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CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 380
Subject: CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 380
Send date: 2014-01-06 15:08:47
Issue #: 197
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 : 06/01/2014
CTA Brussels Newsletter

 

Main events in the week
  1. Main Events for the Week 06/01/2014 – 14/01/2014
  2. Italian navy rescues over 1,000 migrants in 24 hours
  3. Commission launches pilot to open up publicly funded research data
  4. The November 2013 edition of ”Comodity price data”
  5. Central African Republic: EU scales up humanitarian aid
  6. Season’s Greetings from CTA!
  7. EIB supports EUR 30 million agriculture sector investment initiative in Malawi
  8. EU approach to resilience and disaster risk reduction in developing countries
  9. EU partnership agreements with Seychelles, Senegal, Madagascar and the Comoros
  10. ACP Council Chair calls for more cooperation from EU
  11. CAP reform package and transitional measures 2014
  12. ACP Group partners with IPPF for health and global development
  13. EU rice sector struggles with the increase of rice imports
  14. EU pledges new financial support to help developing countries implement WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
  15. New local farming and direct sales labelling scheme
  16. Outcomes of the 98th session of the ACP Council of Ministers
  17. Brussels: reducing waste first piece in food resource puzzle
  18. Main outcomes of the 'EU dairy sector beyond 2015' conference
  19. COP19: Lithuania spoke in favour of sustainable climate policy on behalf of the EU
  20. Information and promotion measures for agricultural products


  1. Main Events for the Week 06/01/2014 – 14/01/2014
    2014-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy, Rural development

    European Parliament:

    - 6-9 January: European Parliament Committee Meetings
    - 13-16 January: European Parliament Plenary Session

    Council of the EU:

    - 8 January: Meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER I, II)
    - 8 January: Opening Ceremony of Greek Presidency of the Council of the EU
    - 9 January: Meeting of the Political and Security Committee (PSC)
    - 10 January: Meeting of the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER I)

    ACP Group:

    - 14 January: S/C on Political, Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs
    - 17 January: ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration

    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. Italian navy rescues over 1,000 migrants in 24 hours
    2014-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The Italian navy said on Friday 3 January 2014 it had rescued over 1,000 migrants in 24 hours in the Mediterranean Sea from boats attempting to reach Europe, as an immigration crisis that killed hundreds in the last year showed no signs of easing.
    In a statement issued on Friday, the navy said that its helicopters located four overcrowded boats in Mediterranean waters south of the Italian island of Sicily on Thursday and ships were sent to rescue the migrants. Six military boats participated in the major operation to save the lives of thousands of mostly African migrants heading for Europe in flimsy boats. Some 823 migrants, mainly from Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan and Tunisia, were rescued on Thursday .The navy also helped 233 migrants from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia, Mali and Pakistan in a separate operation and took them to a port near Syracuse on Sicily's eastern coast.
    After the shipwreck in October in which 363 immigrants died off the Italian island of Lampedusa, Italy has launched a major operation called "Mare Nostrum" mobilizing warships, amphibious vessels and aircraft, to monitor the Mediterranean Sea.
    According to the defense minister, three navy ships and 410 marines, two night-vision planes, four helicopters, two custom agency ships, and four coast guard patrol boats have been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea to deal with the latest waves of refugees and migrants arriving on its coasts.
    Italy is a major gateway into Europe for many migrants seeking a better life, and sea arrivals to the country from Northern Africa more than tripled in 2013, fuelled by refugees in Syria's civil war and strife in the Horn of Africa. Over the past two decades, Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean island of Malta have struggled to deal with the migrant flows and have urged for a coordinated European Union response system.

    Source: Presstv.ir and EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link Lampedusa tragedy should be a wake-up call for EU migration policy
    Link EU needs “to effectively manage its external borders”


  3. Commission launches pilot to open up publicly funded research data
    2014-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, ACP-EU Policy

    Valuable information produced by researchers in many EU-funded projects will be shared freely as a result of a Pilot on Open Research Data in Horizon 2020. Researchers in projects participating in the pilot are asked to make the underlying data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications and other scientific information available for use by other researchers, innovative industries and citizens.
    This will lead to better and more efficient science and improved transparency for citizens and society. It will also contribute to economic growth through open innovation. For 2014-2015, topic areas participating in the Open Research Data Pilot will receive funding of around €3 billion.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link SADC collects agricultural data for regional use


