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CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter
Subject: CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter
Send date: 2013-03-26 14:51:35
Issue #: 174
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 : [26/03/2013]
CTA Brussels Newsletter

 

Main events in the week

  1. Main Events for the Week 25/03/2013 – 31/03/2013
  2. Video Guest: Talot Bertrand, PROMODEV (Haiti)
  3. Commemorative DVD: 30 Brussels Briefings
  4. EU: Additional €1,5 m for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean
  5. AppliFish, marine knowledge at the touch of a button
  6. The EESC calls for an end to food waste in the EU
  7. EU should back social insurance for developing countries
  8. CARICOM : EPA implementation gets a boost
  9. More than 780m people won’t be celebrating World Water Day
  10. GMOs – implications for trade and developing countries
  11. Reform of CAP: sugar quotas to end in 2017
  12. EU will extend the Grain Trade Convention 1995
  13. EU: for the extension of the International Sugar Agreement 1992
  14. Fisheries: EU and Comoros - Negotiations on new protocol
  15. UK's to reach 0,7% aid commitment
  16. MEPs back Contonou deal, but with human rights reservations
  17. Malta: Not all aid is development aid
  18. Sugar mounds and wine lakes? Not likely, quota advocates say
  19. Parliament regrets development aid cuts
  20. CARIFORUM: meeting of legislative drafters of EPA
  21. EU: €33m to improve security in Somalia
  22. EU: Sugar quota to remain until 2020


  1. Main Events for the Week 25/03/2013 – 31/03/2013
    2013-03-26

    European Parliament:

    25 March: Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
    26 March: Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety

    European Council:

    27-28 March: EU Forest Directors Conference

    European Commission:


    27 March: The European Union kicks-off public debate on 2030 energy and climate framework
    Proposals for modernisation of the trade mark system

    ACP:

    25 March : Special meeting of the Committee of Ambassadors  (Introduction of  members of the ACP Eminent Persons Group); Meeting of the Eminent Persons Group (closed session)
    26 March: Special meeting of the ACP Council of Ministers
    27-28 March: SEDT Department; 4th Steering Committee meeting for the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Facility Programme; AFHR Department

    Other Bodies:
    25-27 March : UN High level Panel on framework for a post-2015 development agenda

    You can also follow our new Facebook group CTABrussels and our Twitter account CTABrussels to receive up-to-date information on EU-ACP events.




  2. Video Guest: Talot Bertrand, PROMODEV (Haiti)
    2013-03-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture,

    CTA Brussels met with Talot Bertrand, Secretary General of PROMODEV shortly after the first Development Briefing in Haiti - "Agricultural resilience in the face of crisis and shocks” – which took place on 27 February 2013, to discuss the role of agriculture in building resilience, and possible solutions for easing the impact of natural disasters on small holder farmers.


    Link Watch the Video
    Link More on PROMODEV
    Link More on the Development briefing on Haiti


  3. Commemorative DVD: 30 Brussels Briefings
    2013-03-26

    A commemorative DVD marking the 30th edition of the Brussels Development Briefings has been released by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).
    The DVD has been distributed to the participants of the 30th Brussels Development Briefing on the  topic of “Agricultural resilience in the face of crisis and shocks”, which took place on 4th of March 2013 in Brussels.
    If you would like to receive a hard copy of the DVD, send us an email at boto@cta.int, or contact us via our Facebook page.
    The DVD contains highlights, presentations, updated readers, and policy briefs for selected Briefings, hold between 2007 and 2012. All materials are available in both English and French.

    Launched in November 2007, the Brussels Development Briefings is a bi-monthly event which has the aim of tackling key issues and challenges for rural development in the context of ACP-EU cooperation. Over the last five years , the Briefings have succeeded bringing together noted experts, and thought leaders from around the world, and put forward  key ideas for the ACP countries.


