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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 296]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 296]
Send date: 2011-10-28 16:44:59
Issue #: 112
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. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 31/10 to 06/11/2011
  2. Our video guest: Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CTO
  3. West Africa: Traders want National Assembly's intervention on EPAs
  4. Pacific workshop on improving access to finance for the agricultural sector
  5. 31 October sees world population grow to 7 billion
  6. Parliament votes growth-stimulating budget for 2012
  7. MEPs: Global finance and its institutions need a facelift
  8. Faster funding to save more lives when disasters hit
  9. EU Trade Commissioner addresses ACP assembly over EPAs
  10. Africa's top trade negotiator, Tankeu, dies at 67
  11. ACP-CTO roundtable stresses broadband’s crucial role in development
  12. CAP reform : an exchange of views in the European Parliament
  13. UN expert: Farmers must not be disempowered labourers on their own land
  14. Amendments of fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks for 2011
  15. Attijariwafa Bank Group and AFD partner to facilitate access to financing
  16. CAP: Voluntary modulation of direct payments
  17. Kenya walking tightrope on EPAs talks
  18. Development: French G20 presidency brings together civil society groups
  19. Members eye path of ‘smaller steps’ as way out of Doha impasse
  20. Agriculture ministers discuss the CAP reform package
  21. Zimbabwe: government to ratify EPA
  22. The European Commission increases its aid to Horn of Africa
  23. Commission adopts plan for €50 billion boost to European networks
  24. German food firm Kaufland supports Gambian fishery via MSC label
  25. Geopolitics of hunger: “There is no fate”


  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 31/10 to 06/11/2011
    2011-10-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    Council of Ministers
    -04 November: Coreper I Meeting
    G20

    -03/04 November: G20 Summit in Cannes
    ACP Group
    -31 October: Management Meeting
    -03 November : Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors
    European Commission
    -02 November: Weekly meeting of the college

    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


  2. Our video guest: Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, CTO
    2011-10-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Archive

    Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah is the former head of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) and a former Minister of Telecom, Education, Mines and Energy in Ghana. In our CTA interview, conducted at the ACP-Europe Roundtable on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Dr. Spio-Garbrah reveals whether mobile or fixed broadband is better suited for giving Africans internet access, and talks about the support needed from the African governments.


    Link Watch the video
    Link ACP-Europe Roundtable on ICT
    Link CTO


  3. West Africa: Traders want National Assembly's intervention on EPAs
    2011-10-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The President of the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has called on the National Assembly to follow the proceedings in the on-going Economic Partnership Agreement between the ECOWAS and the European Union to ensure that the final document adds value to the Nigerian economy.

    The NANTS President Ken Ukaoha made the remarks at the National Assembly, Abuja during the parliamentary briefing with the House of Representatives Committee on Commerce on the EPA negotiation.

    "As representatives of the people who have the power to ratify any agreements, we want you to investigate through your oversight functions and make sure that we have an EPA that will add value and not destroy our economy.

    "There is no way you can ratify what you don't have knowledge of and that is why we said let us bring the issue to your knowledge," he said.

    He said that even though the EPA agreement has its benefits like increase market access and entry, increased growth of competitive industries, low cost for imported equipments from EU among others, it also has its negative impacts on the economy.

    Source: AllAfrica/Daily Trust


    Link Read more
    Link EU-ACP EPAs
    Link Trade Cssr addresses ACP assembly over EPAs


  4. Pacific workshop on improving access to finance for the agricultural sector
    2011-10-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    With the current global recession, funding and financing has become a major issue in the Pacific region. The agriculture sector, in particular, has been experiencing difficulty in terms of accessing funds to support the sector. The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), in collaboration with the United Nations Commodity Trade and Development (UNCTAD) unit, jointly organised a two-day Pacific Regional Capacity Building Workshop on Enhancing Access to Finance for the Agricultural Sector from 20-21 October 2011.

    Participants included representatives of governments, development banks, micro-financing institutions, commercial banks, farmers and agri-processors from the Pacific region, as well as representatives from the Caribbean region.

    The objective of the workshop was to explore ways of improving access to finance for stakeholders within the agriculture sector. Successful agricultural commodity financing techniques and lessons learnt within and beyond the Pacific region are being shared among participants.

