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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 282]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 282]
Send date: 2011-07-23 19:32:19
Issue #: 98
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: Major drivers for rural transformation in Africa
  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 25/07 to 29/07/2011
  3. Our video guest: Robert Mwadime, Uganda
  4. EU donors under women’s watch: WIDE publishes new report
  5. Polish Presidency’s agenda in the area of agriculture and fisheries
  6. Caribbean: multi-million dollar contract for dedicated regional connectivity
  7. The sooner we reach consensus on EPAs, the better
  8. Germany doubles Horn of Africa drought relief after criticism
  9. Lamy hails “encouraging” third global review of Aid for Trade
  10. Building up to Busan and more effective aid
  11. First EU sustainability schemes for biofuels get the go-ahead
  12. Resumption of aid for Niger: Commission releases €25 million
  13. FAO, EU fight illegal logging in Ghana
  14. EU revises conditions for full resumption of cooperation with Guinea
  15. Roadmap for resumption of development cooperation with Guinea-Bissau
  16. Piebalgs suggests reflection time about future ACP-EU partnership
  17. Cuts in agriculture budget criticised
  18. ALDE: EU should be more involved in the Sahel region
  19. Polish Presidency promotes biomass production
  20. Congo Parliament approves framework law for an agricultural policy
  21. Commission publishes annual report on development
  22. Informal meeting of development ministers
  23. New fisheries agreements with Seychelles and São Tomé and Príncipe


  1. Brussels Briefing: Major drivers for rural transformation in Africa
    2011-07-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Archive

    The next Brussels Development Briefing will be held on the 14 September 2011 and will be organised in partnership with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency. We will discuss the main challenges involved in rural transformation processes by sharing different perspectives on rural transformation processes across continents. We will then focus on rural employment and rural labour markets needed to create growth and economic development. Among our speakers, we are pleased to receive the CEO of NEPAD, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Prof. Peter Hazell from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, Paul Dorosh from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Paul Barera from the Rwanda Telecentre Network (RTN).

    We are also pleased to inform you about the launch of the CTA Policy Briefs. These peer reviewed papers address a broad range of agricultural and rural development-related issues. Topics presented are taken from findings and conclusions from the Brussels Development Briefings, Regional Development Briefings and key CTA events.


    Link Read more
    Link Past Briefings
    Link CTA Policy Briefs


  2. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 25/07 to 29/07/2011
    2011-07-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    Council of Ministers
    -25 July: Meeting of the EU Directors General for Fisheries
    -26 July: Coreper II
    -27 July: Coreper I
    -28 July: European Affairs Council (informal)
    ACP Group of States
    -28 July: Committee of ambassadors

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


    Link Council of Ministers
    Link ACP Secretariat
    Link Polish Presidency


  3. Our video guest: Robert Mwadime, Uganda
    2011-07-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Archive, Food Security

    Robert Mwadime is Senior Regional Nutritional Advisor at FANTA-2 in Uganda and specialising on advocacy in food policy. In our interview, he speaks about malnutrition in urban and rural areas in comparison.


    Link Watch the video
    Link FANTA-2
    Link Briefing Nutrition security in ACP countries


  4. EU donors under women’s watch: WIDE publishes new report
    2011-07-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The new report EU Donors under Women’s Watch published by WIDE checks up on gender equality and women’s rights in the aid effectiveness agenda of EU Member States. With a focus on five European countries – Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK – this report maps the degree to which these countries comply with the commitments they have made. This study is an attempt by WIDE to take stock of the current level of implementation of the principles of ownership and mutual accountability set out in the Paris Declaration and Accra Agenda for Action.

    Source: WIDE


    Link Read the report [PDF]
    Link WIDE Network
    Link EC/UN partnership for gender equality


  5. Polish Presidency’s agenda in the area of agriculture and fisheries
    2011-07-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development

    On 12-14 July 2011 Marek Sawicki, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, as the President-in-Office of the Council, presented the Polish Presidency’s agenda in the area of agriculture and fisheries for the next six months to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament, Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the PE. During the presentations, Minister Sawicki expressed his hope for fruitful cooperation between the Council and the European Parliament. “I look forward to our close cooperation, thanks to which work on the proposals negotiated now and in the future will be taken forward expeditiously,” said Minister Sawicki.

