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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 248]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 248]
Send date: 2010-11-15 16:44:40
Issue #: 64
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. AFD deploys almost €400m to support sustainable development
  2. Joint Research Initiative Publishes Report on Methods for GMO Detection
  3. EP team "disappointed" as negotiations on EU budget are suspended
  4. Cereal price hike: MEPs debate resulting crisis in EU livestock sector
  5. TRADE-SOUTHERN AFRICA: EPA Talks Will Miss Latest Deadline
  6. EU approved EUR 28,3 millions to enhance Caribbean Regional Private Sector
  7. The EU allocates €61 million to support the Dominican Republic
  8. Annual Report 2010 on the EU Development and External Assistance Policies
  9. EU biofuel policy will increase CO2 emissions, study says
  10. Haiti's government activates MIC in reaction to Hurricane Tomas
  11. Mozambique: Government Hopes to Increase Fisheries Exports
  12. EU Parliament sounds alarm over UK Sovereignty Bill
  13. EU launches €4.5bn clean energy fund
  14. WTO Banana Agreement: situation of European banana producers
  15. New study calls for more recognition of research organisations
  16. Jamaican companies get EU assist with market positioning
  17. Senior EC official cautions on infrastructure gap
  18. Zimbabwe: EU, Comesa Train 90 Agro-Dealers
  19. Europe in the G20
  20. Consultation on the Green Paper on the Future of EU Budget Support
  21. Africa-Europe: 80 countries, two continents in partnership
  22. European Commission debate to change gears in the fight against poverty
  23. Ahead of Cancún climate talks: MEPs support UN forests programme
  24. Commission Launches Carbon Capture development programme
  25. G20 Seoul: collaboration for global economic stability
  26. The SFP programme
  27. EU sets assertive trade policy agenda for next five years
  28. EU states told GM crop plans may breach trade rules
  29. UK Spending Plans Protect Development Spending
  30. Can Trade Policy Improve Human Rights ?
  31. EC pushes forward global collaboration on Earth Observation
  32. 10 successful years for GÉANT EU-funded high speed research network


  1. AFD deploys almost €400m to support sustainable development
    2010-11-15

    Urban environment in Togo, sanitation in Morocco, corporate finance in Côte d’Ivoire, training in Tunisia and the Dominican Republic, local development in Mauritania, water and sanitation in Uganda, food security in West Africa, airports in South Africa…: AFD deploys almost €400m to support sustainable development at its 4 November 2010 Board of Directors meeting.

    Source: Agence Française de Développement


    Link Read more
    Link Agence Française de Développement


  2. Joint Research Initiative Publishes Report on Methods for GMO Detection
    2010-11-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The Joint Research Initiative of the European Commission has released a collection of reference methods for the detection and analysis of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).The report comprises 79 reference methods which have been validated according to international standards, representing the state of the art in GMO detection. The report aims at providing user friendly descriptions of detection methods to facilitate implementation of GMO legislation through official control bodies. It constitutes the first volume of a planned compendium of reference methods for GMO analysis, being developed jointly by the EU Reference Laboratory for Genetically Modified Food and Feed and the European Network of GMO Laboratories. This report focuses on DNA-based detection methods using polymerase chain reactions. Each method is described in a comprehensive summary including references for further information.

    Source: European Commission Joint Research Centre


    Link Read more
    Link JRC Reference Report
    Link The Joint Research Centre


  3. EP team "disappointed" as negotiations on EU budget are suspended
    2010-11-15

    Negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council on next year's budget were suspended on  November 11Tfter a minority of member states proved unwilling to agree to discussing the way future EU budgets should be financed. In a reaction, EP President Jerzy Buzek said that "Differences still exist between the European Parliament on one side and the Council on the other. Parliament is ready to accept the modest increase in payments in next year's budget as proposed by Council. We are not asking for one euro more on condition that our political expectations are met. I am confident that we will manage to iron out these differences in following meetings." Buzek is leading the European Parliament delegation for the budget negotiations."The Parliament is ready to have a deal on figures if there is an agreement on our political demands. We do not want to change the Treaty, we want a serious agreement on how we will work together in the future on EU financing including a new system of own resources, which could be the best way to reduce national contributions to the EU budget. The EP wants to have clear guarantees that next budgets will be put together in a serious and rigorous way. We need to put more order in European finances," Mr Buzek added. Alain Lamassoure, chair of the Budgets Committee, was disappointed that a minority of Member States blocked the negotiations on Thursday: "In order to finish negotiations, you have to start them first. In spite of the Belgian presidency's efforts, in spite of the agreement of a large majority of governments, some ten countries refused any negotiations. In the talks on the EU 2011 budget, Parliament isn't asking for a single euro more than the Council. Parliament is not asking for a Treaty change. We are proposing a political agreement on working together to avoid future budgetary crises and to ensure sustainable financing for future policies. Today's failure confirms what everyone already knew: how difficult it is for states to finance future policies in a sustainable manner. Last year everyone tried to spend as much as possible in an attempt to support economic activity. This year, everyone is trying to spend as little as possible in an attempt to fight the debt crisis?""This failure shows very clearly the deep division between European countries regarding the financing of common policies which all have agreed to. All states want to profit from the European budget, but some richer states do not want to pay for policies which benefit their neighbours as well. This is incomprehensible, this refusal to work towards safeguarding the future of Europe as well as the solidarity between the European countries."Talks are expected to be resumed on Monday 15 November.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Financial Programming and Budget
    Link Belgian Presidency


  4. Cereal price hike: MEPs debate resulting crisis in EU livestock sector
    2010-11-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    What would happen if farmers could no longer afford to feed their animals? With EU cereal prices at a two-year high due to bad weather and speculation we could face a significant drop in meat production. On November 11  MEPs debated what action the EU can take with Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloș and adopted a resolution calling on the Commission to ensure that the impact of speculation across the agricultural sector will be limited.Northern Irish MEP James Nicholson (EPP) explained "the livestock sector is experiencing difficulties due to a range of factors: rising production costs, competition from imports and rising feed costs".Spanish Socialist Iratxe García Pérez said cereals account for 60% of production costs and have risen 50% over the last 2 months because of speculation.Many MEPs welcomed the recent Commission decision to release cereals from storage to keep feed material prices down and help livestock farmers. Mr Ciolos told Parliament that "the tension had been taken out of the market" after the cereal intervention measure was announced.He went on to say that said the problem does not stem from a shortage but from speculation, which he said the Commission intended to tackle. He said that the forthcoming reform of the Common Agriculture Policy would include a new mechanism for income volatility.Mr Nicholson expressed his fears about the security of food supplies in Europe as we are "too dependent on 3rd countries". Several MEPs criticized the imbalance created by the high standards for EU farmers versus standards applied to imported meat. "Animal welfare standards must be required for products coming to our markets" said Polish MEP Janusz Wojciechowski (ECR). During the debate several MEP brought up the issue of prices at the farm gate and those paid by consumers. Irish MEP Liam Aylward (ALDE) said that "the Commission must put in place measures to close the gap between prices paid by consumers and prices received by producers". Romanian MEP Rareş-Lucian Niculescu (EPP) criticised the high margins that "end up in the hands of the distributors".French Green MEP José Bové commented that "farmers have to survive on €700-800 per month. Consumers pay €17 per kg for steak in the supermarket, but for the same product farmers are paid just €3 per kg. Is that fair?" He added: "This crisis is going to destroy farmers in Europe".The debate followed an oral question from MEPs from the European People's Party, the Socialist and Democrats and the Europe of Conservatives and Reformists Groups in the European Parliament.