    Source: SPC


    Link Read more
    Link EU Delegation to the Pacific
    Link ACP high-level meeting on SME financing


  5. 31 October sees world population grow to 7 billion
    2011-10-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Archive

    On 31 October, the 7 billionth citizen in the world will see the light of the day. At the launch of the annual UNFPA report on the state of the world population in Brussels, panelists said that the continued increase of the world population poses challenges, but also opportunities.

    “At the launch of our world population report in 1999, we projected the 7th billion to be reached at the end of 2012. We now see that population growth has been faster than we thought,” said UNFPA Deputy Director Ivan Hermans. And Professor Patrick Deboosere from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel highlighted that the number of years between the moment where one billion is reached and the moment where the next billion is reached have shrunk. “The third billion human beings was reached 32 years after the second, but for the fourth it took only 15 more years, for the fifth 13 years and for the sixth and seventh 12 years,” he said. However, statistics project that the periods will become longer again, with a total of 10.1 billion world citizens by 2100. If fertility rates were to remain the same, statistics project more than 15 billion people by 2100.

    “We have to work on child mortality and towards a point where every child is wanted,” said Hermans. UNFPA works towards improving sexual health and reproductive health, and puts a particular emphasis on the empowerment of women. “Often, women do not have the control over how many children they want to have,” Hermans deplored.

    The European Commission will continue to focus on the promotion of equality and equity, noted Kristian Schmidt from DG DEVCO of the Commission. “High fertility rates still hinder development today,” he said, “our task is to break this link.”

    Overall, panelists agreed that the figure of 7 billion does not give reason to fear. “If we wanted to place people shoulder to shoulder, 7 billion world citizens would only cover the area of greater Los Angeles,” said Ivan Hermans before concluding: “But we should look at the development of each and every human, not only at the figures. Let us count on each other!”

    Source: CTA


    Link Read the report
    Link UNFPA
    Link CTA Interview with Ivan Hermans


  6. Parliament votes growth-stimulating budget for 2012
    2011-10-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Archive, ACP-EU Policy

    Parliament aimed for a 2012 budget for growth, employment and innovation in the Union and for supporting development and democracy in neighbouring countries, when it voted its position on next year's budget on Wednesday.

    In general, MEPs sought to restore the draft budget proposed by the Commission, which the Council cut in July. Parliament's position implies an increase in payments of 5.2% as compared to this year's budget, resulting in a budget of €133.1 billion.

    The spending categories that see the biggest increases in payments are Research and Development (+10.35%) and Cohesion and Structural funds (+8.8%).  […] Another category that sees a significant increase is Freedom, Security and Justice (+6.84%), due to growing needs to manage refugee and migration flows and step up maritime surveillance in the Mediterranean.

    By contrast, in category 1A, "Competitiveness for growth and employment" and category 4, "the EU as a global player", Parliament wants to spend only slightly more than the Commission originally proposed. […]

    Parliament agreed to add €250 million to emergency funds for fruit and vegetable producers. This money is meant to prevent future crises such as last year's EHEC-bacteria one and to compensate farmers for the financial consequences of further crises.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Read the resolution
    Link More information


  7. MEPs: Global finance and its institutions need a facelift
    2011-10-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness

    In the run-up to the November G20 summit in Cannes, Parliament on Tuesday adopted its contribution to reviewing global economic governance by a large majority. The non-legislative resolution calls for an overhaul of the IMF, primarily to make it a more political body, a halt to political meddling with exchange rates, and global rules to separate speculative banking activities from traditional retail ones. The G20 is also called upon to agree on the elements for a global financial transaction tax.

    The resolution, drafted by Gunnar Hokmark (EPP, SV) also calls for stronger global financial regulation and supervision to close loopholes, and highlights the need to address existing imbalances between world economies so as to avoid further turbulence, something the G20 has so far struggled hard to do.

    The resolution calls on the IMF to fulfil its growing role by becoming more legitimate, transparent and accountable. To this end, the resolution proposes that its managing director be elected through an "open and merit based" process and also calls for a fairer distribution of voting rights.  Finally the text calls for a widening of the IMF's mandate, primarily to monitor single economies of systemic importance and not only cross-country surveillance.

    More broadly, the resolution calls for better democratic accountability to be developed for the IMF, World Bank and the "G" formations, particularly the G20 and for all these financial institutions to coordinate their work better.

