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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 274]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 274]
Send date: 2011-05-27 17:03:13
Issue #: 90
Content:
Bulletin CTA
1

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


Date : [DATE]
CTA Brussels Newsletter

 

Main events in the week
  1. Brussels Briefing on ACP nutrition security: the key role for agriculture
  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 30/05 to 03/06/2011
  3. Our video guest
  4. A new strategy to foster tuna processing industry
  5. Report on the effectiveness of EU contributions
  6. Pacific ACP countries and CROP agencies high performers under EDF
  7. Europe's largest annual environment conference
  8. AFD provides 4,1 billion FCFA to sub-regional projects in West Africa
  9. Fishing opportunities in EU waters in 2012
  10. Social and environmental standards in international trade agreements
  11. Caribbean Struggles to Make Complex Trade Deal with EU a Reality
  12. Consolidation of Interim EPA between EU and Ghana
  13. A credible, fair and effective EU migration policy: the way forward
  14. NGOs: EU ‘self interest’ inflates aid by over €5bn in 2010
  15. EU contributes to the Global Facility for disaster reduction and recovery
  16. Presidency: make water central to development policy
  17. Council authorises signature of cocoa trade agreement
  18. UK pledges carbon emission cuts of 50% by 2025
  19. Council debates EU draft budget for 2012
  20. Commissioner Ciolos highlights importance of development-friendly CAP
  21. Raw materials and commodity markets
  22. EIB board agrees 2011 lending target, climate action remains key priority
  23. Greenpeace calls for fairer fishing agreements
  24. NGOs receive Deauville Report on G8 health and food security commitment


  1. Brussels Briefing on ACP nutrition security: the key role for agriculture
    2011-05-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Food Security

    The 23rd Briefing will be held on 15th June 2011 and focus on Nutrition and Agriculture. It will  discuss the key challenges and opportunities for achieving nutrition security, especially in the context of ACP countries, and the policies and actions to improve the linkages between agriculture and nutrition in future. Besides the European Commission (DG DEVCO), the ACP Secretariat and Concord, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington will join us as co-organiser. You can view recordings of the discussions, interviews, reports of previous meetings at http://brusselsbriefings.net. You can also register online and follow the preparation of the next Briefing on the same website. Please direct questions and journalist enquiries to the address brussels.briefings[at]cta.inThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it t.


    Link Read more
    Link Past Briefings
    Link IFPRI


  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 30/05 to 03/06/2011
    2011-05-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    European Parliament
    -30 May: Committee Meetings in the European Parliament
    Council of Ministers
    -30/31 May: Agricultural and Fisheries Council (informal)
    European Commission
    -31 May/1 June: Annual meeting of the colleges of EU and African Union
    -1 June: Weekly meeting of the college
    ACP Group of States
    -36th Session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers

    You can also read our newspaper “CTA Brussels Daily” (fed by our Twitter account), follow our new Facebook group CTABrussels and our Twitter account CTABrussels to receive up-to-date information on EU-ACP events.


    Link European Parliament
    Link Council of Ministers
    Link European Commission


  3. Our video guest
    2011-05-27

    Elijah Phiri is a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Soil Science at the University of Zambia. He is also a team leader at the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) undertaken by the New Partnership for the African Development (NEPAD) of the African Union (AU). In an interview after CTA’s Brussels Briefing on the Water we eat, Mr Phiri talked about physical and economic water scarcity and told us how to maximise water productivity in agriculture.


    Link Watch video
    Link Brussels Briefing The water we eat
    Link CAADP


  4. A new strategy to foster tuna processing industry
    2011-05-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a plan to become a leading global fish processor by attracting business and jobs that have gone to other Asian canneries. PNG's National Fishery Authority Managing Director Sylvester Pokajam is committed to improving the country’s standing in the fish processing sector. The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), made up of eight tuna-rich Pacific Island nations including PNG, have had a hard time reeling in jobs. “We are looking at the fishery within the PNA of about 1.2 million tonnes that are sustainably harvested every year,” Pokajam said. […] In the past decade, fish processing has become a major employer in PNG, where the total allowable catch (TAC) for tuna is 500,000 tonnes a year. Fish processing has swelled mainly because of the duty-free and quota-free access PNG gets for the European market, thanks to its interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). The managing director believes in 10 years there will be even more jobs in PNG. “This is a sustainable industry and the jobs will remain forever,” he asserted. Pokajam hopes the tuna sector offers 30,000 people direct positions and 100,000 workers indirect jobs. But much of the tuna caught near PNG is still canned elsewhere. PNG plans to fight back by setting up processing facilities that will draw business. “We still have to fish out there in the Pacific Ocean in the PNA waters. That same fish is now going to Thailand and the US, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, whatever, but that is going to change,” Pokajam explained.

