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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 321]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 321]
Send date: 2012-05-04 17:41:22
Issue #: 137
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 07/05 to 13/05/2012
  2. EPA concerns over Caribbean region
  3. Promoting the quality of EU products inside and out
  4. China makes a big impact in Kenya and EU members complain
  5. EU will to help Africa tackle climate change
  6. Samoa to become WTO's newest member
  7. SHARE initiative to try to compensate for effects of drought in Kenya
  8. Payments to EU farmers to get better targeted
  9. New EU legislation might lead to a ‘blessing’ in RDC
  10. Ministers discuss key issues of CFP
  11. Latest ACP-EU updates


  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 07/05 to 13/05/2012
    2012-05-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Gender and development, Migration and development, New Technologies, ACP-EU Fisheries, Food Security, Health and Development, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy, Humanitarian Aid

    European Parliament
    - 8 May : Committee on Foreign Affairs
    - 8 May : Committee on Development
    - 8 May : Committee on International Trade
    - 7/8 May : Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
    - 8 May : Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
    - 8 May : Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
    - 9/10 : Mini Plenary session
    Council of Ministers
    - 8 May : COREPER I
    - 8/10 May : COREPER II
    ACP Group
    - 7  May: 5th meeting on ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration
    - 7/ 8 May: All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme Dissemination Workshop
    - 10 May: Special Committee of Ambassadors
    -11 May: ACP High Level Meeting on Improving Access of SMEs to Financing
    Danish Presidency
    - 6 /11 May : The 10th meeting of the International Resource Panel
    -10/11May: Informal Presidency meeting of the Council Working Group on Export Credits

    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.




  2. EPA concerns over Caribbean region
    2012-05-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Reservations over future advantages that EPAs could give to the East African Community have been some of the most commented-on headlines on the web in recent months. Though it seemed that there was a more optimistic outlook in the Caribbean region, one article by  Dominican Today, expresses concerns over the 2008 EU Cariforum Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Europe. “Trying to answer questions about the success […]is far from easy”, says the author.
    Although  it seems clear “that there are very large sums of money”  being made available by the EU and which are intended  to both  support regional integration and meet EPA requirements, “it is hard to find any evidence that use is being made of the trade aspects of the agreement other than in relation to the improved access it offers in the area of commodity exports”.
    On the EU side, concerns have been voiced as Caribbean governments would not be taking as much ownership of the agreements as they should, in terms of legislation that can lead to the private sector reaping benefits, for example.
    Among the problems in the Caribbean, including different speeds at which the agreements are being implemented and ratified, concern has been expressed over the lack of awareness of the EPA’s foreign direct investment advantages among the Cariforum private sector and EU investors, as highlighted in a recent Caricom press release.

    Source: Dominican today


    Link Read more
    Link EPA Negotiations
    Link Caricom and Cariforum:Two better than one?


  3. Promoting the quality of EU products inside and out
    2012-05-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    Agriculture ministers were brought up to speed on the communication on promotion measures and information provision for agricultural products: a reinforced value-added European strategy for promoting the tastes of Europe.
    In recent months, the Commission has been pointing out the need to improve the EU promotion system for agricultural products in order to meet a series of challenges, namely;  promote the quality of EU products in foreign countries; make the policy more attractive; and simplify access to the schemes and strengthen the consistency of actions.
    According to the Council of the EU, this communication should be followed by a legislative proposal to be published at the end of the year.

    Source: Council of the EU


    Link Read more
    Link Agricultural promotion policy
    Link Read the communication


  4. China makes a big impact in Kenya and EU members complain
    2012-05-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Some years ago, international trade experts sounded an alarm regarding growing ties between Africa and China. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, this reached $126.9 billion in 2010, while trade volume rose by 30 per cent year-on-year during the first three-quarters of 201.  According to an article by Daily Nation, Kenya, as one of China’s top five trading partners, has been the subject of complaints by some EU Member states representatives. They protest in particluar their lack of access to President Kibaki.
    In the words of the author: “The trade volume between Africa and EU countries has significantly dropped, which is one of the reasons why diplomats are unhappy with the Kibaki administration […] In a way, these diplomats are under pressure from their metropolitan states to restore the lost glory of cosy African relations as the Chinese have clearly found favour with the Kibaki administration".
    The decline of trade activity between Africa and European countries is, according to the author, related to the lack of consumers, as the products exported to Africa are “expensive and inefficient”.

    Source: Daily Nation/CTA


    Link Read more
    Link The EU and China’s engagement in Africa
    Link EU-Africa trade


  5. EU will to help Africa tackle climate change
    2012-05-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Following a high-level meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the EU has granted ClimDev Africa Initiative €8 million to support Africa’s response to climate change challenges. According to the press service of the EU delegation to the African Union, the grant agreement was signed at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)  this week.
    The contribution is part of the Global Climate Change Alliance funding, a programme in which the EU and the most vulnerable Developing Countries are working together to tackle climate change. The grant will enhance the capacities of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) at ECA and the Climate Change and Desertification Unit at African Union Commission (AUC) to carry out their activities for a period of 3 years.