  4. The November 2013 edition of ”Comodity price data”
    2014-01-06
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Agriculture

    The European Commission (EC) has released the November 2013 edition of ”Comodity price data”, a price dashboard which provides a summary of commodity price data for the most representative agricultural products and consumer food prices, at European Union (EU) and world level for the month of November. Although not all the products are comparable at both EU and world level, this document is intended to give an indication on the most recent price developments.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Consult the November edition of the Commodity price dashboard


  5. Central African Republic: EU scales up humanitarian aid
    2013-12-18
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Commission is increasing its humanitarian aid by €18.5 million to the Central African Republic (CAR) to provide immediate life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable suffering in a crisis which has affected the country's entire population of 4.6 million.
    "The country is facing the worst humanitarian and human rights crisis since its independence. The number of internally displaced people has increased dramatically in recent days, to over half a million. 230,000 are refugees in neighbouring countries. The access to basic services, food and water is limited and millions of Central Africans depend on outside assistance. We need to act now by increasing our aid and bring relief to those suffering the most," said Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.
    EU Commissioner for development Andris Piebalgs added: "The immediate needs are so huge that the EU has the moral obligation to do all it can to provide immediate support and relief to the people who are suffering from a situation which is not of their choosing. This is why I have decided to mobilise an extra €10 million from the European Development Fund for humanitarian support to CAR. The time will come for development and reconstruction and the EU will still be there."
    The additional aid will bring the EU's emergency relief to CAR this year to €39 million. The funds will support immediate life-saving activities such as distribution of essential food and survival items as well as providing shelter, health, protection, water, hygiene and sanitation. The support will be channelled through the European Commission's humanitarian partners in the country, including UN agencies and non-governmental organisations. €8.5 million of the new funding will be committed immediately before the end of this year, while €10 million will be programmed from 1 January 2014.
    To boost humanitarian efforts, the European Commission has deployed its humanitarian air service ECHO Flight to open up a vital line of support into and out of Bangui, the capital of Central African Republic (CAR). The CRJ 200 jet aircraft performs daily rotations between Bangui and Douala in Cameroon to ferry humanitarian goods and personnel into the country.
    CAR has been embroiled in a decade-long armed conflict and ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world. The country has been in chaos since rebel leader Michel Djotodia ousted President François Bozizé in March this year.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Central African Republic, the ‘country that the world forgot'


  6. Season’s Greetings from CTA!
    2013-12-18
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    Due to the year-end festivities, many activities in the EU and ACP offices in Brussels are suspended. Therefore, the publication of news on the weblog and the dissemination of our weekly newsletter will resume on Monday 6 January 2014. We thank you for visiting our weblog and we wish you an excellent year 2014!


    Link Read more


  7. EIB supports EUR 30 million agriculture sector investment initiative in Malawi
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture, Development Policy

    The European Investment Bank, Europe’s long-term lending institution, will provide EUR 15 million for investment by export focused agricultural companies in Malawi under a new lending initiative. The lending programme will be managed by First Merchant Bank (FMB) who will also provide EUR 15 million under the scheme.
    The new initiative represents the first European Investment Bank engagement in Malawi since 2012 and the reengagement of international financial institutions in the country. The targeted lending programme will focus on the export focused agricultural sector, and strengthen the government’s policy to diversify exports and increase exports. At present, tobacco exports account for more than half of total Malawian exports.
    “Agriculture is the backbone of Malawi’s economy and new investment by export driven small and medium sized business finance is essential for creating new jobs and economic growth. The European Investment Bank is pleased to resume engagement in Malawi as part of our broader engagement to support private sector investment across Southern and Eastern Africa. This new lending initiative with FMB further supports the diversification of economic activity in Malawi and will contribute to improved processing of agricultural products prior to export." said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.
    “FMB, as one of the leading financial services groups in Malawi recognises the importance of supporting private sector investment. This new credit line with the European Investment Bank will benefit export driven agricultural firms and pass on the financial advantage of EIB funding to local companies.” said Dheeraj Dikshit, Managing Director of FMB Malawi.
    "Increased investment by private sector companies processing agricultural produce can enhance exports and create jobs in Malawi, given the policy space required for the private sector to function efficiently. This new lending initiative by the European Investment Bank demonstrates Europe’s strong commitment to supporting efforts towards achieving such efficiency and hence sustainable economic growth in Malawi as stipulated in the country's national development strategies. The European Investment Bank plays a key role in supporting long-term investment across Africa and I am pleased that it has increased its activity here in Malawi. With over 37 years of trade and development cooperation between the European Union and Malawi, the EU continues to be one of Malawi's longest standing development partners, providing roughly € 300 million annually in development assistance to Malawi.” said Ambassador Alexander Baum, head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Malawi.
    Companies being supported by loans from the initiative will benefit from longer term loans than would normally be available. Training has already been provided to local staff to improve awareness of social and environmental standards required by the European Investment Bank engagement.
    Earlier this year a large scale water and sanitation investment supported by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission in 2008 was inaugurated. This will provide clean drinking water and sanitation facilities to more than 720,000 people in Blantyre and Lilongwe.
    The European Investment Bank has been active in Malawi since 1977 and provided nearly EUR 170 million for a broad range of investment for water and energy infrastructure and private sector engagement in the cement, sugar and tea industries, as well as credit lines for local companies.

