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CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 371
Subject: CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 371
Send date: 2013-09-09 18:03:54
Issue #: 188
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 : 09/09/2013
CTA Brussels Newsletter

 

Main events in the week

  1. Main Events for the Week 09/09/2013 –15/09/2013
  2. Video Guest: Patrick Sorgeloos (Ghent University)
  3. EPAs: East Africa considers diplomatic engagement with EU
  4. Agra: African opposition to GM crops is a farce
  5. EU: €124m support for security in Somalia
  6. EU support beneficial to Solomon Islands exporters
  7. EU must be more proactive in post-2015 negotiations
  8. EU: Scholarships for students from developing countries
  9. Climate change: Pacific islands require prompt action
  10. Cameroon refurbishes cocoa drying ovens to meet EU rules
  11. Controversy on ILUC relevancy, ahead of Parliament vote
  12. Central Africa: EPAs, threat to regional integration
  13. Intensification of anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Guinea
  14. EU: €20m for a climate-resilient Pacific
  15. EU turns to development banks to boost private investments
  16. Biofuels: The impact of indirect land-use change
  17. Small-scale agriculture, the key to a secure future in Africa
  18. Contradiction between aid and security requirements?
  19. Biofuels: Final vote in the European Parliament
  20. Zimbabwe: EU Re-Engagement Hangs in Balance


  1. Main Events for the Week 09/09/2013 –15/09/2013
    2013-09-09

    European Parliament:

    11-12 September: Plenary Session (Strasbourg)

    European Commission:

    11 September: State of the Union Address 2013 (President of the European Commission)

    Council of the EU:

    8-10 September: Informal meeting of Ministers for Agriculture (AGRI)


    ACP Group:

    - 9 September: ACP Sugar Committee
    - 10 September: Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors
    Steering Committee on Sustainable Development
    - 11 September: Steering Committee on Political, Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs
    African Union Meeting
    - 12 September: Committee of Ambassadors
    - 12-13 September: ACP Eminent Persons Group

    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: Patrick Sorgeloos (Ghent University)
    2013-09-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    In this week’s CTA Brussels video interview, Patrick Sorgeloos, professor of Aquaculture at the Ghent University of Belgium, talks about the future of aquaculture in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, and the need of building a sustainable future for the sector.
    More specifically, he:
    - recommends investing in capacity building, especially through exchange of experiences with more experimented countries from Asia
    - advices against a swift introduction in ACP countries of big aquaculture commercial projects
    - says that alternatives and renewable resources have to be found in order to reach sustainability in nutrition of fishes bred in fish-farms.

    On 15th May 2013, Patrick Sorgeloos held a presentation on “Aquaculture nutrition: addressing the long-term sustainability of the sector” as part of the Brussels Briefing ‘Geography of food: reconnecting with origin in the food system’ organized by CTA Brussels at the ACP Secretariat in Brussels.
    To find out more and watch his presentation: bit.ly/YM9Q94a


    Link Watch the Video
    Link More on the Brussels Briefing on Fish-farming


  3. EPAs: East Africa considers diplomatic engagement with EU
    2013-09-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    The East African Countries (EAC) have agreed to use diplomacy with the European Union (EU) to clear unsolved issues on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), AllAfrica informs.
    The EAC ministers are currently undertaking national consultations on the way the diplomatic engagement with EU will be carried out.  The EAC needs to come up with a common position on several EPA outstanding issues, such as the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) and export taxes.
    The EAC fear that if signed, the MFN will block all the signatories to enter into bilateral talks with other partners on areas where the EU does not enjoy preferential terms. Negotiators said the EU has been keen on the clause to shield itself against emerging economies like India and China.
    Again, the EAC negotiators have maintained that they need policy flexibility on issues of export tax to allow value addition and industrial development. EU, however, insists on the importance of measures disciplining the use of export taxes in the EPA.
    Five African regions are currently negotiating EPAs with the EU. These are: EAC, SADC, West Africa (ECOWAS), Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), and Central Africa.
    Tanzania and the other four members of the East African Community (EAC) namely Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are negotiating the agreement through the regional bloc.
    Previously it has been decided that the EPAs negotiation between the EU and the African countries to be put on hold until it will be covered at the Africa EU Summit scheduled to be held in April 2014.

