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CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter
Subject: CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter
Send date: 2013-07-30 09:20:00
Issue #: 185
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 : 30/07/2013
CTA Brussels Newsletter

Main events in the week

  1. Video Guest: Abdoulaye Seye (Rural Hub)
  2. EU Foreign ministers promote ‘water diplomacy’
  3. Blue Belt: EU eases customs formalities for ships
  4. EU: Central African Republic, the ‘country that the world forgot'
  5. EU: Commission proposes pooling world development aid funding
  6. As disease rates fall in Africa, EU urged to maintain health aid
  7. EU’s overseas aid corps: 40% slash in funding
  8. SADC, EU trade negotiations: close to conclusion
  9. EU: ready to help ACP states better manage migration
  10. Post-2015 agenda high priority for ACP
  11. EU Suspends Trade Negotiations With Pacific Nations
  12. EU: Commission opens consultation on "Sustainability of the Food System"
  13. EU: €5.5m for access to health care in Guinea-Bissau
  14. New 7 year mandate for investment facility in the ACP
  15. CARIFORUM: Completion of Implementation Plans for EPA
  16. EP accepts second revision of Cotonou Agreement
  17. France reduced its aid to Sub-Saharan Africa by 17%
  18. Côte d'Ivoire cracks down on illegal wood bound for EU
  19. EU: High EU cereals harvest in 2013
  20. EU supports banana sector Cameroon with €41 million


  1. Video Guest: Abdoulaye Seye (Rural Hub)
    2013-07-30
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    The expert in the financing of rural development at the Rural Hub - Abdoulaye Seye - was one of the representatives of farmers organizations present in Brussels on 13th June on the occasion of the roundtable conference on "Sustainable Agriculture as a means to increase resilience: the vision of West African farmers and producers", organized by the European Commission, the Technical Centre for Agriculture (CTA), and SOS Faim.

    At this event, the representatives of the farmers' organizations presented several initiatives and experiences in sustainable intensification of production in Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso, aspects of rice marketing in Benin and Gambia, along with examples of financing in Togo and Mali.
    Read more about it: bit.ly/12byz3W

    The Rural Hub is a platform which works closely with the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) on the development of the agricultural policy in the region.


    Link Watch the Video
    Link More on the roundtable on sustainable agriculture
    Link More on the "Rural Hub"


  2. EU Foreign ministers promote ‘water diplomacy’
    2013-07-30
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Environment

    At the last EU foreign Affairs Council - held on 22 July in Brussels -, foreign ministers from members states underscored that tensions over access to water are likely to rise in the next decade and could endanger stability in many parts of the world. Especially climate change and demographic developments were seen as aggravating the situation.
    The Council also stated that water-related conflicts could endanger the stability in many parts of the world, affecting the EU interests and international peace and security, and highlighted the potential of “water diplomacy” and the need to promote cooperation based on EU experience.
    Water security was brought to the table by a decision taken earlier that the ministers should periodically look into long-term issues of high importance. No specific water-related conflict was discussed at the Brussels meeting.
    Ministers stressed also that water and sanitation should be taken into account in designing the successor to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.
    Some 783 million people, or 11% of the world's population, lack access to improved sources of drinking water, UN figures cited by EurActiv show.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link Council Conclusions on water diplomacy
    Link More than 780m people won’t be celebrating World Water Day


  3. Blue Belt: EU eases customs formalities for ships
    2013-07-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Regional Fisheries

    On July 8, the European Commission released a proposal – entitled the “Blue Belt Communication” -  to ease custom formalities for ships – reducing red tape, cutting delays in ports and making the sector more competitive.
    The proposal aims to make fight the current situation in which freight forwarders and exporters complain that if they chose to send goods across Europe by short sea shipping, the heavy administrative burden at ports causes additional costs and significant delays, the Commission informs. The intention is to make the maritime sector attractive again, as compared to other forms of transport, especially road. Siim Kallas, EU responsible for Transport said: "Europe is faced with major challenges in terms of rising congestion and pollution. We need short sea shipping to fulfil its potential and provide a low cost, environmentally-friendly transport solution, taking more goods off lorries and off our congested roads"
    The new proposal is supposed to “bring the single market to the seas”, EU Commissioner Algirdas Semeta, responsible for taxation and customs union declared. It includes measures to reduce costs, simplify administration, and customs' work in shipping.