    Source: European Investment Bank


    Link Read more
    Link Malawi Finance Minister in 'challenging' €560m assignment in Europe


  8. EU approach to resilience and disaster risk reduction in developing countries
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness, Archive, Development Policy

    A motion for a European Parliament resolution on ‘the EU approach to resilience and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in developing countries: learning from food security crises’, was adopted by the European Parliament Committee on Development on the 5th November. The report of the Development Committee (2013/2110(INI)), presented by Gay Mitchel during the plenary sitting the 11th November 2013, details the EU approach to resilience. It notes that disaster risk reduction, sustainable development, community resilience and social protection are essential components of resilience.
    This reports highlights the need for a better coordination of efforts and improved funding methods as well as learning from food security crises and previous disasters.
    To advance the resilience approach significantly, this report calls for a strong integration of resilience measures into development and humanitarian programming. The report also recognises the challenges posed by climate change and emphasises that climate change adaptation needs to be taken into account in resilience and DRR initiatives.
    The key focus of this report is on the most vulnerable, poorest and marginalised populations who have high exposure to risks, while on a broader scale targeting fragile and crisis-prone countries. The majority of damage from disasters and crises comes mainly from the poorest and most fragile countries. Furthermore, many crisis-prone countries have received negligible levels of financing for resilience and DRR compared with emergency response.
    Addressing the root causes of recurrent crises is much more effective than responding to the consequences of crises. This report recommends that a long-term resilience approach needs to target the root causes of risk and significantly reduce underlying risk factors.
    Building resilience and promoting sustainable development requires an all-of-society approach which includes local authorities, CSOs, citizens and development partners. This report stresses the importance of all actors in building resilience, particularly local authorities who can play a central role in coordinating and sustaining a multi-level, multi-stakeholder platform to promote resilience and DRR in the region.
    It is important to address food security in the context of resilience and DRR. Disasters and emergencies are often followed by food crises and under- and malnutrition of affected populations. The incidence of food crises, which are caused by natural or man-made disasters, has been rising since the early 1980s. There have been between 50 and 65 food emergencies every year since 2000, up from 25 to 45 during the 1990s. Natural hazards destroy agricultural infrastructure and assets, crops, inputs and production capacity. This report stresses that the resilience approach must focus on enhancing food security and nutrition must be systematically incorporated into programming decisions.
    Several studies have shown that significant savings can be made if the EU institutions and Member States coordinate their development and humanitarian activities better. Resilience efforts also need to be strongly coordinated between Member States, international organisations, public institutions, including national parliaments and the European Parliament, the private sector and NGOs and civil society. This report considers that there should be strong efforts made to tackle inefficient uses of funding for DRR and resilience activities and duplication of efforts in this regard.
    Looking forward, the report emphasises that DRR and resilience need to be strongly integrated into the post-2015 framework. It considers that the post-MDG and post-HFA processes need to take account of the outcomes of the current frameworks and address the experiences faced by those most affected by disasters and crises.

