drought which seriously affected end-of-year harvests and further increased the vulnerability of rural households which depend solely on agriculture for survival. The acute vulnerability of Haiti’s population, due to the socio-economic crisis in the country, has been further heightened by these successive agricultural losses. The summer harvest is the biggest of the year, and after two lost harvests and the damage caused by Hurricane Dennis last week, emergency support is needed.

The aim of the six-month decision is to provide support in the form of seeds and equipment to farmers in southern Haiti hit by the drought and by the aftermath of Hurricane Dennis and who are in a state of chronic food insecurity, to enable them to resume agricultural activities for the 2005 summer cropping season.

The Caribbean
The hurricane season was particularly severe in 2004 and clearly demonstrated the Caribbean’s extreme vulnerability to these natural disasters. Nearly 5 000 people lost their lives in the region in 2004.
The Red Cross Federation, which is active in all the countries in the region, conducted operations on nearly all fronts and the lessons learnt have underlined the need to strengthen the National Red Cross Societies’ ability to respond to such events.
The main aim is to reduce the impact of the disasters on the most vulnerable sections of the population by strengthening coordinated regional responses over a twelve-month period. The Commission’s assistance will focus on training, technical support and equipment in order to better respond to natural disasters.
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