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[CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 329]
Subject: [CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 329]
Send date: 2012-06-29 17:05:21
Issue #: 145
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. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 2/07 to 08/07/2012
  2. Our video guest: Oliver Leo, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
  3. Last Brussels Development Briefing
  4. EU will not force the ACP to cave in
  5. Commitment to international development agenda begins to wane
  6. Brussels sees plans to meet climate change targets
  7. Regulation on export and import of dangerous chemincals
  8. Big step forward for EU-Liberia relations
  9. EU-FAO to contribute to crop diversity in developing countries
  10. € 35.9 million to help promote agricultural products
  11. EU members keen on development aid cuts
  12. EU organic logo from July 2012
  13. INTA Committee gives a hand to ACP
  14. Inter-parliamentary meeting aims for a 'decent' CAP budget
  15. MS encounter difficulties in ensuring the traceability of organic products
  16. EC urges to ensure access for humanitarian assistance in DRC
  17. Southern African economies: attentive to EU financial crisis
  18. UNICEF welcomes EU initiative to reinforce Sahel resilience
  19. ACP Strategic Plan to boost St. Kitts-Nevis Fisheries Sector
  20. Towards an alternative trade agenda
  21. An opportunity missed, but not a failure
  22. Sugar funds cuts: damage to Fiji not so sweet
  23. EU MS under pressure to keep development investment promises


  1. Main ACP-EU events for the week from 2/07 to 08/07/2012
    2012-06-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Rural development, Aid effectiveness, Environment, Archive, Regional Fisheries, Food Security, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    European Parliament
    -2 and 5 July : Committee on Foreign Affairs
    Council of Ministers
    -6 July: COREPER I
    ACP Group
    - 2 July:  Management meeting
    - 3 July:  Special meeting of the Committee of Ambassadors
    - 4 July:  CaribErasmus International Seminar
    - 6 July:  SEDT Department

    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. Our video guest: Oliver Leo, Joint Research Centre, European Commission
    2012-06-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Rural development, Food Policy, ACP-EU Trade

    APHLIS (The African Postharvest Losses Information System ), which is the initiative of the EC’s Joint Research Centre, funded by DEVCO, and it has been developed in association with FAO, ASARECA and SADC, is based on a network of local African experts, who supply relevant data and verify post-harvest loss estimations. During the course of the last Brussels Development Briefing on “Addressing Food Waste in Times of Crisis” , we spoke with Oliver Leo, from the Joint Research Centre, (European Commission). He explained to us the key aspects of the project.


    Link Watch the video
    Link The JRC
    Link APHLIS report


  3. Last Brussels Development Briefing
    2012-06-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Food Policy, ACP-EU Policy, Rural development

    The last Brussels Briefing on " Addressing Food Waste in Times of Crisis” took place on 26th June, 2012. More than 150 ACP and EU policy-makers, NGO representatives and Member States delegates actively participated. A wider audience followed the Briefing through a live webstream and participated via email and Twitter.
    Next week, all material related to the Briefing, including photos and the videos, will be published here.


    Link Brussels Briefings


  4. EU will not force the ACP to cave in
    2012-06-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The ACP is not willing to yield to EU conditions under the Economic partnership Agreements, the so-called EPAs. The group warned last week that it will not sign  until there is a mutually beneficial position that does not threaten regional integration.
    The president of the ACP council, Mr. Alva Baptiste, stressed that the ACP and EU need one another. However, he highlighted that contentious issues relating to the EPAs first needed to be ironed out. He added that the Group did not approve of the EU’s impatience: "The EU must not put undue pressure on our members to sign. All the time, we want to negotiate with patience and persistence. So we will continue to engage the EU until the agreement is reached. But we shall not be forced into signing until our concerns are addressed. There is so much at play in terms of regional integration and the need to put the right infrastructure in our economies before we open up."