    Source: European Parliament


    Link Read more
    Link Resilience-building for improved food security & nutrition


  9. EU partnership agreements with Seychelles, Senegal, Madagascar and the Comoros
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Regional Fisheries, Agriculture

    The last Council on Agriculture and Fisheries which met in Brussels on 16 and 17 December 2013, adopted a decision on the signing on behalf of the EU, and on the provisional application of the protocol setting out fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for in the fisheries partnership agreement (FPA) between the EU and the Republic of Seychelles (16647/13, 16648/13).
    The partnership agreement in the fisheries sector between the EU and Seychelles was concluded in 2006. The main objective of the protocol to this FPA is to define the fishing opportunities offered to EU vessels as well as the financial contribution due, separately, for access rights and for sectoral support. Following negotiations, a new protocol was initialled on 10 May 2013. The new protocol covers a period of 6 years from the date of its provisionnal application. In order to allow EU vessels to carry on fishing activities, as the current protocol expires on 17 January 2014, the new one should be applied on a provisional basis as from 18 January 2014, pending completion of the procedures for its formal conclusion.
    In addition to the signing and the provisional application of this new protocol, the Council adopted a regulation concerning the allocation of fishing opportunities between member states (16650/13). The Council also requested for the consent of the European Parliament on the conclusion of this protocol.
    The Council also adopted a decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations on behalf of the EU for a new fisheries partnership agreement (FPA) and protocol with the Republic of Senegal. The FPA and protocol between the EU and Senegal should be in line with the 19 March 2012 Council conclusions on the Commission communication of 13 July 2011 on the external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy.
    Then the council adopted an amendment to regulation 1258/2012 on the allocation of the fishing opportunities under the protocol agreed between the EU and the Republic of Madagascar setting out fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for in the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) between the two parties currently in force (15853/13) In September 2012, the joint committee, provided for in the FPA, examined the issue of sharks caught in association with fisheries managed by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). It concluded, on the basis of records of catches for the period 2007-2011 of surface longliners authorised to fish under the previous protocol to the FPA that it would be appropriate to limit shark catches by such vessels to a maximum of 200 tonnes annually from 1 January 2014 until 31 December 2014, thereby freezing the fishing pressure on these shark stocks in line with the recommendation issued by the IOTC Scientific Committee. The amendment of regulation 1258/2012 provides for a reduction of the shark catches and the allocation among the member states for the period of application of the new protocol.
    Finally the Council also adopted a decision on the signing on behalf of the EU, and on the provisional application of the protocol between the EU and the Union of the Comoros setting out fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for in the fisheries partnership agreement (FPA) currently in force between the two parties (16126/13, 16127/13). The partnership agreement in the fisheries sector between the EU and the Comoros was concluded in 2006. The main objective of the protocol to this FPA is to define the fishing opportunities offered to EU vessels as well as the financial contribution due, separately, for access rights and for sectoral support. Following negotiations, a new protocol was initialled on 5 July 2013. The new protocol covers a period of 3 years from the date of its provisionnal application. In order to allow EU vessels to carry on fishing activities, as the current protocol expires on 30 December 2013, the new one should be applied on a provisional basis as from 1 January 2014 pending completion of the procedures for its formal conclusion. In addition to the signing and the provisional application of this new protocol, the Council adopted also a regulation concerning the allocation of fishing opportunities between member states (16129/13). The Council also requested for the consent of the European Parliament on the conclusion of this protocol.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link EU and Seychelles successfully initial Fisheries Access Agreement
    Link  Fisheries: EU and Comoros - Negotiations on new protocol


  10. ACP Council Chair calls for more cooperation from EU
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness, Development Policy

    On the 10th December, the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Samoa has urged the European Union (EU) to work more closely with the ACP Group to identify “real needs and priorities”, while programming more than EUR 30 billion in aid for 2014-2020.“The accumulated experience of the last half-century… makes it abundantly clear that ownership is a key ingredient of successful economic partnership for development,” he told officials from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific while chairing the 98th session of the ACP Council of Ministers in Brussels.
    He also pushed for streamlining the project cycle of the multi-year aid package for ACP countries, known as the European Development Fund (EDF), to be “less cumbersome”. While he expressed deep gratitude for the roughly EUR 31.5 billion committed by the EU under the 11th EDF cycle – despite drastic cuts in public finances – Prime Minister Tuilaepa also underlined the need to “shift focus of reflections and engagements away from primarily ‘money centred’ discussions.”
    He opposed the “donor-recipient mentality”, stating instead that discussions should be more political, focusing on strategic global issues such as energy, climate change, democracy and the rule of law, good governance, investments, and the post-2015 development agenda, adding:  “It is vital that we work together with our European partners in identifying areas where there are major difficulties and suggest ways by which aid resources can more quickly and more effectively reach those sectors that need them the most.”
    Deliberations of the ACP Council of Ministers take place on the 10th and 11th of December, covering key institutional matters including budget issues, yearly work programme and the long-term future prospects for the organisation; trade matters including Economic Partnership Agreements and commodities; and development finance cooperation, particularly the programming of the 11th EDF.

