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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 261]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 261]
Send date: 2011-02-25 17:53:32
Issue #: 77
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. 3rd European Forum on Sustainable Development
  2. Main ACP-EU events in the week 28/2 to 6/3/2011
  3. Our video guest: Jethro Greene, CaFAN
  4. Commissioner Barnier at the International Agriculture Fair in Paris
  5. EU development policy - less talk, more action?
  6. EU urged to 'do more' to tackle rising food prices
  7. Launch of a European project promoting Fair Trade cotton
  8. New markets to aid Mauritius textile sector growth
  9. Development ministers discuss future development policy, Sahel strategy
  10. Council finalizes its first reading on new food labelling rules
  11. EU experts approve trace of GM in feed imports
  12. Commission launches second phase of Business Climate programme
  13. Mohamed Ibn Chambas presses EEAS to create ACP desk
  14. Bioethanol could be answer to EU's environmental, economic problems
  15. EU aid chief: merger with foreign policy 'over my dead body'
  16. EU finalises South African trade and development deal
  17. Norwegian biofuel project in Ghana has potential but may cause trouble
  18. Report by MEP Sven Giegold from World Social Forum
  19. Civil Society ensuring development stays on EPA agenda
  20. "Poor countries have already given enough in Doha round"
  21. Agricultural ministers discuss rural development
  22. Wind and gas lobbyists scuffle over green claims
  23. Effectiveness of EC's management of General Budget Support in ACP states
  24. EU Development Assistance for Basic Education in Sub-Saharan Africa


  1. 3rd European Forum on Sustainable Development
    2011-02-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Environment, Food Security, Archive

    The 3rd European Forum on Sustainable Development  will be held in Palencia, Spain from  29th March-1st April 2011. This forum is an initiative by the European Commission and EU Presidency with the support of France, Germany, Ireland, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development and CTA. Around 500 experts in rural development form all around the world will be attending. Areas in agricultural cooperation which will be discussed include cover governance, food security and social protection, land issues, Ecologically efficient agricultural systems for smallholder farmers, the role of the private sector and the civil society in rural development, rural financing...
    In the framework of the Forum,  CTA is preparing a side-event under the theme “ICTs Mobilizing Farmers” which will highlight the importance and potential of ICTs in rural communities and agricultural development, presenting testimonials of farmers, ICTs specialists and researchers. The aim is to exemplify the positive contribution of technology in the development of small agricultural clusters; increasing productivity, bringing up-to-date market information and even allowing easier access to finances.

    If you wish to assist to the Forum and event, please contact lopes@cta.int




  2. Main ACP-EU events in the week 28/2 to 6/3/2011
    2011-02-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Regional Fisheries, Food Security, Archive

    Council of Ministers
    -28 February: Transports, telecommunications and energy council
    -3 March: Environment Council
    European Parliament
    -28 February: Environment Committee, Agriculture Committee
    -2 March: Conference by GUE: The CAP towards 2020
    -3 March: Committees on Development, International Trade
    European Commission

    2-4 March: EU-Pacific Islands Climate Change Conference
    ACP Group of States

    2 March: Special meeting of the Committee of Ambassadors
    3 March: ACP meeting with UN High Representatives

    You can also follow our new Facebook group CTABrussels to receive up-to-date information on EU-ACP events.


    Link European Parliament
    Link Council of Ministers
    Link ACP Group of States


  3. Our video guest: Jethro Greene, CaFAN
    2011-02-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Environment, Food Security

    Our guest of the week is Jethro Greene, Chief Coordinator of the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN). We spoke to him in the margin of a panel debate on "Geopolitics of Food" that the CTA organized in cooperation with DG DEVCO, Concord and the ACP Secretariat on February 2nd in Brussels.


