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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 214]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 214]
Send date: 2010-03-04 20:21:49
Issue #: 30
Content:
Bulletin CTA
 
1

This weblog shares information on key ACP-EU programmes and events
from Brussels relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries.


Date : [DATE]
CTA Brussels Newsletter

Main events in the week
  1. Brussels Briefing on Biodiversity - 10th March 2010
  2. Our video guest: Mr. François Stepman
  3. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 9th-12th March 2010
  4. Of markets and men - Why trade matters-
  5. What kind of political actor will the Lisbon EU be
  6. Kenya may break ranks with EAC on trade deal with EU
  7. Food Security Country Briefs for 17 countries
  8. The Treaty of Lisbon and the EU as an actor in international trade
  9. Robin Hood tax takes off in the UK
  10. Giving with one hand, taking with the other
  11. EuropeAid: Forecast of upcoming calls
  12. Transaction tax and debt moratorium necessary
  13. Romania doubled its ODA budget for 2010
  14. NGO signs two grant agreements with French Embassy
  15. OECD: France falls short on aid pledge
  16. Five reasons to suspend EPA negotiations
  17. EU stalling on aid promises: Binding targets needed
  18. Mauritius in talks with EFTA on economic cooperation
  19. Review of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement: what CONCORD think about
  20. A new decade for peace and security in Africa
  21. PIP tour in ACP countries
  22. Encouraging internal reforms in Zimbabwe
  23. EFSA consults on guidance on risk-benefit assessment of food
  24. EC: public debate on protecting Europe's forests against climate change
  25. Organic area up by 21% in the EU between 2005 and 2008
  26. European Investment Bank delivers unprecedented lending volume


  1. Brussels Briefing on Biodiversity - 10th March 2010
    2010-03-04

    On 10th March (8h30-13h00), the next Brussels Development Briefing will discuss the key role Biodiversity plays in rural development, especially for ACP countries.  Issues at stake include: the relationship between poverty and biodiversity, the effects of biodiversity loss in hunger and food insecurity, governance issues, the Intellectual Property Rights’ challenge, farmers rights and economic incentives, policies and legislation at the national, regional and global levels. Speakers will come from UNEP, Bioversity International, Tropenbos International, Practical Action, EC, IUCN, Member of Parliament from Cameroun…
    Link Next Briefing on Biodiversity
    Link Past Briefings
    Link Biodiversity and the EU


  2. Our video guest: Mr. François Stepman
    2010-03-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness

    Our video guest this week is  François Stepman, European co-manager PAEPARD project. The Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development (Phase II) is to build joint African-European multi-stakeholder partnerships in agricultural research for development. PAEPARD II nurtures partnerships to increase the quantity and quality of joint proposals (leading to more funded initiatives). François Stepman explains how PAEPARD is not only about aligning to African research priorities but foremost about facilitating innovative partnerships. He elaborates on what this innovation is about and gives two striking examples. The first is about the collaboration of researchers with the private sector: the food processing sector of traditional African food. The second example is about the collaboration with radios in Africa: the production of digital media files (audio and video) about innovative technologies and agricultural knowledge of farmers.
    Link Watch the video
    Link PAEPARD
    Link Brussels Briefings


  3. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 9th-12th March 2010
    2010-03-04

    European Parliament: 
    -8th-11th March (Strasbourg): Plenary session at the European Parliament

    EU Presidency:
    - 12th March (El Escorial, Spain): Political and Security Committee

    ACP Secretariat (Brussels):
    - 9th March: Enlarged Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors 
    -Sub-Committee on Trade and Commodity

    Protocols For more information please consult the calendar on our webpage http://brussels.cta.int/

     


    Link European Parliament Activities
    Link Spanish EU Presidency
    Link Meetings at the ACP Secretariat


  4. Of markets and men - Why trade matters-
    2010-03-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    On 4 February 2010, Mr Karel De Gucht gave a lecture at the College of Europe in Bruges, emphasising the importance of free trade for continuous economic recovery after the financial crisis of 2009, the utility of concluding the Doha round in the prospective of protectionist threats, and how the new role of the European Parliament in co-legislation could strengthen the legitimacy of trade policies. He also stressed out that beyond the lack of trust in liberalisation that is widespread among public opinion, it must be remembered that trade benefits both parties and is at the heart of prosperity throughout history.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Karel De Gucht
    Link College of Europe