    Source: ACP Press


    Link Read more
    Link 11th EDF: Cariforum and EU appraise development plans


  11. CAP reform package and transitional measures 2014
    2013-12-17

    The last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries (16-17 December 2013) adopted the common agriculture policy (CAP) reform package following a first reading agreement with the European Parliament.
    Following the adoption by the Council on 16 December of the common agricultural policy (CAP) reform package and transitional CAP measures for 2014 (see document 17854/13), the President of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council ratified today the documents in presence of the ministers from Denmark, Cyprus and Ireland and the vice-minister from Poland.
    With this signature, the Lithuanian Presidency finalises the process initiated in 2011 by the Polish Presidency and carried on successively by the Danish Presidency, the Cyprus Presidency and the Irish Presidency under which a political agreement on the package was reached with the European Parliament. The CAP reform package and transitional CAP measures for 2014 will also be signed by the President of the European Parliament.
    This reform sets out the new rules for the CAP in the next seven-year period, in order to equip the European agricultural sector for the opportunities and challenges of the future. The main objectives of the reform are to make the CAP greener and better targeted, with a more equitable distribution of income support to farmers across the Union and a more effective rural development policy.
    The CAP reform package comprises four main legal texts: first, the regulation establishing rules for direct payments to farmers; second, the regulation establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products; third, the regulation on support for rural development; fourth, the regulation on the financing, management and monitoring of the CAP (horizontal regulation).
    The package also includes a transitional regulation for the year 2014 to bridge the gap between the existing legal framework and the elements of the reform for which it was decided that they will apply only from 2015 (particularly as regards direct payments and rural development), in order to give Member States sufficient time to roll out the new policy on the ground. Finally, as part of the CAP reform package, the Council also adopted a regulation determining measures on fixing certain aids and refunds related to the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products. This regulation sets out the market management measures to be decided upon by Council on its own under Article 43(3) TFEU.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link EU institutions agree on transition measures for agriculture in 2014
    Link 23 Member States contest CAP reform implementation


  12. ACP Group partners with IPPF for health and global development
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have entered into a strategic partnership that will provide a solid basis for long-term co-operation on reproductive health, HIV and gender equality, IPPF said on 12th December 2013.
    On 9th December, His Excellency ACP Secretary General Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni and Mr Tewodros Melesse, IPPF Director General, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the side of  the ACP Council of Ministers in Brussels.
    IPPF, a global federation of autonomous, locally owned organisations, will be a key partner to the ACP Secretariat in terms of providing expertise in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), as the ACP Secretariat works in five of IPPF’s regions.
    African, Caribbean and Pacific countries are facing numerous challenges which have an impact not only on economic development, but above all on the human and social development and SRHR.
    The 2010 Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the ACP States and the European Union highlighted the need to address family planning, reproductive health and women’s rights as priorities for achieving sustainable development and poverty reduction.
    This MOU complements those memoranda  that IPPF has already established with the African Union - where IPPF played a key role in the creation of a continental framework for sexual and reproductive health and rights as part of the Maputo Plan of Action -  and with UN agencies such as UNFPA and UNAIDS and the WHO (IPPF is the only NGO on the board of the WHO Reproductive Health and Research Policy and Coordination Committee); the Council of Europe (IPPF has Consultative Status with the Council of Europe and sits  on the Parliamentary Assembly) and the Africa Union where IPPF has extensive links with parliamentarians’ groups in donor and recipient countries enabling it to inform parliamentary dialogue.
    Uniquely among international NGOs, IPPF was invited by the UN Secretary General to join the group convened to draft what became the UN’s Global Strategy for Women and Children’s Health.