    Source: EEAS


    Link Read more
    Link ClimDev Africa
    Link Know more about GCCA


  6. Samoa to become WTO's newest member
    2012-05-03

    Samoa will become the 155th WTO member next week, on May 10, 2012. Samoa applied for WTO membership several years ago, in 1998. On April 10, 2012, Samoa informed the WTO it had accepted the offered membership package.
    WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy said: “The accession chapter is now closed. The membership path is now fully open. I look forward to working with Montenegro and Samoa to help them become full and active members of the global trading system.”

    Source: WTO


    Link Read more
    Link Samoa’s accession package
    Link WTO working party adopts Samoa’s membership package


  7. SHARE initiative to try to compensate for effects of drought in Kenya
    2012-05-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    With the aim to helping Kenya better face its food security challenges, mainly a result of regular droughts, the EU has recently announced that it will allocate Sh4.3 billion (around €39 million) to the country. Main areas of work will be health, nutrition, water supply, and sanitation, with a particular focus on women and children. The fund is part of "Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience (SHARE)", an EU initiative that is to improve disaster preparedness in the Horn of Africa.
    EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, who has recently been on tour in Kenya, has underlined that the EU will focus on the areas of agriculture and food security, making sure that all parts of the chain, from production to sale, are addressed at the regional level.

    Source: CTA/Businessdailyafrica


    Link Read more
    Link Know more about SHARE
    Link EU-Kenya


  8. Payments to EU farmers to get better targeted
    2012-05-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    During the course of the 3161st Council meeting, held last week in Brussels,  agriculture ministers discussed the reform of payments for farmers as part of the broader discussion on the reform of the EU's common agricultural policy. According to the most recent updates by the press service of the Council of the EU, one of the key tasks of the reform will be to ensure that payments are well targeted and spend efficiently.
    Given the concerns raised  over the future of farming, as only 6 % of all farmers across the EU are under the age of 35 years, ministers said that there is the necessity to increase support  to "young farmers" and "small farmers”. As delegations presented different views regarding an increased support to  farmers working in specific sectors or regions in difficulty, Presidency concluded that the Commission proposal would strike a balance.
    As some payments have been made for companies whose  main activity was not farming, ministers examined the Commission’s proposals to restrict payments to "active farmers" with. In their view, this is a simpler approach and easier to implement in practice.

    Source: The Council of the EU


    Link Read more
    Link 3161st Council meeting
    Link CAP reform


  9. New EU legislation might lead to a ‘blessing’ in RDC
    2012-05-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    Some claim that if new EU legislation were to introduce mandatory transparency for multinational companies, living-standards in resource-rich countries, which normally face high poverty rates, would be greatly improved.  Joseph Banga, a Congolese citizen who works for the International Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies (CIDSE), spoke of this to The Guardian and has urged the EU “[to] demonstrate commitment to Africa's development”.
    Mr. Banga states that both EU transparency and accounting directives, which are  to be adopted in the coming months, can change the state of affairs “if not watered down.” In his words, companies “must be required to report on payments not just on an aggregated, country basis but also on every financial dealing with official instances”. Mr. Banga also notes  that transparency should also be ensured in all the financial dealings of timber companies, as forest exploitation is reaching alarming rates in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a third main concern, Mr. Banga draws particular attention to the importance of public accountability, and points out that information disclosed by companies “should be accurate and able to stand up to scrutiny”.
    “It is time to shed light on opaque business”, he concludes.

    Source: The Guardian


    Link Read more
    Link Transparency directive
    Link Accounting directive


  10. Ministers discuss key issues of CFP
    2012-05-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Fisheries

    During the course of the last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries, ministers held a public debate in the framework of the common fisheries policy (CFP) reform. Regionalization and transferable fishing concessions (TFCs), which are two of the specific issues in the proposal for a regulation on the CFP, were particularly discussed.
    A large majority of member states welcomed regionalisation as a flexible approach to adapt to the diversity of regions and countries in the EU. They considered the approach appropriate to tackle in particular multiannual plans but also technical measures. However questions subsisted on the best way to balance the empowerment of member states within the regionalisation and a model where the final decisions remain within a EU framework. Most of member states would like the last word to remain at the EU level in order to ensure a level playing field.
    Several member states supported a joint declaration of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom (8965/12) elaborating a proposal for the process of decision within the framework of regionalization.
    Views differed concerning the opportunity to introduce mandatory TFCs in the EU. Most delegations considered that such a scheme should only be established on a voluntary basis to allow an adaptation to the situation of each country. Many member states mentioned the threat TFCs could impose on coastal communities and small scale fisheries. Some delegations feared that TFCs could trigger an excessive ownership concentration of fishing rights and would prefer TFCs not being exchangeable between member states in order to avoid jeopardising the relative stability system.
    The Commission proposal on the basic provisions of the CFP considers that conservation of marine biological resources is key to achieving the objectives of the CFP; it envisages the reinforcement of multi-annual management plans to manage resources at levels that are capable of producing maximum sustainable yield (MSY), and the ending of the practice of discards.