    Source: Bilaterals


    Link Read more
    Link EPAs and African regional integration
    Link Another note on EPAs


  5. Commitment to international development agenda begins to wane
    2012-06-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, Rural development

    According to a recent report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), while the UK government and public have been known for their commitment to international development agenda, there are “clear signs” that point to the diminishing of the value placed on aid.
    The findings, which are based on analysis of a series of deliberative workshops conducted around the UK,  suggest that the financial crisis and recent spending cuts have diminished public support for increasing or even maintaining current levels of UK aid spending. There are high levels of concern about waste and inefficiency in the distribution of aid, and it appears that this has been reinforced by some of the communications and fundraising images used by NGOs and governments. The repeated use of images that show people living in desperate need has created an impression that very little has changed over the past few decades.

    Source: Public Policy Research


    Link Read more
    Link Read the publication
    Link Know more about UK Aid


  6. Brussels sees plans to meet climate change targets
    2012-06-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Brussels recently hosted “Energy futures and civil society in the EU – building a low carbon alliance”, a conference which addressed the large number of current initiatives across the EU to meet the climate change targets. These plans, which range from local grassroots energy generation and efficiency programmes to major national programmes, were presented as part of the EU Sustainable Energy Week.
    One of the key messages raised during the event stressed a hope for a sustainable energy future as essential. Additionally,  it was also said that ownership of programmes by participants was vital and that businesses might need to study thoroughly their business models.

    Source: European Economic and Social Committee


    Link Read more
    Link Presentations
    Link EU Energy policy


  7. Regulation on export and import of dangerous chemincals
    2012-06-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, ACP-EU Trade

    During the last Council meeting on General Affairs, ministers adopted a regulation concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals. This regulation replaces a former which implements the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure (PIC) for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.
    The new regulation aims to promote shared responsibility and cooperation at international level in order to protect human health and the environment from potential harm and to contribute to the environmentally sound use of hazardous chemicals.

    Source: Council of the EU


    Link Read more
    Link See the regulation
    Link Rotterdam Convention


  8. Big step forward for EU-Liberia relations
    2012-06-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, ACP-EU Trade

    In what is seen as a major step forward in EU's relations with Liberia, the Managing Director for Africa in the European External Action Service (EEAS) Dr. Nick Westcott,  has announced the launch of a structured and regular political dialogue between the EU and the African country, as set out in Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement.
    Dr. Westcott led an EU delegation composed of Attilio Pacifici, Head of Delegation, and four EU Heads of Mission permanently represented (France, Germany, Sweden and the UK) in a first consultation with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and senior government ministers.
    Subjects discussed with the President included the political reconciliation process, strengthening of institutions of democracy, development priorities, and regional issues, including challenges for ECOWAS and the African Union such as the crisis in Mali and other parts of the fragile region of West Africa.
    The EU pledged continued support for regional integration, and the real advantages offered by an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU were also discussed. Future development support was also discussed with the Liberian President. Later this year, discussions will begin on EU's development assistance to Liberia up to 2020, which will focus on supporting Vision 2030 and Liberia's second Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS).

    Source: All Africa


    Link Read more
    Link EU-Liberia
    Link EU delegation in Liberia


  9. EU-FAO to contribute to crop diversity in developing countries
    2012-06-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Food Policy, Food Security

    According to recent updates by FAO, the EU is contributing €5 million towards the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Benefit-sharing Fund helps farmers in developing countries manage crop diversity for food security and climate change adaptation.
    This is the single largest contribution made to the Benefit-sharing Fund since it was established in 2008. It will help to increase the capacity of smallholder farmers to manage traditional crops like potato, rice, cassava, wheat and sorghum.