    Source: AllAfrica


    Link Read more
    Link Africa: No EPAs to be signed until April 2014
    Link Central Africa: EPAs, threat to regional integration


  4. Agra: African opposition to GM crops is a farce
    2013-09-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Agriculture, Archive

    Concern in Africa over genetically modified (GM) crops has been dismissed as “fear of the unknown”  in a report by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra), which was published on 4 September.
    The report – entitled Agra's Africa Agricultural status report states - argues that GM crops have been subjected to more testing worldwide than new non-modified varieties - citing reports from the EU, the World Health Organization and the US national academy of sciences – and describes opposition to GM crops as "a farce".
    The research states: "There is growing public opposition to GM crops in Africa that is best described as a fear of the unknown. Unless milled, the import of GM foods is banned in Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. More important to seed-sector development, these bans signal the arbitrariness and unpredictability of public policy."
    Only four African countries – Burkina Faso, Egypt, Sudan and South Africa – have fully commercialised GM crops. Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda are conducting field trials of biotech crops, the final step before full approval of commercialisation. Most African countries have put in place the requisite policy and regulatory frameworks, despite public jitters over genetically modified food.

    Agra is an independent organisation based in Kenya that aims to double the income of 20 million small farmers and reduce food insecurity by 50% in 20 countries by 2020. The group is chaired by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general.

    Critics of the group accuse it of showing its true colours after initial coyness over GM foods: "This report clearly indicates their full support for GM crops, and their intention to use their influence to open African doors for Monsanto's and Syngenta's patented GM crops," said a representatives of the Gaia foundation - an advocate of food sovereignty that asserts the right of people to define their own food systems – for EurActiv.

    The report coincides with a meeting in Maputo (Mozambique), of the African green revolution forum, organised by Agra. The focus of the talks – which bring together heads of state, ministers, NGOs and scientists – is "scaling up and financing inclusive agribusiness through transformative public private partnerships".

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link Consult the Report
    Link GMOs – implications for trade and developing countries


  5. EU: €124m support for security in Somalia
    2013-09-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    Approximately €124 million will be allocated to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) by the European Union (EU), the European Commission announced on 9 September in Brussels.
    This financial support by the EU will cover costs including troop allowances for all AMISOM soldiers, police and civilian components of the mission, as well as operational costs of the mission headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. It is considered be critical in allowing AMISOM to continue to fulfill its United Nations Security Council mandate to carry out active peace support operations across Somalia.
    This new funding will cover the period of 1 June to 31 December 2013, and will bring the overall EU contribution to AMISOM to almost €600 million.
    The EU also calls on other donors to contribute to funding for AMISOM.
    Andris Piebalgs, EU Commissioner for Development considers that this sum of money is relevant because “AMISOM plays an essential role in supporting Somalia on its path towards stability and lasting peace until the country can assume full responsibility for its own security.”
    The EU and Somalia will co-host a High Level Conference on "A New Deal for Somalia" in Brussels on 16 September 2013.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Somalia to adopt 'The New Deal’


  6. EU support beneficial to Solomon Islands exporters
    2013-09-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    A coffee exporter from the Solomon Islands exporter has significantly improved its production level with support from the European Union (EU) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community through the EU-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project. He says that support from the IACT project has contributed immensely to the success of his company. It has not only helped to boost production, but also to improve the flavour of the coffee produced.
    The company is one of the 44 enterprises currently being assisted by the IACT project in the Pacific region. It managed to double its coffee production in 2012 when IACT first stepped in to provide the company with technical and business development assistance
    The main goal of the IACT project is to strengthen the export capacity of Pacific members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of Countries (ACP) in the primary industries of agriculture, forestry, aquaculture and livestock.
    The IACT project employs a whole supply chain approach, assisting through the product development process from farm to factory to market. This helps commercial ventures to become export-oriented enterprises that are able to consistently supply overseas markets with competitive products.
    The project operates in the 15 Pacific members of ACP (the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States): Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
    Recently, we have presented a similar case based in Fiji.

