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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 243]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 243]
Send date: 2010-10-08 17:53:43
Issue #: 59
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. Briefing: Strengthening the Caribbean agri-food private sector
  2. Our video guest: Myra Wopereis, FARA
  3. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 11 to 15/10/2010
  4. Africa needs basic health care, as well as clever drugs
  5. Leading newspapers around the world support global fund
  6. Donors commit more funding to the Global Fund
  7. The most difficult job of all
  8. It’s the End of the Export-Led Growth Model, Says UNCTAD
  9. Tax Could be The Way Out of Aid Dependence
  10. Gasification Power Plant Inaugurated
  11. Key proposals for a new Common Agriculture and Food policy
  12. Fight against illegal timber exports
  13. EU and South Korea sign free trade deal
  14. Commission sued over biofuels as suspicions mount
  15. EU to wage war against speculation on commodity markets
  16. No more sugar in fruit juice, says EU
  17. German-led research tackles climate sceptics head on
  18. EU launches wireless connectivity project in Africa
  19. Comesa to petition UN on WHO tobacco ban
  20. Piebalgs proposes 10% increase in funding to the Global Fund
  21. Europe approves € 500 million of food aid for the needy for 2011
  22. EEAS needs stringent budget control, say MEPs
  23. Country of origin markings to help European consumers
  24. 2011 budget: MEPs defend innovation and external actions


  1. Briefing: Strengthening the Caribbean agri-food private sector
    2010-10-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    The CTA and its partners will held the second regional Briefing in the Caribbean on "Strengthening the Caribbean agri-food private sector: challenges for SMEs in the agri-food sector in the Caribbean"on 18-19th October at the occasion of the Caribbean Agricultural Week. The ACP regional Briefings are linked to the Brussels Briefings (http://brusselsbriefings.net). This Briefing will discuss the challenges that the Caribbean private sector faces in the context of the financial and food crises as well as the resulting increased demand for agricultural products. While looking at the broader economic environment,it will examine the key issues involved on value chains and clusters. Access to finance by the private sector has always remained a major challenge and SMEs still struggle to access finance due to some stringent requirements by commercial banks and the existing and potential financing mechanisms in support of the private sector at regional level will be reviewed. Finally, the last panel will look into the startegies needed for repositioning Caribbean agriculture.

    Contact:  boto@cta.int or lopes@cta.int


    Link ACP Regional Briefings
    Link Registration Form
    Link Programme_6.pdf

  2. Our video guest: Myra Wopereis, FARA
    2010-10-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    Our video guest this week is Mrs. Myra Wopereis, the Director of Access to Knowledge and Technology at the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). In this interview she outlines the challenges underlying access to agricultural research in Africa. She also presents some of the major projects of FARA to address those challenges.


    Link Watch the video
    Link FARA
    Link Seventh Framework Programme


  3. Main ACP-EU events for the week of 11 to 15/10/2010
    2010-10-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    European Parliament (Brussels):
    -11th October: Agriculture and Rural Development Committee
    EU Presidency (Luxembourg):
    -11th-12th October: Competitiveness Council
    -14th October: Environment Council
    -15th October: Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council
    ACP Secretariat (Brussels):
    -12th-13th October: 2nd ACP Forum on Research for Sustainable Development

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


    Link European Parliament
    Link Belgian EU Presidency
    Link ACP Secretariat


  4. Africa needs basic health care, as well as clever drugs
    2010-10-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    Vertical" health funds targeting specific diseases such as AIDS, malaria or TB have achieved some success, but only at the cost of draining resources from basic "horizontal" health infrastructure such as clinics. The solution is a "diagonal approach", which shares aid between fighting specific diseases and consolidating health care systems, says a resolution voted by Parliament on Thursday.  "The report calls on the European Union to make the most of the potential offered by mutual health organisations in Africa and to support the many existing initiatives. But in order to be feasible, these initiatives need perennial infrastructures of basic health- such as hospitals, clinics and access to the medicine, as well as qualified personnel. We therefore call on the Commission to reinforce its assistance on this matter and to ensure greater coherence in external relations policies", said rapporteur Véronique De Keyser (S&D, BE).