  5. What kind of political actor will the Lisbon EU be
    2010-03-04

    The year 2009 has been a remarkable for the EU. Allegedly, it moved towards more intense cooperation between heads of state and a weakening of the Commission. However, we also saw the appointment of first European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy and EU ‘Minister’ of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton. With the new Lisbon treaty on 1 December and a new European Commission headed by the – finally – reappointed Barroso, has the EU become more federal or more intergovernmental?  On the one hand, it might be said that the EU has become less federal, due to a seeming erosion of the EU institutions in recent years. This has been the result of among others, the financial crisis and an increase in Euroscepticism at the national level making politicians more hesitant to widen and deepen EU policies. EU decision-making has become more intergovernmental, with an explosion in the number of different European Council meetings composed of heads of state and governments. Now, there are not only the official European Councils (four per year), but also the ad hoc meetings of heads of states or governments including meetings with third country leaders and historic occasions (like the Fall of the Berlin Wall 20th anniversary celebrations); preparatory meetings for global rendezvous (Pittsburgh on G-20 on the economic crisis; Copenhagen on climate change) and sub-27 gatherings in G-3, G-6 and other formations. As a consequence, fewer decisions are being taken at the level of the sectoral Council formations (say, Economic or Environmental Councils), which decide by majority, and have been shifted to the highest level (where unanimity applies and the European Commission’s role is limited). This trend is just the tip of the iceberg because behind the more frequent meetings of the heads of state lies a world of informal bilateral contacts between the capitals. In short, the intergovernmental EU is flourishing.

    Source: Europe's World


    Link Read more
    Link EU Foreign and Security Policy
    Link EU Institutional affairs


  6. Kenya may break ranks with EAC on trade deal with EU
    2010-03-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Kenya is considering breaking ranks with its East Africa partners and sign a framework on new economic trade pacts with Europe, citing its disadvantaged position should it fail to do so. “We have been patient for long and the time may have come to put down our feet and sign the framework. Other regional countries have a fall back position in terms of the Everything But Arms (EBA) should things go wrong,” a senior official at Trade ministry in Nairobi told Business Daily. Under the EBA arrangement, Europe offers countries under the UN roll of least developed countries (LDCs) free access of all their products to its market except arms and ammunition. Under the European Union (EU) regulations when a country is excluded by the UN LDCs, it is automatically stripped of the preferential terms but accorded a three year transitional period to adjust to the expected knock effects. Coincidentally, all East African Community (EAC) member states with the exception of Kenya fall in the LDCs cluster—-explaining Kenya’s growing agitation in the wake of a fresh onslaught from Brussels over long-drawn out negotiations. Statistics showed that failure to sign a framework agreement as demanded by the EU would translate to an estimated Sh100 million loss in revenue for Kenya in that trade terms with the Europe would revert to the lesser attractive market access terms available under the General System of Preference (GSP). Some of the key products Kenya has been exporting to the EU at zero duty would henceforth attract duty of between 8.5 and 15.7 per cent.

    Source: Bilaterals


    Link Read more
    Link EU deal no threat to EAC says Kenya
    Link The East African Community


  7. Food Security Country Briefs for 17 countries
    2010-03-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    EC/FAO Programme - Linking Information and Decision Making to Improve Food Security
    The programme has just entered a new phase aimed at forging even closer links between food security information and the decision making process. The new programme, called “The EC/FAO Programme on Linking Information and Decision Making to Improve Food Security ”, is based at FAO headquarters with strong links to regional partners and programmes funded by the EC’s “Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP)”. These Country Briefs monitor cereal and livestock prices. They also analyze factors affecting the food security situation such as government policies, disasters and conflicts, vegetation cover, etc. They are published every three months.

    Source: Food Security


    Link Read more
    Link FAO and Food Security
    Link EU and Food Security


  8. The Treaty of Lisbon and the EU as an actor in international trade
    2010-03-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The Treaty of Lisbon will introduce a number of changes to European Union (EU) external trade policy decision making. These involve the scope of exclusive competence of the EU, the role of the European Parliament and the inclusion of trade in the common external action of the EU. This article discusses these changes but also provides an initial assessment of how the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) might affect the role of the EU as an actor in international trade.

    Source: The European Centre for International Political Economy


    Link Read more
    Link The Treaty of Lisbon and the EU in the world
    Link DG Trade


  9. Robin Hood tax takes off in the UK
    2010-03-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The Robin Hood Tax campaign was launched in the UK by a number of environmental, development NGOs and trade unions. Popularly known as a Financial Transaction Tax, the idea is simple: ask banks all over the world to pay an average of 0.05% for certain bank financial transactions, starting from just 5p for every £1000 traded. It would apply only to speculative trading, not high-street banking. Globally, it could generate £250 billion every year, with tens of billions raised in the UK. Half of the revenue would then be used to invest in public services and combat poverty in the UK, with the other half used to fund health and education and tackling the effects of climate change in developing countries. This tiny tax on financial transactions is fair, feasible and financially sound. Similar transaction taxes already exist in many countries and raise money for valuable public services.