    Practically, it sets out two key proposals for easing of custom formalities for intra-EU shipping, as well as for ships that call in third country ports (almost 90% of ships carry both EU and non EU goods and stop frequently at EU and non-EU ports). For this last category, the Commission is proposing a system which can distinguish between the Union goods on board (which should be swiftly discharged) and the non-Union goods on board, which must go through the appropriate customs procedures.
    For this purpose, the Commission will bring forward before the end of the year a proposal to create a harmonised electronic cargo declaration. This new "eManifest" allows the shipping company to provide in all manifests (intra-EU and extra-EU) information on the status of goods to customs officials.

    It is expected that the “Blue Belt” will become a reality by 2015.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Read the text of the Communication


  4. EU: Central African Republic, the ‘country that the world forgot'
    2013-07-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The Central African Republic is a “country that the world forgot” and could become “a second Somalia” without additional support, EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said to journalist in Brussels on 23 July.
    In this context, on her personal blog, she pledged for the international community to step up attention and assistance to CAR, in order not to allow it to slip from the world’s attention again – “for the sake of its people, and for the stability of the region". During a commissioner’s visit in the capital Bangui, on July 11, the European Union announced an increase in humanitarian aid (by €8 million), bringing its total aid since the start of the year to €20 million.
    Georgieva said that the Central African Republic (CAR), was in “complete chaos” : “This is the most forgotten country in the world. The most miserable, the most in need for help, and the one which receives the least,” she said.
    The Commissioner added that the northern Mali and Sudan’s Darfur region were also plagued by lawlessness. The EU and its international partners have been able to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Sahel, but Georgieva claimed that the region should remain a long-term priority because it is prone to cycles of hunger and conflict.

    CAR has been embroiled in a decade-long armed conflict and ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world. Renewed fighting between the government and Seleka (an association of five rebel groups), which recently took over the capital Bangui, has left the country in turmoil.

    Between 2008 and 2013, around €210 million have been allocated for the whole country through the European Development Fund (EDF).

    Source: EurActiv, European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link CAR: EU scales up humanitarian aid
    Link Kristalina Georgieva’s blog


  5. EU: Commission proposes pooling world development aid funding
    2013-07-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    On 16 July, the European Commission adopted a communication proposing that all types of development aid in the post-2015 period be considered as “a whole”, by binding current major international efforts and using all their financial resources in the post-2015 period in “a new, innovative way”.
    While the EU executive recently focused on “what” to put in the future development framework – as defined in the communication on a ‘Decent life for all by 2030’, it is now turning its attention on "how" to finance it, said Andris Piebalgs, EU development commissioner.  In a statement, Piebalgs calls the newest communication “another big step towards putting in place the future post-2015 framework”. This paper is supposed to define EU’s position into the global framework, EurActiv reports.
    It examines the different financial resources available – public and private, both at the domestic and international levels (from taxes to grants, private investment or philanthropy), and singles out the following “guiding principles” for post-2015 financing:
    •    Financing must go hand-in-hand with policy objectives; money should go where it is most needed
    •    All financing sources should be considered as a whole, including Official Development Assistance (ODA) for low-income countries.
    •    Emerging economies and upper middle income countries can contribute their fair share to assist the poorest and most fragile.
    •    Different policy goals need to be mutually reinforcing, so every euro spent should aim to reach several policy objectives simultaneously. For instance, better food security is essential for poverty eradication and can be achieved through better preservation of biodiversity and forests, which in turn help to combat climate change.
    •    Partner countries should be in the driving seat when choosing resource priorities
    •    Enhance transparency and mutual accountability of all finance at national and global, to ensure that this is used more effectively.
    The paper also points out to the linkage of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the follow-up of the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development “into one overarching framework for post-2015”, in line with the ideas highlighted in the ‘Decent life for all by 2030’ proposal. “We are completing our joint vision today by confirming that we will bring together also the financing tracks for sustainable development and poverty eradication,” Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said in a statement.
    Although the emphasis of the financing communication is on developing countries, its approach can be universally applicable, the Commission says. This is in line with the political thinking, which recently suggests that the post-2015 MDGs will apply universally, and not only to the world’s poorest countries, EurActiv writes.