    Source: Council of the EU


    Link Read more
    Link The common fisheries policy
    Link Regionalizing the Common Fisheries Policy


  11. Latest ACP-EU updates
    2012-05-02
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Gender and development, Migration and development, New Technologies, ACP-EU Fisheries, Food Security, Health and Development, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy, Humanitarian Aid

    The more the deadline to conclude EPA negotiations looms, the more concerns are raised. Last week, Brussels saw the latest EPA negotiations between the EU and West Africa, as well as between the EU and the East African Community. These meetings, which were intended to discuss issues at the technical level, yielded,  according to the European Commission, positive results, as “good progress” was made on several of the issues on the agenda. However, headlines from across the web pointed to yet another wave of criticism.
    Oduor Ong'wen, the country director of the Southern and Eastern Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI), published an article in which, as many of his other African colleagues, listed the cons of the EPAs.  Speaking in particular of East Africa, he agreed with the conclusions of numerous studies and pointed to these agreements as leading to disastrous consequences for African citizens. On a specific note regarding agriculture, he stated that farmers would face increased competition from Europe’s highly subsidized goods. The expected loss of government revenue would affect social welfare schemes and therefore citizens as well.
    Guyana faces a better outlook
    , as in the opinion of Jolita Butkeviciene, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Directorate General for EuropeAid Development and Cooperation (DEVCO),  the country has pulled ahead of its Caribbean neighbours in the implementation of aspects of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). She has recognized that Guyana’s views on the EPA have been well represented during the negotiations, and said that there are signs the country is benefitting from the deal.
    Some criticism was also levelled at the Fisheries Partnership Agreements
    . Bob Dewar, a former diplomat who has served as High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador to Ethiopia and High Commissioner to Mozambique, stated that future deals can lead to a win-win situation if certain policies are put in place and stressed that  “the time of turning a blind eye is over”.
    He pointed out that the 2012 reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is a good opportunity to do better:  “The Europeans need real reform in their own back yard - dramatically rebuilding stocks, preventing over-capacity, over-fishing and damage to the environment. And the mirror of better behaviour should then be shone abroad, so that African and other developing countries get maximum benefit”. On the African side of the equation, he called upon African nations to work out how new Sustainable Fisheries "can boost good governance, food security and poverty reduction".
    The so-called EU conditionality has been at the heart of the latest EU discussions. The EU will revise development co-operation with Zimbabwe depending on the political and economic reforms met by the country by August of this year. However, hopes on EU’s will to change its mind and lift the sanctions are faltering, as  the country did not succeed in addressing its democratic deficits in line with the Global Political Agreement (GPA).  Likewise, ministers  at the Council of the EU recalled their conclusions of 22-23 March 2012 on Sahel firmly condemning the seizure of power by force in Mali. The EU development cooperation with the country, which is currently on hold, will be resumed “in line with progress towards the full restoration of constitutional order”. Ongoing direct support to the population will continue as well as humanitarian aid.
    Moreover, following the coup d’etat in Guinea-Bissau,  the Council on Foreign Affairs urged to an immediate reestablishment of the legitimate government, the completion of the interrupted democratic electoral process and the immediate restoration of constitutional order. According to the conclusions adopted during the course of a meeting last week “[t]he EU is ready to impose restrictive measures against individuals who continue to engage in or provide support for acts that threaten the peace, security and stability of Guinea-Bissau."
    Speaking more specifically of the ACP Group, Secretary General Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas recalled the great potential of the ACP Group as an international partner during the course of a workshop recently hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. “We [..] believe that Europe will continually need the ACP to validate its evolving role as a global actor in international relations. As principal donor to the ACP, the EU has access to 79 member countries within its sphere of diplomatic and geopolitical influence.”
    Regarding Africa, while the WTO maintains its long-standing opinion and says that trade among African countries is too low and “stagnant”,  experts at the South Centre, an inter-governmental think tank of developing countries, stressed  last week that trade is significant in manufactured goods and seems to be leading to a new path to industrialisation.
    The Geneva-based South Centre, however pointed out that intra-African trade is low “in absolute terms”: "In terms of non-oil exports Africa's internal trade is almost on par with its exports to the EU […] the trade growth rate within Africa is the second highest after China and before the United States and the EU . Therefore, it is very promising, also in terms of the quality of exports. Most of Africa's manufactured goods go to Africa. So if the continent wants to industrialise, the market that provides the best opportunities is Africa, not China, the U.S., or the EU."
    The CTA also updated its readers on the new report by OECD, presented to the Parliament last week. The report says that  EU development aid programmes run the risk of poor institutional coordination despite positive improvements in recent years.
    Other articles of note regarding the development community, dealt with the growing ties between Angola and the EU, the claims of  Pacific islands for more rigorous tuna fishing measures or the new Global Outlook Report, which listed recommendations for the better promotion of sustainable consumption and production
    The CTA-Brussels Office conducted an interview with the UN UnderSecretary General and High Representative for the LDCs, Cheick Sidi Diarra, who listed the reasons why Small Islands Development States (SIDS) are more vulnerable to external shocks than other developing countries. Speaking of the International Community, he stated that SIDS "need measures to be taken by development partners".





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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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