    Among the various elements proposed for making the global financial sector safer and better controlled, the resolution advocates two crucial items.  Firstly, it calls for the G20 to conclude discussions "without further ado" on the basic components of a global financial transaction tax. This call was backed by a large majority (594 in favour, 62 against, 3 abstentions).

    Secondly, the resolution calls on the Basel Committee of banking regulators to propose measures to ring-fence the retail banking activities of systemically important banks and require them to be capitalised on a standalone basis. This proposal mirrors that made in September by the Vickers report on the reform of the UK banking sector.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link French G20-G8 Presidency
    Link Oxfam: G20 poised for watershed summit


  8. Faster funding to save more lives when disasters hit
    2011-10-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    A new funding scheme has been launched by the British Government today to help UK aid partners deliver rapid, essential support when humanitarian emergencies strike - such as earthquakes, floods and famines.

    Providing funding quickly saves lives: people are most at risk in the first critical hours of any humanitarian response. The new scheme - known as the Rapid Response Facility - will make sure the UK can allocate funds with speed to trusted partners that deliver high quality results and provide the best value for money.

    The new scheme meets one of the key commitments in the Government’s response to Lord Ashdown's Humanitarian Emergency Response Review by establishing a facility to provide fast funding to pre-qualified organisations in the first 72 hours following an emergency.

    DFID is now seeking applications from UK based organisations to register for the Rapid Response Facility (RRF), which firmly puts the emphasis on delivery, rather than paperwork in the first critical stages of a humanitarian response.

    Source: DFID


    Link Read more
    Link Commission: DG ECHO
    Link The Commission increases aid to Horn of Africa


  9. EU Trade Commissioner addresses ACP assembly over EPAs
    2011-10-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Speaking to the group of ACP countries last week, EU Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht took a conciliatory but firm stance with regard to the pending negotiation and ratification of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) between the EU and the ACP regions. “After 4 years, 18 countries have still not moved towards ratification of their agreements,” said De Gucht. “This situation is unfair towards those which have done so. Therefore, the Commission has had to adopt a proposal to withdraw market access preferences by the end of 2013, for those countries that do not complete their procedures.”

    While the loss of preferential market access may hit several countries hard, De Gucht said he was optimistic that many regions will have completed negotiations and ratification by the beginning of 2014. “We reached out to the governments concerned to ensure timely completion of legal obligations,” the Commissioner said. “At the same time, we also put in solid efforts to intensify negotiations on full EPAs, with some good results. If sufficient political will is mustered on all sides and we develop a realistic understanding of our mutual interests, it is possible to conclude these processes soon, well in time for ratification before 2014.”

    Source: CTA/European Commission


    Link Read more [PDF]
    Link EU-ACP EPAs
    Link African Union puts EPA negotiations on hold


  10. Africa's top trade negotiator, Tankeu, dies at 67
    2011-10-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    Africa’s top trade negotiator, Elizabeth Tankeu, the Trade Commissioner at the African Union (AU), has died aged 67, while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Paris, France, the AU said Monday.

    The AU Commission announced its flag was flying at half-mast in honour of the late trade and industry commissioner, whose tough stance against unfair trade deals saw a more assertive Africa take on the rest of the world in a hunt for a better trading deal.

    The AU officially put on hold negotiations with the European Union (EU), saying no single country should sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a deal which seeks to gain easy access to African markets for European industrial goods.

    “The AU Flag is flying at half mast at its headquarters on 17 October following the untimely death of Mrs. Tankeu, who passed away 16 October, at the age of 67, in a hospital in Paris, where she was evacuated about three months ago for medical treatment,” the AU said in a statement.

    The AU Commission Chief Jean Ping sent a message of condolence to the Cameroonian Government, Tankeu’s country of origin, where she served as trade minister before her election to the post of trade commissioner.

    Source: panapress.com


    Link Read more
    Link African Union
    Link Elizabeth Tankeu


  11. ACP-CTO roundtable stresses broadband’s crucial role in development
    2011-10-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    Heads of ICT regulators in the ACP region emphasized the importance of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT’s) as a driving force behind development, and called for increased broadband penetration in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries at a roundtable event on Thursday.

    The conference, co-organized by the ACP Secretariat and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO), aimed to increase awareness about the latest technological developments and policy trends in Broadband, and its key role in promoting e-governance and e-society.