    Link Watch the video
    Link Caribbean Farmers Network
    Link EU-Caribbean Partnership


  4. Commissioner Barnier at the International Agriculture Fair in Paris
    2011-02-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Food Security

    Visiting the international agriculture fair in Paris, the commissioner talked about the revision of the financial market instruments directive, to be proposed in Brussels in June. Like the French government, Barnier said he was very concerned about the volatility of commodity prices. In his eyes, three factors are responsible for it: growing agricultural demand, monetary fluctuations and speculation. The commissioner insisted that “speculation is not the prime reason for price volatility”. Nonetheless, Barnier deplored the fact that food commodities are now becoming “an object of speculation like other products”. He said that the markets need more transparency: “I want us to shed more light on the rules in the markets, and on those people who don’t like the light.” To achieve this, he suggested the establishment of position limits in those markets concerned with food commodities.

    Source: Euractiv.fr


    Link Read more
    Link Agricultural Fair
    Link Commissioner Barnier


  5. EU development policy - less talk, more action?
    2011-02-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The EU's member states need to take a critical look at their own policy objectives and implementation strategies, and how these fit within a broader European context. It is easy to criticize the European Union (EU). Its detractors disparage it for being too bureaucratic, not transparent, too expensive, too distant from European citizens and not very democratic. Yet, it appears that EU development policy-making is more open to public scrutiny and evidence-based guidance than the development policy of many EU member states. January 2011 brought to an end three major public consultation processes – all initiated by the European Commission – on the funding of EU external action after 2013, and on Green Papers on the future of EU development policy and the future of EU budget support. The consultations called for views and evidence from member state ministries, think tanks, universities, development agencies, non-governmental organizations and the general public, including in developing countries, as to how to improve the overall focus, impact and quality of the EU's development policy package. The outcomes of the consultations are intended to feed into the upcoming negotiations over the EU's budget for 2014-2020 and a proposal from the Commission to be tabled in the summer on how to modernize EU development policy. There is certainly room for improvement in the orientation and implementation of the Commission's development policy. But the EU as a whole cannot improve its effectiveness as a development actor without member states taking a critical look at their own policy objectives and implementation strategies, and how these fit within a broader European development agenda.

    Source: DW World


    Link Read more
    Link Devex interview with Justin Kilcullen, Concord
    Link European Commission Green Paper


  6. EU urged to 'do more' to tackle rising food prices
    2011-02-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Food Security

    Parliament's plenary has been told the EU can become a "world leader" in tackling rising food prices. According to a recent report by the World Bank, food prices are at dangerous levels and have pushed 44 million more people into poverty since June. The rapid increase is hitting the poor particularly hard and the worldwide problem is causing inflationary pressures across the developing world, it said. Addressing MEPs in Strasbourg, Hungary's foreign affairs minister Janos Martonyi urged the EU and its member states to play a "leading role" in combating price increases. "It has a special mission and a responsibility to deal with this issue." He was taking part in a 90-minute debate on last week with members on what many see as a rapidly-growing food "crisis." He said, "It is a complex situation, one that is deep-seated and structural. "But one of the causes is what can only be described as unsustainable bio-fuel production. That is one reason why the EU is stepping up 'second generation' of bio-fuel production." Further comment came from Dacian Ciolos, the European agriculture and rural development commissioner, who said that rising food prices had caused "social unrest and political instability" in various parts of the world. "With food prices likely to continue to rise the situation is not going to improve." He added, "Clearly, more needs to be done to address this issue, not least at EU level." In its report, World Bank Group president Robert Zoellick said global food prices are rising to "dangerous levels and threaten tens of millions of poor people around the world." Citing food riots in 2008, he said the rising prices are not "the primary cause" for current political instability in the Middle East but have been "an aggravating factor that could become more serious."

    Source: theparliament.com


    Link Read more
    Link World Bank Report
    Link UN Rapporteur on Right to Food


  7. Launch of a European project promoting Fair Trade cotton
    2011-02-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Commission has just approved funding for a project called “Promotion of Fair Trade Cotton in Europe”. The partners involved are the French Platform for Fair Trade (Plate-Forme pour le Commerce Equitable), Fairtrade Mark Ireland, the Fairtrade Foundation and People and Planet (a British student association). The 3-year international project (2011-2013) has the objectives to raise public awareness about the challenges of Fair Trade cotton in France, Ireland and Great Britain and to constitute a lobby regarding decisions made by purchasers in local authorities and universities. On a European level, the objective is to ensure coherence in public procurement legislation by supporting the Fair Trade Advocacy Office’s work in Brussels. In France for example, the main project activities will take place through the « Fair Trade Territories » campaign (the French equivalent of « Fair Trade Towns »). This project has been encouraging local authorities since 2009 to develop Fair Trade procurement policies, to support Fair Trade actors and to promote this sector. Among other activities, the campaign will participate in fairs targeting local authorities; it will constitute a database for Fair Trade public procurement; and it will offer training for public purchasers on Fair Trade cotton specificities.