    Source: Pacific News Center


    Link Read more
    Link Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) Project
    Link EU helps Pacific countries develop global role


  7. EU must be more proactive in post-2015 negotiations
    2013-09-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    The European Union (EU) should go beyond restating old commitments in global negotiations on financing for development, and rather adopt proactive measures, a policy paper recently released by a group of international organizations working in the field of development for cooperation (Concord, Eurodad and CAN Europe) reads.
    This comes after the European Commission (EC) released a communication on actions that can best support the efforts of the poorest countries in achieving development. This has been however criticized for not proposing new concrete actions or commitments from the part of the EU.
    The coming year (2014) is expected to be crucial for international negotiations to match global ambitions with binding commitments on financing for development. Discussions will create a new global sustainable development framework including post-2015 development goals, the post-Rio sustainability goals and climate change financing.
    In the paper, Concord, Eurodad and CAN Europe propose 12 specific actions that the European Union should take in order to prove their ambition and credibility in the upcoming global negotiations on financing for development.
    The suggested actions are grouped against four main sections, namely:

    • Eliminating any doubt that might cast over the financial credibility of investing companies from EU
    • Refraining from intervening in the policy space of developing countries – either in the form of imposing trade and investment agreements, or not respecting UN principles on lending and borrowing
    • Improving external public financing by conducting impact evolution, finding new sources of funding and ensuring current commitments are met in a transparent and accountable way.
    • Helping to prevent future finance and debt crises by improving the regulation and supervision of the financial sector and supporting UN efforts to introduce fair debt mechanisms.

    To read all the proposed actions consult the original article.  

    Source: CONCORDE


    Link Read more
    Link EU: New report on Post-2015 Development priorities
    Link Reactions to post-2015 MDGs European discussions


  8. EU: Scholarships for students from developing countries
    2013-09-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, Development Policy

    The European Union (EU) offers fully-funded scholarships for students from developing countries selected in one of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Programmes at European universities and institutions.
    For 2014-2015, 138 Master’s and 42 doctorate degree courses in Agriculture and Veterinary, Engineering, Manufacture and Construction, Health and Welfare, Humanities and Arts, Science, Mathematics and Computing, and Social Sciences, Business and Law.
    For eligibility, note that each Erasmus Mundus programme defines its own selection criteria and admission procedures. Students or scholars should contact the Consortium offering the programmes for more information concerning the content of the course, its structure, the scholarship amounts as well as the application and selection procedures.
    Deadline varies but is around October to January the following year.
    Erasmus Mundus is a cooperation and mobility programme in the field of higher education that aims to enhance the quality of European higher education and to promote dialogue and understanding between people and cultures through cooperation with Third-Countries.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link More about the Erasmus Mundus programme


  9. Climate change: Pacific islands require prompt action
    2013-09-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Climate change , Environment

    The threat that climate change poses to Pacific Island nations shows that international action on the issue is overdue, European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard said during the 44th Leaders Meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) held in Majuro, Marshall Islands between 3-6 September 2013.
    African, Carribean, and Pacific (ACP) Secretary General H.E Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni told the region’s Heads of State and Governments that action against climate change was vital to the ACP’s survival and success. He also stated that the place to “assert its position” is at the 2014 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference in Samoa. This would enable the ACP to call for immediate action to “support the Pacific with respect to mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” as hoped for by the ACP Secretary General.
    Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said the situation was "dire" and the Pacific needed immediate action, not vague promises to do something a few years down the track. "We need concrete action on the ground to save Tuvalu, Marshall Islands and Kiribati," he said.
    Hedegaard expressed concern that some countries may try to delay the 2015 deadline - established at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Durban in 2011 - to adopt a universal legal agreement for the implementation of reductions in emissions and increase reliance on alternative energy sources.
    She said Europe and the Pacific island nations could work together to push the international community to respect the deadline. "We have to make a joint pressure to say the world is already more than late (in addressing climate change)," she added. "2015 must be taken seriously."
    The 15 PIF nations include islands states such as Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, where many atolls are barely a metre (three feet) above sea level and risk being submerged by rising waters. The PIF is set to finalize a "Majuro Declaration" aiming at reviving global efforts to deal with climate change.
    The ACP- European Union (EU) Building Safety and Resilience Programme in the Pacific demonstrated the European Union’s efforts in climate change and disaster risk reduction, which will need further support from the ACP of the Pacific in order to warrant sustainability of the results.