    “I want us to understand and agree that broadband is not simply a technology, a frequency, an ICT instrument or a mere telecom terminology, but rather it is a veritable facilitator of economic development through rapid knowledge acquisition, storage, processing, distribution and utilization,” said former CTO head Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah of Ghana in his keynote address.

    He pointed to academic research showing the “direct causal relationship” between broadband access and general economic growth. The World Bank estimates that a 10% increase in Internet penetration leads to a 1.38% increase in GDP growth amongst low-middle income countries.

    With Broadband penetration in 2009 estimated to be 1.9 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, 7.46 percent in the Caribbean and 1.6 percent in Pacific (excluding Australia and New Zealand), it is apparent that a more concerted effort is needed to catalyse Broadband rollout in ACP countries. The ACP Secretariat and the CTO have decided to help create enabling policy and regulatory environments for broadband rollout in ACP countries, facilitate policy and regulatory harmonisation across regions and provide guidance on optimising the positive impact of Broadband through innovative applications and services. They want to act as a platform for the sharing of knowledge about collaboration, harmonisation, infrastructure sharing, spectrum management, competition and pricing, as well as increasing the spread of mobile broadband.

    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link Read the communique
    Link CTA interview with Dr. Spio-Garbrah


  12. CAP reform : an exchange of views in the European Parliament
    2011-10-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Food Security, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    The meeting of the Agricultural and Rural Development Committee which took place in Strasbourg on 20 October 2011 allowed for an exchange of views between MEPs and Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos about the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

    Commissioner Ciolos underlined his determination to cap the payment given to large agro-enterprises. “What we wish for is to have more coherence, more transparency and more clarity and justification of the way in which the payments will be attributed,” he added.

    José Bové, Member of the European Parliament and Vice President of the Committees on Agriculture and International Trade showed his preoccupation about the degression beginning at 150.000 EUR. In his eyes, nothing will change and it will only be a marginal degression.

    “I don’t think that the objective of the cap of payments is to hurt the big enterprises and that it fair to say that it is by definition a bad thing,” Commissioner Ciolos responded. For me, the problem is transparency in the way in which these payments are attributed. I think that 150.000 EUR as a starting point for the degression and 300.000 EUR as a cap are reasonable levels.”

    The next meeting of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee will take place on 7 November 2011.

    Source: CTA


    Link Read more
    Link ACP and LDC sugar suppliers deplore proposals
    Link Commission: The CAP post-2013


  13. UN expert: Farmers must not be disempowered labourers on their own land
    2011-10-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security, Food Policy

    “For too long farmers have been forced to eke out a living from subsistence agriculture or, once they've fallen in debt, to cede their land and labour to work in exploitative conditions on plantations. Our failure to help small-scale farmers to access markets – and to live decently from farming – is a key cause of hunger,” warned Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food.

    “We must empower smallholders to negotiate decent terms with buyers, and we must explore the most inclusive business models. Governments must not shirk their responsibility to oversee arrangements between farmers and buyers, and to equip smallholders to rise up the value chain.”

    Recent years have seen an upsurge in large-scale land purchases by foreign investors – so-called ‘land-grabbing’ – but less attention has been paid to the parallel rise in contract farming arrangements, whereby farmers commit their output to processing or marketing firms at predetermined prices.

    Source: UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food


    Link Read more
    Link Civil society groups call for action
    Link CTA interview with Laura Sullivan, ActionAid


  14. Amendments of fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks for 2011
    2011-10-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    The 3120th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 20 October 2011 adopted an amendment to regulations 57/2011 and 754/2009 as regards the protection of the species "porbeagle", certain total allowable catches (TACs) and certain fishing effort limits set for the United Kingdom, Germany and Ireland (14490/11). Regulation 57/2011 fixes for 2011 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks applicable in EU waters and, for EU vessels, in certain non-EU waters. Porbeagle is considered by this regulation as a prohibited species in international waters. However considering the possible change in the status of this species under the CITES convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) this amendment foresees a consistent protection in some areas within EU waters where porbeagle catches remained unrestricted.

    In addition, some provisions of the cod management plan (regulation 1342/2008) establishes an effort regime for this stock which is based on regular data to be provided by member states to the Commission and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). On the basis of the STCEF advice, a specific amendment excludes certain groups of vessels from this fishing effort regime. This amendment implies also a change in regulation 754/2009 regarding the inclusion or exclusion of vessel groups in this plan. Finally minor amendments include an upward revision of the TAC for Celtic Sea cod and a technical correction regarding the scope of the temporary fishing restriction in the Porcupine Bank (Norway lobster).