     Source: European Parliament

     


    Link Read more
    Link European Parliament
    Link Agriculture and Rural Development


  5. TRADE-SOUTHERN AFRICA: EPA Talks Will Miss Latest Deadline
    2010-11-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    While a trade deal between the European Union and Southern African countries is close it will not be concluded before the end of this year. In the meantime, South Africa remains in pursuit of an ambitious regional integration agenda.Namibian trade minister Hage Geingob has confirmed that the Dec 2010 deadline for a economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the EU that Southern African states had set themselves in Gaborone, Botswana, earlier this year will not be met.

    Source: IPS news


    Link Read more
    Link  TDCA
    Link Economic partnerships


  6. EU approved EUR 28,3 millions to enhance Caribbean Regional Private Sector
    2010-11-15

    The European Commission approved EUR 28,3 million grant financing for a Regional Private Sector Development Programme, to be executed over 5 years in the Caribbean region."This programme will contribute to the gradual integration of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) into the world economy, enhancing regional economic growth and by extension alleviate poverty.", said Valeriano Diaz, Head of the EU Delegation in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. The Regional Private Sector Development Programme is integral to assisting the region in responding to the opportunities and challenges offered by the CARIFORUMEC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), as well as other new and existing trade arrangements. Specifically the Programme will: - enhance competitiveness and promote innovation in the regional private sector - promote trade and export development among CARIFORUM States; - promote stronger trade and investment relations among CARIFORUM States, the French Caribbean Outermost Regions and the European Union Overseas Countries and Territories in the Caribbean; - promote stronger trade and investment cooperation between CARICOM and the Dominican Republic.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link CARICOM/CARIFORUM
    Link An EU-Caribbean partnership


  7. The EU allocates €61 million to support the Dominican Republic
    2010-11-15

    The European Commission approved a General Budget Support programme for a total amount of € 61 million in favour of the Dominican Republic. The programme aims at supporting government's growth and poverty reduction objectives, by contributing to the National Development Strategy (NDS) in the areas of pro-poor, sustainable economic growth, human development focusing on education and health and good governance. The programme is expected to produce the following results: • Social indicators are improved and the progress in MDG accelerated by providing an increased focus through variable tranches based on NDS performance indicators in these sectors. • Public financial management (PFM) improved by providing for an effective policy dialogue on PFM and through conditions and indicators related to PFM reform. • Ownership and harmonization are promoted and transaction costs decreased by the own nature of the budget support instrument. • National capacities are strengthened by using government systems. Complementary actions are also foreseen for capacity development.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Budget support


  8. Annual Report 2010 on the EU Development and External Assistance Policies
    2010-11-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The 3043rd Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting held in Brussels on 8 and 9 November 2010.The Council Council invites the Commission to complement the narrative of actions undertaken,funds committed and disbursed by a demonstration of concrete results, impact on theground and value for money, whenever possible. In particular for budget support, the Council calls upon the Commission to include evidence-based information on results achieved and encourages the Comission to continue reporting on improvements in risk analysis and management. Taking into consideration that 2010 is a review year of 10 years of progress in the implementation of the MDGs, the Council invites the Commission to focus the next Report on the Millennium Development Goals and the EU’s actions in support of their achievement. The Council encourages the Commission to continue its efforts to demonstrate how evidence obtained from audits, monitoring and evaluation reports is shaping changes in Community policies and programmes.2010 is a year of institutional changes in the EU’s development cooperation and external assistance. The Council invites the Commission to include in next year’s Report a section on how the aim of more coherence in the EU’s external relations whilst maintaining a strong poverty reduction focus has been put into practice.


    Source: European Coouncil


    Link Read more
    Link •The Council of the European Union


  9. EU biofuel policy will increase CO2 emissions, study says
    2010-11-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    An EU target to produce 10 percent of transport energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 will actually increase the level of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the bloc unless changes are made, an independent study has said.Forecast increases in EU biofuel use as a result of the policy goal will lead to a mass conversion of natural habitats into fields of biofuel crops as overseas producers strive to meet the added demand, the report published by the Institute for European Environmental Policy on November 8  says.Natural lands, including rainforests and savannah, store and sequester carbon in their soil and biomass as plants grow each year, making them important components in the flight against climate change, caused by rising CO2 levels. 

    Source: EUobserver


    Link Read more
    Link 


  10. Haiti's government activates MIC in reaction to Hurricane Tomas
    2010-11-15

    The government of Haiti has requested EU assistance in response to Hurricane Tomas, which is currently passing through the Caribbean region. The request was received on November 05. As a preparatory measure, the Haitian authorities have asked for tents, tarpaulins, mosquito nets, hygiene and water purification kits, and other small items.The European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) has transmitted this request to the 31 countries that participate in the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism. The MIC will collect the assistance offers and coordinate their deployment as needed.The EU stands ready to facilitate the deployment of in-kind assistance that may be available from Member States, following the rapid assessment of needs, in order to assist the Haitian population to face this new trial.Meanwhile, The European Commission's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (DG ECHO) stands ready to respond to humanitarian needs through financial assistance to the Commission's partners on the ground.

    Source: European Union


    Link Read more
    Link Community Mechanism for Civil Protection MIC Daily Emergencies CECIS Training and exercises International Cooperation National authorities and structures GDACS Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System UNDP Disaster Risk Index Links
    Link Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection (ECHO)


  11. Mozambique: Government Hopes to Increase Fisheries Exports
    2010-11-15
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    The Mozambican government hopes to increase annual exports of fisheries produce from the current 70 million US dollars to 170 million dollars over the next ten years.The bulk of fisheries exports go to the European Union, but the government wants to diversify and reach other markets.According to Fisheries Minister Victor Borges, a series of actions are under way to increase fisheries production, particularly by attracting more investment to this sector.Currently fisheries produce accounts for only four per cent of Mozambican exports and two per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product. These figures, said Borges, "pose a great challenge to the sector, which is to ensure increased availability of fisheries produce on the national market, and a greater contribution from the fisheries to the balance of payments".Speaking in Maputo today, at a meeting with a business delegation from Mauritius, headed by the Mauritian Fisheries Minister, Louis Joseph Von-Mally, Borges recognised that Mozambican fisheries production is well below its potential.Including both maritime and freshwater fishing, production is about 150,000 tonnes a year, which Borges estimated at 45 per cent of potential. As for aquaculture, this area has room for vast expansion. It only produces 630 tonnes a year, but has an estimated potential for two million tonnes."The fisheries sector continues to play a strategic role in food and nutritional security, foreign exchange earnings and job creation", said Borges. "In the economic sphere our main challenge is to mobilise the investment needed to take advantages of the fisheries and aquaculture potential available in Mozambique",The government has just approved a Fisheries Master Plan for the period 2010-2019, with the immediate objective of strengthening the sector's contribution to food security.The plan also seeks to improve the living conditions of communities of small scale fishermen, and increase the contribution made by the fisheries and by aquaculture to achieving economic and social development, as well as increasing the net contribution the sector makes to the balance of payments.