    Sustainable health care systems

    The aim is to establish sustainable health care systems, providing access to treatment and medicine for everybody. "Universal access to health care and must be non-profit making and participatory", says the resolution. To this end, more support should go to so-called "mutual health organisations", which are independent, non-profit organisations based on solidarity and democratic participation, whose aim, mainly through their members’ contributions, is to improve access to quality health care for members and their families in the form of providence and mutual aid, it adds.The Commission, Member States and international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank, should support the development and financing of mutual health insurance systems, e.g. by providing credit guarantees, (co-)funding investments in clinics and funding all or part of health workers’ salaries, urge MEPs.

    "Diagonal approach"

    Recent decades have seen the rise of so-called "vertical" health funds, targeting specific diseases - AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, polio, etc, but at the same time draining international aid and private initiatives, notes the report. Research, vaccination, and prevention results have been remarkable, but have had the perverse effect of weakening support for "horizontal", or basic, health systems. The resolution therefore calls for a "diagonal approach", whereby aid is allocated partly to consolidating health care systems and partly to fighting specific diseases through the "vertical" health funds.

    Source: Parlement européen


     


    Link Read more
    Link Adopted text
    Link Committee on Development


  5. Leading newspapers around the world support global fund
    2010-10-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

     A day after public and private donors pledged US$11.7 billion to the Global Fund for the coming three years, a number of newspapers in Europe showed their support for the organization by donating free advertising space to allow the Global Fund to thank its donors. These full page ads appeared in the Financial Times (United Kingdom), El Pais (Spain), Le Figaro (France), Bild Zeitung (Germany), and The Independent (UK), and contained a message from the Global Fund thanking the general public and their governments for their contribution to the Global Fund. These ads, which came at no cost to the Global Fund, are being seen by the publishers of these leading newspapers as a way of supporting the Global Fund and the cause of fighting three of the most deadly diseases in the world: AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. The ad ended with an appeal: “The challenges ahead are formidable, we have not won yet but with your continued support and solidarity we can make it happen.” “We are very grateful to these newspapers for the donation of advertising space. This is an act of true generosity and it allows us to thank the population of countries that have contributed significantly to the Global Fund,” said Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. The Global Fund held its Third Replenishment Meeting yesterday in New York, where private and public donors pledged US$11.7 billion to the Global Fund for the period 2011-2013.

    Source: The Global Fund


    Link Read more
    Link Media & rural development
    Link Health in developing countries


  6. Donors commit more funding to the Global Fund
    2010-10-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    Donors meeting in New York have made a US $11.7 billion financial commitment to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for the years 2011-2013. These financial resources will allow the Global Fund to further support countries as they work to meet the Millennium Development Goals related to health. The contributions announced today are the largest ever financial pledge for the collective, international effort to fight the three pandemics. The new funding compares with US$9.7 billion committed to the Global Fund in Berlin in September 2007 for the period 2008-2010. “At a time when so many Governments are tightening their belts at home, these commitments send a powerful message: It shows how seriously world leaders want to do the right thing beyond their borders, too. It shows they understand the importance of health for all people,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who chaired the Global Fund’s replenishment for 2011-2013. “However, the demand for funding is likely to outstrip even the impressive commitments made today. That means we must continue to mobilize more resources.  We must seek innovative sources of financing.  We need even more contributions by the private sector… and we must bring new donors to the table. Our work is about more than replenishing a fund; it is about replenishing hope and dignity in people’s lives.” More than 40 countries, the European Commission, faith-based organizations, private foundations, and corporations committed funding at the pledging session in New York. The US$11.7 billion comprises firm pledges as well as projections of financing expected from those countries, private sector groups and innovative funding sources that were not in a position to provide firm pledges on Tuesday.  Resources promised today will enable already approved programs to continue and significantly expand their current efforts. In addition, at least US$2.9 billion will be available for new commitments in the next three years. However, the total pledges fall short of the estimated resources needed to meet demand from developing countries seeking to further scale up their disease programs. “I deeply appreciate the efforts of all the public and private donors who with this replenishment have shown their continued confidence in the Global Fund,” said Michel Kazatchkine, the Executive Director of the Global Fund. “However, we need to recognize that this amount is not enough to meet expected demand. It will lead to difficult decisions in the next three years that could slow down the effort to beat the three diseases.  I will continue a relentless effort to seek the additional resources the Global Fund needs to fully contribute towards achieving the MDGs.” The pledges come a week after the Millennium Development Goals summit in New York in which United Nations countries reaffirmed their commitment to ambitious targets to eradicate disease and poverty by 2015.