    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link EU: linking poverty eradication to sustainable development
    Link EU proposes common approach


  6. As disease rates fall in Africa, EU urged to maintain health aid
    2013-07-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, Development Policy

    African governments are spending more of their own money to combat the AIDS virus, malaria and other health plagues - according to a new report by the United Nations’ AIDS agency and the African Union (AU), released on Monday (15 July) -, but a senior global health official says progress in preventing infectious diseases could slow if the EU and other donors skimp on their aid.
    While HIV and TB rates have fallen, the report shows that malaria deaths continue to rise in some countries and the insect-borne disease takes a particularly severe toll on mothers and children.
    The report comes 12 years after African leaders made a commitment in Abuja, Nigeria, to spend at least 15% of their national budgets on health and do more to prevent the AIDS virus, TB and malaria. Since then, domestic health spending in the 54 AU member states has grown fourfold – from $14 billion to $52 billion (equivalent to €40 billion at today’s exchange rate). However, just six AU nations have reached the Abuja target, according to World Health Organization figures cited in the report.
    Stepped up attention to health from African governments and international donors is credited with the improvements, but officials warn that a decline in spending could halt or even reverse them. In the European Parliament’s development committee on 9 July ,Mark Dybul, who heads the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, urged the EU and other donors to sustain their commitments to fight the diseases despite their own domestic fiscal challenges.
    A report released in April by the Global Fund said it needed $87 billion, or €67 billion, through 2016 to finance programmes in 151 nations. Existing donors, governments in beneficiary nations and private supporters are expected to provide some $72 billion, the report said. Dybul has asked the EU and other contributors for additional $15 billion in “replenishment” funding that is designed to avoid gaps in treatment and prevention from different budget cycles in donor countries.
    A month after the Abuja Declaration, the EU launched its ‘programme for action’ on infectious diseases to back up the African efforts.

    At the special Abuja +12 Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, held from 12 – 16 July 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria, the African Heads of State resolved to take serious action toward the elimination of the pandemics, especially by scaling up the implementation of the initial Abuja Commitments, and implement targeted poverty elimination strategies and social protection programmes.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link More on EU's programme on infectious diseases
    Link The Abuja +12 AU Summit


  7. EU’s overseas aid corps: 40% slash in funding
    2013-07-29
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Voluntary Humanitarian Aid Corps, proposed by the Commission in September 2012, is still waiting full legislative approval and the proposal has already been hit by a 40% budget cut, leaving a total of €147 million set aside for the new programme in the next seven-year budget.
    The project landed on the chopping block when EU leaders - on June 19yh - capped spending at €960 billion in the 2014-2020 budget cycle, down from the current €1 trillion. The Commission had requested €239.1 million for the corps of which €137 million was to fund overseas deployments for thousands of volunteers.
    Howwevr, the current presidency of Lithuania wants to press ahead with a programme it sees as a priority of its EU presidency: “We consider that this piece of legislation is one of the most important within the sphere of humanitarian aid,” Rolandas Kriščiūnas, Lithuania’s vice minister of foreign affairs, told the European Parliament’s development committee on 9 July.
    The 2009 Lisbon Treaty calls for creating the corps as part of the reforms aimed at bulking up the EU’s foreign policy muscle. Some €1.2 million was set aside to fund pilot projects this year and the Commission plan calls for training some 10,000 volunteers through 2020 to help in global operations.
    The aim of the programme is to provide training and support for volunteers who would serve several months to a year responding to needs in developing and emerging nations. They would help provide support for health, nutrition, hygiene and education – some of the EU’s top development goals.
    The regulation creating the corps was approved by the Parliament’s development committee in April and is still awaiting an initial plenary vote.