     Source: AllAfrica


    Link Read more
    Link Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries


  12. EU Parliament sounds alarm over UK Sovereignty Bill
    2010-11-12

    Andrew DUFF (UK, Lib Dem), spokesman for the European Liberal Democrats on constitutional affairs, has reacted to the publication by the UK government today of a draft law which would change the way the UK deals with the European Union.The new EU Bill contains a 'sovereignty clause' and would entrench the holding of referenda on EU treaty changes as well as the use of the passerelle clauses of the Treaty of Lisbon.DUFF, who represented the European Parliament at the Lisbon treaty negotiations, said:"The EU institutions and Britain's EU partners will have to examine this legislation very closely. I welcome the decision of the Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee this week to send a delegation to Westminster in January to meet with the government and both Houses of Parliament."We will be keen to reassure ourselves that this Bill does not substantively change the terms of the UK's membership of the EU and that, for example, the UK supreme court will not have powers dumped on it which properly reside with the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg."The move to referenda seems to be calculated to appeal to a populist and nationalist constituency which undoubtedly exists in the UK. But referenda will surely weaken the powers of the Westminster Parliament over EU matters just when the Lisbon treaty provides new opportunities for national parliaments to engage constructively with the EU."The coalition government must respect the constitutional order of the European Union and should not impede the steady democratic evolution of the Treaty-based rules which bind all EU states together in a deep and lasting interdependence. If the UK were to sacrifice its credibility as a trustworthy partner it will relegate itself to some uninfluential off-shore destination."

    Source: ALDE

     


    Link Read more
    Link ALDE Group
    Link The European Parliament


  13. EU launches €4.5bn clean energy fund
    2010-11-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Commission opened competition for the world's biggest investment programme in green technologies on November 9 in a bid to gain a competitive advantage over the US and China on renewables and carbon capture and storage.Approximately €4.5 billion will be made available to at least 34 innovative renewable energy and eight carbon capture and underground storage (CCS) projects.The money will be raised by selling 300 million carbon permits from the 'New Entrant Reserve' of the EU's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) for greenhouse gases.In total, the funding could reach €9bn when more money is injected by member states and participating energy companies, the Commission estimates. Each member state should get at least one and a maximum of three projects.The first call for proposals covers 200 million allowances and a second round will be arranged later to allocate the remaining money. The Commission is expecting to take decisions on which projects to award in the second half of 2012.Eligible projects will cover renewable technologies like solar power, offshore wind and various ocean energy technologies, which are not yet commercially viable but regarded as key ingredients of a future low-carbon economy. The CCS projects will test CO2 capture in different industrial applications and storage into various geological formations. Launching the programme, EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard warned that the EU's leadership in low-carbon technologies is being challenged by China, India, Brazil and others."This means we have to do more to drive innovation in clean technologies if we are to stay at the forefront of the low-carbon revolution," she said, warning that complacency could cost Europe green jobs.How the money will be split between renewables and CCS has not been determined and will depend on the quality and demonstration needs of proposed projects, the Commission said.The European Investment Bank (EIB) was tasked with scrutinising the project proposals submitted by member states and ranking them for the EU executive, which will make the final decision. The EIB will sell the allowances and then disburse them to member states. 

    Source: Euractiv

     


    Link Read more
    Link European Commission-Clemate Action
    Link EIB


  14. WTO Banana Agreement: situation of European banana producers
    2010-11-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    "By lowering trade barriers we should make sure that we do not wipe out industries or sectors that traditionally have played important economic and social roles in certain European regions", said Lithuanian Member of the European Parliament, Laima Andrikienė, at a meeting with European banana producers today.The European Parliament's (EP) International Trade Committee held a second exchange of views yesterday on the global banana deal reached within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) earlier this year to which the European Parliament will have to give its consent soon. The so-called WTO Banana Agreement will oblige the EU to lower tariffs for imported bananas from Latin American countries from the current level of €176 per ton to €114 per ton before 2017.The discussion in the EP was attended by representatives of the European banana sector including the Association of the European Banana Producers (APEB) and an organisation uniting banana producers from the Canary Islands, ASPROCAN. European banana producers have significant concerns about the WTO agreement and their prospects of remaining competitive in the European market.Mrs Andrikienė hosted a working lunch to discuss the situation of the banana producers in the EU with the main stakeholders in the sector, including other MEPs and representatives of the European Commission. Andrikienė is responsible for the issue of the WTO Banana Agreement in the largest political group in the EP - the Group of the European People's Party.The discussion was also attended by the President of the Canary Islands, Paulino Rivero Baute, who urged the EU to increase its support for the banana sector and explained the significance of this sector from a political and social point of view. He said: "If the second most important economic sector in the Canary Islands was attacked, this would certainly contradict the social and economic objectives set by the EU."The host of the discussion, Mrs Andrikienė, while recognising that the EU should not stop its policy of encouraging global liberalisation of trade, including in agricultural products, stressed that there will be clear losers in the further liberalisation of the global banana market and that European banana producers will be among those most negatively affected by the liberalisation process.In 2008, EU consumers bought more than 5.4 million tons of bananas in total. The EU imported almost 90% of the bananas consumed - around 4.8 million tons, worth €2.9 billion. Five EU countries supplied the remaining 10%: Cyprus, the French Overseas Departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique, Greece, Portugal and the Canary Islands in Spain.

    Source: EPP Group

     


    Link Read more
    Link WTO
    Link EPP Group


  15. New study calls for more recognition of research organisations
    2010-11-12

    Mobile phones, offshore wind energy and solar panels are all examples of innovations produced with a "substantial" input from RTOs. But the study says RTOs remain "largely undocumented" and their role is "poorly understood".It makes a number of recommendations which it says are designed to "unleash" the potential of RTOs.Speaking at the Brussels launch of the study, EU research and innovation commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn agreed that RTOs are "key actors" in the European innovation system.She said RTOs were "key partners" in the EU's 'innovation union' strategy and their contribution towards meeting the EU 2020 targets should not be underestimated.RTOs aim to build bridges between basic research and practical applications, working with both universities and companies on everything from security of energy supply to healthy ageing.The study, conducted by the Technopolis Group, an independent research organisation, estimates their annual economic impact in Europe as up to €50b.Erkki Leppavuori, president of Earto, the umbrella body for over 350 RTOs, said, "This study puts a necessary spotlight on the major contribution RTOs make to economic competitiveness and social progress in Europe."It demonstrates that RTOs are essential actors in the innovation system and give real value for money."We now have to look forward to implementation of the study's key findings."