    In the area of agriculture and rural development, the Polish Presidency will focus primarily on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy beyond 2013 and discussions on improving the competitiveness of the EU agriculture by diversifying agricultural income through the development of renewable energy sources in rural areas.

    The future of the CAP is a matter of utmost importance to the Polish Presidency. The key problems defined by the EP in relation to the Communication of the European Commission The CAP towards 2020 are largely the same as those discussed by the Council. In his speech, Minister Sawicki referred also to the EU’s internal agricultural policy, including the dairy sector, food quality policy, identification of cattle and animal welfare. [...]

    The main priorities of the Polish Presidency in the fisheries sector will be the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, updating total allowable catches and fishing quotas for 2012 and further work on the long-term management plans. Minister Sawicki also declared that the first policy discussion on the Common Agricultural Policy reform package would take place on 19 June, during the first session of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council under Poland’s Presidency.
    During the presentation of the agenda to the Committee on Fisheries, Minister Sawicki emphasised that long-term stock management plans constitute one of the most important and well-functioning tools of the CFP.

    Source: Polish Presidency


    Link Read more
    Link Read the Polish presidency programme
    Link Commission: The CAP post-2013


  6. Caribbean: multi-million dollar contract for dedicated regional connectivity
    2011-07-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    A major step towards the transformation and strengthening of the region’s tertiary institutions was taken on Thursday, when negotiations between the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network (CKLN) and one of the region’s largest telecommunications providers, LIME, culminated in the signing of a US6.3 million contract in Grenada. 

    The region’s first dedicated knowledge, learning and research network, C@ribNET, is a broadband fiber optic network, configured to connect tertiary institutions, hospitals, schools, government agencies and CARICOM institutions together, within the Caribbean. C@ribNET will also to connect these institutions to similar institutions in Europe, USA, Latin America, Africa and Asia. 

    CKLN, an inter-governmental agency of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), secured the funds from the European Union to lease the fiber optic network from LIME, in compliance with CARICOM’s mandate to assist Caribbean member states enhance their global competitiveness by upgrading and diversifying the skills and knowledge of human resources through greater regional collaboration and connectivity.

    Source: Winn FM


    Link Read more
    Link C@ribNET
    Link EU cooperation with Grenada


  7. The sooner we reach consensus on EPAs, the better
    2011-07-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    In an opinion piece, the former Ugandan ambassador to the EU, Harold Acemah, details his views on the Economic and Partnership Agreement (EPA) that is currently negotiated between the EU and the East African Community (EAC). Read his views below.

    While I share many of the concerns expressed by my colleague and friend Ambassador Nathan Irumba in a statement he issued on behalf of several Civil Society Organisations and published by the East African recently, I would like to state that I concur with some of the views expressed by EU Ambassador Roberto Ridolfi in his article on the EPAs published in the Saturday Monitor of July 2. As one who represented Uganda at the EU- African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) negotiations from 2004 - 2008, I welcome the clarifications he made of the issues on which there is deadlock, misunderstanding, disinformation and even misrepresentation of facts. [...]

    Since 2000, Uganda has not taken full advantage of that offer made by the EU, which is commonly known as EBA, i.e. duty free and quota free access of everything but arms, from LDC countries, including Uganda. For example, the embassy of Uganda in Brussels negotiated duty free and quota free access of Ugandan honey to the EU market in 2005, but as far as I know, Uganda has not exported even one ton of honey to the EU market.

    This is the crux of the matter. Uganda and most African countries simply lack the capacity to produce sufficient quantities of commodities and goods for sale on the world market. Our leaders have a tendency to talk big about our capacity to produce commodities and goods for international trade when in reality we produce very little for export on predictable and sustainable basis. [...]

    The EU as well as the ACP Group must summon the necessary political will to resolve the impasse in the EPAs negotiations. There is need to strengthen the economic, political and historical links and relations which bind us for the mutual benefit of the peoples of Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. I sincerely hope that a new economic partnership agreement will soon be concluded and signed by the EU and ACP Countries.

    Source: Daily Monitor


    Link Read more
    Link EU cooperation with Uganda
    Link Commission: EPA negotiations


  8. Germany doubles Horn of Africa drought relief after criticism
    2011-07-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Archive, Food Security

    Berlin more than doubled its relief aid Saturday for people fleeing drought in the Horn of Africa, one day after United Nations figures showed Germany had contributed only a fraction of the aid given by countries such as Japan and Canada.