    Source: ACP Press and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)


    Link Read more
    Link Development money being misused?
    Link Poverty eradication and sexual and reproductive health


  13. EU rice sector struggles with the increase of rice imports
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Agriculture

    At the last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 16 and 17 December 2013, the Italian delegation, supported by Bulgaria, Greece, Spain, France and Portugal, underlined the difficult situation that the EU rice sector is facing in particular with the increase of EU imports of this product (17559/13).
    Italy noted that in some EU regions, rice cultivation represents the most important agricultural activity of the area but, over the past few years, this sector has gradually been losing profitability and the rice cultivated surfaces are progressively reduced. This situation is made worse by the increase of EU imports of milled rice from least developed countries (LDCs) and from other countries with which the EU has bilateral agreements.
    While taking note of the concerns of Italy and some member states, the Commission recalled that for some rice varieties, the EU is largely dependent from its imports. It noted also that in a first assessment no brutal imbalance has yet been observed in the rice market. However, the Commission said it was ready to initiate formal action on the basis of convergent data showing a risk of major crisis.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link Organic farming gaining ground


  14. EU pledges new financial support to help developing countries implement WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade, Aid effectiveness, Development Policy

    In a move to support the timely implementation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, which will help developing countries by simplifying, harmonising and modernising international border procedures, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs and Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, committed to cover a significant share of the funding needs of developing countries to implement the Agreement.
    The EU's support, worth some €400 million over five years, responds to demands for help from countries most in need in order to comply with and draw the full benefit of the deal for growth and development. The Agreement was approved at the WTO's 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, on 3-6 December 2013.
    The EU will aim to maintain at least its current level of support to trade facilitation over a five-year period; starting from the signature of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, namely €400 million over five years, or over a third of developing countries’ estimated needs, primarily through regular EU aid channels. Within this amount, it also stands ready to make a contribution of up to €30 million to a dedicated international trade facilitation facility for the most urgent actions for aligning legislation and procedures in developing countries to the new agreement.
    EU support will be provided in the framework of its regular Trade-Related Assistance to developing countries. The EU is currently working on the allocation of its development aid for the period 2014-2020, and time is therefore ripe for developing countries to reflect their trade needs, including for trade facilitation, into their development strategies and include them in their priorities for EU aid for the period 2014-2020. EU aid will be financed partly from the EU budget, subject to the approval of the necessary legal instruments and partly from the European Development Fund (EDF), currently in the process of ratification by EU Member States.
    Trade facilitation refers to measures aimed at simplifying, modernising and harmonising merchandise import, improving border tax collection, export and transit procedures, especially customs requirements but also those of the many other agencies operating at borders. Possible measures include simplifying rules, standardising and reducing the number of custom forms, and computerisation. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement creates an international framework for these reforms, thereby spreading the benefits of trade facilitation across the globe.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link More about the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference


  15. New local farming and direct sales labelling scheme
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture

    Ministers took stock of a report on local farming presented by the Commission at the last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 16 and 17 December 2013. In this document on the case for a new local farming and direct sales labelling scheme to assist producers in marketing their produce locally (17572/13), the Commission has provided factual elements to facilitate a debate on whether a new EU label should be considered as well as on the broader issues of local farming and direct sales. The report considers that local farming and direct sales are a reality within the European Union and will continue to be part of European agriculture.
    Describing the main features of local farming, short food supply chains and direct sales in the EU, the report and the accompanying Staff Working Document examine the challenges faced by small-scale producers and short food supply chains and present existing policy tools at EU level.
    This report explores the possibilities of adopting a local farming and direct sales labelling scheme in the future, as requested by the current legislation on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs. The report has shown the following: (1) There is a demand for a genuine farm product sold in short food supply chains, as well as the need to identify it; (2) There are large differences among the member states with regard to development of direct sales; (3) The development of short supply chains faces numerous challenges which should be addressed with instruments available at EU and national level other than a labeling scheme; (4) A possible new label should be simple and unburdensome for producers while at the same time being controllable and ensuring sufficient credibility for consumers and avoiding confusion; (5) A new label could add value to products generated from local agriculture if it went beyond direct sales and if member states were to ensure that it is integrated with or linked to other measures.
    The Commission calls on the European Parliament, the Council, Member States and regions to reflect on whether existing policy tools and measures are appropriate and provide adequate flexibility for this type of farming and sales. Demand for quality, fresh and local food is increasing across the EU, often combined with environmental, climate and social expectations, based on the assumption that local, seasonal and ecologically-sound food chains have the potential to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and food waste.

