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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 304]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 304]
Send date: 2012-01-06 19:17:28
Issue #: 120
Content:
Bulletin CTA

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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. Our video guest: Denis Guibard, Orange France Telecom
  2. Export and import of hazardous chemicals
  3. A major austerity drive for the UN
  4. Homeless marine species
  5. QS-system: Changes from 1 January 2012
  6. Regulations to avoid disturbances on the market
  7. An inventory of Foresight Thinking in Agriculture
  8. South-South collaboration: Laying the groundwork
  9. Questioning the development credentials of AfT
  10. The Commission extends public consultations to 12 weeks
  11. Ministers exchange views on Durban
  12. Pacific ACP Group to conclude comprehensive EPAs with the EU
  13. Prices of agricultural commodities
  14. ‘Fast Start’ to takle climate change
  15. MEPs call for ETS to be axed
  16. Conclusions on the implementation of the EU's biodiversity strategy
  17. Strengthening Mozambique’s seed sector
  18. Graziano da Silva, new FAO Director-General
  19. Fleeing conflict in North Sudan
  20. Cutting emissions by 2050


  1. Our video guest: Denis Guibard, Orange France Telecom
    2012-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Archive, Environment, Rural development

    Denis Guibard, Vice-President, Sustainable Development, Products and Services, from Orange France Telecom met CTABrussels during the presentation of the study entitled; “Leveraging Information and Communication Technology for the BoP– Innovative business models in education, health, agriculture and financial services”. He stresses the great potential of ICT for development, notably in the agricultural sector. Furthermore, he highlights that cross-actor collaboration is key to meeting successful ICT-based projects.


    Link Watch the video
    Link ICT to boost development in Africa
    Link The report


  2. Export and import of hazardous chemicals
    2012-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    In public deliberation, the Environment Council took into account a progress report on the proposal for a regulation concerning the export and import of hazardous chemicals. The aim of the proposal  is to replace regulation, which implements the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.
    Provisions therein go beyond those of the Convention  offering  further protection to importing:  these are not only addressed to the Parties of the Convention but all countries. Furthermore, the proposed new regulation also covers those chemicals at EU level.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link Health and Safety
    Link The Commission's proposal


  3. A major austerity drive for the UN
    2012-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    Although developing countries have urged the spending to be maintained,   UN member countries have agreed to cut the global body's budget for 2012-2013. While the 2010-2011 budget was set at $5. 41 billion, this coming biennium will be at $5.15 billion."All budget years are tough. But this year was especially difficult. Governments and people everywhere are struggling. It is a time of global financial austerity”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.
    As IPS News has reported, a long debate between Western nations and the 132-member Group of 77 developing nations left unresolved two key issues: should there be across-the-board budget cuts on programme managers? And should automatic annual pay increases for U.N. staff be eliminated or suspended?
    A major austerity drive could lead possible layoffs, salary freezes, reduction in official travel and drastic cuts in printed documents.

    Source: IPS news


    Link Read more
    Link UN Regular Budget
    Link UN chops Budget


  4. Homeless marine species
    2012-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries, Environment

    According to a study recently published in the journal Science, increasing temperatures will have a great impact on the habitats of animals and plants. Particularly some marine species, which will be forced to find new environments, will have great difficulties to cope with the changes.
    The data provided by new international research shows the speed species populations may be forced to move  in the future before the expected changing temperatures. The study has been carried out by experts from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Spain, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Effects on ocean animals
    Link Europe´s ocean changing


  5. QS-system: Changes from 1 January 2012
    2012-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Less than one year ago the EHEC-bacteria had remarkable impact on the production and sale of fruit and vegetables in Germany. In view of the remarkable and negative consequences that it produced, last year the QS-certification system was decided to be changed with effect from 1 January 2012.  
    Among the measures, there will be new requirements in the area of seed vegetables. This new guideline deals with all processes in which products after harvesting are cut, peeled, packed, grated, minced or pureed. It applies to all sectors. Some other changes in the QS-system relate to the improvement of the safety processes.

    Source: FreshPlaza


    Link Read more
    Link EU Food Safety Policy
    Link Microbiological risks in food


  6. Regulations to avoid disturbances on the market
    2012-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Regional Fisheries

    A regulation suspending the autonomous common customs tariff duties on certain agricultural, fishery and industrial products was adopted at the 3139th Council meeting on Environment, held last December 2011. Additionally, the Council adopted a regulation opening autonomous EU tariff quotas for certain agricultural and industrial products.  
    The objective of the two regulations is to ensure sufficient and uninterrupted supplies of certain goods insufficiently produced in the EU and to avoid any disturbances on the market for certain agricultural and industrial products.