    Source: Euractiv


    Link Read more
    Link EU: deal on multi-billion euro budget for 2014-2020
    Link More on the European Voluntary Corps


  8. SADC, EU trade negotiations: close to conclusion
    2013-07-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    The final round of negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between EU and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) might take place in September 2013, The European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner, Karel de Gucht announced in at the conclusion of his visit to Botswana on 15 July.
    The visit was part of a tour in four African countries: Kenya (part of the Eastern African Community, EAC) and Namibia, Botswana, South Africa (members of the Southern African Development Community, SADC) in order to discuss the state of the negotiations on the comprehensive EPAs.
    On the occasion he ensured the audience that the EU is strongly committed to conclude the agreement, APA reports. He also claimed that this would be the most generous agreement of the kind that the EU has ever agreed with.
    However there are still standing issues, De Gucht mentioned, and this is why he advises for a longer round  of negotiations to be scheduled in September.
    The SADC member states have been negotiating reciprocal EPAs with the EU since 2004, a process delayed by numerous political and technical glitches over the years.

    Source: APA


    Link Read more
    Link EU Trade Commissioner on visit
    Link SADC scrambles to meet EU trade deadline


  9. EU: ready to help ACP states better manage migration
    2013-07-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Union (EU) remains committed to addressing issues related to migration in the Caribbean and will focus on increasing its value to development, the head of the EU delegation in Guyana, Ambassador Robert Kopecky said at the Caribbean Forum on Population, Migration and Development held on July 9 and 10 in Guyana.
    The EU’s assistance towards the population, migration and development related challenges in the Caribbean are based on the Intra-ACP Migration facility, that is a financing agreement signed in 2008 by the European Commission and the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, to the value of 25 million Euros. The project’s intention is to assist the ACP states “to better understand and manage intra-ACP migratory flows and to maximise their impact. The direct beneficiaries are principally the migrants themselves and the different entities participating in the process of consultation on the theme of `migration and development.”

    Source: stabroeknews.com


    Link Read more
    Link More on the Intra-ACP Migration Facility
    Link Brussels Briefing on Migration in the ACP


  10. Post-2015 agenda high priority for ACP
    2013-07-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    On 12 July, at the ACP House in Brussels, was launched a Working Group on the Post-2015 Overarching Framework to lead the 79-member ACP Group in deliberations on the post-2015 development agenda with a view to form a common ACP position and a joint ACP-EU declaration on the issue.
    The group is made out of ambassadors of the 79-member states, and has as a goal to ensure that the concerns and interests of the ACP Group are integrated into the global development framework set by the international community, which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
    The Chair of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, H.E Samuel Outlule of Botswana said the post-2015 framework is an opportunity to create an “enabling environment for development”, in harmony with the aims of the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement focused on eradicating poverty, achieving sustainable development, and integrating ACP states into the world economy on fair terms.
    In addition to forming ACP and ACP-EU positions, the Working Group will help prepare ACP member states to participate effectively in meetings on the post-2015 process at the regional and global levels.