    Link Read more


  4. EU: Additional €1,5 m for the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean
    2013-03-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    An additional sum of €1,5 million will be made available by the EU for the victims of the Hurricane Sandy in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, almost five months after the disaster devastated the Caribbean and North America, the European Commission has announced on 15 March.
    This funding comes in addition to the €10 million mobilised in 2012 to provide emergency assistance to the Caribbean countries most affected, Haiti (€6 million) and Cuba (€4 million).
    Provided from the reserve for humanitarian aid of the European Development Fund (EDF), these funds will be managed by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department ECHO.
    In the Dominican Republic, almost 40 000 hurricane victims will benefit from an aid package of €1 million. ECHO’s partner organisations, namely the Spanish Red Cross and Oxfam, will focus on restoring damaged housing, improving access to drinking water, raising public awareness about the prevention of water-related diseases (dengue fever, cholera and leptospirosis) and helping the people most affected to regain their livelihoods.
    Jamaica will receive €0.5 million in aid, which will fund the operations of the French Red Cross aimed at repairing damaged homes, helping victims overcoming their losses and aid them in regaining their livelihoods.

    Hurricane Sandy began on 24 October 2012 and hit Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas before reaching the United States. In the hurricane’s path, 190 people were killed, harvests and crops were destroyed, sparking fears of food shortages, while the infrastructure was devastated in many regions.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU gives €6m to the Caribbean after Hurricane Sandy
    Link The response of the European Commission in the Caribbean


  5. AppliFish, marine knowledge at the touch of a button
    2013-03-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries, Archive

    You want to know more about the fish you are eating or going to buy? Is it maybe an endangered species? A new free mobile application - AppliFish offers basic information of over 550 marine species, helping consumers choose fish  that is not endangered.
    The app also includes distribution maps, and plans featuring expected changes in species distribution caused by climate change. The application is designed as a pocket book of marine knowledge at the touch of a button. It was developed by the fisheries and biodiversity knowledge platform i-Marine, which is made up of 13 research institutes, universities and international organizations from three continents, with €5  million in funding by the European Union (EU).
    AppliFish also has a web version that contains additional scientific information, which can help policy-makers, producers and consumers make informed decisions, and contribute to shape policies necessary for the responsible management of fisheries and conservation of aquatic resources.

    The app was awarded a prize at the 10th e-Infrastructure Concertation Meeting to discuss the present and future of the EU's research and innovation policy, held in Brussels on 6-7 March.
    Some 30 percent of the world's marine fish stocks assessed in 2009 were overexploited, according to FAO's State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012.

    Source: FAO


    Link Read more
    Link AppliFish- the app
    Link More on the iMarine Gateway


  6. The EESC calls for an end to food waste in the EU
    2013-03-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) calls in its opinion on Prevention and reduction of food waste (adopted on 20 March 2013) on the European Commission to take steps to counter food waste, and to make the prevention and reduction of food losses and food an EU-wide policy.
    Food waste amounts to 89 million tonnes (up to 30% of food) a year in the EU, while 79 million EU citizens live below the poverty line.
    The EESC thus asks for a coordinated strategy at European level, combining EU-wide and national measures, to improve the efficiency of the food supply and consumption chains and to tackle food wastage as a matter of urgency.
    Some the recommended solutions are: Developing platforms for exchanging experience on combating food waste, and passing on existing examples of good practices, such as: channelling products from the food retail and catering sectors to food banks, initiatives on taxation, discharge of liability for donors or removal of administrative constraints are a few actions already successfully implemented in some EU countries and regions.

    Source: European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)


    Link Read more
    Link Tackling food waste and losses in the EU
    Link Brussels Briefing: Food Waste


  7. EU should back social insurance for developing countries
    2013-03-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    The European Union could help reduce entrenched poverty by supporting social insurance systems in developing nations, says a new European Parliament study.
    The study, presented on Monday (18 March), as part of the Committee on Development of the EP, calls on the EU to encourage the growth of social schemes for poor nations through aid as well as offering expertise drawing on Europe’s own experience in providing universal health and pension systems.
    The EU could help by providing initial funding to support the introduction of social schemes; or by offering the technical expertise for better tax collection and accountability, in order to support tax-financed social insurance;
    European donors already support healthcare or social insurance schemes, including programmes in Ghana and Rwanda.  
    The European Commission’s overseas development policy, the Agenda for Change, and its proposed Decent Life for All communication both call for investing in social insurance for the world’s poorest nations.