    Source: FIS Belgium


    Link Read more
    Link EU Relations with Papua New Guinea
    Link DG Maritime Affairs


  5. Report on the effectiveness of EU contributions
    2011-05-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The amounts, channelled by EuropeAid through UN organisations, are substantial, in the region of 4000 million euro for the five year period from 2005 to 2009. This audit is the second part of the two phase audit. The first audit dealt with monitoring and decision making and concluded that the monitoring process should be more thorough, with increased focus on results, and that all decisions to work through the UN should be clearly evidenced. These conclusions were published in Special Report 15/2009 of January 2010.The present audit focuses on conflict affected areas and, in particular, on projects in Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan over the period 2006 – 2008. It complements the earlier report by its emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability. The report acknowledges the particular difficulties involved in delivering aid in conflict affected countries and the fact that the Commission has been able, through the UN, to deliver aid in areas which would otherwise have been very difficult to target. In these circumstances, the overall impact of the activities funded through UN organisations was positive. Nevertheless, this report sets out a number of significant points which need to be addressed by the Commission. There is a need to establish clear practical objectives, which can be monitored, for all projects and a reasonable timetable for their execution should be established. Reports from the UN, which are the key source of information for the Commission, are frequently late and incomplete. The lack of sufficient emphasis on efficiency and the assessment of project costs is another area which needs the Commission’s attention.  While acknowledging that the Commission has taken some steps to tackle the issues raised, Mr Pinxten, the Court Member with specific responsibility for this report, underlines the necessity of ensuring the sound financial management of all funds channelled by the Commission through the UN, irrespective of where that aid is delivered.

    Source : European  Union


    Link Read more
    Link European Court of Auditors
    Link EuropeAid


  6. Pacific ACP countries and CROP agencies high performers under EDF
    2011-05-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Feleti Teo has congratulated Pacific countries of the ACP grouping within the European Union and members of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) agencies for their performance in committing funds under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).At the recent 9th Ministerial meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) National and Regional Authorising Officers (NAOs/RAOs) held at the ACP Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium, the ACP-EU Partnership, and particularly its Development Finance Cooperation component with all the Authorising Officers of the European Development Fund (EDF) resources in the ACP countries and regions, was discussed.One of the issues that was discussed were the results of the Midterm Review (MTR) of the National Indicative Programmes (NIPs) under EDF 10 and its relation with the implementation of the EU Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Initiative, which was announced by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, last year during the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly ('MDGs Summit').  The EU then announced it was ready to offer to the most committed and needy countries an MDG Initiative amounting to 1 billion Euros to make progress on those goals that are furthest from being achieved.

    Source: Scoop news


    Link Read more
    Link European Development Fund (EDF)
    Link Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific


  7. Europe's largest annual environment conference
    2011-05-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Opening on 24 of May, Green Week 2011 launches a call for citizens to “use less and live better”. During the conference’s four days, over 3500 participants will look for ways to use our planet’s resources more sustainably. This year's Green Week gathers participants from a wide variety of backgrounds, including EU institutions, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, public authorities, the scientific community, academia and the media. Some 30 events are scheduled to take place outside Brussels, including events to come in Slovenia (25-27 May, 2 June) and Poland (11 June). The conference is webstreamed in its entirety. Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Resource efficiency isn't just about constraints and scarcity – it's a vast array of opportunities for growth and jobs with less waste, a cleaner environment, and better, more sustainable choices for consumers. The scope of this year's Green Week is a clear demonstration of the reach of environment policy – it really is fundamental to the way we choose to live our lives." This year's theme supports the Europe 2020 flagship initiative on resource efficiency, encouraging a shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy to achieve sustainable growth. With contributions from across the Commission, the conference palette is broader than ever. Together with discussions on traditional environmental issues like the availability of resources, recycling, biodiversity and soil, the conference will examine issues including the transition to a resource efficient economy; greener chemicals; green skills, employment & innovation; financing eco-innovation; food waste; waste as a resource; water efficiency, construction, and business ideas for the ‘circular economy’.