    Source: European Commission, Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link The Report on local farming


  16. Outcomes of the 98th session of the ACP Council of Ministers
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    The Council of Ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group made decisions on several key issues at the close of its 98th session on Wednesday afternoon 11 December, including on the post-2015 global development programme to follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
    The ACP Declaration on the Post-2015 Development Agenda called for a single global mission that takes into account the three pillars of development – social, economic and environmental – while also highlighting the “persistent development challenges and vulnerabilities” in ACP countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs), those facing negative impacts of conflicts, Middle Income Developing Countries and Landlocked Countries in Africa.
    The ACP Council of Ministers stated that the post-2015 development agenda should ensure transparency, coherence and accountability; sustainable use of natural resources; access to finance and technology, infrastructure and human resources to drive inclusive and sustainable growth; as well as the promotion and protection of ACP member states’ right to development.
    The full document addressed principles and modalities, Sustainable Development Goals, funding mechanisms or means of mobilisation, and priority areas. A joint position with the EU on the post-2015 agenda is also expected.
    The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning Ms Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria was a special guest speaker at the meeting.
    The Council of Ministers reiterated its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all forms. It also noted that factors such as poverty, deprivation, youth unemployment, social injustice, conflicts, and poor governance could become a breeding ground for fundamentalism and extremism, and called for a long term poverty-reduction and education programmes to address this. The Council also called for ACP governments to ratify international treaties on combatting and preventing terrorism, strengthen their own anti-terrorism units, and forge strategic partnerships to pool resources, share information, and survey porous borders.
    The Council of Ministers passed three resolutions major commodities for ACP economies – bananas, cotton, and sugar. Ministers demanded the quick and efficient disbursement of agreed funds to carry out banana accompanying measures (BAM) in ACP countries, to the tune of EUR 190 million. The Council also called for 100% decoupling of cotton subsidies in the EU, to address market distortion and support the development of poor ACP cotton producing countries. In the sugar sector, the Council of Ministers insisted on EU policy coherence in trade, agriculture and development, and urged the review of the impact of the new sugar regime and free trade agreements on ACP sugar supplying countries. ACP sugar officials recently finalised an action plan to enhance the sector as a driver of economic growth, and tackle the difficulties linked to the abolition of EU's sugar quotas in 2017.
    The Council approved the Secretariat’s budget for 2014, including an increase of more than 18% in contributions from member states, attesting to their commitment to the goals and outlooks of the ACP Group.

    Source: ACP Press


    Link Read more


  17. Brussels: reducing waste first piece in food resource puzzle
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Policy, Agriculture

    To tackle pollution and climate change, policy-makers, NGOs and industry alike support more vegetables in Europeans' diets, while insisting on better use of resources and waste-management, EurActiv informs.
    Vegetable-based foods such as potatoes, pulses and soy have a lower carbon footprint than animal products, which are responsible for about 33% of total greenhouse gas emissions for the food sector, according to a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) from September. Even though, vegetables still constitute 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions they are considered more resource efficient in terms of water and land use, the report says.
    According to Bernard Deryckere, president of the European Natural Soyfood Manufacturers association (ENSA), an obvious solution to improve the sustainability of the European food systems is “to rebalance our consumption of animal-based products with more resource efficient foods that contain similar protein levels”. “Our view is that soy and plant-based foods can provide an answer as they consistently out-perform animal products when comparing their environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions, land and water use,” he said.
    Pulses, such as peas and beans, are efficient sources of protein when compared with animal sources, because they require fewer inputs per kilogramme produced, according to the FAO study. However, the picture becomes more complex when figures of food waste are taken into account. The the FAO report build a single “carbon intensity” rating which is the combination of the two figures, for greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint through wastage. Meat products account for just 15% of global food wastage, whereas some 21% of vegetable and cereal food is wasted along the food chain, whether in fields, processing plants, supermarkets or homes.
    According to the FAO report, the world wastes about 1.3 billion tonnes of edible food each year, roughly one third of the amount that it produces. Janez Potočnik, the European commissioner for the environment said that the statistics made food waste the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the United States. “When you consider that there are 870 million people going hungry every day, these figures are more astonishing,” he concluded.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link EU: Commission opens consultation on "Sustainability of the Food System"
    Link EU tackling food waste