    Source: Times Live; ACP Secretariat


    Link Read more
    Link Durban Climate Change Conference
    Link 44th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting


  10. Cameroon refurbishes cocoa drying ovens to meet EU rules
    2013-09-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security

    Cameroon has begun refurbishing old cocoa ovens in an effort to comply with tougher European Union (EU) quality rules, after the bloc rejected about 2,000 tonnes of beans last year due to smoke contamination.
    "This is part of the campaign to promote good practices in cocoa drying," Omer Gatien Maledy, executive secretary of Cameroon's Cocoa and Coffee Interprofessional Board (CCIB) said.
    The EU, top buyer of Cameroonian cocoa, rejected 2,000 tonnes of beans in December saying they contained high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The compounds, found in cocoa which has been dried over smoky fires or on sticky tarmac, present cancer risks. On 1 April, Brussels introduced a stricter rule on PAH contamination.
    Cameroon cocoa authorities said early this year that the cracked ovens, originally donated by the EU, would be refurbished and that tarpaulins would be distributed to farmers for sun drying their beans instead of doing so on tarmac.
    The EU bought 88% of the over 196 tonnes of cocoa which Cameroon exported in the 2012/2013 season.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link EU : reinforces control on imported cacao beans


  11. Controversy on ILUC relevancy, ahead of Parliament vote
    2013-09-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Energy

    The impact of EU biofuels on the increase in the global food prices in the recent years has been insignificant, Dr. Harald von Witzke, Professor and Chair for International Agricultural Trade and Development at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany said at a conference of EU-Biofuel Policy hosted by the Representation of Bavaria to the European Union (EU) on 5 September in Brussels.
    Moreover, he added that the indirect land use change (ILUC) should not be accounted for in the EU policy, given that it is a relatively young area of research, which has been not sufficiently developed. “If you attach ILUC factors to bioenergy, you should attach it to everything. To organic farming, because it is land intensive […] as well as to greening because it takes land from other forms of productive agriculture,” von Witzke said.

    Indirect land use change (ILUC) factors designate the effect which appears because traditional (or first generation) biofuels are produced using feedstock which could otherwise be used for food and feed. Given that in this case the demand for food still exists and has to be fulfilled, land use change appears (by changing e.g. forest into agricultural land), which implies that a substantial amount of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere.
    On 11 July, the European Parliament Environmental Commission proposed to account ILUC factors in the European energy policy, in order to encourage more sustainable bioefuels – that do not compete directly with food and feed crops, such as wastes and agricultural residues .

    A study released on 5 September by the energy consultancy Ecofys seems to confirm the statements of Dr. von Witzke. It highlights that the impact of EU  biofuels demand until 2010 only increased world grain  prices by about 1-­‐2%. It also predicts that without any cap on cropbased, cropbasedbiofuel production may lead to another 1% increase through 2020;
    In the study, Ecofys concludes that the role of biofuels remains very small. “Systemic factors, like reduced reserves, food waste, speculation, transportation issues, storage costs and problems, and hoarding play a much larger role in local food prices. These factors can be solved and should get much more attention”, the report reads.

    Present at the 5 September event, an European Commission official (Joachim Balke, member of cabinet of the EU-commissioner for Energy) assured that the European Commission does not include ILUC factors as a criteria for considering subsidies for the bioefuels sector, but he suggested that they should be considered internally, in every country.

    This discussion anticipates the final vote on bioefuels in the European Parliament plenary meeting, expected to take place next Wednesday (11 September) in Strasbourg. The vote on has been postponed from Monday to Wednesday, due to the complexity of the matter, Albert Dess, Spokesman of the Agricultural Committee in the European Parliament said at the conference.
    The 11 September vote is on the initial European Commission policy proposal to introduce a 10% minimum quota for renewable energy sources in the transport fuel used, and to reduce by 65% the C02 emissions by 2020 in the EU. On 11 July, the European Parliament environmental committee voted that biofuels, produced from food and energy crops, must not exceed 5.5% of total energy consumption for transport purposes by 2020. The committee also proposed for  ILUC factors to be considered when subsidies are granted in support for achieving the minimum quota.  
    This stand-point differs from that of the Industry and Agricultural committees, which have proposed a 6,5%, respectively a 10% quota for traditional fuels.
    The industry sector, strongly represented at the event, believes that a 5,5% cap and the consideration of ILUC factors would represent a sign of insecurity for the investors, and would bring distress for the sector.