    Source: Commerce Equitable


    Link Read more
    Link Fair Trademark Ireland
    Link People & Planet


  8. New markets to aid Mauritius textile sector growth
    2011-02-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The Mauritius textile sector, which supplies top European chains, is seen expanding by 2 percent in 2011 as it taps new markets outside the sluggish Eurozone, a minister said last week. Europe’s fragile economic recovery after the global downturn has hampered the rebound of Mauritius’ export sector, including textiles. Two stimulus packages since 2008 have targeted the one-time cornerstone of the economy. The textile industry contributes about 6.5 percent of Mauritius’s gross domestic product, but the sector employs some 11 percent of the Indian Ocean island’s workforce. The textile sector expanded by a marginal 0.7 percent last year after shrinking 4 percent in 2009. Trade and Industry Minister Showkutally Soodhun told Reuters he expected export revenues to climb to around 26.25 billion rupees this year. Mauritius supplies European household names such as Next and Inditex’s Zara.

    Source: South African Trade Law Centre


    Link Read more
    Link Mauritius ministry of trade
    Link EU Delegation to Mauritius


  9. Development ministers discuss future development policy, Sahel strategy
    2011-02-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    At the informal meeting member states discussed the European Commission’s green paper outlining the future trends of European development policy. The main idea is to coordinate the European Union’s support policies with the goals of sustainable growth by putting economic growth in the service of acceptance and reducing poverty. […] Development ministers also discussed an EU strategy for the Sahel region. Sahel is one of the poorest regions in the world where abject poverty is compounded by a fast population growth, food shortage is an everyday issue and governments are transient. Society is riddled with internal conflicts, Islam radicalism poses a high risk, and security threats related to bootlegging and terrorism are extremely high. The European Union is now finalizing a comprehensive strategy to address the region’s security and development challenges. In this quest, creating stable governance, resolving internal conflicts, encouraging closer cooperation between the regions and fighting against radicalism are of equal importance. The strategy also aims to enhance the region’s security capabilities, protect the rule of law and to support economic development.


    Link Read more
    Link EU: Supporting regional growth
    Link European Commission Green Paper


  10. Council finalizes its first reading on new food labelling rules
    2011-02-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    The Council of the European Union held on 21st February 2011 adopted its first-reading-position on a draft regulation on food information to consumers (17602/10 + 17602/10 ADD 1 + 17602/10 ADD 1 COR 1 + 5964/11 + 5964/11 ADD 1). This new piece of legislation aims to ensure that food labels carry essential information in a clear and legible way, thereby enabling consumers to make balanced and healthier dietary choices. One of the key elements of the Council's position is the mandatory nature of the nutrition declaration: the labelling of the energy value and of the quantities of fat, saturates, carbohydrates, protein, sugars and salt would become compulsory.

    Source: Agriculture Council


    Link Read more
    Link EP opinion on food labelling
    Link European Food Safety Authority


  11. EU experts approve trace of GM in feed imports
    2011-02-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Environment, Food Security

    An EU committee voted on 22 February to allow traces of unapproved genetically modified (GM) material in animal feed imports, the European Commission said, in a bid to secure grain supplies to the import-dependent bloc. EU governments and lawmakers now have three months to either approve or reject the committee's decision, before the rules can be adopted by the EU executive as law. "In all likelihood the measure will be adopted by member states and EU parliamentarians, even if we expect a lively debate in the European Parliament," one EU diplomat involved in the negotiations said. The Commission, industry and exporting countries argue the 0.1% threshold is needed to avoid a repeat of supply disruptions in 2009, when US soy shipments to Europe were blocked after tiny quantities of unapproved GM material were found in some cargoes.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: GMO policy
    Link European Food Safety Authority


  12. Commission launches second phase of Business Climate programme
    2011-02-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Archive

    The European Commission has launched the second phase of its Business Climate (BizClim II) programme. The facility, which will continue the work of Phase I of the programme, aims to address the needs of ACP institutions at the macro level on regulatory issues affecting private companies.