    Globally, the 184-member nations of the International Labour Organization (ILO), including the 27 EU states, in June 2012 adopted a resolution urging all countries to provide minimal social protections in the build-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
    It is approximated that around 5.1 billion people, or nearly 75% of people worldwide, lack social safety nets.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Consult the study
    Link World donors urged to back social fund


  8. CARICOM : EPA implementation gets a boost
    2013-03-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    St Vincent and the Grenadines is poised to make greater strides in the implementation of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM)-European Union (EU) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), building on progress made to date.
    These were the sentiments of St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Consumer Affairs, the Hon. Dr Douglas Slater, who delivered the keynote address at the opening of a three-day National EPA Implementation Plan meeting on March 11.
    The meeting marked the formal launch of the consultative process of developing a National EPA Implementation Plan, while providing the opportunity for a first engagement of stakeholders with the consultant who is responsible for crafting the Implementation Plan.
    In addition to St Vincent and the Grenadines, consultants are developing (and, in some cases, have already developed) Implementation Plans — on an as needs basis — for the following CARIFORUM States: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, The Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada and Saint Lucia.
    The EPA Implementation Unit within the CARIFORUM Directorate of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is also involved.
    The Implementation Plans initiative is funded under the Caribbean Aid for Trade and Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund)- a fund, financed by the United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DFID) and administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
    It is envisaged, therefore, that National EPA Implementation Units would develop their own implementable National EPA Implementation Plans. They would utilize the high level Road Map document- which identifies only the broad actions (chronologically) to be taken at the national and regional levels.
    Despite the progress of CARIFORUM States in EPA’s  implementation, concerns remain about the extent of involvement of the private sector.

    Source: CARIFORUM


    Link Read more
    Link Draft Model Bills focus of EPA Meeting of Legislative Drafters
    Link CARIFORUM: meeting of legislative drafters of EPA


  9. More than 780m people won’t be celebrating World Water Day
    2013-03-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    Over 780 million people do not have access to safe drinking and more than 2.5 billion people are still without adequate sanitation, according to UN estimations.
    On 22 March UN world water day is celebrated. This year, the date is dedicated to 'water cooperation'.
    However, a Portuguese lawyer who is the United Nations’ independent advocate for the right to water says that half of humans lack safe drinking water, as the official UN figure does not provide a full picture of water poverty, estimating that actually some 3.5 billion people lack a safe supply: “Many of the people I’ve met on fact-finding missions who have taps inside their houses, or who have wells next to their houses … much of this water is contaminated with human waste, because of industry, pesticide runoff, etc”, Catarina de Albuquerque said.

    Nevertheless, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water has been reached, although the respective target for access to sanitation is off track, especially in Africa.

    The UN General Assembly recognised the right to water as a fundamental human right in 2010, giving ammunition for court challenges and international pressure - “Increasingly, water is subject to allocation through market mechanisms, with the risk that the poor will be priced out,” the UN advocates said in a World Water Day statement.
    In this context, a parliamentary discussion  heard that water is a 'common good' and not a commodity that can be bought and sold: "Water cannot follow the rules of the internal market. In other words it cannot be privatised", a representative political association Prima Persona which organised the event, said.

    The European Union is providing an estimated €1.5 billion annually water and sanitation works in developing countries.