    If no agreement is reached on the biofuels issue on 11 September, the Parliament is to take the proposal to a second reading. Afterwards, the trialogue between the institutions (Parliament – Commission - Council) will begin.

    Source: CTA Brussels


    Link Read more
    Link Biofuels: Final vote in the European Parliament
    Link Report: Biofuels play minor role in local food prices


  12. Central Africa: EPAs, threat to regional integration
    2013-09-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    "In their current form, the EPAs [Economic Partnership Agreements] are a threat to the process of regional integration in Africa," representative of the Economic Community of Central Africa (ECCAS), Carlos Bonfim, said during the coordination meeting of negotiations on the partnership with the European Union (EU), held in Gabon in August.
    Bonfim highlighted the points of divergence between ECCAS and the EU. He pointed out that several issues such as market access, clearing customs revenue losses, accompanying measures and export subsidies are still sources of stalled negotiations with the European Union.
    He expressed his wish to see the divergent views of the regions reconciled in the context of EU-Africa summit in April 2014. He calls on the African Union to play its leadership role in this regard.

    Source: bilaterals.org


    Link Read more
    Link Africa: No EPAs to be signed until April 2014


  13. Intensification of anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Guinea
    2013-09-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries, ACP-EU Trade, ACP-EU Policy

    Closer international co-operation is required to fight against piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, Ghana’s Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Geofrey Biekro, told participants at the conference on “Maritime Security in Africa,” which was held in Lagos (Nigeria) between 27-29 August.
    “Criminal gangs are taking advantage of our failure to collaborate at the operational and tactical levels,” he said. “They commit offence in the territorial waters of one country and then move.

    The head of the European military working group for West Africa, German Rear Admiral Jurgen Ehle, declared  that  the EU plans to step up its anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Guinea.
    The EU is currently drafting a policy (named "EU security strategy for the global maritime domain") which will focus on training and the coordination of regional armies.
    The strategy’s first step would be to generate "real-time situational awareness of all activities at sea". By interlinking civilian and military communities, it would result in better cross-border information sharing, which in turn would facilitate decision-making and improve maritime governance.
    The policy is expected to be finished in October. However, Ehle added that the EU is unlikely to deploy ships in the region.

    Several of the largest oil companies are located in the region and most of the piracy in the Gulf of Guinea targets oil-tankers and their oil, sold on the black market.

    Deutsche Welle reported that the piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has increased with 42% in 2012, as compared to the previous year.

    Source: westafricagateway.org


    Link Read more
    Link Rise of Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea
    Link EU : strategy against maritime piracy


  14. EU: €20m for a climate-resilient Pacific
    2013-09-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Climate change

    The European Union (EU) will provide 20 million Euro to support the Pacific states in addressing the impacts of climate change and the urgent need to improve resilience to natural disasters, EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard announced at the occasion of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), which was held in Majuro (Marshall Islands) from 3-6 September 2013.
    The financing will be part of the “ACP-EU Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific” programme, signed at the PIF. The forum was based on the theme "Marshalling the Pacific Response to the Climate Challenge."  
    “For the Pacific people, climate change is not about a distant future. It has become the new normal. This programme will help the Pacific states in their efforts to adapt to this new climate reality.”, said Connie Hedegaard.
    The programme is also supposed to improve the collection and use of science-based information for better awareness and understanding of natural hazard, education and training.

