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CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 379
Subject: CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 379
Send date: 2013-12-16 17:11:54
Issue #: 196
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 : 16/12/2013
CTA Brussels Newsletter

 

Main events in the week
  1. Main Events for the Week 16/12/2013 - 22/12/2013
  2. Video Guest: Ousmane Badiane (Director for Africa, International Food Policy Research Institute)
  3. The 4th Haiti Briefing on Farmer-driven research
  4. Special Joint Pacific ACP trade and fisheries meeting
  5. Pacific countries encouraged to firm unified bloc for trade negotiations with EU
  6. Samoan Prime Minister chairs ACP Council of Ministers
  7. WTO reaches first global trade reform deal in Bali
  8. Commission approves new GM products for food and feed uses
  9. 23 Member States contest CAP reform implementation
  10. Organic farming gaining ground, Commission report shows
  11. Coreper endorses backloading of carbon permits
  12. EU suspends South Africa citrus fruit imports
  13. Europe tries new recipe to combat hunger in Ethiopia
  14. 2014 EU budget deal agreed
  15. Ministers underline importance of Enhanced Integrated Framework for post-Bali agenda
  16. Bali WTO conference: 'opportunity' to boost trade with developing countries' SMEs
  17. Council adopts the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020
  18. How transparent are aid donors?
  19. ACP-EU parliamentary meeting: Great Lakes region and Comoros archipelago
  20. EU and Africa to forge research and innovation partnership on food security
  21. European Parliament approved EU’s long-term budget (MFF) 2014-2020


  1. Main Events for the Week 16/12/2013 - 22/12/2013
    2013-12-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    European Parliament:

    - 16-19 December: European Parliament committee meetings
    - 20-22 December: Election Observation Delegation to Madagascar

    Council of the EU:

    - 16 December: Foreign Affairs Council
    - 16-17 December: Agriculture and Fisheries Council
    - 17 December: General affairs Council
    - 18 December: Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN)
    - 19-20 December: European Council

    ACP Group:

    - 16 December: Special meeting of the Committee of Ambassadors
    - 16 December: W/G on the Future Perspectives of the ACP Group
    - 17 December: Meeting of the ACP-EU Private Sector Working 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: Ousmane Badiane (Director for Africa, International Food Policy Research Institute)
    2013-12-12
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Agriculture

    In this week’s CTA Brussels video interview, Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) tells us more about the agricultural growth recovery and economic transformation in Africa. Badiane said that IFPRI is helping to create a critical mass of world class experts in economic modelling and a strong community of practice with the best tools, state of the art models, high quality data and all the necessary resources for training. He highlighted the key findings of the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAAKS) which pulls together a network of experts from the countries in the region as well as from global centres of expertise to answer the needs in terms of technical analyses, data and tools that allows CAADEP  to have a vibrant and well informed review process for  benchmarking and mutual learning. Finally, he reminded that good policies may not be the solution for everything but bad policies are a problem for everything.
    On the 2nd October 2013,  Ousmane Badiane held a presentation on “the successes in agriculture and structural transformation in Africa” as part of the Brussels Briefing on the ‘Drivers of success for agricultural transformation in Africa’ organized by CTA Brussels at the Borschette Congress Center in Brussels.
    To find out more and watch his presentation: http://brusselsbriefings.net/past-briefings/agricultural-transformation-in-africa/


    Link Watch the video


  3. The 4th Haiti Briefing on Farmer-driven research
    2013-12-10
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Security, Rural development, Agriculture

    As part of the decentralisation of the Brussels Development Briefings and support to most vulnerable countries, the 4th national Briefing on Farmer-driven research to improve food and nutrition security in Haiti’ was held on Wednesday, 11th December 2013, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. More than 250 participants attended this event.
    This followed the first three briefings which took place in Haiti – “The development of aquaculture and fishing, an economic opportunity for Haiti” on 26th September 2013, “Valorisation of local products as an alternative for food security” on 2nd July 2013  and “Building resilience in the face of crisis and shocks” on 27th February 2013.
    The 4th Haiti Briefing drew from the Brussels Briefing on the topic of Farmer-driven research to improve food and nutrition security’ which was held on 14th of November, at the Jacques Delors Building (in Brussels). More than 100 participants discussed successes and shared lessons from the farmer-led agricultural research, by emphasizing its impact on the livelihood of the people and its key role to improve food and nutrition security. To read more about it go here.
    The national briefings integrate the topics of  the Brussels Briefings, which are of interest for Haiti. They look at a particular topic through the lens of a national case, and raise awareness on topical issues related to agriculture in Haiti.
    They are fully organized at the local level, by PROMODEV, the Ministry of Agriculture and other development partners. Farmer’s organisations from various regions of the country are represented in the discussion, and a special emphasis is put on involving the media in the discussions as a way to inform them on key priorities for rural development.
    You can find more by visiting the websites of the national Briefings: www.promodev.ht and www.haitibriefings.net. Presentations given by panelists are available here: www.promodev.ht/document-pdf/briefing4. It is also possible to watch the video of the Briefing here: www.ustream.tv/channel/briefing-no-4-sur-le-developpement-en-haiti