    Source: ACP


    Link Read more
    Link Opening remarks by the Chair of the Committee of Ambassadors
    Link More on the Millenium Development Goals


  11. EU Suspends Trade Negotiations With Pacific Nations
    2013-07-26
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Regional Fisheries, ACP-EU Policy

    The European Union has suspended the latest round of trade negotiations with Pacific ACP States (PACPS) on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Vanuatu Daily Post informed on July 11th.
    July 5 in Brussels saw the conclusion of a round of trade negotiations between PACPS and the EU on the EPA amidst serious divergences over a number of contentious issues, including the EU’s request to introduce significant changes in PACPS’ national laws dealing with the management of fisheries resources. Thus, the EU could not agree to the PACPS’ request to continue negotiations in September 2013, and asked for a period of reflection to consult their stakeholders.
    The EU expressed strong disappointment towards the PACPS’ position that any issue concerning the management of fisheries resources should only be dealt with in the competent forums, i.e. the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). The EU’s request to use the EPA to address PACPS’ fisheries management appears motivated by the fact that previous attempts to debate the issue in the WCPFC did not produce any positive results for the EU.
    In addition to the disagreement on fisheries issues, a number of additional topics were identified which could not be solved at technical level. These include major redlines advocated by Vanuatu’s delegation: to obtain special and differential treatment in terms of tariff liberalization due to its unique fiscal circumstances – Vanuatu requests to liberalize 70% of its tariff lines instead of 80% as requested by the EU; The request of Vanuatu to eliminate any binding reference to tax issues from the EPA.
    In this circumstance, it seems little probable the 2012 mandate to conclude EPA negotiations by the end of 2013 will be in fact achieved.
    EPA negotiations started in 2004 in the region with the objective of introducing a WTO-compliant system trade preference that could substitute the old trade preferences granted by the EU to ACP States. An interim EPA has already been signed with Fiji and Papa New Guinea (PNG).

    Source: Vanuatu Daily Post


    Link Read more
    Link Pacific-EU trade relations on a knife edge


  12. EU: Commission opens consultation on "Sustainability of the Food System"
    2013-07-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Agriculture

    Open until 1 October 2013, a public consultation headed by the European Commission on the "Sustainability of the Food System" seeks to get feedback from the public and relevant industries regarding the question "How can we move towards a more resource efficient and sustainable food system?"
    The consultation – launched on July 9th - seeks to provide answers to the unsustainable pattern of consumption that affects both Europe and the world.
    A list of actions to tackle this pattern has been identified and the Commission's consultation invites those interested to outline "how these actions might be prioritised and who would be best placed to take them forward." They are as follows:
    a.    Better technical knowledge on the environmental impacts of food
    b.    Stimulating sustainable food production
    c.    Promoting sustainable food consumption
    d.    Reducing food waste and losses
    e.    Improving food policy coherence
    Participants will also be given the opportunity to propose other actions. Following the public consultation, the Commission plans to publish a Communication on the Sustainability of the Food System in early 2014.


    Through the term “sustainability”, the European Commission implies the use of resources at rates that do not exceed the capacity of the Earth to replace them. For food, a sustainable system is seen as encompassing a range of issues such as security of the supply of food, health, safety, affordability, quality, a strong food industry in terms of jobs and growth and, at the same time, environmental sustainability, in terms of issues such as climate change, biodiversity, water and soil quality. However, the questionnaire invites the participants to give their perspective on this issue.