    Source: The Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link UK trough EU options?
    Link Multilateralism at a crossroads


  7. An inventory of Foresight Thinking in Agriculture
    2012-01-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Archive

    An electronic media-oriented inventory has been recently launched through the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR). The main aim is to identify and record forward-thinking activities in a systematic and documented way, on agriculture-related issues.
    Furthermore, this inventory is expected to contribute to the operation of the Global Foresight Hub which will enable all those involved in forward thinking to share experiences and exchange views. As important point, the inventory is expected to get linked with decision-makers.
    Participation in the implementation is an opportunity to share work, publications and interact with other professionals. Several languages for the survey link, which is accessible from 07 December 2011 to 15 January 2012, are provided.

    Source: Global Forum on Agricultural research


    Link Read more
    Link The internet and agricultural development
    Link Foresight for development


  8. South-South collaboration: Laying the groundwork
    2012-01-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Archive

    The 2nd India-Africa Economic Mission, which was held last December in Hyderabad, India, seemed to build the foundation for South-South collaboration. The meeting was organized by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Brussels-based EMRC International.
    The 2nd India-Africa Economic Mission was attended by the 25-member mission from Nigeria, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Chad, Malawi and South Africa.  The participants, who were academicians, planners, strategists, top executives or technical directors of private firms, had a same concern: to ensure sustainable development in Africa.
    The meeting, which consisted  of discussions, field visits , knowledge sharing as well as several Business to Business (B2B) meetings which allowed the participants and their Indian counterparts to get down to business and forge partnerships.

    Source: PAEPARD


    Link Read more
    Link South-South
    Link Video debate on Voxafrica


  9. Questioning the development credentials of AfT
    2012-01-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy, Rural development

    In the era of the ‘post’-Washington Consensus, Aid for Trade (AfT) has become as one of the most popular and widespread forms of support to low-income states from donors. Through trade concessions, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Commission, and the UK Department for International Development (DfID), among other institutions, have aimed at aligning trade liberalisation deals and poverty reduction objectives. A working paper, recently published by The Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester, questions the development credentials of AfT.
    The paper, which is structured in 4 sections, reviews AfT instruments in the context of ongoing WTO negotiations for further liberalisation in North-South trade, with special emphasis on the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). Notably, the fourth section examines the role of AfT mechanisms within the framework of ACP-EU relations with a focus on the bilateral Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

    Source: BWPI


    Link Read more
    Link Aid for Trade 2011
    Link Aid for trade in Africa surpasses


  10. The Commission extends public consultations to 12 weeks
    2012-01-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security, Food Policy

    From 1 January, the European citizens, businesses and non-governmental organisations have up to 12 weeks to comment on plans for new policies and legislation, compared to 8 weeks previously. With this extension it will be easier for the aforementioned actors to get  involved in EU policy-making at an early stage. Furthermore, an alert service for upcoming initiatives will also strengthen the role of citizens. With its policy for 'smart regulation' the European Commission (EC) aims at involving citizens and businesses in the legislative process.
    "By keeping our consultations open longer we will strengthen the voice of the citizens, businesses and organisations that help us shape our policies for the benefit of all”, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC,  said.
    The main aim of the extended consultation period is to increase the participation, especially from underrepresented groups to ensure that the EC takes all relevant evidence and concerns into account when drafting a legislative proposal.


    Link Read more
    Link The EC and the consultations of NGOs
    Link Building a stronger partnership


  11. Ministers exchange views on Durban
    2012-01-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Ministers had an exchange of views on the outcome of the Durban Conference at the 3139th Council meeting on Environment, held in Brussels last December 2011. It was generally acknowledged that the EU, which was actively engaged in international negotiations before and during the Conference, played a key role in achieving the final agreement.
    The majority of the member states agreed that, though a big and important step, the EU must keep on working to secure a legal framework for climate action, expected to be into force by 2020.  Ministers also stressed the importance of reinforcing cooperation with other countries as agreed in Durban.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link Durban Platform for Enhanced Action
    Link Start of fight for EU climate chief


  12. Pacific ACP Group to conclude comprehensive EPAs with the EU
    2012-01-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    According to the most recent updates on the Pacific ACP Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations, provided during the 94th ACP Council of Ministers and held on December 2011 in Brussels, the region is committed to continue negotiating a comprehensive EPA as a single region.  Negotiations will be concluded in 2012, as mandated by Pacific ACP Leaders in September 2011. Tonga’s Minister for Labour, Commerce and Industries along with the Pacific ACP Lead Spokesperson, Hon. ‘Isileli Pulu, reaffirmed to the Council the region’s commitment on behalf of the Pacific ACP Group.  
    Pacific ACP Lead Spokesperson Hon. ‘Isileli Pulu stressed that the Pacific worked to complete eight additional market access offers over 2011, for the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Furthermore, he highlighted the successful conclusion of negotiations on accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) by Samoa and Vanuatu, which were recently formalised at the 8th WTO Ministerial Conference.
    It is important to note that Pacific ACP States are concurrently negotiating several regional trade agreements, such as the extension of the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), covering trade in services, and PACER Plus negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.