    Source : European Union


    Link Read more
    Link DG Environment
    Link Green Week Conference 2011


  8. AFD provides 4,1 billion FCFA to sub-regional projects in West Africa
    2011-05-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The French development agency (AFD) has attributed 4,1 billion FCFA to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) in order to subsidise projects related to health and rural development, APA learned from the Commission. 3,5 billion FCFA will be allocated to a project that extends health care coverage in the member states of the Union. The project aims to “increase the number of people covered against illness risks while helping sub-regional institutions to assist the States in the formulation and implementation of their national strategies,” according to the UEMOA Commission. Among others, the project aims to establish pilot experience with regard to voluntary health insurance, to develop exchanges around sickness risk coverage and to reinforce the competencies of the UEMOA in health issues. Another 590 million FCFA is intended for the departments for rural development, natural resources and environment at the UEMOA Commission. The funds are supposed to support the development of five priority sectors of the Union: the initiation of a regional fund for agricultural development, international trade, the establishment of a regional land observatory for West Africa, support to the States in land questions and the coordination between agricultural policies in the Union.

    Source: Afrique Avenir


    Link Read more
    Link Agence Française de Développement
    Link West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA)


  9. Fishing opportunities in EU waters in 2012
    2011-05-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    On 25 of May the European Commission published its report on progress achieved in the Common Fisheries Policy over the last few years and its suggestions for fishing opportunities in EU waters in 2012. The document sets out how the Commission intends to act on the scientific advice it receives about the state of fish stocks when proposing catch limits and quotas for next year for. The latest figures show that the state of fish stocks in European waters is slowly improving, but sufficient scientific data is still missing for the majority of the stocks, mainly due to inadequate reporting by Member States. The Commission will therefore be using a new method for setting fishing limits, notably cutting levels where insufficient data exist. The Commission's ideas will now be the object of a wide consultation over the summer and input will feed into its proposals for fishing opportunities for next year which will be adopted in the autumn.  Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki emphasized that she intends to introduce a new, precautionary approach when proposing fishing possibilities: for fish stocks where scientific evidence exists, the Commission's proposals will follow this closely. When insufficient scientific data is available, the Commission will propose to systematically reduce catches. This approach would phase out overfishing and encourage better data collection and reporting by Member States. The Commissioner said: "To phase out overfishing we must manage fish stocks so they can rebuild and provide the highest long-term average catches that the sea can provide. This will not only improve the state of Europe's fish stocks and lower the impact of fishing on the environment. It will also improve the economic profitability of Europe's catching sector".

    Source: European Union


    Link Read more
    Link EU fishing rules
    Link DG Maritime Affairs


  10. Social and environmental standards in international trade agreements
    2011-05-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Clauses concerning environmental, human rights, social or Corporate Social Responsibility standards increasingly play a role in the negotiations of trade agreements the EU is conducting on a bilateral and multilateral level. The liberal and democrat conviction of liberalizing global markets often seems to contradict the respect for these standards. The increased role of the European Parliament in approving EU Trade Deals confers upon it new powers and gives a particular importance to the ALDE seminar organised today on "the role of social and environmental norms for international trade agreements". With the participation of high level experts, members of the European Parliament and representatives of the Commission, the seminar will take stock of the diverse arguments of either side of this debate and will try to find possible solutions to the diverging goals within trade negotiations.  Catherine BEARDER (LibDem, UK), co-organiser for the event said: "I believe that freedom, fairness, and sustainability must be central to the EU's trade agenda. With the new powers which the Parliament has under Lisbon, it is important for Liberal and Democrat  MEPs to ensure that trade objectives are not pursued at the expense of the environment or human rights. At the same time we must ensure that the Union remains competitive. I hope that this seminar will help us in ALDE to formulate a balanced and fair position on trade".

    Source:ALDE


    Link Read more
    Link The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
    Link Treaty of Lisbon


  11. Caribbean Struggles to Make Complex Trade Deal with EU a Reality
    2011-05-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    When Caribbean journalists met in Antigua in late March to discuss the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that was signed between the European Union and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) countries in 2008, they were told that the absence of tax treaties, foreign exchange controls and language barriers were among the factors preventing the full implementation of the accord. Sonia Allyson Francis, a specialist with the EPA Implementation Unit of the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, also listed ignorance of cultural norms, customs and values, and the cost of travel as other challenges to the implementation of the EPA.  "Persons aren't able to key-in in terms of what are their actual development cooperation needs and that's why we have a delay in implementing the services and investment aspect of the agreement," she said.  Now, as the CARICOM Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) – one of the principal organs within the 15-member regional grouping and comprising finance, trade and economic ministers – gets ready to meet in Guyana on Thursday, the CARICOM Secretariat has signaled that implementation of the EPA will be the major agenda item.