    Source: The Parliament


    Link Red more
    Link EARTO
    Link DG Research


  16. Jamaican companies get EU assist with market positioning
    2010-11-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Union is bankrolling a project to position Jamaica's trade associations to deliver more targeted services and be better advisors to the companies that make up their membership.The targeted business support organisation, or BSOs, such as the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association and the Jamaica Exporters Association, will be advised by BKP Development Research and Consulting.The EU is putting €200,000 (J$23.8m) into the programme.Franzia Edwards, a consultant with BKP Development Research, said already some of the capacity needs of the BSOs have been identified.The project, she said, would guide BSOs in the execution of strategies to push the interests of businesses, and to build better understanding of the potential impact and practical implications of trade agreements."We are also going to be looking at the operational strategy and helping to determine action plans (and) develop appropriate services," she said."We will be looking at issues such as market access, project analysis, loads management and company market and match-making support."Dr Noel Watson, another con-sultant with BKP Development Research, said the project hopes to reach some 180 companies, indirectly.He said the BSOs would be trained, and they in turn were expected to train the benefitting companies."So we are going to train them on things like funding, marketing, export promotions - all those things that they need to get into the export markets," he explained.Reginald Budhan, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Investment and Commerce said training of this nature would allow Jamaican exporters to access the European market more efficiently under the EU-Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement to which Jamaica is a party.Jamaica runs a trade deficit with most of its trading partners, including the Caricom bloc, which widened by 16.2 per cent to US$284.6 million in the first five months of 2010 relative to the similar period in 2009 when the gap was US$245 million."Many of you will look at these figures and begin to pronounce doom and gloom; what we need to see behind these figures are the opportunities. We continue to see positive performance in terms of our non-traditional exports and we really need to pick up on this trend and move toward greater value added in that sector as well as others," said Budhan."Weak export competitiveness holds back our economic development and it deprives us of increases in savings and capital accumulation, employment and foreign exchange. We must therefore make every effort to ensure that increase and sustained benefits are derived from our participation in both regional and international trade," he said.Budhan said Jamaica's total exports declined by 2.3 per cent between January and May.

    Source: Jamaica Gleaner News


    Link Read more
    Link BKP Development Research
    Link CARICOM


  17. Senior EC official cautions on infrastructure gap
    2010-11-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    A senior official from the European Commission (EC) has commended the country for effectively utilizing resources from development partners to promote economic development.    In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Times on Friday, Koos Richelle , the EC Director General for EuropeAid  Co-operation Office, recognized  implementation of sound public financial  management systems and efforts in  combating corruption, as indicators of government efforts to promote aid effectiveness. “There is general appreciation from the donors for what Rwanda has done – you can see it (improvements) on the streets and lives,” Richelle said. Richelle who  is also the co- chair of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) working party on aid effectiveness,   was in the country to attend the two day 9th government and development partners meeting that ended Friday. According to the official, the ownership and leadership of government in promoting aid effectiveness are recognized globally.  “We are now in the process of answering questions / demands from the government to really do what the donors have promised – to streamline, respect the ownership of the government and to have more money flow to budgets instead of donors arranging that for themselves.”. In the Financial Year 2009/2010, 41 percent of Rwanda’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) was disbursed in the form of budget support which is the government’s preferred modality for external assistance.“We have to give compliments to the government because what has been done has not been realized by the donors.,” said Richelle.However, the official noted that government will have to deal with the huge infrastructure gap to attract private investment which is much needed to help the country sustain economic growth and meet the Millennium Development Goals.“There is not enough infrastructures and it is very difficult to borrow money. There are not so many people who want to take risks,” Richelle said. “The level of skills is not always available   because everybody is focused on basic or general education and not enough of vocational information and training- these are impediments for attracting private investment.” The theme for this year’s development partner’s meeting was ‘Effective Aid to leverage Private Investments and meet the Millennium Development Goals.”

    Source:  newtimes.com


     


    Link Read more
    Link EuropeAid
    Link OECD


  18. Zimbabwe: EU, Comesa Train 90 Agro-Dealers
    2010-11-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    About 90 agro-dealers met in Kadoma yesterday as part of a Comesa initiative to build their business capacity.The initiative is part of a European Union-funded Comesa Regional Agro Inputs programme to improve access to agricultural inputs to farmers across the region.The Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Mr Ngoni Masoka told the dealers, "This will lead to development of national and regional networks of regional certified rural agro-dealers."He said Comesa and the EU should be commended for coming up with practical solutions to farmers' problems.In an interview afterwards, African Centre for Fertiliser Development executive director, Dr Samuel Muchena, said: "Agro- dealers are very important in the agricultural chain of production; they provide a service which ensures farmers access the right products at the right time and at the right price."Dr Muchena said production costs could be reduced through building reliable networks between manufacturers of agro-products and agro-dealers while cutting out middlemen."High costs of inputs are incurred through involvement of middleman, sometimes there are too many middlemen involved before the product reaches the agro-consumer."Unfortunately, that cost lands on the individual farmer."The president of Women in Agri-Business in Sub Sahara Africa Alliance in Zimbabwe, Mrs Theresa Mazoyo, added: "This initiative has been long overdue as agro-dealers are an important conduit providing a link between farmers and producers of agro-products."It is the proximity of agro-dealers to the individual farmer which makes them a reliable avenue of distribution."Mr Booker Murima, a Mhangura farmer, said there was need to open dialogue with all stakeholders of agro-products to ensure producers had a reliable source of inputs supplies."Such a move will reduce speculative tendencies and assist in reducing black market," he said.Agricultural economist Mr Midway Bhunu described agro-dealers as "strategic development partners".