    The programme will also seek to:

    • Promote public-private dialogue providing assistance to governments and representatives of the business community.
    • Empower key stakeholders in undertaking business environment reforms and creating more favourable business and investment conditions.
    • Assist Regional Economic Communities in the design of programmes geared towards private sector development.
    • Stimulate the reflection and transfer of information among ACP partners through the organization of workshops and conferences on relevant topics.

    Detailed information on the programme can be found on the BizClim II website http://acpbusinessclimate.org/

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU Delegation to Jamaica
    Link DG Human Ressources


  13. Mohamed Ibn Chambas presses EEAS to create ACP desk
    2011-02-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    When two EU development arms merged in October 2010, the European Commission decided to retain the desk dealing with the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states in what became the EuropeAid Development and Cooperation Directorate-General. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, ACP secretary-general, welcomed this decision. In contrast, the European External Action Service, formally launched in December, has no unit dedicated for ACP, based on its provisional organizational chart. Chambas has been urging the new European diplomatic body to rectify what he sees as an oversight, stressing that it must not ignore Europe’s longstanding relationship with the developing country bloc.

    Read the full interview.

    Source: Devex


    Link Read more
    Link First part of the interview
    Link ACP Group of States


  14. Bioethanol could be answer to EU's environmental, economic problems
    2011-02-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Archive

    Legislative uncertainty in the energy market is undermining the investment potential and a potentially low-carbon future when it comes to the development of bioethanol, the industry is claiming. The industry, which bills itself as being both capable of producing food and fuel, has had a hard time distinguishing itself from the biofuels industry, which has come under fire for being, unlike its original claim, detrimental to the environment, not to mention its contribution to the argument that it decreases land space for food production, and that the industry is blighted with unscrupulous practitioners, who strip the earth of its natural, carbon-absorbing resources. “The challenge is massive”, admits Gareth Jones, commercial director of Vireol, the UK's leading representative of the bioethanol industry, of the task ahead; the twin challenge of persuading European political and business leaders that their industry is not in conflict with environmental concerns, and that it deserves some form of support. Europe, and the UK in particular, should be leading the advancement of the bioethanol industry, says Jones, but it has a hard time distinguishing itself right now from conventional biofuels (Vireol bills itself as representing “good biofuels”), which have been accused of destroying palm crops and rainforests in Indonesia and Brazil. In contrast, wheat-based bioethanol will bio refine wheat, while at the same time produce sustainable fuel.

    Source: New Europe


    Link Read more
    Link EU documents on bioethanol
    Link European Biofuels Technology Platform


  15. EU aid chief: merger with foreign policy 'over my dead body'
    2011-02-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The EU's humanitarian aid chief has delivered a blistering attack on recent suggestions her dossier should fall under the purview of the bloc's external action service in the future, warning that the increased politicisation would do great harm to the policy. "Over my dead body," Bulgarian commissioner Kristalina Georgieva told an audience of alumni from the London School of Economic in Brussels on Thursday evening (17 February). "It would be a very grave mistake for Europe to do." Reports in recent weeks suggest some within the union are increasingly pushing for the merger, as part of the ongoing debate over the EU's next multi-annual financial framework (post 2013). Aid agencies and a number of MEPs have warned against the idea however, saying the independence of Europe's aid is one of its greatest assets.