    Source: Solidar


    Link Read more
    Link The Robin Hood Tax
    Link The G20


  10. Giving with one hand, taking with the other
    2010-03-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    When it comes to aid relations there is a widespread perception, particularly in the South, that donors are giving with one hand whilst taking with the other. This perception is a consequence of donors frequently disbursing aid on the condition that purchases are made from companies based in their own countries. It is widely accepted that tying aid in this manner reduces cost-efficiency, effectiveness, and the overall developmental impact of Official Development Assistance (ODA). Thus, the commitment to untie aid has made its way to most international agreements on aid and aid effectiveness, in particular the 2001 DAC Recommendations on untying aid to the Least Developed Countries, but also the Millennium Development Goals, the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action.

    Source: Eurodad


    Link Read more
    Link Untied Aid
    Link Accra Agenda for Action


  11. EuropeAid: Forecast of upcoming calls
    2010-03-04

    On February 10, 2010, EuropeAid published an updated forecast of upcoming global calls for proposals. Among them, the calls of the thematic programme "Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development" (on Development Education; Coordination, Cooperation and Networking Activities; Global, Multicountry/regional Initiatives; In-country Interventions) which are expected to be published on March 15, 2010, but also calls of other thematic programmes (Investing in People, Environment, European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights) are listed. Please note that the table includes a forecast only of thematic calls for proposals that have not yet been launched and for which guidelines and application forms are not yet available on the EuropeAid website. The information contained in the table is indicative only and subject to change.

    Source: EuropeAid


    Link Europaid
    Link DG Development


  12. Transaction tax and debt moratorium necessary
    2010-03-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    EU Member States must not only deliver on their international aid pledges, but also bring in a financial transactions tax and a temporary debt moratorium, to help developing countries to cope with the effects of the global financial and economic crisis, said the Development Committee on Monday. Member States are also urged to earmark at least 25% of the EU's CO2 emission trading revenue to help developing countries to deal with the effects of climate change.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Development Committee
    Link The debt of developing countries


  13. Romania doubled its ODA budget for 2010
    2010-03-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will allocate 3, 8 million euros in 2010 for the Official Development Assistance budget. In 2009 the ODA budget was less than 2 million euros. According to an interview given to Euractiv Romania, Mihaela Rutjens (Head of Division for Official Development Assistance, Romanian MFA) mentioned that 2 million euros from the 2010 budget will be used for implementing projects in the Republic of Moldova. Mrs. Rutjens believes this substantial increase in the ODA budget is a proof that our country wants to accomplish its commitments (as a EU member, Romania must allocate 0, 17% GNI for ODA in 2010). All activities reported as Romanian ODA in 2008 amounted up to 100 million euros, although the target for 2010 is over 200 million euros (0, 17% GNI).

    Source: Trialog Information Service


    Link Read more
    Link News about Romania
    Link Global Partnership for Development


  14. NGO signs two grant agreements with French Embassy
    2010-03-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Aid effectiveness

    The French Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mr Pierre Jacquemot and Mr Cheick Ba, Mission Head of “Action against Hunger” have signed two grant agreements targeting populations in the east of the country. According to the terms of the agreements, France agrees to contribute a total of 800,000 euros to the NGO. The aim of the agreements is to improve food security for 4,500 vulnerable households (22,500 people) among displaced populations and host families in the Dingila territory of Bas-Uélé district (Eastern Province), and 4,600 vulnerable households (32,000 people) in the territory of Kalehe (South Kivu Province). The “Action against Hunger” project aims to relaunch agricultural production among displaced and host households by promoting self-reliance. To this end, producers will be supplied with start-up material such as seeds and tools, as well as food coupons that will provide them with immediate access to food goods.The territory of Kalehe in South Kivu Province is considered as a priority area in DRC’s 2010 humanitarian action plan, after being hit by conflicts in 2008 and 2009, which led to massive population displacement from the high plateaux region to the plains, and a drop in food production due to plant disease, environmental damage and loss of livestock.