    Source: AllAfrica

     


    Link Read more
    Link COMESA


  19. Europe in the G20
    2010-11-12

    Regardless of we are talking of reinstate the gold standard or quantitative goals for current account balances, the Seoul G20 summit is about trade. So it is hardly a coincidence that European Commission released its trade policy communication the day before the summit - but who plays the lead and speaking for the EU, who has been caught in the cross-fire between China and US, and the friendly fire from the populist sentiments at home?If London G20 went down in history as the one of financial crisis, Seoul G20 summit will go to history as the one about trade. Global imbalances are merely euphemism of current account imbalances caused by large trade surpluses and deficits. As all world leaders pledge their allegiance against protectionism, the US proposal of numerical ceilings is an eerie reminder of the mercantilism through 'voluntary' export restrictions (VERs) during 1980s. 'Japan' was the common enemy (or scapegoat) then – and today it is 'China'. Cars and electronics continue to be causes for friction, but has spilled over to all sectors of trade. These are strange days when Germany, Japan and China are running in forefront to protect free trade against United States.Several ill or well timed events and statements have been leading up to this summit. Most notably, both Japan and US have applied quantitative easing. The latter caused the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble to call the measure "clueless". He is right. As for currency fixing, the world already knew there were - literally - two sides of the coin. Something that caused less tension ahead of G20 happened yester afternoon as the European Commission released its trade policy communication. Given the focus on trade in Seoul, the timing is hardly a coincidence. And although much of its contents have been circulating in Brussels for some time (try to hide the family silver with 27 delivery entries), its final release passed remarkably unnoticed in Seoul - which is a shame.There are assumptions in the Trade Policy Communication that are sound, and that reverberate many of the arguments presented by some ECIPE scholars for years. For example, it acknowledges that 90 percent of the growth in the coming decade will come outside the EU - most of it from China - and the need for Europe to tap into that growth abroad rather than posing it as a problem, or try to "catch up". It is a clear statement addressed to the leaders of EU member states who are engaging in introspections and give way to protectionist sentiments; the communication recognises that external integration is interlinked with the need for further liberalisation at home inside the Single Market. But all's not well – the narrative and the hard sell is about protecting jobs at home. There are strong indications for symmetries in public procurement (tit for tat against China), safeguards and emphasis on trade defence instruments (TDI).It is especially alarming that despite vows to fight protectionism, the Commission is trying to bypass the member states on antidumping (vehemently opposed by Germany, UK and Scandinavia). According to Global Trade Alert, EU has imposed more discriminatory measures than any other (166) - twice the amount of the runner-up, the Russian Federation. In number of affected tariff lines, EU is only surpassed by Vietnam, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Nigeria and Algeria. The Commission, does not only lack a front row chair in G20 - as for now, it lacks credibility.Another German truth sayer is Angela Merkel, who spoke against quantified BOP by saying it's not only a question of exchange rates but competitiveness too. She may be speaking in self-interest (Germany has not only a magnificent trade surplus, but an impressive factor productivity and competitiveness), but such frankness is needed in Seoul. It took the trading system more than a decade to get rid of the VERs. While some European member states have been cautious about German leadership (especially amongst those who call themselves federalists), they fail to remember that the success of Europe in monetary and economic area is founded on German initiatives and willingness to engage. The leadership on China issues are another area of new found German initiative, regardless of whether the German stance to play rough is right or wrong. Either way, it is in stark contrast to Commission's line that seem to suggest that China caused the global financial crisis.No wonder the world listens to Berlin and not Brussels in G20 for the European trade communication.

    Soource: ECIPE


    Link Read more
    Link The Group of Twenty (G-20)


  20. Consultation on the Green Paper on the Future of EU Budget Support
    2010-11-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    Budget support is an aid delivery instruments that is increasingly prominent in EU cooperation with third countries. It is the transfer of financial resources of an external financing agency to the National Treasury of a partner country, following the respect by the latter of agreed conditions for payment. It is seen as a means of fostering partner countries' ownership of development policies and reform processes, strengthening national accountability institutions and systems, and facilitating growth, poverty reduction and the achievement of development objectives.Over the period 2003-2009, the European Commission made budget support commitments totalling over € 13b n (about 25 % of all commitments in this period). About 56 % of commitments were made in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, 24 % in neighbourhood countries, 8 % in Asia, 6 % in Latin America and 5 % in South Africa. However, questions about the quality, value for money and impact of budget support are increasingly being raised by a range of stakeholders, including the European Court of Auditors, European and national Parliaments and civil society. These need to be answered as the Commission works to improve its approach to budget support. Key issues include i) political governance and the role of political dialogue; ii) the role of policy dialogue, role of conditionality, and links to performance and results; iii) domestic and mutual accountability; iv) programming of budget support and its coherence with other instruments; v) strengthening risk assessment and dealing with fraud and corruption; vi) budget support in situations of fragility; and vii) growth, fiscal policy and mobilisation of domestic revenues.The objective of this Green Paper is to identify opportunities and challenges, to raise specific questions on how these opportunities can be exploited and challenges addressed, and to collect views and evidence that will improve our approach to budget support. Bring your contribution online.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link The consultation document


  21. Africa-Europe: 80 countries, two continents in partnership
    2010-11-11

    Ahead of the Africa-EU Summit taking place from 29-30 November in Libya, the Commission presents today its proposals for a consolidation of the Africa-EU relations. Building on the existing Joint Africa-EU Strategy launched in 2007, the Commission details common challenges where progress has been made and which still have to be jointly addressed, such as the poverty eradication, peace and security, democracy and human rights, global governance and climate change. While the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will remain at the heart of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy, the Commission recognizes that there is a need to support Africa in strengthening its political and economic governance to allow better mobilization of the continent's own assets in a sustainable way. In that spirit, the Commission proposes to focus on initiatives that could help to trigger inclusive and sustainable growth in the long-term. These proposals will contribute to shaping the Action Plan on theimplementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy that will be adopted during the Summit.High Representative and Vice President of the Commission, Cathy Ashton said: "Strengthening and deepening EU-Africa relations is a key priority during my mandate. Africa is not just a beneficiary of the EU, but it is an important partner on a number of major regional and international issues of common interest such as regional security -- where we work together in the fight against piracy and cooperate in bringing peace and stability to the region -- and global governance such as climate change."Three years after the launch of a unique Partnership, it is time to consolidate EU-Africa relations, offering the prospect of a better more prosperous future for 1.5 billion people in 80 countries " said Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development. "In order to ensure long-term development , more attention will be paid to how development cooperation should help to create enabling conditions for inclusive and sustainable growth. This will help to alleviate poverty and to confirm Africa's political and economic dynamism on the global scene."The economic, environmental and food crisis, the emergence of new donors but also the new EU institutional framework requires adjustments in the EU-Africa partnership. Europe and Africa will build on the achievements of the Joint Strategy in order to increase its impact at global, continental and regional level. The specific added value of the Africa-EU Partnership is its political nature, its broad scope and capacity to jointly address global issues. Further cooperation will be pursued within the different thematic partnerships towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals; tackling threats to peace and security, including common work on emerging threats such as terrorism, piracy or various forms of trafficking; promoting governance, democracy, rule of law and Human rights; strengthening the legitimacy and efficiency of multilateral institutions: and combating climate change and environmental degradation. Given the scale of the challenges facing the two continents, the Commission recognizes that the EU-Africa Partnership needs to evolve further . It proposes to focus development cooperation in support of inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa. Cooperation in the coming decade should focus on high-impact activities that can leverage investments with the aim of realising the huge potential of our partnership.Inclusive growth relates to reduction of poverty and inequalities. Development cooperation should be particularly focused on ensuring a healthy and well educated population, better provision of services and infrastructures, skills, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as issues such as migration. The objective is to work together in partnership to put in place a conducive environment to foster investment, trade, and jobs creation.Sustainable growth relates to the development of efficient, green and competitive economies. Africa has a vast untapped renewable energy potential, ranging from hydro, to solar, wind, geothermal and biomass which could be used to ensure millions of people have access to electricity. Sustainable growth also includes cooperation on strengthening regional integration and trade in Africa; supporting the sustainable management of raw materials, shifting support to agriculture towards small-scale farmers producing in an environmentally-friendly way; and implementing joint programmes to provide clean energy to all citizens.