    Link Read more
    Link Detailed program of the event
    Link Watch the video


  4. Special Joint Pacific ACP trade and fisheries meeting
    2013-12-10
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    An urgently-called Special Joint Pacific Trade and Fisheries Meeting of the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries has been held at the FFA Conference Centre, in Honiara, (from 9 to 11 December 2013). An estimated 60 delegates, mainly Trade and Fisheries Ministers and Officials from 14 Pacific member states of the ACP (PACP) countries attended the meeting. They were considering an update on the developments that took place at the Joint PACP-EU Senior Officials Meeting held in October 2013 in Brussels, Belgium. This was to prepare PACP Ministers for their meeting with the European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, on 12 December 2013.
    Mr De Gucht visited Solomon Islands and was in Honiara the whole of last week. The meeting with the EU Trade Commissioner was to take stock of where the PACP and the EU are in their negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and chart the way forward to conclude a mutually agreeable comprehensive EPA. The last time PACP Trade Ministers met an EU Trade Commissioner was in 2007; six years ago.
    This meeting was therefore the ideal opportunity for the region to have a very frank dialogue with the Commissioner with a view to finding a breakthrough on the remaining outstanding issues and conclude the EPA negotiations. Launched on 10 September 2004 at the Sheraton Hotel at Denarau in Nadi, Fiji the EPA negotiations has dragged on for 9 years and 3 months; far too long.

    Source: Solomon Star News


    Link Read more
    Link ACP-EU Assembly: Call for rapid conclusion of EPA negotiations


  5. Pacific countries encouraged to firm unified bloc for trade negotiations with EU
    2013-12-10
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Fiji’s trade minister and attorney general (AG), Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, is calling for Pacific unity in negotiations with the European Union (EU) on a comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Pacific trade ministers are meeting in Solomon Islands from 10 December 2010 to prepare for discussions later this week in Honiara with the EU’s trade commissioner, Karel de Gucht.
    In October 2013, the EU suspended Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations (CEPA) after Papua New Guinea (PNG), which already has an interim EPA, withdrew from the discussions because it did not want to lose access concessions it has already won for its canned fish products. PNG did not want these benefits to be reduced by the EU as a result of CEPA negotiations.
    The EU wants a single comprehensive EPA with the Pacific nations that are members of the African Caribbean and Pacific group.
    The Pacific countries want the same benefits that PNG has in its interim deal but the EU is setting tougher conditions to be met. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said approaching negotiations as a unified bloc is still the best option because it gives the region the maximum leverage to achieve the most favourable trade agreement. He added although Fiji has the biggest stake in the EPA negotiations given the size of its trade links with the EU, it wants to proceed with the rest of the region in order to find a solution that is in the best interests of all PACP states.

    Source: Radio New Zealand International, Fijivillage.com


    Link Read more
    Link Fiji urges EU to conclude EPA
    Link Pacific urges EU to conclude EPAs this year


  6. Samoan Prime Minister chairs ACP Council of Ministers
    2013-12-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    The Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Samoa, Hon. Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi is confirmed to preside over the 98th session of the Council of Ministers for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group.
    The meeting, scheduled for the 9th till 11th of December 2013, will bring together officials from the 79 member states in Brussels to deliberate and take decisions on policies for the Group. The Council of Ministers is the organisation’s highest decision-making body under the Summit of Heads of State.
    Key items for on the agenda include the future perspectives of the ACP Group; trade matters covering the ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements, ACP positions at the WTO ministerial conference, and issues on commodities (bananas, sugar, cotton); ACP-EU development finance cooperation; and budget issues for the Secretariat.
    Other issues for discussion include the ACP’s position on the post-2015 development agenda; private sector development strategy; the fight against terrorism; and the ratification of the second revision of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (Cotonou Agreement).