    Source: Euractiv, European Commission, The Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link The Parliament: Water is a right not a commodity, say MEPs
    Link EU data on water access


  10. GMOs – implications for trade and developing countries
    2013-03-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, ACP-EU Trade

    GM crops are grown by more than 17 million farmers around the world, the majority of them smallholder farmers in developing countries: GMs are cultivated in 20 developing countries and 8 industrial countries worldwide. Soya and maize are the most planted GM crops around the globe, followed by cotton and oilseed rape.
    US, Brazil, Argentina, China, Canada, and India count among the countries who have intensively adopted GM crops.
    In Europe, there are two GM crops allowed for cultivation: maize (approved in 1998), and potatoes (approved in 2010). However, as of May 2011, 40 GM crops were approved for imports and processing and/or food and feed in the EU. Still, 19 products have already the positive vote of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), but are still awaiting to be official allowed by the European Commission.
    The difference of pace for import approvals between the EU and exporting countries causes trade problems - while the EU still takes close to 3.7 years on average for an import approval, approvals in Brazil currently take just over 2 years, and the U.S. is aiming for 1.5 years. However, the EU has no intention to speed up the system in the near future, Eric Poudelet, Director Safety of the Food chain, DG SANCO, European Commission declared in an event on the topic at the beginning of the month in Brussels.

    In Africa, however only three countries allow the cultivation of GM crops, namely South Africa, Burkina Faso, and Egypt. Nathalie Moll, EuropaBio’s Secretary General believes that EU has a responsibility towards developing goal : “Our go-slow approach in the EU is hampering adoption of GM crops that could protect yields and help increase farmers’ income”. She argues that the European legislation is taken by developing countries as an example, and that the kind of precautionary principle that the EU has is not particularly inspiring for these countries. They would be thus deterred to take advantage of the benefits GM crops could bring in unfavorable  conditions.
    The advocates of GM crops argue that GM crops have several advantages, such as: higher yields, improve weed control, and lower levels of pesticide needed. It is assumed that crops as the golden rice in Africa can fight beta-carotene deficiencies.
    It is also claimed that GM crops could be part of the answer for the challenge of covering a 70% increase in food production, required to meet the growth of world population to 9 billion by 2050.
    Scientists agree that GM have to be integrated in order to respond to the specific needs of each area, Sir Brian Heap, President of the European Academies Science Advisory Council believes.

    GM crops are developed by a process of genetic modification by which selected individual genes are inserted from one organism into another to enhance desirable characteristics (‘traits’) or to suppress undesirable ones.
    GM crops are generally seen as controversial, due to the questions about the risks  posed to the environment through gene flows, and to human health through ingestion of toxic substances. In 2000 and 2010, the European Commission released two reports that cover 25 years of research on GM crops or food on human health or the environment: “A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001-2010)” and “EC-Sponsored research on safety the genetically modified organisms (1985-2000).” Conclusion were that there are no threats or dangers of approved to GM crops.

    Worldwide there are more than 300 approved GM products; the GM crops represent 10% of total crops worldwide.

    Source: CTA Brussels, EuropaBio, UNDP.


    Link Read more
    Link Are transgenic crops safe? GM agriculture in Africa


  11. Reform of CAP: sugar quotas to end in 2017
    2013-03-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The  Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 18-19 March 2013 agreed to end the regime of sugar quotas in 2017, three years earlier compared to the 2020 expiry date proposed by the EP on March 13.
    This was part of the general deal on the approach on the four main proposals for regulations within the framework of reform of the common agricultural policy (CAP): for rules for direct payments to farmers; for the common organisation of the markets in agricultural; for the support for rural development; and for the financing, management and monitoring of the CAP (horizontal regulation).

    As regards greening, the deal contains amendments that provide additional flexibility demanded by Member States in relation to the greening of direct payments;  thus, the text provides for a progressive application of the crop diversification, adjusts the applicable minimum ratios of permanent grassland in relation to the total agricultural area, and allows for a graduated application of the Ecological Focus Area (EFA) requirement starting with 5%. However, as regards penalty, the administrative penalty imposed on farmers for non-compliance with the "greening" requirements shall not exceed 25% of the "green" payment.
    However, environmentalists denounce the deal, saying it defied European Commission efforts to introduce mandatory ‘greening’ standards. IFOAM, which represents organic farmers welcomes the link of greening to the basic payment through stricter sanctions, but asked for the EU leaders to lift the environmental performance of all farmers by making greening mandatory.