     Source:European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link DG Development
    Link The third Africa-EU Summit


  22. European Commission debate to change gears in the fight against poverty
    2010-11-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The European Commission launches on November 10 a public consultation on the future of EU Development policy. Faced with the triple challenge of economic, food and environmental crises, but also the generally encouraging economic performance of Developing countries, the Commission wishes to collect views on how the EU can best support developing countries to speed up their progress towards the Millennium Development Goals and beyond. Building on previous achievements, the Commission proposes four main areas for debate, focusing on the impact of EU aid, the facilitation of more inclusive growth, the promotion of sustainable development, and durable results in agriculture and food security. Following the public consultation open to EU and partner countries, the Commission will table a Communication on a Modernised EU Development policy in 2011.“EU's aid must help provide a decent living for all, and give people a chance to build their future. EU citizens are still committed to support the poorest countries, and they expect concrete results. I want to address these expectations by making sure that the EU’s assistance has a high and lasting impact on the ground", said EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs. "Our policy has to address the root causes of poverty and act as a catalyst to create conditions for inclusive growth in our partner countries. The mandate I received is to work for poverty reduction and better coordination of EU aid, which represents more than 50% of global aid. I am convinced that with a modern policy and the adequate instruments, the EU will change gears and support the take off of developing countries on the long run. ”The Green Paper seeks to launch a debate on how best to adapt EU development policy to the needs of developing countries and to the added value of EU action. The Commission recognizes that differentiated and flexible approaches will have to be followed. However, it raises questions around four common objectives to be pursued collaboratively by the EU and its Member States:•How to ensure high impact of EU development policy , so that every euro spent provides the best value added and value for money, the best leverage and the best legacy of opportunities for generations to come. European aid must focus on areas where a clear added value can be shown. This starts by targeting four fundamental requirements: human development, including health and education, and security as preconditions for any country's development; growth and social inclusiveness for any long lasting engagement. This also covers support for good governance, coordination of aid and coherence between policies. •How to facilitate more, and more inclusive, growth in developing countries, as a means of reducing poverty. Aid alone won't be sufficient for supporting countries' capacity to achieve poverty reduction, and growth can have a multiplier effect through employment creation and social protection. The question arises whether the EU should consider new Joint Strategies for Inclusive Growth in partnership with the individual or regional groupings of developing countries, also involving private-sector stakeholders. These strategies could cover such key issues as ensuring legal and regulatory framework, access to credit or decent work. This objective also relates to how best development policy could serve to reinforce regional integration and ensure a positive integration of developing countries in the global trade. •How to promote sustainable development as a driver for progress: development based on the green economy must not be seen only as a burden, but in reality it is a huge driver for opportunities. The Green paper reflects on how to ensure that sustainable development is at the core of both our development and climate change policies to guarantee that action to combat climate change also improves the growth potential of the world's poorest citizens. The Commission also raises the issue of access to energy, which constitutes a pre-requisite to meet most MDGs: there can not be functioning hospitals, schools or agricultural production without energy. It notes that Africa has a vast untapped renewable energy potential, which could be used to ensure millions of people access to electricity. It also discusses the appropriate use of combined climate, biodiversity and development funds, coming from grants and loans or blending of both. •How to achieve durable results in the area of agriculture and food security. Development and food security go hand in hand; experience demonstrates that agricultural reform and the capacity to feed a country's population is a precondition for wider development and poverty reduction. The Green paper proposes to make agriculture and food security a test case for the EU's capacity to deliver high impact cooperation and promote inclusive and green growth by concentrating its efforts on ensuring that where assistance is granted, the whole chain of production is taken into consideration.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link http://ec.Commissioner Andris Piebalgs
    Link the Millennium Development Goals


  23. Ahead of Cancún climate talks: MEPs support UN forests programme
    2010-11-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The importance of forests in combating climate change is crucial as trees are absorbing carbon dioxide being emitted by human activities. What is more, deforestation and forest degradation account for a quarter of emissions. Forestry is one area where there are hopes of real progress at the forthcoming UN climate conference in Cancún, Mexico. Parliament's Environment Committee recognised this recently when they backed a resolution calling for more action in this area. When forests are damaged or cleared the burned or decaying wood releases stored carbon as CO2. Worldwide deforestation and forest degradation (e.g. through agricultural expansion) causes 20% of annual greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than the entire global transportation sector and second only to the energy sector.The deputy chair of the Parliament's delegation to the UN climate change conference in Cancún is German MEP Karl-Heinz Florenz (EPP). He told us that "the European energy sector emits about 4.1 billion tons of CO2 per year, while deforestation, illegal logging, burning off of the rain forests in Brazil, Indonesia and other countries cause about 6 billion tons of CO2 annually. It doesn't mean that we don't have to do anything, on the contrary. It makes clear our common responsibility".
    A way to reduce the deforestation: the UN initiative REDD+ Behind the complicated name "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)" stands the simple idea to create a financial stimulation for developing countries to avoid deforestation and in this way to reduce emissions. This idea differs from previous attempts to preserve the forest, because it links the financial incentives directly with the carbon stored in forests. The carbon stored in the forest should be estimated and "measured". For the respective quantity of avoided deforestation the countries should get "credits". These credits could be sold in an international carbon market, or there could be financial compensations. The updated “REDD+” goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.MEPs from the Environment Committee in their motion for a resolution adopted in October called on the EU to support REDD+. The motion for resolution (which is on many climate issues)  sets out the Committee's position ahead of UN climate talks in Cancún, Mexico (29 November - 10 December). The plenary will debate preparations for Cancún during the November session in Strasbourg (24 November).The forestry issue is one of the topics where there are hopes of real progress in Cancun. "An agreement related to deforestation must be the focus of our efforts. There are already experts who speak of Cancun as a "REDD-COP". There is still a lot of work ahead of us, especially with respect to accounting and financing, but I'm optimistic" Karl-Heinz Florenz told us.