    Source: Congolese Press Agency


    Link Read more
    Link Action against hunger
    Link EU Relations with the DRC


  15. OECD: France falls short on aid pledge
    2010-03-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    France’s draft finance bill gave the first indication and the OECD has now confirmed it: in times of crisis, France fails to honour its commitments towards developing countries. Overseas Development Aid (ODA) in France has become a variable cost in public expenditure. Are donor countries keeping their promises? The OECD addressed the question by studying the 2010 budget provisions for ODA in the major donor countries. The results? Most donors, such as Sweden (1.03% of Gross National Income [GNI]), the UK      (0.56%) and Spain (0.51%), will fulfil their pledges made at the Gleneagles G8 and UN Millennium +5 Summits. France, however, is a notable exception to the positive results, failing to meet the commitments made in 2005 together with other EU members to allocate 0.51% of their GNI to ODA by 2010, rising to 0.7% in 2015. With the draft finance bill suggesting (optimistically!) an ODA/GNI ratio of 0.46% in 2010, France is falling well short of its commitments.

    Source: Coordination Sud


    Link Read more
    Link French Development Policy
    Link OECD: Development Assistance Committee


  16. Five reasons to suspend EPA negotiations
    2010-03-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    By Ablassé Ouédraogo, former Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and former special advisor to the President of ECOWAS for trade negotiations. In September 2002, the EU began trade negotiations with 76 African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP). The negotiations were prompted by pressure from the WTO to abandon long and preferential trade relations between Europe and ACP countries. These treatments did not comply with WTO rules and were considered to discriminate against developing countries in Asia and Latin America. In their place, the European Commission proposed to introduce Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and other regional blocs. EPAs have two pillars: trade liberalization and development. In addition to reducing poverty, they also aim to foster the gradual integration of ACP countries into the world economy and to promote regional integration. All of which is noble and good. But after seven years of fruitless discussions, Europe is now attempting to impose the agreements by force rather than dialogue. If the agreements were finalized in their present form, they would deny ACP countries the essential political instruments necessary for their development. The result would be a total contradiction with the initial objectives, compromising regional integration, exacerbating poverty and preventing countries from diversifying production and freeing themselves from dependence on a few basic commodities. There are five good reasons why the negotiations should be suspended.

    Source: Jeune Afrique


    Link Read more
    Link Economic Partnership Agreements
    Link Regional trade agreements and the WTO


  17. EU stalling on aid promises: Binding targets needed
    2010-03-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    Figures released on 17 February by the OECD show that the EU will not meet its 2010 aid targets. The 2010 aid forecast notes the EU is well off track and will miss its collective target of 0.56% of GNI, agreed in 2005 as an interim benchmark towards achieving the UN goal of 0.7% of GNI by 2015 to finance the Millennium Development Goals.

    Source: CONCORD


    Link Read more
    Link OECD Development Assistance Committee
    Link CONCORD_Press_Release_1.doc

  18. Mauritius in talks with EFTA on economic cooperation
    2010-03-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Mauritius is currently holding talks with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in order to reach an agreement on economic and commercial cooperation, according to APA in the Mauritian capital Port Louis on Tuesday, 23 February. Sources at the Ministry of Trade and Commerce have indicated that Mauritius hopes to conclude an agreement with EFTA similar to the Economic Partnership Agreement which Mauritius signed with the European Union. The sources added that the ambassadors of the different countries that form the EFTA, namely Norway, Switzerland, Island and Liechtenstein, had already signed a Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) between Mauritius and EFTA in June 2009 in the presence of EFTA Deputy Secretary-General, D. Chambovey. The agreement aims to strengthen economic ties between EFTA and Mauritius in the trade of goods and services, as well as investments, the sources said.
    Another objective is to facilitate the commitment of the private sector – in particular small and medium-sized enterprises of signatory parties – to promote commercial trade. According to the sources, Mauritius feels that the time is now ripe to sign a comprehensive agreement with EFTA.

    Source: Afrique Avenir


    Link Read more
    Link  EFTA
    Link EU Delegation to Mauritius


  19. Review of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement: what CONCORD think about
    2010-03-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Aid effectiveness

    CONCORD has serious concerns on the content of the revision of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, but also on the lack of transparency of the process. A better involvement of the civil society in the EU and in the ACP countries in the process would not only enhance transparency and democratic participation and legitimacy, but also enable citizens to hold their governments to account.

    Source: CONCORD


    Link Read more
    Link  CONCORD on the Review Cotonou
    Link Cotonou Agreement at a glance


  20. A new decade for peace and security in Africa
    2010-03-03

    Against the backdrop of the African Year of Peace and Security, 2010 will mark a turning point in Euro-African co-operation in this vital area for the continent’s future. Under the auspices of the African Union, Africa has come a long way in the security stakes. Nevertheless, the continent is still plagued with deadly conflicts and civil strife in such places as Sudan, Zimbabwe, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. For that reason, the African Union has declared 2010 to be the Year of Peace and Security in Africa.