    The government pledged a further 5 million euros (7 million dollars) in relief to the region where aid agencies estimated 10 million people are at risk of starvation. It also appealed to Germans to donate. The ministries of aid and foreign affairs said the government grant would be distributed among German and international relief groups and the UN World Food Programme (WFP). The ministries said earlier humanitarian relief pledges during 2011 for the Horn of Africa had totalled 3.6 million euros. The new pledge will raise the relief so far to 8.6 million euros.

    Data released Friday by the WFP in the Kenyan capital Nairobi showed that Germany had only given it 1.4 million dollars so far this year, compared to Japan, which gave 25 million dollars or Canada (22 million dollars). The Aid Ministry had initially rejected the implied criticism, saying Friday that it was 'comprehensively engaged' in rural development in the Horn of Africa region. Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Kenya on Tuesday and announced 1 million euros in relief for refugee camps, of which half was earmarked for the WFP, according to WFP Germany director Ralf Suedhoff.

    Source: monstersandcritics.com


    Link Read more
    Link Oxfam: Wilful neglect by European governments
    Link UN declares famine in Somalia


  9. Lamy hails “encouraging” third global review of Aid for Trade
    2011-07-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Archive

    In closing the Third Global Review of Aid for Trade on 19 July 2011, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy hailed the potential of Aid for Trade in long-term trade capacity building for developing countries. He welcomed an improvement in accountability of recipient countries and stressed the need for a greater ownership of monitoring and evaluation efforts by developing countries themselves. With regard to financing, Lamy noted that infrastructures need to be improved. “While liquidity has returned to the markets, longer term structural issues have become more apparent. Access is now the challenge, not availability, particularly in Africa,” he said.

    In his eyes, the future work programme should address a few core issues: resource mobilisation, the leveraging of other sources of finance, a mainstreaming of Aid for Trade in development, engaging the private sector, giving a central place to the aid effectiveness agenda in the Aid for Trade Initiative, exploring the intersections of Aid for Trade with other aspects and finally, fostering more regional integration in developing countries.

    EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs represented the European Commission in Geneva. In an interview with Bloomberg, Piebalgs highlighted the importance of the Aid for Trade Initiative to prepare developing countries for resilience in the international markets. “Aid is not sufficient to bring about a step change. Trade is,” the Development Commissioner said. The EU needed to support the construction of infrastructures, for example in energy, access to water or trade routes. In Africa in particular, the EU is also focusing on interregional trade: “In Europe, 72% of trade is interregional. In Africa, it’s only 12%.”

    Source: WTO/CTA


    Link Read more
    Link Further information
    Link Jamaica's foreign minister Baugh about the event


  10. Building up to Busan and more effective aid
    2011-07-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    Earlier this month, the OECD released the first draft of its official outcome document for the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, taking place in Busan, South Korea, later this year. This document forms only the starting point for negotiations and is likely to undergo many changes in the coming months – a good thing, as the current draft contains many flaws.

    The summit will bring together a range of stakeholders including government ministers, parliamentarians, private sector representatives and civil society.Their task is to review global progress in improving the impact and value for money of development aid and make new commitments to ensure that aid helps reduce poverty and supports progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals. But the draft outcomes fail to put sufficient emphasis on critical aid effectiveness issues, such as accountability, ownership, and human rights and poverty eradication-focused results. […] We believe that the Busan agreement should be based on providing real and effective aid to end aid dependency, reform of the aid architecture, reinforcing mutual accountability and the human rights based approach to development. […]

    One thing is for sure. With the Busan conference only a few months away, we’ve got our work cut out. But in order for Busan to succeed and have a lasting impact on development, negotiators need to re-consider what will really make aid more effective.

    Source: ActionAid


    Link Read more
    Link Read the report
    Link Aid Effectiveness Forum in Busan


  11. First EU sustainability schemes for biofuels get the go-ahead
    2011-07-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Environment, Food Security

    Biofuels can represent an environmentally-friendly replacement of fossil fuels, says the European Commission. However, it wants to make sure that tropical forests and carbon rich peatlands are not turned into oil palm or sugarcane plantations. Besides, it also wants to guarantee that compared to fossil fuels biofuels used in the EU deliver tangible greenhouse gas savings. To this end, the sustainability of biofuels needs to be checked by Member States or through voluntary schemes which have been approved by the Commission. It recognised seven such voluntary schemes: ISCC, Bonsucro EU, RTRS EU RED, RSB EU RED, 2BSvs, RSBA, and Greenergy. This recognition applies directly in 27 EU Member States.

    Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger said: "We need to make sure that the entire biofuels' production and supply chain is sustainable. This is why we have set the highest sustainability standards in the world. The schemes recognised on the EU level today are a good example of a transparent and reliable system which ensures that these high standards are met."

    In order to receive government support or count towards mandatory national renewable energy targets, biofuels used in the EU, whether locally produced or imported, have to comply with sustainability criteria. These criteria aim at preventing the conversion of areas of high biodiversity and high carbon stock for the production of raw materials for biofuels. In practice this means that biofuels made of crops that have been grown on land that used to be rainforest or natural grassland with a unique ecosystem cannot be considered as sustainable. In addition, the greenhouse gas emissions over the whole production chain need to be at least 35% lower compared to fossil fuels. That threshold will increase over time.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Further information
    Link Doubts cloud launch of sustainability schemes


  12. Resumption of aid for Niger: Commission releases €25 million
    2011-07-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive

    The European Commission has released €25 million in budgetary support for Niger, the first such payment since the investiture of the new president, Mahamadou Issoufou, in April 2011 and since the EU resumed in full its cooperation with Niger on 20 June. With these funds the government will be able to step up its fight against poverty, in particular by concentrating on the social sectors (education and health). The European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said ’This payment confirms the full resumption of our cooperation with Niger. It is a sign of our confidence in the new government and of our commitment to supporting him in the fight against poverty, in providing support to the most vulnerable sections of the population and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.’

    The funds have been released following an in-depth analysis of the eligibility criteria for budgetary support: macro-economic stability, a coherent and sustainable policy for fighting poverty and improved management of public finances. The very encouraging progress observed in these three areas made it possible to respond to the Nigerien authorities' request payment to be made as soon as possible.

    Part of this payment (€10 million) is also linked to specific conditions in the area of education. During the evaluation the European Commission noted the significant work done by the government to prepare the action plan for the Quality Initiative in the area of education. President Mahamadou Issoufou is aiming to make school attendance compulsory and free of charge for all up to the age of 16. He has promised to dedicate a quarter of the budgetary resources to education over the next five years, in particular to build 2500 new classrooms and to train 2500 extra teachers each year.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Background: EU resumes cooperation with Niger
    Link EU cooperation with Niger


  13. FAO, EU fight illegal logging in Ghana
    2011-07-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and the European Union (EU) have collaborated with the government to fight illegal logging in Ghana. To this end, the EU is supporting the FAO African, Caribbean and Pacific, and Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FAO ACP-FLEGT) support programme with 10,000 Euros to strengthen the capabilities of forest fringe communities in southern Ghana, to stop illegal logging, the FAO Representative in Ghana, Mr. Musa Saihou Mbenga has disclosed.

    This project will be implemented by the Forest Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG). The EU is also supporting the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) West Africa Forest Programme Office with another 10,000 Euros to implement facilitating compliance with FLEGT and Due Diligence Regulation in Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, he added. Speaking at the signing ceremony of the two new projects in Accra, Wednesday 13 July, Mr. Mbenga explained that the ACP FLEGT Support Programme is a four year initiative funded by the European Commission of the EU and implemented through FAO. […]

    On his part, the Head of EU Delegation to Ghana, H.E Claude Maerten observed that Ghana was the first to sign the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, stressing that it is therefore important for Ghana to ensure that its wood products exports to EU are certified. He, therefore, indicated that Ghana will not be allowed to export wood products into Europe, if it does not license before 2012. A representative of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources announced that government was proposing wood procurement policy to ensure that all the domestic wood products were being certified.

    Source: Ghanaian Chronicle


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: FLEGT
    Link FAO: ACP-FLEGT Awareness Package Ghana


  14. EU revises conditions for full resumption of cooperation with Guinea
    2011-07-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness

    The European Union revised the conditions for fully resuming EU cooperation with the Republic of Guinea (doc. 12453/1/11 REV 1). Its decision acknowledges Guinea's progress towards constitutional rule and democratisation and eases the conditions for a full resumption of EU support. Following the military coup on 23 December 2008, the EU partially suspended development cooperation with Guinea. To accompany the return to constitutional order and democracy, a roadmap for gradual resumption of EU aid was set out in July 2009.