    Source: The Global Fund


    Link Read more
    Link Results attributable to the EU
    Link Health&Development


  7. The most difficult job of all
    2010-10-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development

    The odds continue to be stacked against a major overhaul of the EU's Common Agriculture Policy.
    After months of polite exchanges, this month marked the start of the real debate about reforming the European Union's farm policy ‘Reform' of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a fixture in the EU calendar. Rather like the nebulous concept ‘building Europe', it is a job that is never finished. Ever since governments agreed a modest ‘health check' reform in 2009 agriculture ministers have been having regular meetings about how to overhaul the CAP after 2013. This week the first signs of conflict emerged.  At first, the meeting of farm ministers in La Hulpe on Tuesday (21 September) followed the same pattern, where ministers talked more about what they agreed on, rather than where they differed. But on the sidelines a row was brewing between Europe's biggest farming countries. The cause was a joint paper on the future of the CAP drawn up by the French and German agriculture ministries, which mounted a strong defence of “the central role” of direct payments to farmers and poured cold water over “renationalising” the CAP (ie, co-payments from national governments). Many countries could sign up to this. But France and Germany lost the chance to win some friends, by signalling their opposition to correcting current inequalities in CAP payments. Currently farm payments vary massively. (According to the website reformthecap.eu, Greek farmers get around €550 a hectare, while Polish counterparts receive just €81 a hectare. Other figures tell a similar story.)  The Franco-German paper suggested that the unequal status quo should continue, to reflect central European farmers' lower costs. This prompted a sharp response from Poland's Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki who accused Paris and Berlin of pure self-interest.

    Source: European Voice


    Link Read more
    Link Agriculture and Rural Development
    Link Beneficiaries of CAP payments


  8. It’s the End of the Export-Led Growth Model, Says UNCTAD
    2010-10-07
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Aid effectiveness

    While the recovery from the financial and economic meltdown remains fragile in especially the developed world, the outlook for Africa inspires optimism, according to UNCTAD. The global economic and financial crisis has marked the end of the model of export-led growth for everybody, since "there must be somebody who imports and somebody who exports", Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi, UNCTAD secretary general, stated at the presentation of the report in Geneva. With the major industrial countries not being able to consume as much as before, export-led growth – mainly by encouraging investment in cheap labour-intensive industries - has no future.  Developing countries, especially in Africa, should therefore boost domestic consumption and allow wages to increase in line with productivity growth, according to UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). The findings are contained in the agency’s Trade and Development Report 2010, entitled "Employment, Globalisation and Development, which went public on Sep 14. Export-led growth prescriptions are associated with the neoliberal capitalist Washington Consensus. Now that the debt-financed consumption boom in the U.S. has ended, the U.S. economy will no longer serve as an engine of growth for the global economy. China, the euro area and Japan are unlikely to assume that role in the near future.  "Domestic demand in China is only one-eighth of that in the U.S.," Panitchpakdi continued. It has been demonstrated that keeping wages low is not correlated with employment creation, Panitchpakdi argued. "We have to look at wages and income as a source of demand and with the lifting of wages, in line with productivity growth, demand could increase and lead to more investment."There is not a shortage of employment in absolute terms in African countries, but a lack of productive and decent jobs, states the report. Agriculture still absorbs more than 60 percent of the labour force and there has been a rise in employment, mainly informal, in urban services and small-scale commerce.