    Source: ACP


    Link En savoir plus
    Link EU-Pacific: Regional Strategy
    Link ACP Parliamentarians urge 'flexibility'


  13. Prices of agricultural commodities
    2012-01-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, ACP-EU Trade

    According to the EC International Price Monitoring, in November 2011 prices of agricultural commodities mostly followed prior trends. While increases were recorded for products such as beef and rice, prices of sugar and butter decreased over 6 %.
    The largest increases were recorded for whole milk powder (4%), rice (5%), soybean meal (5.3%), and beef (8%). Notable decreases were recorded for butter and sugar (both 6%). Nominal food price indices declined (this latter not relying on prices described in the last EC International Price Monitoring).  Market fundamentals continue to support price easing despite global macroeconomic uncertainty.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link 2011 UNCTAD Handbook Statics
    Link Stabilisation policies could destabilise food prices


  14. ‘Fast Start’ to takle climate change
    2012-01-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Environment, Archive

    As part of a global scheme intended to assist poor and vulnerable countries in adapting to climate change, the UK has recently unveiled a new series of Fast Start projects. Among these projects are plans that will help 250,000 small scale farmers make use of climate-resilient practices, connect more than 7000 rural households and save 47 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
    During the Copenhagen climate meeting in 2009, developed countries held talks to provide around $30bn of Fast Start Finance for the period 2010-2012, with the UK greatly contributing (£1.5bn).
    Start finance for 2011 and 2012 is funded from the UK government’s £2.9bn International Climate Fund (ICF).

    Source: UK Department for International Development


    Link Read more
    Link Examples in action
    Link Fast Start Finance


  15. MEPs call for ETS to be axed
    2012-01-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    According to the Environment Committee MEPs, who met in December 2011, Emissions Trading System (ETS) credits should be set aside in an effort to help raise the dropping carbon price. The Opinion on the proposed Energy Efficiency Directive, spearheaded in the Environment Committee by Peter Liese (EPP, DE), was adopted with 52 votes in favour, 3 against and 6 abstentions. “We approved a careful intervention in the ETS. The Commission should set a significant number of allowances aside to stabilise the carbon price", Mr.Liese said.
    The Energy Efficiency Directive is expected to be voted on in the lead Industry and Energy Committee on 24 January 2012, prior to a vote in plenary or possible discussions with co-legislators in the Council.
    Additionally, MEPs voted on measures to meet EU’s 20% energy efficiency target by 2020, a crucial topic as the EU is only expected to achieve only half of this. Although MEPs generally supported the Commission's approach to improving energy efficiency, they asked Member States for "mandatory national targets" and greater flexibility on how to achieve them.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link 'Tough talks' likely afterwards?
    Link Voting on energy efficency


  16. Conclusions on the implementation of the EU's biodiversity strategy
    2012-01-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    After hours of intense discussions at the meeting of the Environment Council (December 2011),  held  in Brussels,  ministers agreed conclusions on the implementation of the EU's biodiversity strategy. They identified key areas of work and invited the Commission to develop and agree on a common implementation framework with Member States.
    Ministers declared "that a co-ordinated and streamlined approach is needed for the implementation of the strategy". The aim is to meet the EU's headline target, defined as "halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services […] and restoring them in so far as feasible" and endorsed by the European Council on 26 March 2010. The Council also called on the Commission and the Member States to integrate and mainstream biodiversity targets in the development and implementation of all relevant EU and national sectoral policies.
    Meeting the targets of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity will constitute an important step towards honouring the global commitment on biodiversity outlined in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Biodiversity targets resulting from the Conference of the Parties to the Biodiversity Convention in Nagoya in October 2010.
    The Commission is expected to report on progress in relation to the common implementation framework in early 2012.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link UN Decade on Biodiversity
    Link European Biodiversity Research Strategy 2010-2020


  17. Strengthening Mozambique’s seed sector
    2012-01-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Security

    A new United Nations initiative in Mozambique aimed at increasing the quality of seeds will help the African country capitalize on its arable land and unlock its potential, the Organization’s agricultural agency. Launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),  this initiative seeks to help Mozambican farmers by increasing the quality of local seed production and boosting the country’s overall crop yields.

    Although the country has the potential to feed itself, local food prices have shot up several times following the global surge in food prices in 2007-2008.  As Mahomed Valá, national director of agrarian services in Mozambique’s agriculture ministry, has said "it has become crucial to increase production".