    The EU considers that the Republic of Guinea has significantly progressed on this roadmap, in particular through the democratic election of a new president and the establishment of a civilian government. Today's decision acknowledges these important milestones and facilitates full resumption of cooperation. Accordingly, programming documents can be signed once the Guinean authorities have adopted an electoral calendar leading to parliamentary elections before the end of 2011. Also, preparations for new programmes will start and funds for basic social services will become available. Cooperation will be fully resumed once Guinea has held free and transparent parliamentary elections. […]

    Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development, declared: "I met President Alpha Condé on 6 May 2011 and I assured him that the EU remains at their side to help Guinea complete the political transition and to put the country back on the track towards stability and economic growth. Following significant progress by Guinea on the roadmap for a return to constitutional rule and democratisation, the EU has already partially resumed cooperation and mobilised € 40 million of additional emergency funds. Today's decision allows a more rapid resumption of full cooperation. Funds destined to social services will thus be made available once the Guinean authorities have adopted a detailed calendar for the holding of parliamentary elections this year. The remaining funds for governance, transports and other sectors will become available upon completion of parliamentary elections."

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU cooperation with Guinea
    Link Andris Piebalgs traveled to Ivory Coast and Guinea


  15. Roadmap for resumption of development cooperation with Guinea-Bissau
    2011-07-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Food Security

    The EU Council on Monday concluded consultations held under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement with the Republic of Guinea-Bissau and set out a roadmap to gradually resume development cooperation with the country (doc. 12515/11). The roadmap foresees that advances made by Guinea-Bissau in the reform process will be reflected in a gradual resumption of EU development assistance.

    The EU considered the military mutiny of 1 April 2010 and the subsequent appointment of its main instigators to leading posts in the military hierarchy as a serious and evident breach of the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement. In accordance with Article 96 of the Agreement, the EU therefore provisionally suspended parts of its development cooperation with Guinea-Bissau and engaged in political consultations that took place in Brussels on 29 March 2011. At that meeting, Guinea-Bissau authorities put forward a series of undertakings in order to progressively ensure the primacy of civilian authority, improve democratic governance, safeguard constitutional order and the rule of law, and to tackle impunity and organised crime.

    "I am encouraged with the commitments taken by the authorities of Guinea-Bissau and hope for successful reforms. We are aware of the important efforts ahead and count on the political determination of our partners to overcome the challenges they face, in particular regarding the reform of the armed forces and the renewal of the military hierarchy. The EU will not hesitate to take the necessary steps against those who might obstruct reforms, engage in illicit activities or threaten peace and stability in the country," said Catherine Ashton, High Representative for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

    The High Representative assured the EU's support to the democratically legitimated civilian authorities in their efforts to push forward the reform process, notably the reform of the security sector. "Since the opening of consultations, the EU has continued all its activities in support to the people and will do so in the future. Today's decision opens the way for our gradual reengagement in other operations, in line with concrete progress made by our Bissau-Guinean partners on their commitments. The first set of actions is on a good way. This should enable us to resume cooperation in the energy and road sector in the coming months. More sizeable assistance, including budget support, would be made available at a later stage, pending structural reforms in the security secteur and a credible fight against impunity and organized crime," stated Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Read the roadmap
    Link EU cooperation with Guinea Bissau


  16. Piebalgs suggests reflection time about future ACP-EU partnership
    2011-07-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    At a meeting with the development committee of the European Parliament, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs took a skeptical note when speaking about the ACP-EU partnership after 2020. “We need a detailed political debate with our partners,” he said, adding that ACP countries should actively reflect on the ACP-EU partnership as well. We don’t want the lowest common denominator of the ACP group to determine our relations,” Piebalgs stressed, pointing to human rights and governance issues in particular. He showed his disappointment that the Commission had been unable to advance further on these issues in negotiations with ACP countries. The European Commission is set to publish its new development policy outlook this autumn and focus more strongly on human rights and good governance.

    MEPs welcomed proposals for the new development budget in the Multi-annual financial framework 2014-2020. Chair Nirj Deva said that the Commission’s propositions represented a “significant increase” of development funds at a time of financial constraints for both the European Development Fund (EDF) and the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). Commissioner Piebalgs commented that the Commission was trying to be humble, yet ambitious. “I try to make a proposal that is still acceptable to member countries,” he said.