    Source: ACP Secretariat


    Link Read more


  7. WTO reaches first global trade reform deal in Bali
    2013-12-09
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Agriculture, Rural development

    The Bali Ministerial Conference of the (World Trade Organization) concluded a day later than scheduled on 7 December 2013 with agreement on a package of issues designed to streamline trade, allow developing countries more options for providing food security, boost least developed countries’ trade and help development more generally. In addition to the Bali Package, ministers formally adopted a number of more routine decisions at the end of a five-day meeting opened by Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which also saw Yemen accepted as a new member.
    “We did it!” said Indonesia’s Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, who chaired the conference. “For the first time in our history: the WTO has truly delivered,” said WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.
    The talks, which began on 3 December, nearly derailed when Cuba refused to accept a deal that would not help open the United States embargo of the Caribbean island. That forced negotiations into Saturday morning. Cuba later agreed on a compromise with the United States. But there was skepticism on how much the deal had achieved.
    The talks began under a cloud because of India’s insistence that it would back an agreement only if there was a compromise on food subsidies because of its huge program for stockpiling food to feed its poor. An eventual compromise was welcomed by India’s trade minister, Anand Sharma. While India had insisted on a permanent exemption from the W.T.O. rules, the final text aimed to recommend a permanent solution within four years.
    The agreement is a milestone for the 159 members of the W.T.O., which was created in 1995. It rescues the W.T.O. from the brink of failure and will rekindle confidence in its ability to lower barriers to trade worldwide after 12 years of fruitless negotiations.
    The deal would speed the passage of goods through customs. Analysts estimate that it could eventually bolster the world economy by billions of dollars and create more than 20 million jobs, mostly in developing countries. It still requires the approval of each member government.
    Agreement on the agriculture part of the Bali Package required sorting out two issues. Much of the focus was on shielding public stockholding programmes for food security in developing countries, so that they would not be challenged legally even if a country’s agreed limits for trade-distorting domestic support were breached.
    The proposed solution will be interim, and much of the discussion was about what would happen at the end of the interim period. The outcome of consultations was for the interim solution to exist until a permanent one is agreed, with a work programme set up aiming to produce a permanent solution in four years.
    The other issue was about “tariff quota administration“, how a specific type of import quota (a “tariff quota” where volumes inside the quota have a lower duty) is to be handled when the quota is persistently under-filled. Members have agreed on a combination of consultation and providing information when quotas are under-filled.
    Meanwhile, several documents remained unchanged from the versions negotiated in Geneva:

    • Duty-free, quota-free access for least developed countries to export to richer countries’ markets. Many countries have already implemented this, and the decision says countries that have not done so for at least 97% of products “shall seek to” improve the number of products covered.
    • Simplified preferential rules of origin for least developed countries, making it easier for these countries to identify products as their own goods, and qualify for preferential treatment in importing countries.
    • A “services waiver”, allowing least developed countries preferential access to richer countries’ services markets.
    • A “monitoring mechanism” consisting of meetings and other methods for monitoring special treatment given to developing countries.
    • Improving market access for cotton products from least developed countries, and development assistance for production in those countries.

    Source: New York Times, Reuters, EurActiv, WTO


    Link Read more
    Link Ministers underline importance of Enhanced Integrated Framework for post-Bali agenda
    Link Bali WTO conference: 'opportunity' to boost trade with developing countries' SMEs


  8. Commission approves new GM products for food and feed uses
    2013-12-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Agriculture

    The European Commission proposed on Wednesday 6 November that governments approve genetically modified crops for cultivation in Europe, for use in food and feed as well as for import. The proposal covers an insect-resistant maize developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical which, if approved, would end Monsanto's current monopoly in Europe's tiny market for GMO crops. The Commission said it was "duty bound" to make the proposal after Europe's second-highest court in September censured the EU executive for lengthy delays in the approval process, first launched back in 2001.
    The proposal comes after two inconclusive votes by the member states in June and July at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health and the Appeal Committee, respectively. These so-called “no decision votes” paved the way for the Commission to take a final decision.
    During the previous vote, on 10 June, 13 member states, including Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and the UK supported the authorization. However, 11 member states (Greece, France, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland and Slovenia) voiced their opposition. Germany, Bulgaria and Italy abstained. All member states upheld their positions in the vote at the Appeal Committee the following month.
    EU governments now have three months to vote on the issue. The proposal is likely to face strong opposition from France, as well as Austria, Italy and other countries that have previously banned the growing of GMO crops. But with Britain, Spain and Sweden expected to back the proposal, there may be little that opponents can do to prevent approval. Under EU rules applying to the application, the Commission is obliged to approve cultivation unless a weighted majority of governments vote against it.
    Seeking to head off criticism from anti-GMO governments and campaigners, the Commission called for the restart of stalled talks on draft EU rules to allow member states to decide individually whether to ban or restrict GMO cultivation.
    Environmental campaigners say the Commission has failed to fully address concerns over the impact of the insecticide-producing crop on butterflies and other pollinators, despite requiring companies selling the crop to monitor its impact on "non-target" insects.