    Source: EUObserver


    Link Read more
    Link Commissioner Georgieva's Blog
    Link London School of Economics


  16. EU finalises South African trade and development deal
    2011-02-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Parliament’s decision to support the European Union’s agreement with South Africa agreement is one which will have far-reaching positive consequences, according to Gay Mitchell MEP. “We agreed to support South Africa in economic and social terms. Notably, there will be an emphasis on ensuring development aid is used effectively.” The Dublin MEP is the Joint Coordinator for the EPP Group on the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and Joint Coordinator for the Development Committee. “It also aims to combat terrorism, money laundering and organised crime, the trade of weapons and mercenary activities. There will be a greater pursuit of justice in South Africa as a result of this deal and cooperation on migration. South Africa is also to have its health and education sectors bolstered with the help of the EU in a bid to develop a more sustainable economy.” The agreement also paves the way for more political dialogue in bilateral and regional talks. “The overall objective is to reduce poverty and inequality in South Africa, any progress in that regard is to be welcomed,” Mr Mitchell concluded.

    Source: Gay Mitchell, MEP


    Link Read more
    Link Text of the resolution
    Link EP Delegation in South Africa


  17. Norwegian biofuel project in Ghana has potential but may cause trouble
    2011-02-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Archive

    Three years ago, Patrick Barta in the Wall Street Journal called the jatropha "an ugly wild green shrub" and a "lowly forest plant." But he wasn't reporting on its lack of beauty or prestige within the world of botany. He was reporting on its potential as a future biodiesel star. "This plant will save humanity, I tell you," said horticulturist for India's Ministry of Railways O.P. Singh, according to the article. Someday, "every house will have jatropha!" The lowly jatropha -- a genus of some 175 succulent plants, shrubs and trees -- has been the focus of a Norwegian cultivation project on a massive tract of land in Ghana. "The ambitious plan is to eventually produce 20,000 barrels of oil per day, which would make [Scanfuel] Norway's second-largest oil producer, behind Statoil. Other international companies have permits to grow jatropha at a number of sites around Africa." "Unlike other biodiesel crops, jatropha can be grown almost anywhere -- including deserts, trash dumps, and rock piles," says Barta. "It doesn't need much water or fertilizer, and it isn't edible. That means environmentalists and policy makers don't have to worry about whether jatropha diverts resources away from crops that could be used to feed people." "In Ghana, where increasing amounts of jatropha are grown to produce biofuel for the European market, the foreign investors' lack of familiarity with local customs and systems of land rights have stoked tensions with the indigenous population," writes Rudolf ten Hoedt of the European Energy Review. "Some Western producers have fallen into the trap of making deals with irresponsible chiefs. Others try to do things right, but are taken advantage of by corrupt authorities or NGOs...Investors in agricultural land in Ghana are increasingly coming under fire. They're accused of exploitation and of driving local farmers out and are viewed by some as a risk to food security."

    Source: OpEd News


    Link Read more
    Link Dutch investors to explore biofuels in Mozambique
    Link European Commission delays biofuel actions


  18. Report by MEP Sven Giegold from World Social Forum
    2011-02-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness, Rural development, Environment

    Member of European Parliament Sven Giegold attended the Social Forum in Dakar. He made a report in English and in German. "Just like last year’s World Social Forum held in Belem (Brazil), the Forum in Dakar took place under the impression of the deep crisis of neoliberal globalization. Whereas the economy has recovered for some time already in some regions of the world, it started to do so recently in others. But all that cannot hide the existence of deep social, economic and ecological problems. The WSF provided a meeting point for a broad range of individuals originating in movements and civil society who hope to overcome neoliberal globalization: Either by establishing social and ecological regulations, for instance by implementing a “Green New Deal”, or by breaking with capitalism in general." You can read the rest of his report and the German version on his website.

    Source: European Green Party


    Link Read more
    Link Read the report
    Link World Social Forum


  19. Civil Society ensuring development stays on EPA agenda
    2011-02-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    In an unusual move, West and Central African civil society organisations have participated in the negotiations between their countries and the European Union on the economic partnership agreements (EPAs). The organisations stress developmental concerns while assisting under-resourced African governments with trade expertise. Civil society organisations (CSOs) have also taken to the streets to persuade governments not to sign interim EPAs, for example in Mali. […] The EPAs are comprehensive trade liberalisation agreements which have been under negotiation since 2003 between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to replace the preferential regime of the Cotonou agreement. The ostensible reason for the renegotiation of the trade regime between the EU and the ACP is its incompatibility with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The EPAs came under discussion at a roundtable at the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, which ran from Feb 6-11.