    Source: Inter Press News Service Agency


    Link En savoir plus
    Link UNCTAD


  9. Tax Could be The Way Out of Aid Dependence
    2010-10-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    Many African countries struggle with debt and finding money for national budgets because they fail to recognise taxation as a sustainable source of funding. Moreover, multinational companies are too easily given tax breaks while siphoning off money through illegal tax evasion. Taxation plays an important role in determining the distribution of benefits to citizens. It also acts as a connection between state and citizenry.  But, "there is no mobilisation of national resources for national development in African countries, which is why we are seeing agitation among ordinary people", Percy Makombe, programme manager at the Cape Town-based Economic Justice Network (EJN), told IPS. EJN is a project of the Fellowship of Christian Councils of Southern Africa (Foccisa).  Attention to the tax issue has generally been lacking. "History proves that no country will march out of poverty through aid but effective local resource mobilisation can aid development of African countries," declares Alvin Mosioma, coordinator of the Tax Justice Network - Africa based in Nairobi.

    Source: Inter Press News Service Agency


    Link Read more
    Link Tax and development


  10. Gasification Power Plant Inaugurated
    2010-10-06

    Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Willem Isaacks, inaugurated the first bush-to-electricity power plant on Wednesday, September 22th, 2010. The Combating Bush Encroachment for Namibia's Development (CBEND), installed a 250-kilowatt wood gasification power plant, thereby establishing the country's first independent power producer. The plant, which is a European Union-funded project, was built on Farm Pierre, 90 kilometres north-west of Otjiwarongo in the Outjo District. It starts delivering its first stream of electricity into the main grid. Isaacks said at the ceremony that the project seeks to open new income-generating opportunities to the agriculture sector, which still formally and informally employs 50 percent of all Namibians. "The project introduces a new techno-logy to Namibia with a scope not only to support national electricity generation, but also address rural electrification." Isaacks said almost 80 percent of Namibia's rural population does not have access to electricity.

    Source: Allafrica


    Link Read more
    Link EU Relations with Namibia
    Link EU Delegation to Namibia


  11. Key proposals for a new Common Agriculture and Food policy
    2010-10-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security

    European and Belgian civil society organizations ask the European Union to reshape the CAP: Key proposals for a new Common  Agriculture and Food policy that meets European and global challenges.
    1. Food security at both European and global level: regulation not  speculation

    The present CAP has been excessively shaped by international trade rules that treat agricultural produce as mere commodities. This approach has failed: global food insecurity has continued to grow and the EU is increasingly dependent on imports/exports. A new phase of global food speculation demonstrates that regulation is required to stop speculation on food on the commodities markets.
    We need food sovereignty: the CAP has to be based on European needs, not on WTO rules.

    2. Farm income: fair prices first
    The majority of farmer’s income should be generated by fair market prices paid for their agricultural production and not from subsidies, as is now the case. This is a necessary step to ensure the long-term viability of family farms. Aligning EU prices on the global ones, makes this impossible for European farmers to be fairly paid for their produce , as European production costs are higher than those of many third countries .

    3. Environment , climate, animal welfare
     All farms should comply with standards involving less use of energy, chemical inputs  and water, lower carbon emissions, protection of biodiversity and health and compliance with good animal welfare standards.

    4. Quality healthy food: Demand for local, quality food of high nutritional value,  produced with high standards of production could be increased by supporting schemes for catering that is sourced from local / seasonal / organic produce.

    5. A rural development policy is required to complete these measures. It should include the following priorities:
    - Rural employment schemes: support for small-scale processing industries, support for direct marketing and local food systems and the diversification of local economy,
    - Development of rural public services

    6. Young farmers, access to land: European and national measures are needed to facilitate access to land for new generations of farmers. EU Treaties should be revisited regarding land policies and foreign investment. Standards for establishing farms should be reorientated towards sustainable small/middle size farms that focusing essentially on local/regional trade. Curricula in agricultural colleges also needs to be modified to take all of the above aspects into consideration.