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more [PDF]
    Link UK secures breakthrough on management of fish stocks
    Link New Fisheries and Aquaculture issue [PDF]


  15. Attijariwafa Bank Group and AFD partner to facilitate access to financing
    2011-10-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    The Chief Executive Officer of Attijariwafa Bank Group, Mr. Boubker Jai, signed an agreement today with the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of AFD, Mr. Didier Mercier, which aims to speed up the process to finance entrepreneurs in Africa and the Mediterranean.

    This agreement concerns Attijariwafa Bank Group’s subsidiaries in Sub-Saharan African and North African regions, but the geographical area may be extended. Under the agreement, AFD will guarantee up to 50% of the risk borne by Attijariwafa Bank Group’s subsidiaries, with a limit of €2m per borrower. The Group’s subsidiaries may also place 50% of the amount of medium and long-term loans to VSEs and SMEs with amounts lower than €300,000 under a guarantee portfolio. The total budget for guarantees allocated by AFD to these loans stands at €50m. The guarantee mechanism is simple and rapid. The ACP Group recently discussed the findings of a report on SME financing in ACP countries; the finalised report is to be published before the end of November.

    Source: AFD


    Link Read more
    Link Attijariwafa bank
    Link ACP high-level meeting on SME financing


  16. CAP: Voluntary modulation of direct payments
    2011-10-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Food Policy, ACP-EU Trade

    The 3120th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 20 October 2011 adopted a regulation amending regulation 378/2007 as regards the rules for the implementation of voluntary modulation of direct payments under the CAP following a first-reading agreement with the European Parliament (36/11). This amended regulation aligns only the provisions of regulation 378/2007 on the Lisbon Treaty which makes a distinction between the powers delegated to the Commission.

    Provided that only two member states are covered by this regulation, the powers conferred on the Commission are classified as implementing acts covering the adoption of uniform conditions for implementing legally binding UE acts (as laid down in Article 291(2) of the Treaty). The modulation concerns the compulsory transfer of a proportion of direct payments to farmers made under the CAP from agricultural market support (Pillar 1) to rural development (Pillar 2). The scope of the amended regulation is the "voluntary modulation" which is the system allowing certain member states to modulate direct payments to farmers at a rate over and above that of the compulsory EU-wide modulation scheme. However, it should be noted that the substance of the regulation stays untouched by the amendment which imply only procedural changes.

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more [PDF]
    Link CAP: Greening measures spark misgivings
    Link Commission: The CAP post-2013


  17. Kenya walking tightrope on EPAs talks
    2011-10-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The outcome of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations scheduled for December will determine the future of trade between the EAC bloc and European Union. The negotiations have been on a 14-month break since the Zanzibar meeting in September.

    EAC hopes to challenge the EU’s strict sanitary and phytosanitary requirements (SPS) on regional exports that have long locked commodities from the region out of the European market. The standards are said to be higher than those of other world organisations.

    The region’s technological standards can’t match these EU requirements and experts have urged the bloc to raise the issue come December.

    Source: Bilaterals


    Link Read more
    Link EU-EPA Trade Negotiations
    Link EU cooperation with Kenya


  18. Development: French G20 presidency brings together civil society groups
    2011-10-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    In 2011, in the context of the Arab Spring and the international economic crisis, the development of Southern countries takes a new dimension which transcends the duty of solidarity. Development policy today is an essential macroeconomic support to solve crises and to bring about a more prosperous and stable world. To bring about equitable and long-term growth, an upright cooperation between developed countries, emerging countries and developing countries is necessary.

    For this reason, the French minister for Development Cooperation, Henri de Raincourt, has invited governments and civil society actors to a conference on 21 October, in anticipation of the G20 summit at the beginning of November in Cannes.

    This high-level conference had the threefold objective of mobilising civil society for development, to foster an exchange about the proposals of the G20 development ministers meeting that took place in Washington D.C. on 23 September and to have an open debate about issues of development cooperation between governments, international organisations, NGOs, enterprises, university and high school students, labour organisations, politicians and Members of Parliament as well as experts, intellectuals, journalists and bloggers.