    Source: The African Union and the European Union Partnership


    Link Read more
    Link African Peace Facility
    Link African Peace and Security Architecture


  21. PIP tour in ACP countries
    2010-03-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Between March and June, PIP will be visiting several ACP countries to launch the new Phase. At a series of launch events the PIP team will present the extended scope of our activities, describe how to access support, and answer any questions. The team will also be available after the events to meet with individuals who require more detailed discussions or wish to explore potential support. The events will be open to a range of invited people and organisations – focusing especially on partners and potential beneficiaries.

    Source: Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee


    Link Read more
    Link View the video
    Link Know more about the PIP


  22. Encouraging internal reforms in Zimbabwe
    2010-03-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on 22 February concerning the situation in Zimbabwe and the renewal of the sanctions imposed by the EU owing to the insufficient progress by the country with its internal reforms. These restrictions can only be lifted in response to concrete steps in the implementation of the 2008 power-sharing deal known as the Global Political Agreement (GPA). These sanctions are not aimed at the people of Zimbabwe. In fact, the EU remains the largest provider of assistance to the country, in particular through its support for agriculture and food security, social sectors, education and GPA implementation. In 2009, the Union paid out 274 million euros in Zimbabwe.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link Council conclusions on Zimbabwe
    Link EU Delegation in Zimbabwe


  23. EFSA consults on guidance on risk-benefit assessment of food
    2010-03-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Food Safety Authority’s Scientific Committee has published guidance on the risk-benefit assessment of food for public consultation. As foods provide health benefits but can sometimes also present health risks – for example, fruit and vegetables provide key nutrients but can sometimes also contain potentially harmful substances such as nitrates – it is important for decision-makers to be able to take into account the net health impact of different foods. EFSA’s Scientific Committee recommends a three-step approach consisting of: an initial assessment which considers whether a risk-benefit assessment is actually needed or, alternatively, if the health risk clearly outweighs the health benefit (or vice versa); a refined assessment aimed at quantifying estimates of risk and benefit at relevant exposure levels; and finally, a full comparison of the combined risk and benefit to establish a net health impact value.

    Source: European Food Safety Authority


    Link Read more
    Link Public consultation until 15/04/2010
    Link Brussels Briefing on Food Safety


  24. EC: public debate on protecting Europe's forests against climate change
    2010-03-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The European Commission today adopted a Green Paper which sets out options for a European Union approach to the protection of forests and to information about forest resources and their condition. Responses to the Green Paper from the public, Member States, EU institutions and other stakeholders will guide the Commission on whether additional action is needed at EU level.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Forestry in rural development
    Link Forests and climate change


  25. Organic area up by 21% in the EU between 2005 and 2008
    2010-03-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    Organic farming 1 in the EU27 covered 7.8 million hectares in 2008, up by 7% compared with 2007. Over a longer time period, the data available for the EU25 show an increase of 21% in the total organic area between 2005 and 2008. In 2008, the five Member States with the largest organic area in the EU27 were Spain (1.3 mn ha), Italy (1.0 mn ha), Germany (0.9 mn ha), the United Kingdom (0.7 mn ha) and France (0.6 mn ha). In 2007, the total organic area accounted for 4.1% of the total utilised agricultural area 2 in the EU27 . The highest proportions of organic area were recorded in Austria (15.7% of the total agricultural area), Sweden (9.9%) and Italy (8.9%).

    Source: Eurostat


    Link Read more
    Link Organic Farming in the EU
    Link World Markets for Organic Fruit and Vegetables


  26. European Investment Bank delivers unprecedented lending volume
    2010-03-01
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Aid effectiveness

    The European Investment Bank (EIB) increased its total lending volume in 2009 to EUR 79bn, a 37% rise from EUR 58bn in 2008. This represents a new milestone in providing financial support for the European economy. Last year, the EIB reinforced its focus on (i) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), (ii) economically weaker regions across Europe (“convergence regions”) and (iii) the energy sector in the context of the fight against climate change. Although the EU countries accounted for the lion’s share of EIB lending in 2009 (over EUR 70bn or 89% of the total volume) the Bank also provided significant financial support to countries outside the EU.

    Source: European Investment Bank


    Link Read more
    Link List of financing operations in 2009
    Link EIB and the ACP countries



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CTA
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