    Other key feature of the Council’s agreed position is the replacement of the vine planting rights regime with a system of authorisations that will run from 2019, for six years.
    EFOW, the European Federation of origin wines, welcomed the deal reached by agriculture ministers, but asks that the new system to be permanent or of a longer duration far more important than the one proposed today. They also ask for market regulation and for a lasting regulation.

    Slovakia and Slovenia, whose farm ministers argued that their countries did not get a fair deal, refused to sign the accord.
    The agreement allows the negotiation process to move to the final, so-called ‘trilogue’, stage of the negotiations, to take place on 11 April, with a view to a political agreement in June this year.
    The European Parliament voted on its position at first reading on the CAP reform package on 13 March 2013.

    Source: EU council, Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link Euractiv: Slovakia, Slovenia refuse to sign off on CAP deal
    Link The press release of the Council - details on the deal


  12. EU will extend the Grain Trade Convention 1995
    2013-03-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Agriculture

    The EU is in favour of the extension of the Grains Trade Convention 1995 - this was decided at the Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 18-19 March 2013.
    The extension of the Convention shall be decided at the next session of the International Grains Council (IGC)  in London on 10 June 2013.
    The GTC applies to trade in wheat, coarse grains ( maize, corn, barley, sorghum and other grains) and rice. It seeks to further international cooperation in grains trade; The Convention strives for market transparency through information-sharing, analysis and consultation on grain market and policy developments.
    The Convention also establishes the IGC as an intergovernmental forum for cooperation in grains trade matters. The functions of the IGC are to oversee the implementation of the GTC, to discuss current and prospective world grain market developments, and to monitor changes in national grain policies and their market implications.
    The GTC, was approved by the EU and entered into force on 1 July 1995 for a period of three years until 30 June 1998. Since then, it has regularly been extended and will expire on 30 June 2013.

    Source: European Council


    Link Read more
    Link More on the Grains Trade Convention
    Link Summary of Treaty


  13. EU: for the extension of the International Sugar Agreement 1992
    2013-03-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The EU is in favour of the extension for a two year period of the International Sugar Agreement 1992 - this is the official position of the EU within the International Sugar Council (ISC), agreed upon at the Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 18-19 March 2013.
    The  extension of the agreement shall be discussed at the next session of the ISC in Fiji on 6 June 2013.
    The ISC was created in 1937, originally to deal with problems concerning sugar surpluses and sugar distribution through the International Sugar Organisation. This organisation aims to ensure international cooperation in connection with world sugar matters and provide a forum for intergovernmental consultations on sugar, and to facilitate trade by providing information on the world sugar.
    The ISA was concluded by the EU and entered into force on 1 January 1993. Since then, it has been regularly extended for periods of two years and will expire on 31 December 2013. The headquarters of the Organization are in London, UK, and the chairman of the Council is the Fijian Prime Minister Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama.

    Source: EU Council


    Link Read more
    Link The text of the agreement
    Link More on ISO


  14. Fisheries: EU and Comoros - Negotiations on new protocol
    2013-03-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    The Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 18-19 March 2013 authorized the European Commission to open negotiations on behalf of the EU for a new protocol to the fisheries partnership agreement (FPA) with the Union of the Comoros.
    The EU and the Comoros have concluded a protocol to the FPA on 21 May 2010. The protocol, which grants fishing opportunities for the EU vessels and fixes the financial counterpart, will expire on 30 December 2013.
    This new protocol to the fisheries partnership agreement between the EU and Comoros should be in line with the 19 March 2012 Council conclusions on external dimension of the common fisheries policy- which stress among others the need to promote fisheries policy that is more sustainable, to reinforce of the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and to provide adequate economic returns  for payments for access.