    Source:IPS news


    Link Read more
    Link CARIFORUM-EC-EPA
    Link Development impact of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)


  12. Consolidation of Interim EPA between EU and Ghana
    2011-05-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Stakeholders at a Ghana-European Union (EU) Business forum in Accra last week came to a consensus that there is a need for Ghana to consolidate the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) initialed with the European Union and the need to speed up negotiations to conclude talks on the regional EPA with ECOWAS for the benefit of industries in the West African Regions and to foster regional integration. The one-day forum organized by the European Union (EU) as part of activities marking this year’s EU-Week celebration to deliberate on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs), was attended by a section of the private sector, civil society organizations, government officials and representatives of the European Union. […] The Minister of Trade and Industries, Ms. Hannah Tetteh, in an address to kick-start discussions on the EPA at the forum stressed the need for the Ghanaian business community especially the private sector, local and foreign to lend a voice to discussions on the need for the ratification of the EPA and to tell Ghanaians and civil society the benefits they stand to gain from the agreement as well as how important the EPA is to their industries. “You have more credibility than government and need to tell the people about your experiences with the interim EPA. You must also lead discussions and get involved and push for the consolidation of the EPA”. She also noted that for the EPA to succeed at the regional level with ECOWAS, it was necessary for all member states, especially Nigeria which commands about 60 % of ECOWAS trade, to sign up to the EPA by joining the negotiations. Ms. Tetteh said the problem with the IEPA and EPA at the regional level is the amount of misconception and ignorance in society and the fact that the debate is largely driven by civil society organizations which have opposed it due to wrong perceptions and the fact that they only project the supposedly negative side of issues raised with the trade agreement. […]

    Source: Myjoyonline.com


    Link Read more
    Link ECOWAS
    Link DG Trade


  13. A credible, fair and effective EU migration policy: the way forward
    2011-05-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The Commission is proposing a package of measures aimed at a better management of migration flows from the Southern Mediterranean region, as well as amendments to the Visa Regulation to ensure that visa free travel does not lead to abuse. Solidarity with the Member States most exposed to migratory pressures and stronger cooperation with third countries remain absolutely crucial. "The situation in the Southern Mediterranean continues to call for EU action. The EU has taken a number of short term measures to assist North African countries in dealing with migratory pressures and to support the Member States on the frontline, ensuring a coherent EU response to those who need our help. What I propose today looks beyond the urgent needs. Our plan is to develop a more structured cooperation with the North African countries. It is in the interest of both the EU and the countries of North Africa to promote mobility and well-managed migration. Europe will be increasingly dependent on labour migration and the potential offered by North African countries should be seized in a mutually beneficial manner. We also need to make it easier for students, researchers and business people to visit other countries. To that end we need to open up more legal ways to Europe, by intensifying cooperation with our Southern neighbours, establishing clear rules and ensuring secure conditions that such movement meets the interests of all sides. We also need to make it easier for people to travel to the EU through further visa liberalisation. At the same time, we must make sure that our visa liberalisation agreements are not being abused. This is I why today I am proposing to introduce a safeguard clause for exceptional and very strict circumstances. I hope that this will help increase Member States' confidence and will to introduce more visa free regimes in the future", said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.

    Source: European Union


    Link Read more
    Link Homepage of Cecilia Malmström
    Link DG Home Affairs


  14. NGOs: EU ‘self interest’ inflates aid by over €5bn in 2010
    2011-05-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    EU member states are becoming increasingly inward-looking and eager to promote aid policies which prioritise foreign or domestic policy objectives, said this year’s flagship AidWatch report – Challenging self-interest: Getting EU aid fit for the fight against poverty. In addition to weakening their ambitions on aid levels, aid effectiveness and budget support, they are linking their aid more closely to EU security, migration and commercial interests, the report says. For example, while the OECD labels no fewer than 48 countries as fragile, more than 30% of all global development aid channelled to fragile states since 2002 has gone to just three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan figures as a priority country for 11 EU countries, including Finland, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK. High levels of poverty and significant development challenges in Afghanistan cannot fully explain the EU’s interest in engaging in the country. As this year’s AidWatch member survey shows, allocations to Afghanistan have been justified domestically mostly on grounds of security and migration concerns. Jean Kamau from ActionAid Kenya said: “Aid is under assault and EU self-interest seems to be driving it. It’s bad enough that the majority of member states are cutting aid but using it to mask domestic or foreign policy priorities is totally unacceptable”.