    Source: FAO




    Link Read more
    Link Benefit-sharing Fund
    Link Scientific criteria


  10. € 35.9 million to help promote agricultural products
    2012-06-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, ACP-EU Trade

    20 programmes will help promote agricultural products in the European Union and in third countries. The total budget of the programmes, which will run for a period of three years, is € 70.7 million of which the EU will contribute € 35.9 million. The selected programmes cover fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, milk and milk products, PDOs (Protected Designations of Origin), PGIs (Protected Geographical Indications) and TSGs (Traditional Specialities Guaranteed), seed oil, wine and meat.
    Within the information and promotion scheme, the Commission services received by mid-February 2012, 41 programmes targeting the internal market and third countries. Out of those, 20 programmes were selected through an evaluation procedure for co-financing, out of which 17 target the internal market and 3 target third countries.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU promotion of farm products
    Link Promotion measures for agricultural products


  11. EU members keen on development aid cuts
    2012-06-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Archive

    According to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, European countries have given less in development aid for the first time since 2002. With fourteen EU member states reducing their financial support to developing countries, the overall contribution by the 27 has decreased 1.5 percent to 50.86 billion euros, according to a recent 2011 report.
    ONE’s European director general, Adrian Lovett, said during the presentation of the report that cutting development aid would not help Europe out of the economic crisis. “Development aid is affordable, even for Europe. Rescuing banks costs much more than helping developing countries. But European leaders have to the political will to do so,” he said.

    Source: Radio Netherlands Worldwide


    Link Read more
    Link EU Aid spending may face cuts
    Link Development investment promises


  12. EU organic logo from July 2012
    2012-06-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Policy

    The two-year transition period for the organic food sector to comply with new EU labelling rules is reaching its end. As from 1 July 2012, the EU organic logo will be obligatory on all pre-packaged organic food products produced in EU Member States which meet the necessary standards. Accordingly, the EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Dacian Cioloş has said: “Our hope is that the EU logo can further develop into a widely recognised symbol of organic food production across the EU, providing consumers with confidence that the goods are produced in-line with the strict EU organic farming standards”.
    The logo will stay optional for non-packed and imported organic products. Other private, regional or national logos will continue to be allowed to appear alongside the EU label.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Watch the logo
    Link EU organic farming


  13. INTA Committee gives a hand to ACP
    2012-06-28
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    International Trade  (INTA) committee calls on the Commission to give ACP countries two more years for negotiations on their Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) before withdrawing their free access to the EU market.
    The committee voted to extend the 2014 deadline proposed by the Commission and give these ACP countries until 2016 to ratify their EPAs before losing the right to duty-and-quota-free access to the EU that they have been enjoying since 2007.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Know more about INTA Committee
    Link EPAs: Makers of Disastrous Consequences?


  14. Inter-parliamentary meeting aims for a 'decent' CAP budget
    2012-06-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    Following some discussions between the EP Agriculture (AGRI) Committee and national parliamentarians at a recent inter-parliamentary meeting, MEPS concurred that the new EU farm policy “must have a decent budget”, with the aim of delivering a secure supply of high-quality food to all EU citizens.uality food to all EU citizens.
    Recognising the challenges faced by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and stressing key issues such as food security, price volatility and climate change, AGRI Committee Chair,  Paolo de Castro, stated: “Pressure on our resources was never so high. We need to make the CAP greener and more efficient and boost support for rural development so as to achieve territorial balance across the EU”.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Meeting documents
    Link MEPs unveil first draft plans


  15. MS encounter difficulties in ensuring the traceability of organic products
    2012-06-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    According to the latest report by European Court of Auditors,  a number of competent authorities in the Member States do not sufficiently fulfill their supervisory role over control bodies. As a result certain control bodies fail to satisfy a number of EU requirements and fail to take the opportunity to implement certain good practices. The competent authorities in Member States encounter difficulties in ensuring the traceability of organic products within their territories and such traceability is even more difficult to achieve for products that have crossed borders. In relation to imported organic products, the system governing the various import schemes was also found to have weaknesses.
    Notably, a number of recommendations are made to remedy the weaknesses found during the ECA’s audit: the competent Member State authorities should strengthen their supervisory role over control bodies;  the exchange of information within Member States, between the Member States and the Commission and among the Member States themselves should be improved;checks should be strengthened to ensure that operators (such as producers, processors, importers) fulfill the regulatory requirements regarding traceability; and the Commission should strengthen its monitoring of the Member States’ control systems by undertaking audit visits and gathering the necessary data and information and putting it to good use. Additionally, regarding imports, the Commission should ensure that the countries in the list of those recognised as being equivalent for organic production are adequately supervised.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Organic farming legislation
    Link Auditors cast doubt on organic labels