    It is important to remember that the organization and the European Union have greatly contributed to the reinforcement of Mozambique‘s seed sector. In 2008, the European Union (EU) launched its €1 billion "Food Facility" initiative to counter soaring food. Around €7.3 million was destined to Mozambique, where Europe partnered with FAO to boost agriculture by strengthening the national seed sector.
    Under the two-year European Union Food Facility (EUFF) project operation, FAO worked with 15 seed companies and some 1 000 small-scale seed growers to stimulate local seed production in seven provinces of Mozambique's 11 provinces.
    FAO, which aims at producing more and better seeds, has also assisted the government in improving its ability to control the quality of seeds reaching the market. The gains stemming from the EU-supported FAO project are significant - although most smallholder farmers, an estimated four million, continue to need support.
    However, much more is needed to offset Mozambique's yearly deficit of around one million tonnes of food.

    Source: FAO


    Link Read more
    Link The Food Facility
    Link FAO reports succes of EU Food Facility


  18. Graziano da Silva, new FAO Director-General
    2012-01-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Policy, Aid effectiveness

    José Graziano da Silva, who has recently taken the helm of FAO, will push for a renewed focus on food security. He underlines that FAO “will create teams that draw together the Organization's skills in policy advice, investment planning, resource mobilization, emergency response and sustainable development".
    Furthermore, the new FAO Director-General stresses that hunger eradication should be linked to other global challenges' responses “such as reviving national economies, protecting natural resources from degradation, and mitigating and adapting to climate change”.
    Graziano da Silva will focus on the eradication of hunger; sustainable food production and consumption; and greater fairness in global food management. Moreover, he will aim for the conclusion of FAO's organizational reform to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability.  Some other goals will be the expansion of partnerships and South-South cooperation.

    Source: FAO


    Link Read more
    Link Dr Grazinao da Silva at our Brussels Briefing
    Link The state of Food Insecurity 2011


  19. Fleeing conflict in North Sudan
    2012-01-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Archive

    Following intense fighting in the Blue Nile State of the Republic of Sudan, tens of thousands of people have fled to Ethiopia and South Sudan. About 32,000 people have already settled in Maban County, in Upper Nile State of South Sudan. The needs are vast and the refugee population is rising fast. Although the European Commission's Department for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) is supporting various life saving programmes in South Sudan, this remote area is not easily accessible, which makes the delivery of humanitarian assistance a real challenge.
    The main priorities of ECHO, which has allocated €140 million to address humanitarian needs in Sudan and South Sudan, include emergency preparedness and response, provision of basic services to the vulnerable populations living in areas particularly prone to shocks such as conflicts and natural hazards.
    The Commission also supports programmes that assist Internally Displaced People (IDPs), Refugees, Returnees and vulnerable communities through the provision of health and nutrition services, water and sanitation, and food assistance. To facilitate the provision of assistance ECHO also supports common humanitarian services such as the common transport of humanitarian commodities, coordination of humanitarian air services.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link The state of affairs
    Link South Sudan will benefit from previos EDFs


  20. Cutting emissions by 2050
    2012-01-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Aiming at cutting emissions by 2050, the European Commission has unveiled its Energy Roadmap 2050, which describes the consequences of a carbon-free energy system and the policy framework needed. The aim is to cut emissions by over 80% without disrupting energy supplies and competitiveness.  
    Based on an analysis of scenarios created by combining the four main decarbonisation routes in different ways (energy efficiency, renewables, nuclear, and carbon capture and storage), the roadmap allows Member States to make required energy choices and create a stable business climate for private investment.
    The Energy Roadmap 2050 outlines that investments made now will pave the way for the best prices in the future; and that a European approach will result in lower costs and more secure supply compared to having parallel national schemes, and a common energy market should be completed by 2014.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Roadmap 2050
    Link  Low average for the 27



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Please feel free to forward this newsletter to other interested colleagues.

Ms Isolina BOTO
Head
CTA Brussels Office
39 rue Montoyer
1000 Brussels - Belgium
Tel: +32 (0) 2 513 74 36 (direct); Fax +32 (0) 2 511 38 68
E-mail: boto@cta.int
Website: http://www.cta.int/
Brussels weblog: http://brussels.cta.int/
Brussels Briefings: http://brusselsbriefings.net/

Editor: Alejandra Morales (morales@cta.int)

NOTE
If you have questions or suggestions, please write to us at : boto@cta.int
For more information on the full range of CTA activities please go to http://www.cta.int/
More information on CTA activities in Brussels at : http://brussels.cta.int/
CTA is an institution of the ACP Group of States (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) and the EU (European Union), in the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is financed by the EU.
Copyright © 2011 Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU. Email:cta@cta.int
The opinions expressed in the comments and analysis are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CTA.

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