     Source: European Parliament

     


    Link Read more
    Link The UN-REDD Programme


  24. Commission Launches Carbon Capture development programme
    2010-11-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The European Commission  published on November 9 a 'call to tender' for development of a carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration programme. CCS has the potential to play a key role in reducing the emission into the atmosphere of CO2 from power plants and major industrial installations.  But the technology is at present regarded as prohibitively expensive.In March 2007 the European Council agreed that up to 12 CCS commercial demonstration projects should be built by 2015 to develop the technology and bring down its cost.   However, it was not until December 2008 that the Council agreed a funding mechanism that is based on the sale of 'surplus' carbon allowances from the EU emissions trading scheme.  It has taken the Commission until now to determine exactly how the projects will be selected and the best use made of the funds available.Chris Davies (UK, LibDem), is the European Parliament's rapporteur on CCS and first proposed the idea of using the carbon allowances as a funding mechanism.  Today he said:"Fossil fuels are likely to remain the world's principal source of energy throughout the 21st century, and CCS is the only way of preventing them from being the major contributor to the problem of global warming.""It has taken a long time to get to this point, but the programme of demonstration plants that has now been launched will give leadership to Europe in the development of CCS technology."  

    Source: ALDE

     


    Link Read more
    Link ALDE


  25. G20 Seoul: collaboration for global economic stability
    2010-11-11

    On the eve of this week’s G20 meeting in Seoul (11-12 November), countries continue to engage in a currency race to the bottom aiming at a higher share of diminishing export markets. This ‘competitive devaluation’ puts the well-being of people in developed and developing countries, already struggling due to the financial, food and energy crises, further at risk. In a paper issued ahead of the meeting, CIDSE welcomes the fact that the G20 will look specifically at development issues. The international alliance of Catholic development agencies urges G20 governments to think innovatively, support the regulation of money and business operating in developing countries and not forget the small scale sector.“This is no time for currency wars. It is time for the G20 to think out of the box and support reforms that support global economic stability and are conducive to the trade, finance and investment prospects of developing countries,” said Aldo Caliari of Centre of Concern CIDSE’s US member.“An orderly transition to a renewed international monetary system including a revamped system of Special Drawing Rights, for example, would benefit all including the US in the long run.” Special Drawing Rights represent IMF-issued assets which countries can exchange for a hard currency in times of need.“In favour of economic stability and to address the needs of developing countries, the G20 also needs to adopt a Financial Transactions Tax, take effective action to end bank secrecy and tax havens, agree on far-reaching reform of the International Financial Institutions and create an international debt workout mechanism which is independent and sovereign,” said Mathilde Dupré of CCFD-Terre Solidaire, CIDSE’s member in France.In Toronto, the G20 committed to make sure that its overall recovery plan matches the interests of low-income countries. CIDSE welcomes this commitment as well as the creation of the G20 working group on development. Their discussion though has inevitably turned into one of leveraging foreign direct investment and private sector activity in developing countries. CIDSE points out that such investment and the private sector would far better contribute to countries’ prosperity if they were effectively regulated.CIDSE calls for the needs of the small scale sector to be attended to within the G20 development agenda. Small-scale agriculture and micro-businesses owned by poor women and men first of all enable people to live a decent life out of poverty. At a larger level they help to diversify and strengthen economies not only by broadening the basket of goods and services that contribute to the country’s economic wealth, but also by boosting local and regional markets.“The G20 must recognise that investment in infrastructure should not only focus on large-scale and export infrastructure,” said Christina Weller of CAFOD, CIDSE’s member in England and Wales. “Building rural roads to enable farmers to reach local markets is equally important.”

    Source: CIDSE

     


    Link Read more
    Link CIDSE
    Link The Group of Twenty (G-20)


  26. The SFP programme
    2010-11-11
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    The SFP programme is entering its last two months of activity. It will close completely on 30 November 2010. Over the last two years it will have issued calls for tenders for around €7.8 million of equipment destined for inspection services in 42 ACP/OCT countries and laboratories in 20 ACP countries. The total number of equipment recipient countries is 44. This equipment is now on its way to the countries concerned. On the services side (technical assistance, training, studies, manuals/guides), more than 200 missions will have been completed over this same period. While these are quite significant results, there nevertheless remain many activities that merit follow up and new developments. To this end, The SFP programme is now establishing anupdated status for most of the countries concerned and, following the recommendations resulting from these analyses, will be defining realistic needs with the project partners that are in a position to ensure follow-up. In cases where no existing project is of a nature to give rise to suggestions for follow up or developments, new projects will be proposed. The subjects of this possible follow-up are varied and can involve matters such as the reduction of hydrocarbons during fish smoking, improved exploitation of certain resources where current poor conservation practices result in extensive waste, rationalisation of the document databases of the sanitary Competent Authorities, both upstream (data from decentralised sites) and downstream (certificates for export to the EU market), and energy rationalisation for energy-hungry cooling equipment for industry, etc. The programme website contains the the missions reports and other reference documents. These are an important source of technical information for beneficiaries, as well as for experts following up or monitoring the efforts made. For this reason the SFP will try to maintain the website after 30 November. The potential partner projects will be primarily mregional but also those based in Brussels, such as DG SANCO’s TR@CES and BTSF projects, and the EDES or FISH 2 projects managed by the ACP Secretariat.

    Source: SFP Programme


    Link Read more
    Link The Secretariat of the ACP States
    Link EUROPEAID


  27. EU sets assertive trade policy agenda for next five years
    2010-11-10

    The European Commission today laid out its blueprint for an EU trade policy to help revitalise Europe’s economy. In its discussion paper "Trade, Growth and World Affairs", the Commission analyses how trade is an engine for economic growth and job creation. It proposes a strategy to reduce trade barriers, to open global markets and to get a fair deal for European businesses. The overarching aim is to take a more assertive approach to ensure the benefits of trade reach European citizens."Trade is working for Europe's economic recovery by ensuring growth and jobs", said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "A renewed trade strategy will open markets and connect Europe to the main sources and regions of global growth. My aim is to ensure that European business gets a fair deal and that our rights are respected so that all of us can enjoy the benefits of trade."The paper sets out the triple benefit of trade for Europe: stronger economic growth, more jobs and increased consumer choice at lower prices. The Commission plans to use trade policy to help exit the current crisis and to create the right environment for a strong EU economy. Specifically, the Commission proposes:to complete its ambitious negotiating agenda at the WTO and with major trading partners such as India and Mercosur. Completing this agenda would increase European GDP by more than one percent per year;to deepen trade relations with other strategic partners, such as the US, China, Russia and Japan, where the main focus will be on tackling non-tariff barriers to trade;to help European businesses access global markets by setting up a mechanism to redress the balance between open markets in the EU (for example in public procurement) and more closed markets with our trading partners;to start negotiating comprehensive investment provisions with some of our key trading partners;to make sure trade is fair, and our rights are properly enforced, translating promise on paper into concrete benefits;to ensure trade remains inclusive so that the benefits go to the many, not the few. We will spell out how trade can continue to support development as we set up a new framework of rules for trade preferences for developing countries.These priorities mirror the concerns of people across the EU. A Eurobarometer survey on international trade, also released today, shows that two thirds of European citizens feel that the EU has benefited from international trade. A majority is confident that European products and services can compete successfully in the global market.  The discussion paper is accompanied by two more documents. A report on "Progress achieved on the Global Europe strategy 2006-2010" reviews progress made over the last five years in achieving further trade opening between the EU and its trading partners. A working paper "Trade as a driver of prosperity" shows the contribution that sustainable, smart and inclusive trade can make to growth and job creation, and examines the most important remaining barriers to trade in goods, services and investment. A public consultation on EU trade policy helped to identify the priorities of a wide group of stakeholders and delivered important contributions to the Commission's new strategy. The Eurobarometer survey was conducted by interviews with 26,635 EU citizens in the 27 EU States between 26th August and 16th September 2010.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Dg Trade