    Source: Oxfam


    Link Read more
    Link Read the report
    Link Commissioner Piebalgs' response


  15. EU contributes to the Global Facility for disaster reduction and recovery
    2011-05-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    54.5 million Euros to support disaster risk reduction programmes in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. The World Bank and the European Commission have signed a financial agreement to support the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) with a contribution of more than 54 million Euros. The signing took place in the presence of the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States during the third session of the UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and the first World Reconstruction Conference. The contribution to the GFDRR responds to the need of to making the world safer from the consequences of natural hazards, as outlined in the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015), adopted by 168 countries and multilateral organizations, following the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. 'Too often, climate change affects the world's poorest people - those who are the least equipped to deal with it. That is why this project will be crucial in countries across the African, Caribbean and the Pacific in helping people to protect themselves and their livelihoods against natural disasters by setting up early warning systems and making sure that communities in disaster-prone areas are better prepared "said Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development. The European Union’s funding will support the prevention, mitigation and preparedness to natural hazards in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, focusing on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction, risk identification and assessment, early warning systems and integration of disaster prevention into post-disaster recovery. “With the growing frequency and the impact of natural hazards, the global demand for a coherent and comprehensive framework to address disaster risk is growing at a fast pace. This partnership is a major achievement and we look forward to expanding our already strong cooperation to strengthen the foundation for sustainable development and poverty eradication and make disaster risk reduction a development priority” said Ms. Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link GFDRR
    Link Tighter cooperation for disaster management


  16. Presidency: make water central to development policy
    2011-05-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security

    The future reform of the European Union’s development policy must focus on water. This is the central statement of the Hungarian Presidency’s report, which was presented by Deputy State Secretary for Global Affairs János Hóvári at the meeting of development ministers on 24 May 2011, in Brussels. The Hungarian Presidency adopted it as a priority, both in the field of environmental protection and international development policy, to call the attention of Member States on issues related to water. In its relevant report, the Hungarian Presidency explored ways for the EU development policy to promote sustainable water resources management and consequently the inclusive growth and social development of developing countries. The document, which was presented by Deputy State Secretary for Global Affairs, János Hóvári received endorsement from participants at the meeting of development ministers. Mr Hóvári stressed: the Presidency’s aim is to make sustainable water resource management a horizontal element in the EU’s cooperation programs for development, in the reform of the EU’s development policy, and to mainstream water into relevant policies and initiatives, be it the agriculture, health, education or energy policy sector for example. Although the EU considers water related issues as priorities since the UN’s World Summit on Sustainable Development of 2002 in Johannesburg, and both the Commission and Member States provide various supports to developing countries’ water sector, the work is still not enough, since the level of political will and finance is insufficient.

    Source: Hungarian Presidency


    Link Read more
    Link Brussels Briefing on Water
    Link European Water Initiative


  17. Council authorises signature of cocoa trade agreement
    2011-05-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The 3087th Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting  held in Brussels on 17 May 2011 authorised the signature on behalf of the European Union and provisional application of the international cocoa agreement 2010 (8134/11). It had been approved by the negotiating conference established under the auspices of the UN conference on trade and development on 25 June 2010. The date from which the agreement will be provisionally applied will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more
    Link International cocoa trade agreement
    Link European Cocoa Association


  18. UK pledges carbon emission cuts of 50% by 2025
    2011-05-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The UK will halve its greenhouse gas output by 2025 from 1990 levels, Energy and Climate Secretary Chris Huhne said on 17 May. Huhne told members of Parliament that the target, agreed by the government, would "set Britain on the path to green growth." "It will establish our competitive advantage in the most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy," Huhne was quoted as saying by the press.