    In the future, MEPs hope to see an arrangement between the Council and the European Commission that would allow the Commission a greater autonomy in decision-making, albeit under parliamentary scrutiny. This could allow the Commission to react swiftly to changing developments in partner countries. However, member states representatives recently advised the Council not to agree to this proposal.

    Source: CTA


    Link What happens after Cotonou expires in 2020?
    Link ECDPM: Evolving ACP-EU relations
    Link ACP Secretariat


  17. Cuts in agriculture budget criticised
    2011-07-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Environment, Food Security

    Funding for European agriculture must be kept at 2013 levels in real terms, said members of the EP Agriculture Committee in a debate on Monday with Commissioner Dacian Cioloş on the Commission's proposed multiannual EU budget for 2014-2020. Following the presentation of the Commission's proposal for the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) on 29 June, the Agriculture Committee wanted to hear more details from Mr Cioloş about the envisaged reduction in the agriculture budget.

    "It is a cut in real terms", said committee chair Paolo de Castro (S&D, IT), who questioned what the consequences of the proposal would be for the ambitious plans for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2013. Parliament adopted a resolution on 23 June calling for the long-term agriculture budget to be maintained at least at 2013 levels. "Parliament has sent a very clear signal that we do not want to see resources being taken away from the CAP", which "needs to respond to the interests of 10 million farmers but also of all the citizens of Europe", said Mr de Castro.

    "The ball is now in the court of Council and Parliament", said Commissioner Cioloş, who told MEPs that the proposed MFF was based on a freeze of CAP funding at 2013 levels. The Commission, he stressed, had allocated "new money" to agriculture under different headings, for instance making €2.8 billion from the Globalisation Adjustment Fund available to farmers. In addition, €5.1 billion of 100% EU-funded research and innovation programmes was "clearly intended for the agriculture sector".  "This brings us to a total amount of €435.5 billion" for the farming industry, said the Commissioner.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: The budget 2014-2020
    Link Commission: The CAP post-2013


  18. ALDE: EU should be more involved in the Sahel region
    2011-07-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    The ALDE Group held a seminar this week to discuss persistent problems in the Sahel region and identify the role that the EU should play taking into consideration the External Action Service is working on a strategy for development for this region. The Sahel, characterized by underdevelopment and terrorism is of crucial geo-strategic interest. As far as the  EU is concerned the Sahel is the extension of its southern neighbourhood, not just some distant region. Charles Goerens (Democratic Party, Luxembourg), says "We must be aware of stereotypes and simplistic solutions for the situation in the Sahel where the  complex  twin challenges of security, in terms of terrorism and food need to be addressed. The fallout from the situation in Libya and resulting refugee crisis has exacerbated the situation. The key is to promote the regional dimension and respond urgently to the absence of  a State in the Touareg region of  Mali." He concluded that "the region possesses wealth and great potential as well as an innovative capacity of its people." Marielle de Sarnez (Modem, France) added, "You cannot imagine any development without security, but also there will be no security without development. Europe must be more present to develop economic and social opportunities.  This is fundamental to the region in order to bring peace and stability".

    Source: ALDE


    Link Read more
    Link Council conclusions on Sahel strategy
    Link MEP Charles Goerens


  19. Polish Presidency promotes biomass production
    2011-07-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment

    During a conference of agricultural experts in Poland on 16 July, the Polish presidency outlined its plan to push more strongly for agricultural biomass production to generate electricity. It is intended for biofuels and biogas, but also to give farmers additional revenue and to advance towards the EU’s climate commitments. Poland is planning to introduce biomass into the CAP and into the cohesion policy that is awaiting reform shortly. Not all member states took the same line, leaving a list of undecided issues for the Agriculture Council held on 19 July.

    The presidency’s plans foresee that biomass production be implemented locally. “We think that renewable energy in general must not be developed on the model of the large energy industries. Small local investors should be given precedence," Kazimierz Zmuda, deputy director of the Agricultural Markets Department of Poland's Agriculture Ministry, was quoted as saying by Europolitics. He added that the “import and even intra-European transport of biomass over more than 50 km is not the right approach.” Where possible, biomass should be produced locally.