    Source: IPS News


    Link Read more
    Link WTO: Regional Trade Agreements
    Link Guardian: Audio slideshow from WSF


  20. "Poor countries have already given enough in Doha round"
    2011-02-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    South Africa has expressed sharp concern over concerted attempts by leading industrialised countries, particularly the U.S. and the European Union (EU), to extract onerous commitments from developing countries as a condition to concluding the stalled Doha Round trade negotiations. "We are deeply concerned over attempts to raise the level of ambition by leading industrialised countries in industrial goods and services that would call for a substantial payment from developing countries," South Africa’s trade and industry minister Dr Rob Davies told IPS.  At a time when many African countries are struggling to recover from the raging global economic crisis that has resulted in mass unemployment, it would be "unfair" to expect either South Africa or poorer countries to agree to onerous commitments to provide market access in industrial goods and services, he said. Over the last two weeks, members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) stepped up efforts to accelerate the Doha Round trade negotiations, which entered its 10th year. The Doha Round was supposed to have been concluded by Jan 1, 2005. But stark disagreement between industrialised countries and some developing countries, on one side, and a large majority of developing and least developed countries, on the other, over the level of commitment to reductions in egregious subsidies, high tariffs on farm products and tariffs on industrial products; and to market-opening for services put paid to an early agreement. Recently, former WTO director general Peter Sutherland, who was responsible for concluding the previous Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, issued a report calling on members to conclude the Doha Round this year, failing which the credibility of the global trading system will be irreparably damaged. "The emerging countries must provide substantial market access in industrial goods and services to conclude the Doha Round," he told IPS. Trade chiefs of the U.S. and the EU made similar comments at the World Economic Forum in Davos a fortnight ago. The U.S. and the EU made a strong pitch for "real" and "new" market access in industrial goods and services in emerging countries -- China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Argentina, among others -- to finalise the Doha Round of trade negotiations this year. During the Davos meeting, trade ministers reiterated their commitment to avail themselves of the "window of opportunity" to conclude the Doha negotiations this year. But there remained pointed differences on what ought to be the level of ambition and whether it is proper to demand a huge payment from developing countries to conclude the negotiations. Trade ministers of Brazil, India, China, and South Africa issued a common declaration in Davos maintaining that the final outcome in Doha trade negotiations must hinge on the principle of "reciprocity" that would require proportional commitments between developing countries and developed countries. The EU, for example, said there is "asymmetry" in what they are going to provide in agriculture and what they are going to receive in industrial goods and services as part of the Doha commitments. EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht told his counterparts in Davos that Brussels will need more market access from the emerging countries, regardless of what the mandate stipulated. Despite a clear mandate on cotton, which needs to be addressed "ambitiously," "expeditiously," and "specifically" according to July 2004 framework agreement and the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration of 2005, there is no progress because the U.S. wants to address this issue only after there is an agreement in all other areas. While the U.S. and the EU insisted on increasing the level of ambition by bridging the "gap" between members’ positions, the developing countries reminded members that the level of ambition will have to reflect paragraph 24 of the 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration which called for a proportional outcome between agriculture and industrial goods.

    Source: Terraviva Europa


    Link Read more
    Link Farm talks chair warns time is running out
    Link Judith Sargentini, MEP, in South Africa


  21. Agricultural ministers discuss rural development
    2011-02-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Food Security

    On 21 February 2011, the Agriculture Council held its third debate in Brussels, about the Commission’s report on the CAP’s future. The Ministers shared their experiences concerning the adoption of the directive on protection of laying hens. They also heard the Polish request to ease the ban on processed animal proteins feed. The main aim of the Agriculture Council’s meeting, was to discuss the planned reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Further to the Commission’s report, the Council held its third debate on the issue. The Hungarian Presidency seeks to make Agricultural Ministers adopt a final conclusions at their meeting in March. The Commission aims to develop its reform proposal for the CAP, in accordance with the Council’s position. The first two debates were held in December, and January. On the Hungarian Presidency’s proposal, the third debate focused on rural development. According to the Commission’s communication issued in November, this would be the third major objective of the CAP’s reform. According to the Hungarian Presidency, the CAP should promote an intelligent and sustainable inclusive economic development of rural areas. Whereas, developing rural areas, is important to train a new generation of producers. Therefore, the CAP should assist young people in taking over estates, and starting production. “Young farmers should be given a chance,” said Sándor Fazekas, Minister for Rural Development, at a press conference after the meeting of the council.