    7. Farm workers: Each Member State should establish a minimum agriculture wage, including in Central and Eastern Europe. Migrant and European farm workers should have the same rights as those of the host country in which they are resident.

    8. Food chain: Fair distribution and increased transparency of the different stages of the added value along the food chain is urgently needed. Improvements to the value added along the food chain would benefit both farmers and consumers.

    Source: Foodandwaterwatch.org


    Link Read more
    Link Agriculture EU


  12. Fight against illegal timber exports
    2010-10-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Environment

    Today, the European Union signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement with Cameroon, the largest African exporter of timber products to the EU. By July 2012, all shipments of wood products from Cameroon to the EU will be required to carry a license showing that they contain timber and wood products from a legal origin. This agreement expresses a strong joint commitment to eradicate illegal logging and underpins Cameroon’s ongoing reforms towards good governance of the forest sector and development. European consumers, for their part, will have confidence that wood products, such as furniture, imported from Cameroon are of legal origin. European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said: "This Agreement is a major step forward in our fight against illegal logging and will contribute to economic development and poverty alleviation in Cameroon. The Agreement at the same time responds to the ever stronger expectations in Europe for verified legality of timber products. It will benefit the European consumers because they can be sure that when they buy wood from Cameroon, it is from a legal origin.” Negotiations of the agreement between Cameroon and the EU started in 2007 and have been based on active engagement of civil society and private sector representatives. A national wood traceability system is already under development. Illegal logging has a devastating impact on the world's forests and the people that rely on the resources they provide. The European Union's response to tackle illegal logging is set out in the 2003 Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan. The cornerstone of this policy is the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the EU and wood exporting countries. Cameroon is one of the main timber exporting countries of the Congo Basin, which constitutes the world’s second largest tropical forest. 80% of Cameroon's timber is exported to the EU.

    Source: European Commisison


    Link Read more
    Link Forest and illegal logging
    Link Commissioner Piebalgs


  13. EU and South Korea sign free trade deal
    2010-10-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Steven Vanackere representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), and the Korean Minister for Trade Kim Jong-hoon today signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and South Korea. This FTA is the most ambitious trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU and the first with an Asian country. Today's signature signals a significant step on the road to its implementation and is one of the main events of the EU-Korea Summit taking place in Brussels today. "The agreement between the EU and South Korea marks a significant achievement in improving our trade links. It will provide a real boost to jobs and growth in Europe at this critical time. This wide-ranging and innovative deal is a benchmark for what we want to achieve in other trade agreements", said Commissioner De Gucht. "Tackling the more difficult non-tariff barriers to international commerce can cut the costs of doing business as much if not more than getting rid of import duties." The text of the FTA was initialled between the European Commission and South Korea on 15 October 2009. Since then the text of the Agreement was translated into Korean and 21 EU languages. All EU Member States have signed the FTA ahead of today's official signing ceremony. The date of provisional application will be 1 July 2011, provided that the European Parliament has given its consent to the FTA and the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council implementing the bilateral safeguard clause of the EU-South Korea FTA is in place. The EU Member States will have to also ratify the agreement according to their own laws and procedures. One study estimates that the deal will create new trade in good and services worth €19.1 billion for the EU; another study calculates that it will more than double the bilateral EU-South Korea trade in the next 20 years compared to a scenario without the FTA. The agreement will remove virtually all import duties between the two economies as well as many non-tariff barriers. It will relieve EU exporters of industrial and agricultural goods to South Korea from paying tariffs. Once the duties are fully eliminated, EU exporters will save € 1.6 billion annually. Half of these savings will be applicable already on the day of the entry into force of the Agreement. The FTA will also create new market access in services and investment and will make major advances in areas such as intellectual property, procurement, competition policy and trade and sustainable development.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Memo on the FTA
    Link EU-South Korea trade


  14. Commission sued over biofuels as suspicions mount
    2010-10-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Europe's biofuels policy could cause unwanted side-effects equal to as much as 1.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases - roughly the annual emissions of Russia or India, official reports warn. That means biofuels could produce more carbon emissions than gasoline over a 20-year time frame. The impact assessment emerged as climate campaigners sued the European Commission for withholding a different tranche of data on the negative consequences of fuels from crops such as maize, wheat and palm oil. "Our efforts to understand and influence EU biofuel policy have been repeatedly hampered by attempts to restrict access to documents," activist lawyer Tim Grabiel of ClientEarth said as he launched the court action.