    Source: CTA/Europolitics


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: Biomass action plan
    Link Agriculture Council: Background note


  20. Congo Parliament approves framework law for an agricultural policy
    2011-07-18
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness

    The Congolese parliament has approved the first framework law for the agricultural sector in Kinshasa. “A remarkable aspect is that farmers’ organisations have actively participated in the political debate which preceded the vote,” said Lode Delbare, the director of the Belgian NGO Trias. Six Belgian NGOs supported the Congolese farmers’ organisations. 70% of the Congolese population lives from agriculture; no other sector contributes as much to Congo’s GDP. The work of a farmer, however, is not considered as a real profession in Congo. “The absence of a coherent agricultural policy costs the country a lot of money, because it has to import 530.000 tons every year from abroad to feed its local population,” explains Lode Delbare. The new law on agriculture which went through parliamentary procedure is supposed to turn the situation around. Next to a cadastre and a support fund, the law establishes consultation bodies for agricultural questions. […] The law only say the day because the farmers organised themselves at the political level and kept up the pressure,” confirms Jan Aertsen, Congo specialist at Vredeseilanden. For the first time in Congo’s history, a lobby group made of farmers’ organisations established itself in Kinshasa to follow the entire process. Agricongo, a platform of Congolese farmers organisations was supported by six Belgian NGOs (Trias, Vredeseilanden, SOS Faim, Solsoc, Oxfam Solidarité and Diobass).Thanks to the financial support of these NGOs, AgriCongo has been able to fund a farmers’ lobby in Kinshasa. “The issue now is to allow this permantent representation of farmers’ organisations to take up a clear structure.This gives the farmers’ organisations a permanent lever in the capital in order to improve the fate of farmer families,” concludes Aertsen.

    Source: Dimension3


    Link Read more [FR]
    Link Congolese Parliament Website
    Link EU cooperation with Congo


  21. Commission publishes annual report on development
    2011-07-18
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security

    In parallel to the meeting of the EU Development Ministers in Poland, the European Commission publishes the 2011 Report on development and external assistance. It confirms the Commission as one of the largest providers of development aid in the world, with commitments and disbursements exceeding €11 billion respectively. The priorities for 2010 were to continue ensuring progress of the Millennium Development Goals and to help developing countries tackling the impact of the economic downturn and the food prices instability. EU aid's intention was to prevent progress from backsliding because of the crisis and to consolidate what has been achieved.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Read the report
    Link Commission: DG DEVCO


  22. Informal meeting of development ministers
    2011-07-18
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Food Security

    Under the Polish Presidency, an informal meeting of EU ministers in charge of development took place in Sopot on 14th-15th July. On behalf of EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy and Security Catherine Ashton, the meeting was chaired by Krzysztof Stanowski, Under-Secretary of State for Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also taking part was the Commissioner in charge of Development Andris Piebalgs. The ministers discussed the shape of financial instruments of the EU’s external policy after 2013, development policy towards Central Asia and the Pacific, joint programming and preparations to the Fourth High Level Forum on Effective Assistance in Busan (29th Novmeber -1st December). […] The first session was devoted to the future architecture of financial instruments. The starting point of the discussion was the proposed EU budget for 20142-2020, submitted by the EC on 29th June this year. The Commissioned proposed increasing resources for external activities from €57 million to €750 billion in 2014-2020. The discussion at the second thematic sessions centred on development strategies for Central Asia and the Pacific. […] The meeting afforded an occasion to exchange views on future cooperation in the Pacific region, especially as regards EU commitments on counteracting the results of climate change. […] The meeting ended with a session devoted to the Fourth High Level Forum on Effective Assistance. The Fourth Forum in Pusan will be the most important event in the field of development during the Polish Presidency. The purpose of the meeting of ministers in Sopot was to continue the discussion on the shape of the common EU position at that Forum.

    Source: Polish Presidency


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: Annual report on development
    Link Aid Effectiveness Forum in Busan


  23. New fisheries agreements with Seychelles and São Tomé and Príncipe
    2011-07-18
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    The Council of Ministers has approved two new fisheries agreements with Seychelles and São Tomé and Príncipe. The agreements allow EU vessels to catch up to 7000 tons per year in São Tomé’s waters and 52000 tons per year in Seychelles’ waters until 2014. It also vows to compensate governments with 65€ per ton of caught fish, the fishermen adding another 35€ per ton). In June, the European Parliament had already given its accord to the agreement. The EU is currently preparing a new fisheries partnership with Cape Verde worth another 5000 tons per year and has opened negotiations for a partnership with Gabon.

    Source: Council of Ministers/CTA


    Link Read more
    Link The Parliament gives its green light
    Link The agreement with Cape Verde



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