    Source: Eurpolitics.info, Reuters


    Link Read more
    Link EU Commission renews bid to unblock GMO crop approvals
    Link EC legally obliged to pass on a 12-year old GMO cultivation request


  9. 23 Member States contest CAP reform implementation
    2013-12-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture, ACP-EU Policy

    A group of 23 countries* attacked the European Commission (EC) in an expert meeting, on 11 November, accusing it of ignoring the agreement on reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) when drafting rules to implement the new measures. The member states have bandied together to try to make EFAs – Ecological Focus Areas – less ecologically focused. France, Spain, Poland and Italy were among those countries that backed the joint note to the Commission appealing it to “urgently correct” inconsistencies between the draft rules and the terms of the CAP agreement.
    The principle behind EFA is that they help increase intensity of agro-ecological processes – like pollination, soil formation and conservation, regulation of water and nutrient cycles – for the whole agro-ecosystem of the farm and surrounding area. In order to deliver such environmental public goods, there must be appropriate conditions: if we want pollination, there should be no pesticides applied; if we want to prevent pollution from excess nutrients, no fertilisers should be applied.
    The group claims draft rules for ecological focus areas (EFA) – farmland zones to be dedicated to preserving wildlife – would prevent farmers using fertilisers to grow protein crops, a measure that “clearly alters the legislator’s decision”. Member states must be allowed to produce crops on EFAs along forest edges, the group adds. A number of other technical rules would prevent farmers from gaining EFA status for land under protein crops, they say.
    The countries also dispute proposed limits to the species of protein crops that are eligible for ‘coupled’ (production-linked) support. Meanwhile, the group says draft rules for young farmers could exclude two-thirds of them from getting the new support in some member states as they impose “very restrictive conditions”. “This was clearly not the intention of the co-legislators,” they say.
    The coalition of 23 countries also raises concerns over the method employed to prevent farmers from being paid twice for the same environmental measures. “The objective and scope of the delegation that the Council and Parliament have specified in the basic acts should be fully respected,” they argue.

    *The states are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.

    Source: Europolitics.info, ARC2020.eu


    Link Read more
    Link 23 Member States try to Sneak Pesticide use into Ecological Focus Areas
    Link EU institutions agree on transition measures for agriculture in 2014


  10. Organic farming gaining ground, Commission report shows
    2013-12-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture

    The organic sector in the European Union (EU) has been rapidly developing during the past years, the report "Facts and Figures on Organic Farming" issued today by the European Commission (EC) points out. The report gives an overview of organic agriculture in Europe based on the data available and its evolution over recent years. It shows in particular that organic holdings are overall bigger than conventional farms in the EU and their managers are younger. Permanent pasture represents the biggest share of the organic area (about 45%), followed by cereals (around 15%) and permanent crops (about 13%). Besides poultry, which registers the highest number of animal organic heads, the rest of organic livestock is led by sheep (46%) and bovines (30%) at European level.
    According to Eurostat data, the EU-27 had in 2011 a total area of 9.6 million hectares cultivated as organic, up from5.7 million in 2002. During the last decade, organic area in the EU improved by about 500 000 hectares per year. This is a big increase, but the whole organic area represents only 5.4% of total utilized agricultural area in Europe. The organic area is cultivated by more than 186 000 farms across Europe. Most of the organic land (78%) and of organic farms (83%) are situated in the EU Member States having joined the EU before 2004 (the so called EU-15), in which national and European legislation, among others, helped stimulate the development of this sector. The European countries having joined the EU since 2004 (called in the report the EU-N12) are not lagging behind and are quickly expanding the organic sector as well. They registered a13% yearly growth rate in their organic area from 2002 to 2011 and saw their number of holdings increase almost tenfold between 2003 and 2010.
    The report gives an indication of the situation of organic agriculture in Europe, for given years, according to data availability. It feed into the ongoing review of the political and legal framework for organic agriculture in Europe, with an overall strategy to be put forward in early 2014.

    Source: European Commission, Europolitics.info


    Link Read more
    Link Download the report
    Link Commission publishes Facts and Figures on Organic Farming


  11. Coreper endorses backloading of carbon permits
    2013-12-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Climate change