    Source; Euractiv


     


    Link Read more
    Link Renewable Energy
    Link EU strategy for biofuels


  15. EU to wage war against speculation on commodity markets
    2010-10-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Food Security

    Brussels, like Washington, is planning to launch measures to regulate commodity exchanges and curb speculation, as well as step up transparency in food trade after the recent surge in agricultural commodity prices."We are examining with care rules adopted in the United States (in raw materials markets), and notably those concerning position limits or powers given to regulators, including a mandate against speculation," said EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier. "We are ready to be pioneers too, if possible," Barnier added during a two-day conference in Brussels on financial services, which ended 21 September.The commissioner underlined that the planned reform of the law, known as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), and the envisaged review of the EU directive on market abuse will provide an opportunity for "an ambitious overhaul of the markets of raw materials".

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Agriculture and food prices
    Link Barnier’s speech on commodities’ prices


  16. No more sugar in fruit juice, says EU
    2010-10-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Commission on Wednesday said it is looking at slapping a Europe-wide ban on adding sugar to fruit juice. Currently, juice-packs on supermarket shelves can contain 150 grams of sugar per litre, and up to 20 percent of total contents in bottles of fruit nectar. The commission, the European Union's executive arm, said its proposed bill would still authorise adding sugar or honey to fruit nectar. The bill would also underline the difference between fruit juice and fruit concentrates and, for the first time, list tomatoes as a fruit. Commission sources said the idea was not expected to irritate member states, before the adoption of the bill in the European parliament. Fruit juices make up 10 percent of all non-alcoholic drinks sold across the European Union. But juices made of concentrates represent 87.6 percent against 12.4 percent for pure juices.

    Source: The Independent


    Link Read more
    Link ACP horticultural exporters


  17. German-led research tackles climate sceptics head on
    2010-10-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    In an attempt to rebalance the debate on global warming, the German research branch of Deutsche Bank has commissioned a report that refutes the claims of climate sceptics The report, authored by researchers at the Columbia University's Earth Institute, defuses "misconceptions" that can hinder investment in the green economy, which can help tackle climate change. The report lists twelve oft-made arguments against climate change, such as global average temperatures are not rising, climate researchers are engaged in a conspiracy and water vapour is the most prevalent greenhouse gas. They then address each issue with scientific evidence to the contrary."The paper's clear conclusion is that the primary claims of the sceptics do not undermine the assertion that human-made climate change is already happening and is a serious long-term threat," said Mark Fulton, who heads the bank's Climate Change Investment Research arm.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Environment DG


  18. EU launches wireless connectivity project in Africa
    2010-10-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Union (EU) has launched a pilot project aimed at providing wireless broadband connectivity for rural areas throughout Africa, first getting the program off the ground in South Africa.
    The project is expected to stimulate rural economic development by using wireless mesh network (WMN) technology based on IEEE 802.11 a/b/g standards to provide broadband telecommunication services to local businesses. In South Africa, the EU has partnered with the Department of Science and Technology on the project, which will cost €30 million (US$42 million). Although South Africa is Africa's second-largest telecom market after Nigeria, many of the country's rural areas including schools still have no access to the Internet. The EU's target is to have an end-to-end Internet uptake of 95 percent in the targeted areas. As in South Africa, many rural areas in Africa are still not connected to the Internet. The South African government and the EU hope to establish small enterprises run by local operators known as village operators and provide Internet access and VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) service to more than 450 government sites, mostly schools. In the initial phase of the project, the South African Department of Science and Technology said a number of community facilities including schools, clinics and libraries are being connected to broadband infrastructure. Africa, according to the EU, needs a hybrid solution to connectivity, such as fiber and broadband wireless technologies, and a compressive approach in terms of infrastructure growth and regulations. "There is need for the region to develop science and technology because everything that we do, including communication, hangs on science and technology development," Zambian Minister of Science and Technology Brian Chituwo told Computerworld Zambia Wednesday.This is the second project that the EU is initiating in Africa in less than two years, after launching the EU-Africa strategic partnership on science and information technology, aimed at coordinating ICT development plans in the region in 2008.
    Source: International Data Group