    Source: French Foreign Affairs Ministry


    Link Read more [FR]
    Link Read the programme of the conference [FR]
    Link French G20 activities on development [FR]


  19. Members eye path of ‘smaller steps’ as way out of Doha impasse
    2011-10-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Archive

    Ambassadors from WTO member governments confirmed on 21 October 2011 that the upcoming ministerial conference should set a deadlock-breaking path for the Doha Round perhaps by starting on issues where an early agreement might be possible.

    Speaking at an informal meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), which oversees talks in all Doha Round subjects, they agreed with the committee’s chairman, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, that this should be one of the messages of the 15–17 December Ministerial Conference in Geneva.

    They also agreed that the Doha Round is at an impasse, that there is little chance of the membership concluding the negotiations in all subjects in the near future as they had originally intended, but that they do not want to give up the objectives of the negotiations, which were launched in Doha in 2001.

    Source: WTO


    Link Read more
    Link More information
    Link Chair reports on preparations for Ministerial


  20. Agriculture ministers discuss the CAP reform package
    2011-10-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Food Policy, ACP-EU Trade

    The 3120th Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Luxembourg on 20 October 2011 was briefed and held an exchange of views on the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package. As regards direct payments, several member states raised concerns. While some delegations agree with the introduction of "greening" measures in the first pillar, several member states questioned the compulsory nature of certain agricultural practices or the percentage of the national envelope devoted to this "greening". In addition, some delegations reiterated their opposition to the capping of the basic payment scheme. The notion of "active farmer" also raised many questions. Actions proposed in favour of small farms and young farmers were generally well received. Concerning direct payments and rural development, a vast majority of delegations raised concerns that the measures proposed seemed to go against the simplification of the CAP which considered as a major objective of this reform.

    On the market management mechanisms, most of the member states acknowledged the measures proposed by the Commission. They noted in particular the interest of having a safeguard clause introduced for all sectors allowing for the introduction of emergency measures. Some member states regretted the end of the sugar quota system for 2015 while other praised the liberalisation of the sector which will follow the end of this system. Several delegations are in favour of rules related to the recognition of producers’ organisation and interbranch organisations. Some other member states considered the risk to have a bias in competition. The Polish Presidency will organise two more policy debates on direct payments and rural development respectively in November and December 2011.

    Source: Council of Ministers


    Link Read more [PDF]
    Link Ministers wary about Commission's farm reform
    Link Hedegaard: CAP reform is a step forward


  21. Zimbabwe: government to ratify EPA
    2011-10-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The Zimbabwean government has taken steps to ratify at least five bilateral and multilateral economic and trade partnership agreements before the end of the year to aid faster economic growth and development after a long stagnation.

    The move comes as the economy enters its fourth year of consecutive growth, following a decade of instability that resulted in the gross domestic product shrinking by half, the advent of hyperinflation and the collapse of critical sectors.

    According to a copy of the votes and proceedings of the House of Assembly of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, the trade agreements include bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements with India and the State of Kuwait.

    The trade pacts encompass economic partnership agreements between the European Union and African, Caribbean and the Pacific Group of States, as well as the international coffee agreement and the Cotonou agreement. It is expected that the five trade agreements would be ratified during the current session of the fourth session of the seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe.

    Source: AllAfrica/The Herald


    Link Read more
    Link Trade Policy Review: ZimbabweTrade Policy Review: Zimbabwe
    Link EU Delegation to Zimbabwe


  22. The European Commission increases its aid to Horn of Africa
    2011-10-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, Food Security

    The European Commission is mobilising an additional €24 million to assist vulnerable people threatened by famine and the effects of drought in the Horn of Africa.

    The extra funding is on top of the €160 million provided by the Commission so far. It is announced three months since famine was declared by the United Nations in parts of Somalia and will provide food, water and treatment for malnourished children, as well as increasing protection and security for refugees and humanitarian aid workers at Dadaab camp in north-east Kenya.

    Dadaab, which lies close to the Somali border, is the world's largest refugee camp with a population expected to reach half a million within the next months.

    More than 13 million people are currently threatened by the effects of drought in the Horn of Africa and the Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva today renews her appeal for the world to continue to show solidarity and generosity towards this vulnerable population.