    European Union (EU) diplomats  and the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) approved, on 8 November, the proposal delay the sale of 900 million tonnes of carbon permits until later this decade in order to prop up carbon prices in the bloc's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). They gave the Lithuanian Presidency a mandate to negotiate with the European Parliament, just days after Berlin confirmed its support for the measure on 4 November.
    Member states voted nearly unanimously in favour of the backloading of ETS allowances: only Poland and Cyprus did not support the proposal. The matter had been at a stalemate since 3 July, when the EP voted in favour, but with conditions. The support of Germany and Spain broke the stranglehold.
    The Presidency will be contacting the EP very shortly: discussions could go quite quickly and informally as Coreper decided to accept the only amendment proposed by the EP. “There is an urgent need to push up the price of carbon and reassure markets about the EU’s determination and capacity to make the ETS work correctly,” observed Lithuanian Ambassador Arunas Vinciunas.
    The final text could go to the parliament's environment committee before being sent to the full parliament for a final vote, tentatively scheduled for December 10.Member states in the EU Council of ministers would also need formally to approve the final text, likely either in their next Environment Council meeting on December 13 or at full EU Council talks on December 18 or 19.
    The Commission wants to raise the price of allowances in the EU ETS, now below 5 euros per ton, to incentivize companies to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.  “The measure will be used only once. It is expected to bring the price of a tonne of CO 2 to between €8 and €12,” said an EU source. The market reacted immediately: the price of a tonne of CO 2 rose to €4.88, still 30% less than at the start of the year and still a long way from the ideal price of €24 per tonne. But the tendency seems reversed at last. That is a positive signal in the run-up to the global climate conference, opening on 11 November in Warsaw.
    The EU ETS is a cornerstone of the European Union's policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. The first - and still by far the biggest - international system for trading greenhouse gas emission allowances, the EU ETS covers more than 11,000 power stations and industrial plants in 31 countries, as well as airlines.

    Source: Europolitics.info, EurActiv, Reuters


    Link Read more
    Link http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/eu-new-push-revive-carbon-market-news-531603
    Link MEPs reject proposed reform of emissions trading scheme


  12. EU suspends South Africa citrus fruit imports
    2013-12-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Commission on Thursday suspended imports of citrus fruits from South Africa -- which accounts for about a third the EU's total -- on concerns 'black spot' disease could infect local crops. Experts from the European Union's 28 member states agreed on the emergency ban after it was found in 36 citrus fruit cargos from South Africa this year, the Commission said in a statement.
    "The introduction of citrus black spot into the EU... would pose a serious threat to the EU's citrus producing areas," the statement said."For that reason, it is necessary to further restrict the import of citrus fruit from South Africa," it said, with allowed imports limited to those areas of the country certified as free of black spot.
    The ban is more a warning measure, however, since it only applies to crops produced in the 2012-2013 season, which ends in a few weeks. It "won't involve any fruit still to be exported to EU," according to South African industry research body Citrus Research International (CRI). "It is a major concern for citrus producers. If it would be extended or repeated in 2014 then it would have a massive socio-economic impact on South African industry," CRI CEO Vaughan Hattingh told AFP.
    The EU is a major producer in its own right of citrus fruits, especially in countries such as Spain, Italy and Greece. Imports from South Africa were put at some 600,000 tonnes for 2013, about a third of the bloc's total citrus fruit purchases overseas. South Africa exports around 70 percent of its citrus products, almost half of these to Europe.
    Citrus black spot is a fungal disease which lives up to its name and causes heavy losses but is not found in Europe.

    Source: EUbusiness.com


    Link Read more
    Link  South Africa expresses concern with EU ban on citrus import
    Link South Africa looks for New Markets for Citrus, as EU threats with Imports Ban


  13. Europe tries new recipe to combat hunger in Ethiopia
    2013-12-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    Learning from past crises, the European Commission has changed tack on its approach to food security in the Horn of Africa, focusing on resilience to droughts and supporting diversification in local farming production, EurActiv reports. The list of hunger catastrophes in the history of the Horn of Africa is long. The latest one, only two years ago, was triggered by an extreme drought. Such extreme weather events are only expected to become more frequent with climate change, making preparedness more crucial than ever.
    Anticipating those changes, the EU is trying to help affected countries deal with emergency situations. Last October, the European Commission sent an additional €50 million in aid to the southern and eastern regions of Ethiopia as part of its Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience (SHARE) programme.
    The plan, presented jointly by EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Kristalina Georgieva, was intended to strengthen the region’s resilience against a range of potential external shocks.
    In the event of a hunger catastrophe for instance, the neediest in the population should receive financial aid and food more quickly. And in the longer term, food security can be improved by promoting dietary diversification and supporting local production of vegetables, milk and animal feed.
    "With this new programme, we will be helping Ethiopian people in the longer-term; providing support to help them rebuild their lives, make a living, and make sure they are well equipped to deal with droughts that will inevitably come again in the future," explained Andris Piebalgs.
    The resilience projects at the Horn of Africa are only part of the latest reorientation of European development aid. The underlying goal is to keep negative consequences of natural disasters to a minimum, a change of course made inevitable by global warming, EurActiv informs.