    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Go to the consultation


  13. EU: €5.5m for access to health care in Guinea-Bissau
    2013-07-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    A total of 5.5 million Euro will be allocated over the next 36 months by the European Commission to a programme that aims to facilitate access to basic health care for pregnant women and children under five in the specific regions in Guinea-Bissau. The objective of the programme is to enable 80% of the population of these regions, including a large majority of women and children, to see a health officer at least three times a year.
    The benefiting  regions are Biombo, Cacheu, Ohio and Farim in Guinea-Bissau, which have a total population of approximately 520 000.
    The programme is entitled Integrated Mother and Child Health Programme (Programme Intégré de santé Maternelle et Infantile - PIMI) and will make medicines available at rural health centres during a first, 36-month phase.
    It will also facilitate the daily work of healthcare staff by improving their training and supplying equipment. Since 52% of the population live more than 5 km from a healthcare centre, the programme includes basic healthcare training for members of the most remote village communities so that they can respond to immediate needs, particularly in the case of women and children.
    Consultation with health professionals and essential medical supplies will also be provided free of charge.
    The programme will receive a supplement of a further EUR 2.5 million, provided under a second phase,.
    Guinea-Bissau is considered by the European Commission to be a vulnerable country. After the armed conflict of 1998/1999, it went through a difficult period, regularly interrupted by coups d'état, which hampered attempted reforms and development. On 12 April 2012 there was another military coup which prevented the second round of the presidential elections being held and plunged the country into instability
    In the context of the ongoing procedure (under the Cotonou Agreement), institutional cooperation with the Government of Guinea-Bissau has currently been suspended, but direct support to the population and civil society continues. This new programme for improving access to health care will therefore be implemented by UNICEF and other non-governmental organisations.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU cooperation with Guinea-Bissau


  14. New 7 year mandate for investment facility in the ACP
    2013-07-25
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    The 11th European Development Fund (the new financial package covering the cooperation relations between the EU and the African, Carribean and Pacific – ACP – countries for the next period of seven years 2014-2020) will provide EUR 500 million for the ACP Investment Facility - a special fund for private sector investment - and a grant envelope of EUR 634 million for interest rate subsidies and technical assistance, both administered by the European Investment Bank (EIB) – EU’s long-term lending bank.  
    These funds will be complemented by a further EUR 2.5 billion to be made available by the European Investment Bank on its own resources guaranteed by the EU Member States for lending primarily for public sector projects.
    This brings the total sum which will go to the Investment Facilities and loans managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to €3.63 billion,


    Moreover, a 25% increase in lending to the region under the ACP Investment Facility is expected, European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer said on the occasion of the annual visit of Ambassadors of ACP partner countries to the bank’s Luxembourg headquarters, on July 9th. Also, an increase in the effectiveness of the engagement of the EIB in the region is expected to come over the years through lending, blending and advising, he claimed.
    On the date, he also reaffirmed the commitment of EIB to ensuring that infrastructure projects, private sector engagement and regional integration initiatives in ACP counties can benefit from EIB involvement.


    This year marks fifty years of European Investment Bank engagement in ACP partner countries and 10 years of lending through the ACP Investment Facility. The Bank finances investment projects in the ACP and OCT regions, under the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement (Cotonou Accord) and the Overseas Association Decision. Currently, the lending under the Facility reaches a an average of EUR 450 per year.

    Source: EIB


    Link Read more
    Link EIB’s ACP Investment Facility: €3.4 bn in ten years
    Link ACP, EU agree on development fund


  15. CARIFORUM: Completion of Implementation Plans for EPA
    2013-07-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    All the National Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Implementation Plans for the CARIFORUM States bound to sign the comprehensive EPAs with the EU are to be successfully validated. Saint Lucia is the latest of the eight CARIFORUM State to mount a Validation Meeting, on the date of July 5th. After the Implementation Plan will be approved by Government, it will be given effect.
    At the end of Saint Lucia’s Validation Meeting, which took place on July 5, in Castries (Saint Lucia), the out-going Director-General of the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM) Directorate in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Ivan Ogando Lora has lauded the “spirit of cooperation” underpinning their development.

    The intention of the Validation Meetings was to provide the representatives of Government and national non-governmental organizations with the opportunity to be briefed on the draft National EPA Implementation Plan, while allowing for them to provide further input.
    The Plan is expected to position the countries in a position to a allow them to better coordinate its approach to implementing the provisions of the EPA, in terms of obligations and benefits.
    Before Saint Lucia, the consultancy was rolled out in Antigua and Barbuda, followed by Belize, St Kitts and Nevis, The Bahamas, Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines.
    The development of the Implementation Plans is expected to bode well for regional states preparing to access the recently launched EPA Standby Facility for Capacity Building, a €3.5m fund administered by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), with support from National Authoring Officers in respective states. The Standby Facility is to be in place for three years, and is intended to assist CARIFORUM States by underpinning national institutional capacities.  
    The EPA is a comprehensive trade and development accord between the Caribbean Forum of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (CARIFORUM), and the European Union (EU) and its Member States. A first interim agreement was signed between the two parts in 2008.