    Source: New Europe


    Link Read more
    Link EP: EU should cut CO2 by 30%
    Link Commission: Scaling up climate finance


  19. Council debates EU draft budget for 2012
    2011-05-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    The 3088th Council meeting on Economic and Financial Affairs held in Brussels on 17 May 2011 took note of the presentation by the Commission of its draft for the EU's general budget for 2012. Some delegations considered the Commission proposal as not being in line with the national fiscal consolidation measures and argued for further efforts to limit the increase of the EU's 2012 budget. Other delegations regarded the draft budget as a starting point for the discussions and stressed the need to continue of implementing the EU programmes in particular in the cohesion area. It asked the Permanent Representatives Committee to examine the draft, with a view to enabling the Council to establish its position. On 15 February, the Council established its priorities for the 2012 budget (5895/11). These will be used by the incoming Polish presidency as a reference in negotiations with the European Parliament and the Commission later in the year. In the draft budget, the Commission proposes a total of EUR 132.7 billion in payments (+ 4.9% compared with 2011) and EUR 147.4 billion in commitments (+ 3.7%). Payments represent 1.01% of EU gross national income and commitments 1.12%. The Council is expected to establish its position on the draft budget at the end of July, and the Parliament at the end of October. If their positions diverge, a three-week conciliation process will start on 1 November.

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more
    Link The 2012 budget in figures
    Link EP: Q&A on future budget


  20. Commissioner Ciolos highlights importance of development-friendly CAP
    2011-05-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Rural development

    The international conference "Food for everyone - towards a global deal" sent out a clear message to G-20 leaders: to secure food for the world's constantly growing population, smarter longer-term investment in agriculture is needed, especially in developing countries. It is a proven fact that investment in agriculture and rural development has positive effects on growth and poverty reduction. Countries and international organisations need to coordinate and, more than ever, to act in a coherent way. "Food security concerns us all – it is about the resources we all share and use. We simply cannot afford a new agriculture crisis in global markets. We need stronger political will to enable farmers to earn sufficient income and to strengthen small-scale farmers’ capacity to organise themselves more effectively. Investment in sustainable and inclusive agriculture is investment in the future. And let's not forget that at global scale, the most typical farmer is a woman", said Staffan Nilsson, EESC president in his opening speech. Price volatility, climate change, demographic pressures, scarcity of water and land resources, lack of transparent information on markets are just some of the threats to global food security. New international dynamics are needed for agricultural development. The EU too must again include agriculture in its development policies and agenda. "Food security must be a core component of our development support policies. There can be no real food security if it is not shared by everyone. Agriculture must return to the centre of the development agenda, with the key objective of increasing global production capacity by creating favourable conditions for public and private investment for farmers worldwide", said Dacian Ciolos, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, a keynote speaker and contributor to the conference. He added that the CAP was largely not destroying agricultural markets and stressed that agricultural export subsidies made up less than one percent of the funds disbursed through the CAP. In an interview with CTA, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs stressed the fact that the EU’s primary focus is on smallholder farmers in developing countries. While locally-owned agribusiness starts to develop in some countries, Commissioner Piebalgs noted that smallholder farmers make up 75% of all farmers in ACP countries, many of them suffering from atomisation and limited market access.

    What's next?

    The EESC president’s conclusions from the conference, which will be available soon on the EESC website, will be submitted as a set of recommendations to the French presidency of G-20. They are meant to provide an innovative and balanced contribution to the forthcoming G-20 meeting of agriculture ministers in June.

    Source: EESC/CTA


    Link Read more
    Link Food for everyone Conference
    Link Watch conference interviews


  21. Raw materials and commodity markets
    2011-05-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Food Security

    The Council adopted conclusions on regulation and supervision in commodity markets and related financial markets. The conclusions, based on a communication from the Commission (5992/11), highlight the need to improve the quality and the availability of data, and to improve cooperation between the regulators of financial markets and regulators of commodity markets. They call for increased transparency on commodity derivatives markets, in particular by requiring investors to notify their investment positions to regulators ("position reporting") so as to more effectively prevent market abuses. The conclusions can be found in 9722/11.

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more
    Link Recent commodity prices
    Link EP: Clampdown on derivatives trading


  22. EIB board agrees 2011 lending target, climate action remains key priority
    2011-05-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment

    At its annual meeting today the Board of Governors of the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed the Bank’s 2011 lending targets which foresee a gradual return to pre-crisis levels.  After the extraordinary lending volume of EUR 79bn in 2009 and EUR 72bn in 2010, the EIB is planning for a total of EUR 63bn this year. “This reflects our plan to gradually reduce lending volumes to pre-crisis levels, as our crisis response package was always designed as a targeted and temporary measure for 2009 and 2010”, said EIB President Philippe Maystadt.