    Source: EurActiv.de


    Link Read more
    Link  European food scientists work together on Ethiopia potato project
    Link EU helps to build resilience to drought in Ethiopia


  14. 2014 EU budget deal agreed
    2013-12-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    A package deal comprising the 2014 EU budget and the financing of EUR 400.5 million to remediate flood and drought damages in four member states was agreed on 12 November by the Council and the European Parliament at a meeting of the Conciliation Committee. The Parliament and the Council struck a deal early which remedies payments shortfalls in in the current fiscal year. This was a prerequisite for Parliament to approve the MFF, because Members of European Parliament (MEPs) wanted to prevent the EU from starting the first year under the new MFF with a deficit.
    "I believe that today's agreement on the 2014 EU budget is a good start for the new programming period", said Vice-Minister for Finance of Lithuania and President of the Council Algimantas Rimkunas. "I'm glad that we could reach an agreement with the European Parliament on the financing of priority areas such as growth, employment, innovation and humanitarian aid. We also agreed to reinforce the financing on migration, FRONTEX, the European Asylum Support Office, Europol and the three supervisoryauthorities which are important for the proper implementation of the Economic and Monetary Union."
    The agreement on the 2014 EU budget, which is the first under the multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020, meets three objectives:

    • it preserves member states' budgets from additional pressure which might force them to strengthen their consolidation efforts at national level by setting the level of funds significantly below the 2013 budget;
    • it leaves sufficient margins under the MFF ceilings to allow the EU to cope with unforeseen situations;
    • it ensures that European taxpayers' money is spent on the most urgent political priorities, notably on measures to boost growth and create jobs, in particular for young people.

    MEPs also ensured that the EU will compensate victims of 2013 catastrophic flooding (in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic) and drought (Romania)  and that Parliament’s priorities for 2014 in areas such as employment, research and innovation, border management and humanitarian aid are also taken on board. The 2014 budget deal sets payments at €135.5 billion and commitments at €142.6 billion.

    Source: the Council of the EU and the European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link European Parliament approved EU’s long-term budget (MFF) 2014-2020
    Link Council adopts the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020


  15. Ministers underline importance of Enhanced Integrated Framework for post-Bali agenda
    2013-12-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    At a ministerial breakfast meeting on 4 December 2013 organized by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) on the margins of the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, ministers of least-developed countries (LDCs) and donor countries to the EIF underlined the relevance of the EIF for the trade and economic priorities of LDCs, as confirmed by the mid-term review of the programme in 2012.
    The meeting provided an opportunity for ministers to discuss with the leaders and representatives of EIF partner agencies, such as the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the WTO and the World Bank, the achievements of the EIF and the challenges it faces post Bali and within the post-2015 debate on sustainable development.
    “The power of trade to reduce extreme policy should be a central element of the post-MDG [Millennium Development Goals] discussion,” said Dr Muhisha Kituyi, UNCTAD Secretary-General. “It is an essential instrument to reach the ambitious target of supporting half of least developed countries to graduate by 2020.”
    “The partnership has gathered impressive momentum to deliver results, integrating LDCs into the global trading system,” said WTO Deputy Director-General Yonov Frederick Agah.The WTO joins the LDCs in calling upon EIF development partners to extend the EIF beyond 2015 and to scale up the support for the programme.”
    Ministers from Burundi, Lao and Liberia highlighted the results achieved by their countries in using the platform provided by the EIF in the areas of resource mobilization and donor coordination, trade and private sector development, integration of trade into national development policies and fostering public and private sector dialogue for the improvement of the business climate.
    “The EIF is a tested and proven partnership of Aid for Trade for LDCs and as such should play an important role in the post-Bali agenda,” said H.E. Shanker Prasad Koirala, Nepal’s Minister of Commerce and Supplies in his capacity as coordinator of the LDC Group at the WTO.
    Ministers from donor countries reiterated their support for the EIF and the importance of the forthcoming evaluation to decide the future and shape of the programme.
    “We are a strong supporter of the EIF which through tools like the Diagnostic Integration Studies provides an important contribution to poverty reduction,” said US Trade Representative Michael Froman. “We look forward to the EIF comprehensive evaluation to decide how the EIF can take forward the recommendations.”
    During the meeting, Sweden announced a new pledge of USD 3 million to the EIF for 2014. Denmark, Finland and the European Union also expressed their continued support for the programme.
    “We have a responsibility as EIF partners to focus on results and impact on the ground,” said the Chair of the meeting and ITC Executive Director Arancha González in her concluding remarks. “Our immediate task is now to start focusing on what the EIF would require financially and institutionally to deliver in future when needs in LDCs will become more sophisticated.”
    The Enhanced Integrated Framework is a multi-donor programme that supports least developed countries in being more active players in the global trading system by helping them tackle supply-side trade constraints.
    The programme is currently helping 49 of the poorest countries worldwide, supported by a multi-donor trust fund with contributions from 23 donors. A total of 58 projects and 37 Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies (DTIS) and DTIS updates are currently already under way in 43 countries.