    Source: The Jet (www.thejetnewspaper.com)


    Link Read more
    Link EU Suspends Trade Negotiations With Pacific Nations
    Link The EU launches €20m programme to help build a climate resilient Pacific


  15. EU turns to development banks to boost private investments
    2013-09-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    The European Commission is pushing for further public-private collaboration by seeking the closer involvement of development banks such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for reconstruction and Development (EBRD), in order to maintain its position as biggest provider of development aid, but that requires governance reforms. EurActiv France reports.
    Together, the Commission and the banks could finance large investment projects in energy or transport, allowing the EU to make a bigger impact without additional expenses, it is estimated. This technique, known as “binding”, allows for a quicker disbursement of European money, known to be slow. The banks present the project to the Commission and the countries which take the final decision.
    In December 2012, a European platform composed of the Commission, the Member States and European financial institutions was created to do a feasibility study on improving financing. This ended up showing that the selection procedures and the follow-up of the operations should become more efficient and transparent. The organisation of these investment facilities is not satisfactory, due to the large number of financial institutions that are associated with it, the study quoted by Euractiv shows.
    Currently, the procedures vary depending on which organisation has been selected. This, is why, new assessment criteria of the projects and common governance norms defined by the platform should be applied to all financial institutions as of 2014.

    Source: EurActiv.fr


    Link Read more
    Link New EU Platform for blending funds in external cooperation
    Link ACP Bank, potential to close “immense” financing gaps


  16. Biofuels: The impact of indirect land-use change
    2013-09-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment, Energy

    Taking into consideration the indirect land-use change emissions (known as ILUC) of traditional biofuels is the best available option to reduce negative environmental impacts, Chris Malins, expert from the nonprofit organization “International Council on Clean Transportation,” writes for EurActiv.
    On 11th July, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of accounting for scientifically proven indirect land-use change emissions. Also, at the full plenary session of the European Parliament, taking place on 11-12 September in Strasbourg, a proposal to cap traditional biofuel production and accelerate the switchover to a new generation of products from other sources, such as seaweed and or certain types of waste will be put to a plenary vote.
    According to the European Union states’ National Renewable Energy Action Plans, leaving the continent’s biofuels policy unchanged will result in 25 million tonnes of biodiesel from vegetable oil, and about 10 million tonnes of ethanol from sugar and grain, being consumed annually in Europe by 2020.
    This policy based on the EU’s renewable energy and fuel quality directives ought to reduce carbon emissions from European transport by at least 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. The directives contain a rule that each litre of biofuel should reduce carbon emissions by 50% compared to fossil fuels. This implies a cost of around €250 per tonne of carbon dioxide abated, based on the cost estimate in the UK transport ministry’s impact assessment for the Fuel Quality Directive.   
    Unfortunately, producing tens of millions of tonnes of biofuel requires a large increase in agricultural output, or a correspondingly large reduction in the amount of food people eat, said Malins. He also points out that clearing land to expand agricultural production will cause the loss of carbon stored in the soil and in biomass on the land, emitted as carbon dioxide.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link Biofuels: Final vote in the European Parliament
    Link European Parliament: 5,5% cap on traditional biofuel


  17. Small-scale agriculture, the key to a secure future in Africa
    2013-09-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture

    Developing countries should encourage small scale agriculture in order to improve nutrition, reduce poverty, and enhance development, instead of focusing on the possible advantages of heavily processed food, Kanayo Nwanze, the president of  International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said at the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, which has recently taken place in Accra (Ghana).
    IFAD is the UN agency dealing with food production in the developing countries.
    This comes after Sergey Brin - the billionaire American businessman who co-founded Google - funded the development of a stem-cell burger cooked up in a western laboratory. The resulting €250,000 burger is billed as a triumph for science and ethics, a way to feed the world. Possibly in 10 years, heavily processed food that has been developed at a phenomenal cost in hi-tech laboratories could be shipped to the world's poorest people in the name of feeding them and protecting their environments, EurActiv reports.
    Most of Africa and Asia used to be self-sufficient in food, but over the past 30 years nearly every developing country has become dependent on imports. Nwanze laid the blame for the decline of African agriculture on under-investment as a result of structural adjustment programmes forced on much of the continent by the World Bank. He claims that small farms still have the potential to supply rural markets, as well as Africa's burgeoning urban markets. In addition, it has been demonstrated that growth in agriculture implies a reduction in poverty.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link Find out more about IFAD