    The EIB will pursue three strategic objectives in support of the EU policy agenda:

    • Europe 2020” strategy: with the key challenge to boost employment and productivity, notably by investing more and better in education, research and innovation.

    • Climate action: the fight against climate change will continue to be a top priority for the Bank. In 2010, nearly 30 percent of the lending volume was related to projects significantly contributing to the reduction of green house gas emissions. In the first quarter of this year, the EIB also hit this benchmark.1

    • EU´s external policy: subject to the approval of a EUR 1 bn increase in its lending ceiling for the Mediterranean region, the EIB would be able to provide around EUR 5.8bn to the Mediterranean countries in the period 2011-2013, with a special focus on countries that have made progress in their transition towards a more open and democratic political system.

    Source: EIB


    Link Read more
    Link Speech given by the EIB president
    Link Commission: DG Clima


  23. Greenpeace calls for fairer fishing agreements
    2011-05-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    Greenpeace Africa has appealed for a fairer and more sustainable fishing partnership that protects the livelihoods of West African fishing communities. The appeal was directed at fisheries ministers who are set to meet in Brussels to discuss the future fishing agreements. Almost a quarter of all fish taken by the European fishing fleet is caught outside EU waters, especially in the once rich West African waters. This figure is set to increase as European fish stocks decline due to overfishing. Since April, African fishermen from Senegal, Mauritania and Cape Verde – as part of the “African Voices” Project – have been on a Greenpeace trip to Europe to denounce the effects of EU fishing activities on their livelihoods. Over the last month, the selected fishermen have had the opportunity to express their frustration and highlight solutions to EU fishing authorities in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxemburg, France, Austria and Spain. Three weeks ago, the delegation of African fishermen met EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki to explain the challenges they and their families are facing. During this meeting, the fishermen spoke out against the abuses of overfishing in the hope that their voices ill play a part in the current reform of the EU common fisheries policy. […] Fishing in foreign waters by the EU generally takes place off the coast of developing countries. The EU fleet causes significant environmental damage and threatens the livelihoods of local fishing communities. European taxpayers contribute €158 million every year (half a million euros a year for every ship) to secure access to foreign fishing grounds for some of the world’s most destructive fishing trawlers. […] “Sustainable and fairer partnership agreements with Africa must prioritize the recovery and maintenance of marine ecosystems and fish stocks. In addition, they should be based on solid science, to allow fishing of surplus stocks, prevent overfishing, and promote effective control that allows stocks to regenerate”, said Greenpeace Africa spokesperson, Oumy Sene.

    Source: africanmanager.com


    Link Read more
    Link Greenpeace Africa
    Link Fisheries Council Conclusions


  24. NGOs receive Deauville Report on G8 health and food security commitment
    2011-05-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness, Food Security, Archive

    The minister for overseas development, Henri de Raincourt, hosted a working lunch for representatives of the major development NGOs and presented the Deauville Accountability Report entitled G8 Commitments on Health and Food Security: State of Delivery and Results. Following the first G8 report on accountability which resulted from the 2010 Muskoka Summit, the latest report reflects the new path of transparency and a thorough follow-up of its commitments. The report attempts a twin-track approach to accountability: on the one hand a quantitative approach based mostly on transparent reporting of disbursements of official development assistance, and, on the another hand, a qualitative approach based on the principles of aid effectiveness, measuring results and suggesting best practices. In 2011, under the French Presidency, the G8 has focused on the two key sectors of health and food security. During the meeting with NGOs, Mr de Raincourt highlighted the G8’s contribution in 2008 and 2009 of more than 24 billion dollars of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the health sector, as well as providing close to 80 percent of funding for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Regarding food security, the minister also pointed out that almost half of the 20 billion dollars pledged during the 2009 G8 summit in L’Aquila have already been disbursed. According to the OECD, G8 members account for nearly 70 percent of total ODA, which amounted to almost 90 billion dollars in 2010. As a result of targets and commitments set out by the G8, as well as a collective approach, aid provided by the G8 increased by 31 billion dollars between 2004 and 2010, an increase of 54 percent.

    Source: French Ministry for Foreign Affairs


    Link Read more [FR]
    Link Read the report [FR]
    Link G8 accused of glossing over failure to meet aid commitments



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