    Source: WTO


    Link Read more
    Link Bali WTO conference: 'opportunity' to boost trade with developing countries' SMEs
    Link Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference


  16. Bali WTO conference: 'opportunity' to boost trade with developing countries' SMEs
    2013-12-05
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    Improving the competitiveness of SMEs in developing countries matters to everyone, especially Europe, argues Arancha González. A deal on trade facilitation at the upcoming ninth WTO ministerial conference in Bali, may hang in the balance but a successful outcome is still possible, preferred and much needed. An improved trade-facilitation framework is crucial for all countries; particularly for developing countries and emerging economies, but also for their European trading partners.
    Using public funds to cultivate entrepreneurship and improve the competitiveness of SMEs is not about charity. It makes economic sense for all concerned. Helping to unlock the potential of businesses in developing countries to export more and higher-quality goods and services, is a win for the importers, consumers and investors of these exports whether they be in the north or the south.
    Of course, an increase in exports is also a win for developing country SMEs and the thousands of men and women they help lift out of poverty. Trade within the SME sector fuels economic growth and development, reduces poverty, and creates jobs – this is the reality for the hundreds of developing countries and economies in transition in which the International Trade Centre (ITC) works.
    This role of SMEs is particularly important as the world seeks solutions to cater for its growing workforce. It is through increased trade that we can sustain livelihoods for a growing global population and generate the required economic opportunities and conditions for a more peaceful world.
    Interestingly, SMEs are also more than employment generators. They are innovation incubators and entrepreneurial laboratories. If channelled correctly, they can also be key platforms for involving more women in global trade. This has been the case in Europe, North America, and to some extent in Asia.
    Our experience is that for SMEs in developing countries to reach this level of performance, they need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to improve the quality of their goods and services. They also need to be introduced to potential trading partners around the world - including in Europe - through B2B platforms and to be supported by business-friendly policies.
    However, it will take more than good intentions and lessons learned to tap the full potential of trade as a driver of global economic growth. Policymakers and other key stakeholders still have an opportunity to make commitments which would help to boost SME competitiveness in both the developed and developing world. A positive outcome in Bali would make things easier.
    Beyond Bali, it would also be useful in helping countries, within the Post-2015 development agenda, to better articulate the crucial role that trade and SME competitiveness play in anchoring development. By securing a positive outcome in Bali and ensuring that the role of trade – and particularly that of SMEs – is firmly embedded into the post-2015 development agenda, European policymakers could help ensure that more people in developing countries are lifted out of poverty. The world cannot afford to let a generation of women and youth go without decent employment and livelihoods. Investing in SME competitiveness is a key ingredient towards this goal, Arancha González, concludes.

    Source: Theparliament.com


    Link Read more
    Link ACP: Development issues to be considered during the next WTO negotiations
    Link Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference


  17. Council adopts the multiannual financial framework 2014-2020
    2013-12-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    The Council adopted on Monday 2nd December the regulation laying down the EU's multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2014-2020 (11791/7/13). This follows the European Parliament's consent of 19 November. Today's decision marks the end of two and a half years of negotiations and allows the new generation of EU spending programmes to be implemented as from 1 January 2014.
    The MFF regulation enables the European Union to spend up to EUR 959.99 billion in commitments and EUR 908.40 billion in payments over the next seven years. This is 3.5% and 3.7% respectively less than under the MFF 2007-2013, ensuring budgetary discipline for the EU and reflecting the particular budgetary pressure that mem ber states currently face at national level.
    A strong emphasis is put on expenditure aimed at boosting growth and creating jobs, in line with the political priorities of the EU: the expenditure ceiling for sub-heading 1a ("competitiveness") is increased by more than 37% compared to the current MFF.
    Apart from ensuring budgetary discipline for the European Union and translating political priorities into figures the MFF's aim is also to facilitate the adoption of the EU annual budget. For 2014 the new MFF has already fulfilled this purpose: on the basis of the political agreement on the MFF 2014-2020 reached in June, the Conciliation Committee agreed on next year's budget on 12 November

    Source: Council of the EU


    Link Read more
    Link European Parliament approved EU’s long-term budget (MFF) 2014-2020
    Link European Parliament voted in favour of the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)


  18. How transparent are aid donors?
    2013-12-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness

    Only a few aid organisations published large amounts of useful information about their activities, according to the 2013 Aid Transparency Index. While the four best-performers – the US and UK aid agencies, the UNDP and GAVI – scored between 83% and 89%, the average result was 32.6% and, at the bottom of the table, China scored just 2.2%.
    The index of 67 donor organisations was put together by analysing 39 indicators, ranging from the level of project data to the quality of Freedom of Information arrangements.