  18. Main outcomes of the 'EU dairy sector beyond 2015' conference
    2013-12-17

    At the last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries, the Commission presented the main outcomes of the conference on "The EU dairy sector: developing beyond 2015" which took place in Brussels on 24 September 2013 (17713/13). The conference explored future trends in the EU milk sector beyond 2015, in the context of the abolition of the milk quota system in 2015. In order to prepare the sector for this new operating environment, a series of new instruments has been developed in the context of the Milk Package.
    Some member states considered that, on the basis of the outcome of the conference, and beyond the "safety net" provisions provided in the CAP reform, the Commission should propose targeted measures for vulnerable milk production areas which could be affected by the end of quota in 2015.
    However some other member states favoured instead measure to ensure a "soft landing" of the system after 2015 which would facilitate the transition to a system without a supply control mechanism. This would concern in particular members states exceeding already their milk quotas.
    The Commission announced the establishment of a market observatory for milk which will allow to ensure a close monitoring of this sector. In addition, the Commission will prepare a report by 30 June 2014 regarding the development of the market situation in the milk sector as provided for by the Milk Package regulation. This will help to evaluate whether additional actions for this sector will be necessary in this context.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more


  19. COP19: Lithuania spoke in favour of sustainable climate policy on behalf of the EU
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    The Minister of Environment of Lithuania participated at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, where experts from 190 countries have been discussing climate change issues for two weeks (11-23 November 2013). Global environment ministers joined the Conference the second week, and the Lithuanian Minister of Environment, and Connie Hedegaard, Commissioner for Climate Action, led the EU delegation.
    Minister Mazuronis presented the position of Member States, represented them during meetings with Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, other ministers, and NGO representatives, informed the European Parliament’s delegation about the progress of negotiations, and hold press conferences for journalists.
    During the Conference, some progress were made regarding a new legally-binding global agreement on climate change, which should be adopted by 2015 at the latest and come into effect in 2020. “Even though the negotiations regarding a global climate change agreement won’t be completed in Warsaw, we have to decide what we are going to do in the coming two years, in order to ensure that this important document is signed as planned – in 2015 in Paris,” Mr Mazuronis said.
    According to him, another important aspect was to ensure that countries wouldn't wait for 2020, but rather would make new commitments or expand old ones to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases to ensure sufficient joint commitments and keep the global warming rate below 2° C.
    At the Conference, the EU delegation focused on the implementation and funding of instruments that were harmonized at previous climate change conferences. The EU strived for the active participation of global ministers in discussions regarding climate change mitigation by 2020, and the preparation of a global agreement by 2015. The EU also urged countries to cooperate internationally to speed up the goals that are due by 2020, promote more effective energy consumption, develop renewable energy sources, decrease emissions of fluorine gasses, review fossil fuel grants, and decrease emissions of greenhouse gasses in the maritime and aviation sectors.

    Source: Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2013


    Link Read more
    Link COP19: Warsaw opens the way to Paris, but hurdles remain


  20. Information and promotion measures for agricultural products
    2013-12-17
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development, Agriculture

    The Commission briefed the member states at last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries (held in Brussels on 16 and 17 December 2013) on its proposal for a regulation on information provision and promotion measures for agricultural products on the internal market and in third countries (16591/13).
    Member states generally welcomed the proposal and took note of its ambition to better valorise the EU agri-food industry. However many of them expressed concerns about the suppression of the possibility to provide a national cofinancing support of the promotion measures; they also pointed out the need to better involve member states in the whole process of promotion from the selection of the measures. Some countries would like to enlarge the list of products covered by the measures and some others insisted on the need to have a close check on the use of the budget of promotion considering its increase scheduled in the proposal.
    The production of and trading in agricultural and agri-food products constitute a major asset for the EU. In this regard it is crucial that EU agriculture and the agri-food industry maintain and increase their competitiveness and their market shares on both the internal and export markets. However, European agriculture is faced today with a much more competitive environment, largely resulting from the globalisation of markets, and this trend should continue in the coming years. Nevertheless, on the internal market the logos on products that benefit from EU quality scheme logo such as protected designation of origin (PDO) or protected geographical indication (PGI) are generally not recognised. The same goes for exports where the effort of investing in marketing and selling on distant markets represents a challenge for a sector essentially made up of SMEs.
    This context calls for a renewed policy of promotion, one which learns from the lessons of the promotional programmes implemented to date and which represents an additional stage in the
    modernisation of the common agricultural policy (CAP).
    Measures will follow a strategy of identifying priorities on markets and products or messages to be highlighted. As the CAP reform encourages farmers to organise themselves, the scheme should be opened up to new beneficiaries, such as producer organisations. Strict guidelines should be established as regards the possibilities of mentioning the origin of products or brand names as a means of illustrating the main generic message highlighting the intrinsic characteristics of European agricultural products.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link Linking food, geography and people



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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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