    Link Read more
    Link EuroAfrica ICT
    Link eLearning Africa


  19. Comesa to petition UN on WHO tobacco ban
    2010-10-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Archive

    The Common Market for Eastern and Southern African is opposed to the World Health Organisation’s attempts to push through a ban of ingredients used in producing blended tobacco.These ingredients are laboratory produced compounds ranging from sweetners, sugars and flavours such as menthol, maltol and vanillin, used to improve the palatability of tobacco. Burnley — a popular tobacco type in British American Tobacco markets (especially the US) is the most common type grown in the Comesa region — mainly in eastern and southern African countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Mozambique — and which requires blending. Scientists claim that smoke from burnley tobacco tends to have a harsh taste during curing, necessitating use of ingredients like glucose, menthol and ginger, or blending it with other types to tone down its character. A ban of the manufacture of the blending compounds would mean a loss of market for Comesa-grown tobacco, and a loss for farmers.

    Source: The East African


    Link Read more
    Link COMESA
    Link World Health Association


  20. Piebalgs proposes 10% increase in funding to the Global Fund
    2010-10-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, Aid effectiveness

    Tomorrow, Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development, will participate in the Third Voluntary Replenishment Pledging Conference of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in New York. Two weeks after the UN High-level Plenary Meeting on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs,) the Global Fund is calling for a replenishment of its resources for the year 2011 – 2013. If approved, the contribution of the EU to the Global Fund could increase at least by 10% for 2011 – 2013, reaching €330 million. Ahead of the conference Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development said: "Two weeks ago during the UN MDG Summit the world committed to turn Millennium Development "Goals" into "Realities". Today, we can turn our commitments into actions. Creating more and inclusive growth in developing countries to reach the MDGs can simply not be achieved without a healthy population. The EU will continue to support the Global Fund in fight against these deadly diseases." During the conference, Commissioner Piebalgs will announce the commitment of the European Commission to increase its financial contribution to the Global Fund. The proposal is a subject to approval of budgetary authorities of the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP). Currently the Commission contributes €100 million per year for the period 2008 – 2010. The European Commission is a founding member of the Global Fund. It has been providing strong political and financial support to it since 2002. From 2002 to 2010, the European Commission has contributed a total of €972.5 million, which makes it the fifth largest donor to the fund (after the USA, France, Italy and Japan). Over the same period, the European Union has contributed more than $9 billion or 52% of the GFATM resources. The EU also adopted conclusions on 10 May 2010 on its role in global health, to promote a strong EU vision, common voice and action in global health, and to support innovative sources of financing for the health sector to advance towards the achievement of the MDGs related to health.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Combating diseases
    Link Globa Fund


  21. Europe approves € 500 million of food aid for the needy for 2011
    2010-10-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    Food aid plans submitted by Member States for the 2011 Aid for the Needy Scheme were voted in the Single CMO Management Committee. Next year 20 Member States will use the scheme – with the Czech Republic participating for the first time. Originally designed to provide surplus stocks of farm produce ('intervention stocks') to needy people, the scheme was amended in the mid-1990s to make it possible to supplement intervention stocks with market purchases in certain circumstances. However, this year existing intervention stocks (cereals, milk powder, limited quantities of butter) cover most of the needs for the 2011 plan, so only limited recourse to market purchases is necessary. The allocated budget of 500 million Euros is the same as for the 2009 and 2010 plans. The scheme for 2011 is not related to the recent adapted proposal to adjust the scheme in future. The 2011 plan will now be adopted by the Commission in the near future. Dacian Ciolos, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, said of the programme: "The Aid for the Needy Scheme is a further sign that the Common Agriculture Policy is not just for farmers, but for all EU citizens. Last year, an estimated 13 million people benefited from the various national programmes."