    Infographic

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link See the infographic
    Link 2013 Aid Transparency Index


  19. ACP-EU parliamentary meeting: Great Lakes region and Comoros archipelago
    2013-12-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) met in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) from 25 to 27 November to debate security in the Great Lakes region and the situation in the Comoros archipelago. The plenary debates were preceded by meetings of the JPA standing committees and the womens’ forum.
    The debates also focused on the social and environmental impacts of pastoralism on ACP countries, South-South cooperation and “triangular” cooperation (South-South cooperation with the support of a country in the North) and cooperation between the African Union and the European Union. Members of the European Parliament and their counterparts from national parliaments of African, Caribbean and Pacific states also discussed the fight against female genital mutilation.
    The formal sitting of the 26th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly has been opened by its Co-Presidents Louis Michel (ALDE, BE) and Joyce Laboso (Kenya), in the presence of the Speaker of the House of People's Representatives of Ethiopia Abadula Gemeda Dago and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariyam Desalegn.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link ACP-EU Joint Assembly: Mobilise the national resources of developing countries


  20. EU and Africa to forge research and innovation partnership on food security
    2013-12-04
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, Rural development, Food Security

    The European Union and Africa should work towards a long term, jointly-funded research and innovation partnership to promote food and nutrition security as a first priority, senior officials agreed at talks in Brussels today. The meeting of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation was called to review cooperation and set new priorities ahead of the EU-Africa Summit 2014. The new partnership could be inspired by the achievements of the successful European and Developing Countries' Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).
    Both the European Union and African Union are in the process of developing new, long-term research and innovation agendas. The African Union is reforming its Consolidated Plan of Action on Science and Technology into a decadal Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation (STISA 2024). The EU, as part of its smart, sustainable and inclusive growth agenda, will in January launch Horizon 2020, its biggest ever research and innovation funding programme with a budget of some €79 billion over seven years. Science, technology and innovation cooperation is therefore expected to feature at the next EU-Africa summit.
    On 11 December, the European Commission intends to launch the first calls under Horizon 2020 in support of this decision. Focus areas will include sustainably enhancing the agro-food chain, the contribution of family farms and smallholder farms, and water management issues for sustainable agriculture and food and nutrition security. Money will also be set aside to support enhancing EU-Africa cooperation in other areas, including research infrastructures.
    Separately, on 25 November DG Research and Innovation hosted in Brussels a conference with stakeholders from the policy, business and research community of 30 different African and European countries to discuss the “Economic Opportunities on Turning Waste into a Resource”. The participants supported the idea of developing a joint European and African research and innovation agenda on waste management, including food waste.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link  European Parliament voted in favour of the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)


  21. European Parliament approved EU’s long-term budget (MFF) 2014-2020
    2013-12-03
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    After months of complex negotiations, Parliament gave its blessing to the EU’s long-term budget for 2014-2020 on Tuesday 19 November. All the conditions set out in its July resolution – which followed a political agreement at the highest levels between Parliament, the Irish Presidency and the Commission were met. The overall budget for the next seven years is €960 billion in commitments and €908 billion in payments (at 2011 prices).
    Firstly, Parliament wanted the recurring shortfalls in payments, which have made it almost impossible for the European Commission to fulfil its legal, financial obligations in recent years, to be remedied so as to avoid starting 2014 in the red. Member states agreed to add another €3.9 billion to 2013.
    Secondly, Parliament also insisted all legal bases for the various EU programmes be finalised on the basis of co-decision between the Council and Parliament. This is now the case and as a result many programmes are being voted during this plenary session.
    Thirdly, Parliament insisted on the setting up of a high-level working group on “own resources” to work on reforming the EU’s income arrangements, as the current system, with all its exceptions, rebates, different sources of funding and dependence on national budgets, has become inexplicable. Member states agreed to the setting up of this group, which will start its work shortly.
    In the June 2013 agreement Parliament already secured the key priorities set out in its negotiating mandate. These included close to full flexibility to move unpaid funds (payment appropriations) between years and wide flexibility for commitments, both between years and between categories of expenditure. This flexibility is needed to ensure that every EU budget euro is used where it is most needed, especially now that annual budgets will decrease.
    Another key achievement for Parliament was to insert a "revision clause", which will require the European Commission to present a review of the functioning of the EU’s long-run budget (Multi-annual Financial Framework -MFF) in 2016, taking full account of the economic situation at the time. Particular emphasis will be given to aligning the future duration of the MFF - currently seven years - with the 5-year political cycles of the EU institutions. The review will be accompanied by a legislative proposal for revision.
    The MFF regulation was approved by 537 votes to 126, with 19 abstentions. The accompanying Inter-Institutional Agreement was approved by 557 votes to 118, with 11 abstentions The Council of Ministers is set to approve the MFF as an A point at the Competitiveness Council on 2 December.

    Source: European Parliament, EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)
    Link European Parliament voted in favour of the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)



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Ms Isolina BOTO
Head
CTA Brussels Office
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Editor: Etienne GOFFIN (goffin@cta.int)

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Copyright © 2011 Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU. Email:cta@cta.int
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