    Source: CARIFORUM


    Link Read more
    Link EPA: The Bahamas to finish the national implementation plan
    Link EPA: 2014 deadline concerns interim agreement


  16. EP accepts second revision of Cotonou Agreement
    2013-07-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Development Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    On June 13, the European Parliament (EP) approved – with considerable reticence – the final version of the second revision  of the framework agreement between the EU and the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries (the Cotonou Agreement). They argued that the agreement is not explicit enough on the human rights, and particularly on the homosexuality chapters.

    The Cotonou Agreement is a cornerstone of the cooperation and trade relations between the EU and the ACP countries.
    It includes a review clause that allows an adaptation of the text every five years until 2020. Negotiations on the first revision of the Agreement were launched in May 2004 and concluded in February 2005. The revised agreement entered into force on 1 July 2008.
    Begun in 2010, the second revision of the Cotonou Agreement, was extensive. To date, the agreement has been ratified by 20 of the 28 EU Member States, and 54 of the 79 countries that are members of the ACP group.

    The final revision - that received the approval of the EP on June 13-  recognizes the particular importance of the fight against climate change, of food security, and promotes regional integration and democratization of African countries. But for the MEPs, the political dialogue between the EU and ACP was a failure. They demand for the agreement to include binding and non-negotiable clauses on human rights". To date, "homosexuality is still considered a crime in 38 ACP countries, homosexuals are punishable by death in five of them," say the MPs. "Not saying anything means tacitly accepting these laws," an MEP, who wants to see the subject explicitly mentioned in the agreement, argued.
    The MEPs point to other gaps in the agreement, as the absence of any statements on "the future ways of financing the EU-ACP cooperation(...), the adaptation to climate change, and adjustment costs associated with the introduction of EPAs ".

    Trade (including fair trade), finance, taxation, or the use of microcredit are also missing from the text, MEPs say, regretting a resolution they adopted in 2010, and which gad included these aspects.

    EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs acknowledged that "the results [were] not optimal."

    In the same time, the ACP believes that the agreement respects the  "lowest common denominator".

    Source: EurActiv.fr


    Link Read more
    Link MEPs back Contonou deal, but with human rights reservations
    Link More on the Cotonou Agreement


  17. France reduced its aid to Sub-Saharan Africa by 17%
    2013-07-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy, Aid effectiveness

    In 2012, France reduced its development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa by 17%, as compared to 2011, according to a report released on June 25 by ONE, a campaigning organization that fights poverty. Despite its status as a priority region, sub-Saharan Africa has seen a disproportionate fall of development aid coming from France between 2011 and 2012.
    In its report, ONE provides details on the contributions of the states members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to the region. With few exceptions, such as South Korea (50.8%), Australia (34.8%), the U.S. (12%) and Canada (9.6%) the most OECD countries have reduced their aid. In Europe, Spain, Belgium, Portugal or Greece, have decreased their contribution by 20% to 60%.
    On 5th of July, the OECD released data according to which, in 2012, France’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) was USD 12.1 billion (or 0.46% of French Gross National Income - GNI).
    The report published by ONE complements the figures provided by the OECD in April, which reported a downward trend in donor contributions.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more [FR]
    Link European development aid drops 4.3% in 2012
    Link France - must ensure that poor countries get the aid they need


  18. Côte d'Ivoire cracks down on illegal wood bound for EU
    2013-07-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Development Policy