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Free food for Europe's poor


  22. EEAS needs stringent budget control, say MEPs
    2010-10-04

    European External Action Service (EEAS) budgeting rules were beefed up by the Budgets and Budgetary Control committees on Tuesday, to ensure transparency and financial accountability. MEPs inserted a provision requiring a "working document" to detail external action spending, and new rules on conflicts of interest. They also stipulated that heads of EEAS delegations must complete specific budget training courses before taking up their duties.  Before the European External Action Service (EEAS) is launched, several legislative changes are  needed for the service to function, including changes in budget and staff rules. The amendments inserted in the financial regulations by Budgets and Budgetary Control committees on Tuesday include stringent provisions on traceability and budgetary and financial accountability. Ingeborg Gräßle (EPP, DE) and Crescenzio Rivellini (EPP, IT), who steered the draft legislation through Parliament, also want to ensure that Parliament has its say, in order to ensure democratic scrutiny of how the EU budget is implemented. In budgetary terms, the EEAS will be treated as an EU institution, i.e. will enjoy the budgetary autonomy afforded by having its own section in the EU budget. Like all other institutions, it will  implement its own administrative expenditure. It will also require a discharge from the European Parliament for its implementation. Parliament will therefore exercise its full budgetary and control powers vis-à-vis the EEAS. The Commission will remain in charge of the service's operational budget.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Budgets committee
    Link Budgetary control committee


  23. Country of origin markings to help European consumers
    2010-10-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Goods should clearly state their country of origin, to help consumers to make informed choices, say MEPs. International Trade Committee MEPs on Wednesday approved a proposed EU-wide system of country of origin markings for goods imported from third countries, after amending it to allow the origin to be stated in English anywhere in the EU and to ensure that it applies only to goods destined for final consumers. MEPs also advocated introducing harmonised penalties for breaching the rules.
    The proposed EU regulation, approved with 19 votes in favour, 2 against, with 2 abstentions, aim to ensure that customers are properly informed about a product's origin and also to protect them against possible health risks, counterfeiting and unfair competition. Parliament's rapporteur was Cristiana Muscardini (EPP, IT).

     "Made in" languages

     The words "made in", together with the country, must be stated "in a language that is easily understood by consumers in the Member State where the goods are to be marketed". MEPs inserted an amendment to allow the use of English, as a possible alternative, anywhere in the EU.

    Packs, as well as goods

    The country of origin must be marked on most goods, except where such marking would damage the goods, or is not possible for technical reasons. If goods are packaged, the origin marking should be placed on the package, as well as the goods.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Committee on International Trade
    Link Rules of origin


  24. 2011 budget: MEPs defend innovation and external actions
    2010-10-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    After three days of negotiations and voting, Parliament's Budgets Committee on Thursday finalised the bulk of its position on next year's budget. Its key changes increased funding for research, innovation, student mobility, energy and support for the Middle East peace process. This was the first budget exercise under the Lisbon Treaty, which gives Parliament a full say on the whole budget, including farm spending. Committee members agreed to stick to the limits laid down in the multi-annual financial framework, which applies until the end of 2013. The committee's position reflects priorities such as research, innovation, student mobility, energy and support to Palestine. Unlike the Council of Ministers, the committee chose to create headroom for additional spending that might become necessary but is still uncertain. This approach should make the budget more realistic and transparent from the start and should avoid remedial patchwork after the whole budget has been decided. In general, MEPs sought to restore the draft budget proposed by the Commission, after cuts by the Council in August. Exceptionally, the Budgets Committee voted to increase the budget above the Commission's draft version. The committee position will thus be slightly above the draft budget, which is more restrictive than in previous years.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Budgets Committee
    Link 2011 budget negotiating timetable



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