    The fisheries partnership agreement covers the period 2005 – 2011 and has been tacitly renewed for a period of 7 years. The protocol includes an annual financial contribution of 615 250 € out of which a specific contribution of 300 000 € is dedicated to the support of the fisheries policy of Comoros.
    This fisheries agreement allows EU vessels mainly from Spain, Portugal, France and Italy to fish in the Comoros waters and is part of the tuna network fisheries agreements in the Indian Ocean.


    Source: EU Council


    Link Read more
    Link More on Comoros
    Link More on the fisheries partnership agreement


  15. UK's to reach 0,7% aid commitment
    2013-03-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    On Wednesday 20 March the UK Chancellor announced as part of his budget speech that the UK will meet its commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income this year on aid, CONCORD informs. This means that the UK will become the 6th donor to reach the target, and the only country from the G8 group to do so.
    0.7% refers to the repeated commitment of the world's governments to commit 0.7% of rich-countries' gross national product (GNP) to Official Development Assistance.
    First pledged 35 years ago in a 1970 UN General Assembly Resolution, the 0.7 target has been affirmed in many international agreements over the years, including the March 2002 International Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico and at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johnannesburg later that year. The UN Millennium Project's analysis indicates that 0.7% of rich world GNI can provide enough resources to meet Millennium Development Goals
    European leaders committed to boost overseas aid to 0.7% of GNI at a meeting in June 2005. An exception was made for the 12 new member states that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007, which were handed a lower target of 0.33% of GNI.
    The other five donors which already reached the target are: Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Denmark. 

    Source: CONCORD, UN


    Link Read more
    Link More on the 0.7% target
    Link EU countries to fill the gap on development aid


  16. MEPs back Contonou deal, but with human rights reservations
    2013-03-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    Development Committee MEPs backed the second revision of the EU's Cotonou partnership agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific states in a vote on Tuesday 19 March (adopted unanimously with 24 votes), but voiced strong reservations about its lack of binding human rights clauses, making recommendations for the third revision taking place in 2015.
    The first revision of the Contonou agreement was concluded in 2005, and it entered into force in 2008. The second revised text was adopted in 2010.
    On 19th March, the committee expressed its "strongest reservations about parts of the Agreement which do not reflect...the values of the Union", noting that a non-discrimination clause based on sexual orientation is not included in the revised version.
    It urged the Commission to reflect on the provisions not fully included in the current revision, with a view to incorporating them in the next one, which is due to start in two years (2015).
    The Cotonou Agreement established in 2000 a partnership between the ACP States, and the European Community and its member states. The EU-ACP partnership now has 79 member states, 78 of which have signed the Cotonou Agreement (Cuba is the exception).
    The Cotonou Agreement includes a revision clause which allows it to be adapted every five years until 2020.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Second revised version of the Agreement
    Link More on the Cotonou Agreement


  17. Malta: Not all aid is development aid
    2013-03-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    Although the statistics for official development assistance (ODA) shows that Malta is reaching the targets articulated in its promises, it was highly criticized in consecutive reports published by Concord, of inflating aid figures and of not being transparent in its donations.
    Malta, like all New Member States of the European Union, pledged to reach a level of official development assistance (ODA) of 0.17% of its gross national income (GNI) by 2010 and to increase it to 0.33% by 2015. The ODA was in 2011 0.25% of GNI; and the Government is aiming towards the 0.33% target in 2015.
    However, civil society organizations have expressed their concern given that the government spends a large amount of ODA funds in the detention of irregular immigrants, many of them asylum seekers, the vulnerability of most of which is recognized through their refugee status or other forms of protection. Although the improvement in the distribution of ODA should be noted, 88% of bilateral aid is not clear. This is the reason why the government has been most criticized by NGOs in Malta and abroad.
    Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the budget estimates for 2007, showed how ODA is distributed among eleven different development organizations. Only two are based in Africa. The bulk of the funds were allocated to bilateral aid, scholarships to foreign students in Malta and refugees in their first year in Malta or for repatriation.
    In this logic, the Social Watch report for Malta in 2013 states that the country should:
    •    Keep its promises to do its part in the eradication of poverty in the least developed countries.
    •    Show more transparency and accountability in the distribution of ODA budget.
    •    Display a clear policy and strategy in the selection and delivery of aid aimed at poverty eradication.
    •    Provide special attention to cross-cutting issues such as children's rights and empowerment of women.
    •    Collaborate with key stakeholders in making more efficient use of the money allocated.