  16. EC urges to ensure access for humanitarian assistance in DRC
    2012-06-27
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Archive

    According to recent updates by the Commission, the humanitarian situation of the internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is increasingly worrisome. Accordingly, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, Kristalina Georgieva states: “The humanitarian community has reached the absolute limit of its ability to respond to the needs of the people. I therefore strongly appeal to the various armed groups to stop the fighting, spare civilian populations and ensure access for humanitarian workers."
    Since 1 April 2012 over 220,000 people have been newly displaced in North Kivu, fleeing to save their lives. 250 Congolese are arriving every day in Rwanda and Uganda. More than 12,000 refugees have already settled in camps in Rwanda which are now way beyond their limits in terms of capacity.
    There are now more than 1.4 million IDPs in Eastern DRC, while the total number of IDPs in the country exceeds 2 million. These people have been forced to leave their homes and livelihoods by the ongoing conflicts and are in dire need of humanitarian aid in order to survive.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Video interview on IDP
    Link Funding for safe delivery of humanitarian assistance


  17. Southern African economies: attentive to EU financial crisis
    2012-06-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    According to the World Bank (WB),  Southern African  countries will be hit hard by any further worsening of the European Union's financial crisis, as well as an economic slowdown in China. The latest WB global economic report states that if global growth weakens, commodity prices could decline, hitting the region's exporters of industrial raw materials, such as metal and cotton, and tourism-dependent economies hard.
    It further says that in a crisis situation, weaker capital inflows, remittances and aid inflows could also decline sharply – potentially compromising macro-economic stability. Accordingly, Masimba Kuchera, from the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development,  has noted that lack of export earnings and remittances from Europe would cripple Zimbabwe.

    Source: Voa News


    Link Read more
    Link Know more about the Zimbabwe Coalition
    Link EU-Zimbabwe


  18. UNICEF welcomes EU initiative to reinforce Sahel resilience
    2012-06-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, Food Security

    UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Yoka Brandt, recently participated in EU talks in Brussels to address the nutrition crisis in the Sahel. She welcomed a new initiative to strengthen the resilience of the Sahel region through efforts to help the inhabitants cope with the shocks caused by food crises in the longer-term."We are in a race against the clock to save lives before the crisis hits a peak that may threaten the lives of millions of people, so this is very welcome," she remarked.
    In 2012, UNICEF expects to provide life-saving treatment for 1.1 million children under the age of five years suffering from severe acute malnutrition in the Sahel, where an estimated 18 million people are affected by a drought and food crisis in nine countries.

    Source: Allafrica


    Link Read more
    Link EU and UNICEF
    Link ´Much remains to be done´


  19. ACP Strategic Plan to boost St. Kitts-Nevis Fisheries Sector
    2012-06-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    Following the 3rd meeting of the ACP Ministers of Fisheries, held under the “Partnerships for sustainable development of the fisheries sector in ACP countries” theme, and where the Ministers from the ACP region discussed pressing issues pertaining to fisheries, the Saint Kitts and Nevis representative, Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, stated that he expected his region to benefit from the strategies agreed upon in the discussions.
    “This meeting should redound to the benefit of St. Kitts and Nevis and particularly our fishing community as the strategies provide a blueprint for cooperative action between member states of ACP. We intend to optimize opportunities for increasing the participation of staff and fisher folks in training with African, Caribbean and Pacific States”,  he told The Observer.
    On a positive note,  he stressed that the Federation would be receiving technical assistance in aquaculture. Aquaculture or aqua farming involves cultivating of freshwater and saltwater populations of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants under controlled conditions as opposed to free range commercial fishing.