  28. EU states told GM crop plans may breach trade rules
    2010-11-10

    The European Commission made legal proposals in July to let governments to make their own decisions on the controversial crops, in a bid to break a longstanding EU deadlock on new GM product approvals.But a new opinion from the EU Council of Ministers' legal service could deal a fatal blow to the plans, after several EU governments already expressed fears that the draft law risks breaching World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules."Everything to do with WTO compatibility in the legal opinion is not positive at all," one EU source told Reuters.A key concern raised by the legal experts is how governments would justify a cultivation ban after the Commission had ruled out environmental or health grounds for prohibitions."Economic arguments cannot be relied upon ... so the obvious remaining candidate would therefore be ethical reasons," the opinion stated, according to an EU official.But ethical arguments are unlikely to be accepted by the WTO or the European courts as grounds for a ban, as livestock farmers in most EU countries already feed animals with imported GM products, thus undermining the argument, the opinion added.As a result, national cultivation bans based on ethical criteria risk being either rejected by the European Courts or challenged in the WTO, the experts concluded.The legal opinion will be presented to EU government experts in Brussels on Thursday, in a meeting that could confirm majority opposition to the plans among the bloc's 27 member states.France, Italy and Spain have all expressed doubts over the Commission's plans and want decisions on GM cultivation to continue to be taken collectively at EU level.

    Source: checkbiotech.org

     


    Link Read more
    Link the World Trade Organization (WTO)


  29. UK Spending Plans Protect Development Spending
    2010-11-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The UK coalition government announced its spending plans for the next four financial years (to 2014-15). These spending plans are subject to scrutiny and approval by Parliament, though the tradition in Britain is that the spending plans are usually approved without significant amendment. Overall, this spending review is a seismic political event, which will be talked about for many years to come. It will reduce planned spending by £81 billion ($130 billion) a year, and remove about half a million public sector workers from the government payroll. In that context, the coalition government’s decision to increase international development spending is remarkable. In cash terms, Britain’s official development assistance (ODA) will increase by 50% over the four years to 2014. Most of this will continue, as now, to be channelled through the UK Department for International Development (DFID), whose budget will increase by 47% in cash terms (37% after taking account of inflation).
    The increase will occur mainly in 2013, when British aid will increase by a third from £9.1bn to £12.0 bn. To get a sense of the political priority that development has been given in this spending review, consider that the National Health Service will increase by just 1.3% in real terms over the same four years; and many government departments face reductions of 20% to 30%.

    Source: Center for Global Development


    Link Read more
    Link DFID


  30. Can Trade Policy Improve Human Rights ?
    2010-11-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    On 13 October 2010 the Conference 'Can Trade Policy Improve Human Rights' was organized by the Socialists&Democrats in the European Parliament in Brussels. Presentations were made by representatives from the WTO, ILO, George Washington University, Avocats sans Frontiéres France. EU Commissioner De Gucht also adressed the audience, explaining his pro free trade policy.  In his conclusions the President of the S&G Group, Mr. Martin Schultz, said that he is not supporting the opinion of Members in the European Parliament who say 'First Trade and than Human Rights'. He also does not support views that say 'no human rights no trade'. There has to be a good balance.  Another concern is that the European Parliament does not have the tools (capacity) yet for its new co-decision competency and responsability with regard to the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) Negotiations, provided for in the Lisbon Treaty. That is why they are organizing these conferences and hearings, to listen to the opinions of the experts and to learn.  So it is a kind of capacity building of the European Parliament and its members. But will it be efficient to deal with these complex global trade issues? Now the focus is on human rights and social and environmental rights and standards of the FTAs, but there are other trade policy issues to address. Recommendations were made to establish a binding complaint management system for human rights violations in FTAs. Dispute settlement should be applied to all chapters, also to the sustainable chapter, which is not the case in the FTA Korea (and in the CF-EC-EPA and probably other FTAs). The conclusion is that Trade Policy can improve the economic development of a country, but economic growth does not mean that human rights, labour rights and social and environmental rights are improved. In some countries they are (for example Mauritius), but in many countries in the South social-, environmental and labour conditions are worsened because of FTAs (longer working hours, no job security, no healthy circumstances, no more access to cheap medicines etc.).   That has also been said by Asian and European representatives during the 8th ASIA-Europe's People's Forum, organised from 2 - 5 October 2010 in Brussels, parallel to the 8th Asia-Europe ASEM Summit in Brussels.

    Source: Joyce van Genderen-NAAR, Lawyer
    Advisor ACP Civil Society Forum


    Link Read more
    Link 8th Asia-Europe ASEM Summit


  31. EC pushes forward global collaboration on Earth Observation
    2010-11-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Rural development

    Vice-President Tajani will co-chair the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Ministerial Summit in Beijing. This major international summit will review progress in the building of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). GEOSS will provide comprehensive and coordinated earth observations from thousands of instruments worldwide and transform the data they collect into vital information for society. The aim is to address priorities in the areas of natural and human-induced disasters, agriculture and desertification, human health and well-being, energy resources, climate variability and change, water cycle, weather, ecosystems and biodiversity. Three countries (China, South Africa and the United States) co-chair the Summit alongside the European Commission.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link  GEOSS Implementation Plan


  32. 10 successful years for GÉANT EU-funded high speed research network
    2010-11-08
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Commission is marking the tenth anniversary of GÉANT, the EU-funded high-speed research network. GÉANT has made it possible for scientists both across Europe and globally to work together in real time on ground-breaking research. It gives 40 million researchers in 40 European countries access to the processing power essential to share massive volumes of data needed to study for example the smallest known particles with the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland or to tackle global challenges like finding a cure for epilepsy or setting up early warning systems for typhoons. With fast evolving technology, services and capacity, GÉANT remains the most advanced research network in the world. The Commission, as part of the Digital Agenda for Europe is committed to supporting and developing information and communications technology (ICT)-based infrastructures like GÉANT so that vast amounts of digital information can be harnessed to benefit both our economies and society as a whole.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link GÉANT
    Link Digital Agenda for Europe



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