    Source: 2013 Malta Social Watch Report.


    Link Read more
    Link More on Social Watch
    Link More on the ODA


  18. Sugar mounds and wine lakes? Not likely, quota advocates say
    2013-03-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Agriculture

    Butter mountains and milk lakes. Those were the images invoked in the European Parliament this week by opponents of extending vineyard planting limits and protections for sugar beet farmers.
    The images were meant as a parallel to the wasteful practices in the early years of the CAP, as the European Parliament voted, by a margin of 375 to 277, on 13 March for the market support measures that will carry the sugar quota through 2020 and planting limits for grape producers until 2030.

    However, there are no sugar mountains today and the EU must import sugar to meet demand, angering confectioners and the food and beverage industry who say the protectionist system drives up prices.
    Since the start of 2013, the European Commission’s sugar management committee has authorised the import of 584,000 tonnes of raw sugar - nearly half the 1.2 million tonnes the EU is expected to approve this year.
    Also, Europe does produce far more wine than it can consume and domestic consumption is falling, but it has a lock on the world market where demand is growing, according to the Comité Européen des entreprises vins (CEEV), a wine trade association.
    Vineyards are among the last areas of farming left to be liberalised after years of Commission efforts to erase protections for dairy and other farm products. The end of the planting restrictions stems from reforms during the last CAP overhaul that also called for the end of sugar price supports.
    Opponents say using the CAP to support specific sectors is unfair, hurts competitiveness and affects consumers by forcing them pay higher prices.
    There is currently a total EU production quota of 13.3 million tonnes of sugar, which is divided between nineteen Member States. The regulations on vineyard planting limits aim to regulate the total production, so that overproduction of wine is avoided.

    Source: Euractiv, European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU: Sugar quota to remain until 2020
    Link EU farm policy voted in Parliament


  19. Parliament regrets development aid cuts
    2013-03-20
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    The previous European Parliament Development committee which took places between 18 and 19 February expressed its regret for the cut of 11% of the European Development Fund (EDF), compared to the commission’s earlier proposals, after the deal for the overall EU budget for 2014-2020 was struck on 8th of February.
    The MEPs admitted though that much bigger cuts had been anticipated.
    As the EDF is an intergovernmental fund, outside the general budget, it is negotiated without the consent of the European Parliament.
    The commission also encouraged the creation of others sources of revenue, as financial transaction taxes, suggestion which has been circulating before among Brussels technocrats.
    The EDF is the main instrument for providing Community development aid in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the overseas countries and territories (OCTs), and has received under the new budget € 26, 9 bn,  €3 bn less than in the initial proposal of the European Commission.
    The EU's assistance to the ACP countries has traditionally been financed outside the EU budget for historical and legal reasons, but its level has been traditionally agreed as part of the overall budget negotiations.
    Overall, the budget proposal for EU external relations (this includs aid) was cut by approximately 13% : The Commission proposed a budget of €70 billion, while the Council opted for €60.67 billion, a difference of €9.3 billion.
    The overall EU budget for 2014-2020 is smaller than its predecessor. It goes down to 1% from 1.12% of EU gross national income. It is the first net reduction to the EU budget in history.