    Source: Hungarian Presidency


    Link Read more
    Link Farm ministers back origin labelling for all meat
    Link Council Conclusions


  22. Wind and gas lobbyists scuffle over green claims
    2011-02-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The head of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) has blown cold air on gas lobby claims that Europe could save €900 billion and still hit its 2050 greenhouse gas reduction targets if it built more gas plants fitted with controversial carbon capture and storage technology. "Anybody who claims that Europe could save billions by investing in energy technologies based on gas that nobody knows the future price of is either a clairvoyant or will inevitably be proven wrong by history," Christian Kjaer, the CEO of EWEA, told EurActiv. Gas companies have often championed what they say are the environmental benefits of gas. The latest assertions were made in an unpublished study by US management consultancy McKinsey, obtained by the Guardian newspaper. The report was compiled for the European Gas Advocacy Forum (EGAF), an umbrella group for companies including Centrica, ENI, E.On, Gazprom, GDF Suez, Shell and Statoil.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link EWEA
    Link Guardian: McKinsey report on gas


  23. Effectiveness of EC's management of General Budget Support in ACP states
    2011-02-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    Budget support is the European Commission’s preferred aid modality. Almost 50 per cent - or about €11 billion during the period 2008-2013 - of the 10th European Development Fund is planned to be disbursed in this manner. In practical terms budget support entails the transfer of large amounts of funds directly to the state budgets of selected partner countries. The delivery of aid through budget support has several potential advantages over the traditional project approach. Larger volumes of aid can be supplied in a more predictable manner. Since the funds support the national development strategies of partner countries, the latter tends to have more ownership. Moreover, this form of aid can be used to encourage improvement of public financial management and help increase accountability. Budget support can also facilitate and strengthen policy dialogue with recipient countries as well as improve coordination between donors. The European Court of Auditors has analysed whether the Commission’s management of general budget support in African, Latin American and Asian countries is effective. The overall conclusion is that the Commission has made considerable efforts to develop and improve its approach to budget support. However, there are still weaknesses in how it sets up and manages its programmes.

    Source: European Court of Auditors


    Link Read more
    Link Read the report
    Link Budget: European Development Funds


  24. EU Development Assistance for Basic Education in Sub-Saharan Africa
    2011-02-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    EU assistance achieved some of the expected improvements in basic education in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but less than intended, according to a special report published last week by the European Court of Auditors. Through the Education for All movement and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the EU and the international donor community at large have committed themselves to support developing countries to achieve a multitude of objectives, including ensuring primary education for all children, eliminating gender inequalities and improving education quality. The Court’s audit assessed whether EU development assistance in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia has helped achieve these three objectives and to what extent shortcomings in the European Commission’s management can explain the shortcomings in the results observed. The Court concludes that, overall, significant progress has been made, although only 45 % of the targets in the audited financing agreements were fully achieved. For the goal of ensuring primary education for all children (MDG 2), only some of the intended improvements were achieved and progress has in general been too slow to ensure that targets for 2015 will be met. Most of the countries examined have registered progress in enrolment since 2000 but completion of the full cycle of primary education remains an issue for all of them. For the objective of eliminating gender inequalities in education (part of MDG 3), the EU’s interventions contributed to enabling the beneficiary countries to achieve some of the intended improvements. But significant inequalities persist within particular regions and social groups. For the third priority goal, improving education quality, few of the intended improvements were achieved.

    Source: European Court of Auditors


    Link Read more
    Link UNICEF: Basic education
    Link UN: Millenium Development Goals



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