    "Millions of people in the Horn of Africa need our daily help to stay alive," said Commissioner Georgieva. "Children are at highest risk, and are particularly vulnerable to the horrible by-product of much expected rains - a spread of diseases like diarrhea, cholera, malaria. The most dramatic needs remain inside Somalia, where we provide life-saving support to over 1.7 million people, often under extremely difficult conditions."

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Cssr Georgieva: The camp you didn't know
    Link EU activities in the Horn of Africa


  23. Commission adopts plan for €50 billion boost to European networks
    2011-10-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Archive

    The European Commission has tabled a plan which will fund €50 billion worth of investment to improve Europe's transport, energy and digital networks. […] By focussing on smart, sustainable and fully interconnected transport, energy and digital networks, the Connecting Europe Facility will help to complete the European single market. […]

    The facility will invest €31.7 billion to upgrade Europe's transport infrastructure, build missing links and remove bottlenecks. This includes €10 billion ring fenced in the Cohesion Fund for transport projects in the cohesion countries, with the remaining 21.7 billion available for all Member States for investing in transport infrastructure. The idea is to improve links between different parts of the EU, to make it easier for different countries to exchange goods and people with each other. […]

    The energy sector can look forward to €9.1 billion being invested in trans-European infrastructure, helping to meet the EU 2020 energy and climate objectives. […] The internal market for energy will be further developed through better interconnections, leading to security of supply and the possibility to transport renewable energy in a cost effective manner across the EU. […]

    The facility also foresees almost €9.2 billion to support investment in fast and very fast broadband networks and pan-European digital services. The CEF finance will leverage other private and public money, by giving infrastructure projects credibility and lowering their risk profiles. On the basis of conservative estimates, the Commission considers that the network infrastructure finance could stimulate investment worth more than €50 billion. The Digital Agenda for Europe set targets for 2020 of broadband access for all at speeds of at least 30 Mbps, with at least 50% of households subscribing to speeds above 100Mbps.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link More information
    Link Greens: Backward-looking Commission proposals


  24. German food firm Kaufland supports Gambian fishery via MSC label
    2011-10-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Policy, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Regional Fisheries

    A four-week campaign has been launched last week in over 100 Kaufland branches with fish counters to raise awareness among the supermarket’s customers for sustainable fish consumption.

    At the same time, the Kaufland campaign is supporting traditional tonguesole fishing in the Gambia. For every kilogram of fresh fish sold bearing the label of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) during the four-week MSC campaign, Kaufland will be donating 50 euro cents to the African fishery, thereby helping to improve the situation of fishermen in the Gambia.

    In over 100 branches with fresh fish counters across Germany, Kaufland, which runs a chain of food hypermarkets throughout the country, is using posters, flyers, information panels, pennants and special product labels on its broad range of MSC-certified sustainably caught fish to raise awareness among customers for ecologically responsible fish consumption.

    In the Gambia, over 500 fishermen go out every day in 250 canoes to catch tonguesole in the Eastern Central Atlantic and on the River Gambia. They catch around 1100 tons of tonguesole each year using single-wall bottom set nets.

    Traditional fishing is one of the main sources of income in the Gambia. The fishermen hope to be certified against the MSC standard for sustainable fishing in about two years’ time to improve their export chances. Kaufland’s pledge will help the fishery finance the certification process.

    Source: FIS Belgium


    Link Read more
    Link MSC


  25. Geopolitics of hunger: “There is no fate”
    2011-10-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Policy, Food Security

    “Massive destruction”, Jean Ziegler’s last book, attacks the enemies of the right to food. It’s a subject of high importance given the famine that ravages the Horn of Africa.

    He’s never more at ease than at the moment when he attacks the big trusts, savage liberalism and the accomplices of the international financial system. Jean Ziegler doesn’t rest or rust. He’s still there. He frequently receives prizes, is the guest of honour at colloquia organised all over the planet and still finds time to publish books. His last book, Massive Destruction, geopolitics of hunger, denounces the ruthlessness of a system that condemns a part of the world’s inhabitants to die from hunger. Too bad for those who thought that the Arab revolutions and the problems with regimes that he annoyed too much would gag him. Even if he admitted that he was sometimes wrong, revolution is still smouldering in him, a historical indignant.

    Source: Tribune de Genève


    Link Read more
    Link UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
    Link Brussels Briefing: Geopolitics of Food



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Isolina BOTO
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Editor: André Feldhof (feldhof@cta.int)

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