    Source: Euractiv, CONCORD


    Link Read more
    Link CONCORD on the Committee
    Link CTA Brussels analysis of the cuts


  20. CARIFORUM: meeting of legislative drafters of EPA
    2013-03-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    A second meeting of legislative drafters who will be tasked with preparing legislation to give effect to provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARIFORUM (Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific) States and the EU took place from 7-8 March in Trinidad and Tobago.
    The Meeting targeted legislative drafters from CARIFORUM States that are signatory to the EPA. The initial meeting was held in November 2012.
    The EPA was signed by fourteen CARIFORUM States in October 2008 and by the fifteenth CARIFORUM States, and Haiti, in December 2009. The Agreement is being provisionally applied since 29 December 2008.
    The fifteen signatory Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific (CARIFORUM) States to the EPA are the independent CARICOM Member States and the Dominican Republic.


    The Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States (CARIFORUM) is the body that comprises Caribbean ACP States for the purpose of promoting and coordinating policy dialogue, cooperation and regional integration, mainly within the framework of the  Cotonou Agreement between the ACP and the European Union and also the CARIFORUM-European Community Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

    Source: CARICOM


    Link Read more
    Link `Key architect’ of CARIFORUM-EU EPA
    Link More on CARIFORUM


  21. EU: €33m to improve security in Somalia
    2013-03-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    An additional support of €33 million will be provided to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by the EU, according to a decision taken on Tuesday 19 March.
    This EU support is aimed to allow AMISOM to continue its mandate of securing the country on its path towards lasting peace, prosperity and stability, and to reach its total strength of 17,731 troops as authorised by the UN.
    The EU’s support covers costs such as troop allowances, costs of the police and civilian component of the mission, and operational costs of the mission headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
    AMISOM is an African Union-led mission, mandated by the UN Security Council. Since late 2011, substantial progress has been achieved, as AMISOM, the Somali National Security Forces and troops aligned to the Somali Government have regained control of most of the capital of Mogadishu and other parts of the country.

    The mission is contributing to the Africa-EU partnership on peace and security of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES).
    For the period 2008-2013, the EU is allocating approximately €412 million to development projects in Somalia.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link More on AMISOM
    Link Lessons from EU engagement in Somalia


  22. EU: Sugar quota to remain until 2020
    2013-03-19
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Agriculture

    The sugar quotas will be maintained until 30 September 2020- this was voted in the European Parliament, as part of the global vote on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) on 13 March.  
    Thus, the current quota regime, which was due to end in 2015, will be extended for another five years.
    Responding to the news the European Sugar Users association (CIUS) said MEPs had sent the "wrong message" to the industry, undermining the prospects for a balanced European sugar market and more competitive European food industry.
    On the other side, the ACP Sugar Group welcomes the decision, by arguing that this will help to ensure fair and reasonably remunerative EU sugar market prices to ACP/LDC (least developed countries) exporters. This would correspond to the Economic Partnership Agreements and the Everything But Arms Initiative which underpin the trade and development objectives agreed between the EU and its partners. In the same time, this would allow industries to continue the modernization diversification and efficiency improvements in which ACP/LDC countries have already committed considerable funds from the EU’s Accompanying Measures financial support programme.


    There is currently a total EU production quota of 13.3 million tonnes of sugar, which is divided between nineteen Member States. Since the reform of the sugar market regime, the EU has become a net importer of sugar. Imports are mainly in the form of cane sugar for refining, from the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) and Least Developed Countries (LDC) which benefit from quota-free, duty-free access to the EU market.
    Alongside the wider Cotonou agreement, the sugar protocol has long incorporated preferential trade arrangements with the EU for certain ACP countries. However, over the years other measures have been put in place, replacing the sugar protocol arrangements. To support the adjustment process, the EU has decided to provide aid worth €1.25 billion (2006-13), on top of EDF aid (Accompanying Measures).

    Source: just-food.com, ACP Group, European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link ACP welcomes European Parliament vote
    Link ACP hails EP vote extending EU sugar quotas


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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: Cristina Dobos (dobos@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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