  18. Contradiction between aid and security requirements?
    2013-09-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    Even if the European Union has long preached its intention of correlating its development co-operation, humanitarian aid, and security and defense actions, the policies and measures it developed risk running totally separate ways,  the EUobserver notes.
    In the last years, the European Union (EU) – especially through its important policy papers “European Security Strategy” (2003) and the 2012 Agenda for Change - has affirmed its stance on increasing the link between security and aid objectives. The authors believe that this has been successfully put in practice, especially through the development of new funds, such as the Instrument for Stability or the African Peace Facility, as well as through  the creation of new institutions, such as the European External Action Service (EEAS).
    However, EU’s measures risk contradicting themselves. The article gives as an example the situation in Egypt, where the European Commission and the EEAS allocated a budget of approximately €1 billion in aid between 2007 and 2013, “without tackling the country's endemic corruption and poor human rights record”.
    This problem is caused mainly by the structure of the EU-intuitional structure, which favors duplication and fragmentation of activities: “the European Commission does the main EU-level work on development and humanitarian aid, while the EEAS and EU member states do intergovernmental work on security building”.
    In this context, a new clear strategy is required, which can set in stone a co-ordination mechanism between the institution. The newspaper notes that “without it and without its implementation, the EU mantra that security and development should go together risk being hollow words”.

    Source: EUobserver


    Link Read more
    Link EU support to improve security in Africa


  19. Biofuels: Final vote in the European Parliament
    2013-09-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    At the full plenary session of the European Parliament, taking place on 11-12 September in Strasbourg, the proposal to cap traditional biofuel production and accelerate the switchover to a new generation of products from other sources, such as seaweed and or certain types of waste will be put to a plenary vote.
    On 11 July 2013, the Environmental Commission of the European Parliament passed a draft paper that capped the share of first-generation biofuels, produced from food and energy crops to 5.5% of total energy consumption for transport purposes by 2020 (the European Commission had proposed a 5% cap). Also on the occasion, the it was voted that advanced biofuels produced from other sources, such as seaweed or certain types of waste, must account for no less than 2% of consumption by 2020.
    These measures integrate in the European policy framework which stipulates that renewable energy sources account for at least 10% of transport fuel use by 2020.
    The Parliament's Environment Committee has also supported the introduction of so called indirect land use change (ILUC) factors that is reported to account for the climate impacts of deforestation triggered by the expansion of biofuels.
    On the occasion of the final vote on 11 September, other Committees in the Parliament (e.g. the one for Industry, Research and Energy) are expected to represent a different position, opposing ILUC factors and watering down the cap on food for fuel, Friends of the Earth note.

    Source: Friends of the Earth, European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link European Parliament: 5,5% cap on traditional biofuel
    Link Environment Committee advocates promoting advanced biofuels


  20. Zimbabwe: EU Re-Engagement Hangs in Balance
    2013-09-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy, ACP-EU Policy

    No certainty exists yet over the removal of restrictive measures imposed by the European Union (EU) on Zimbabwe. EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell'Ariccia, said the bloc was awaiting the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union's final reports on the 31 July elections before deciding on the way forward. In its preliminary statement following the July 31 polls, SADC said the elections were peaceful and free, but the question as to whether they were fair would be addressed in a month's time.
    However, two weeks ago, Zimbabwean president Mugabe acknowledged that he does not see the remaining sanctions being lifted. He said he was fed up with the West's attitude, in particular, towards Zimbabwe, arguing it was high time he hit back by imposing restrictions on western companies operating in the country. Zimbabwean officials are  to have long accused the EU of lacking commitment and negotiating in bad faith, AllAfrica informs.
    After the escalation of political violence related to the elections in 2002, the EU decided to introduce measures against Zimbabwe as a mean to put pressure on those considered responsible. These measures have been renewed each year since 2002. The EU’s most recent renewal of the measures occurred in February 2012 when it decided to remove over two thirds of individuals and companies from the visa ban and the asset freeze list in recognition of the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which allowed the  creation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) and progress made towards the creation of a conducive environment for the holding of  free, fair, peaceful and transparent elections. Zimbabwean President Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe, and some companies such as the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, however, still remain under sanctions.

    Source: AllAfrica


    Link Read more
    Link Zimbabwe: EU to review restrictive measures
    Link Zimbabwe: lift of embargo and slump of trade with EU



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