    Source: The stkittsnevis observer


    Link Read more
    Link ACP fisheries meeting in Fiji
    Link ACP Fish II


  20. Towards an alternative trade agenda
    2012-06-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    As the current neo-liberal trade model is exacerbating inequality across Europe and the developing world, a significant number of European activists are pushing for a radical alternative to the EU trade agenda. According to the Alternative Trade Mandate,though campaigners have been calling for years for trade justice, the EU “continues to pursue policies that are damaging to both people and planet. This week, a number of European organisations launch the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance, with the aim of a complete overhaul of EU trade policy for the next 2 years.
    Dot Keet, a development analyst and long time trade activist in the continent of Africa, will speak at the launch. She said “Europe’s trade negotiations are undemocratic and the agreements are unjust. The current trade regime is fuelling the food, economic and climate crises facing Europe and the world.  In that context, African and other countries cannot sign long-term agreements that set their policies in stone, because they can't know in advance what policies they will need to deal with these looming problems. African civil society has a long history of mobilizing against the current unjust global trade regime, and the EU's proposed free trade agreements (EPAs),  but it is important that European civil society also grows stronger and makes their politicians see that they must look at alternative approaches to trade as well as to social and political, economic and environmental areas”.

    Source: S2bnetwork


    Link Read more
    Link Know more about EU DG Trade
    Link [Re]Calls for 'development friendly' TA


  21. An opportunity missed, but not a failure
    2012-06-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Environment, Food Security, Rural development

    According to a press release by ALDE, although the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is “a missed opportunity, [it is] not a complete failure”. A decisive agreement on sustainability, which the EU had envisioned, was not successfully reached, as interests “were too far apart”.
    For more than three quarters of the world, poverty eradication is by far the most important political objective. Accordingly, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, member of the European Parliament has said: "With the EU focus on sustainability on the one hand, and developing countries emphasising social inclusiveness, Rio+20 turned into a battle between the two. While both can only be achieved hand in hand”.
    Agreement was reached on the establishment of Global Sustainable Development Goals, which would be applicable to developed as well as developing countries and accompany the Millennium Development Goals.

    Source: ALDE


    Link Read more
    Link The 'Zero Hunger Challenge'
    Link EU-ACP Joint Declaration


  22. Sugar funds cuts: damage to Fiji not so sweet
    2012-06-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, ACP-EU Trade, Rural development

    According to one recent report by PACNEWS, the ACP group believes that the EU withdrawal of sugar funds will damage people working in Fijis sugar industry. In the Pacific region, Fiji is the sole signatory to the sugar protocol and benefits from EU allocated funding to help reform the sugar industry after loss of preferential sugar prices to the EU.
    The funds were attributed to Fiji under the Accompanying Measures Support Program. Accordingly, ACP secretary general Dr Mohammed Chambas says Fiji should endeavour to return to democratic rule to resume sugar funding from EU. “We have to be mindful in this particular case the withdrawal of funds are hurting the workers and the people of Fiji who are in the sugar sector, and I think the transition process must stay on course and Fiji should endeavour to return quickly to constitutional rule as scheduled so it can assume full co-operation with the EU under the Cotonou Accord.”

    Source: FijiTimes


    Link Read more
    Link Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries
    Link EU-Fiji


  23. EU MS under pressure to keep development investment promises
    2012-06-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Rural development, Archive

    According to an EurActiv interview with Eloise Todd, ONE Brussels Office, the EU’s collective aid levels decreased in 2011. While some Member States, namely Germany, France and Italy, are responsible for 68% of the funding gap, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria and Greece succeeded in keeping their promises to Africa regarding development investment.
    Ms. Todd warns that budget projections by the European Commission suggest there will be additional cuts by other countries as well. Additionally, she highlights that despite real progress in recent years, “there are still over a billion people still living in extreme poverty”.
    She points out that supporting the proposed levels of development funding in the next Multiannual Financial Framework presents an opportunity to help countries to get closer to their aid targets. Ms. Todd is in favour of the proposals made by the Commission for Heading 4 and the European Development Fund (EDF) being kept. “We want to see governments protecting effective development investments”, she says.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link Report on development aid
    Link Know more about ONE



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Ms Isolina BOTO
Head
CTA Brussels Office
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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/
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Brussels Briefings: http://brusselsbriefings.net/

Editor: Alejandra Morales (morales@cta.int)

NOTE
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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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