    In an attempt to fight the clearing out of forests due to illegal cocoa plantations, the government of Côte d'Ivoire has started evacuating cocoa farmers from protected forests-land, a move which stirs-up controversies over the breach of human rights. This comes only a couple of weeks after the EU has announced it would launch talks on a new trade agreement with Côte d'Ivoire to counteract the illegal logging. It is estimated that 75% of the former French colony’s forests have disappeared in the past 50 years, mainly due to farming including cocoa plantations  - which represents about 10% of the country’s economic output. “Côte d'Ivoire exports 80% of its forestry products to the EU and as one of the biggest global markets for timber, the EU is part of both the problem and the solution,” European Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said on 13 June in announcing the trade talks.
    The new trade agreement – a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) – is a legally-binding agreement, designed to set up control and licencing systems to ensure that all timber imported to the EU from Côte d'Ivoire has been produced legally.
    Côte d'Ivoire 's  government says it is prepared to pay the economic price of phasing agriculture out to save the dwindling tropical forest and the security services have started flattening houses and forcefully removing the farmers."In America, you couldn't imagine people illegally occupying Central Park just because they say they have nowhere else to live, could you?" said a government spokesman.
    Yet, the evacuations from the around half the 4.2 million hectares of protected forest reserves have stirred unrest, and have given birth to worries over the lack of protection of human rights. There are reports over abuse of security forces of abuse, including the looting of homes, stealing money and cocoa and, in some cases, rape - charges rejected however by the government.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link EU, Côte d'Ivoire: negotiations on partnership to fight illegal logging


  19. EU: High EU cereals harvest in 2013
    2013-07-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture

    A rise in autumn planting of cereals, and favourable weather conditions in recent months, especially in the South of Europe, are likely to see a higher EU cereals harvest this year that could bring market relief and higher stocks in marketing year 2013/14, according to the Commission's Summer 2013 Short Term Agricultural Outlook published at the beginning of July. Thus, total cereal production in 2013 is forecasted to be well above 2012 levels, according to the data provided by the crop yield forecast system developed by the European Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC).  
    This expected good harvest in the Northern hemisphere could lead to lower feed prices and higher margins for livestock producers, which, in a context of an improved economic situation, could generate an increase in meat and milk production in 2014.
    By contrast, poor pasture and forage conditions in Central and Western Europe are expected to affect strongly milk supply in the EU in 2013.
    The Outlook report, published three times a year, is based on contributions from the Commission's market experts.
    You can consult the Outlook here.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Consult the Outlook


  20. EU supports banana sector Cameroon with €41 million
    2013-07-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    A total of 41.046 million Euro will be allocated from the European Union for the development of the banana sector in Cameroon, as part of the European Commission’s Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) programme. The Government of Cameroon has recently signed the financing agreement with the EU at the beginning of July (2013). The amount is intended to lead to an an increase in production and a general improvement of working conditions of African suppliers.
    The dessert banana in Cameroon is, after the wood, and excluding oil, the second export product in volume in the country (the third in value), the European Commission informs. However, the local producers intend to significantly increase the current level of production, approximated at less than 250,000 tons per year.
    Under the BAM programme, ten ACP countries are to benefit from a total of 190 million EUR of accompanying measures in the banana sector over a period of nine years.
    Its purpose is to help the ACP member states to cope with the new EU banana regime after December 2009, when the EU agreed to cut the EU's banana tariff for Latin American countries, which lead to a decrease in the preferential margin which ACP countries enjoyed.
    The ten benefiting countries are the ones exporting to the EU more than 10,000 tonnes/year on average over the past decade). These are: Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana (in Africa), and Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines and Suriname (in the Caribbean).

    Source: freshplaza.com


    Link Read more
    Link Ghana : 7.2m EUR banana support package
    Link Dominica: 15,4m EUR banana support package


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Ms Isolina BOTO
Head
CTA Brussels Office
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Editor: Cristina Dobos (dobos@cta.int)

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For more information on the full range of CTA activities please go to http://www.cta.int/
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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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