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CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 383
Subject: CTA - Brussels Office Newsletter N° 383
Send date: 2014-01-29 11:13:10
Issue #: 199
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 : 24/01/2014
CTA Brussels Newsletter

 

Main events in the week
  1. Main Events for the Week 27/01/2014 – 02/02/2014
  2. Vacant post of Expert in charge of Private Sector Issues at the ACP Secretariat
  3. The Council adopts general fishing opportunities for 2014
  4. CONCORD appoints new Director Seamus Jeffreson
  5. EU airlifts more humanitarian supplies into Central African Republic
  6. A new Common Fisheries Policy effective from January 2014
  7. Africa’s Great Green Wall reaches out to new partners
  8. Social protection: EU expertise in development cooperation
  9. Council agrees on own resources package
  10. EC study outlines pathway to standardizing disaster loss databases
  11. EU hopes to conclude EPA deal with ECOWAS soon
  12. MiFID directive to curb food speculation
  13. EU confirms its support for development and stability in Central Africa
  14. MEPs give go-ahead to ratify UN deal to stop arms flow to conflict regions
  15. Water innovation in action: €50 million for new research projects
  16. Latest reports on the EU fisheries sector released
  17. The Council adopts general fishing opportunities for 2014
  18. Donors pledge $496 million for Central African Republic
  19. EU Commissioner pledges to align development, farm policies with Africa


  1. Main Events for the Week 27/01/2014 – 02/02/2014
    2014-01-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    European Parliament:

    - 27-30 January: European Parliament Committee Meetings

    Council of the EU:

    - 28 January: Meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN)
    - 30 January: Meeting of the Political and Security Committee (PSC)

    ACP Group:

    - 28 January: ACP Sugar Committee and W/G on Sugar
    - 29 January: W/G on Bananas

    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. Vacant post of Expert in charge of Private Sector Issues at the ACP Secretariat
    2014-01-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Rural development

    The Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) informs that a vacant post of Expert in charge of Private Sector Issues at the ACP Secretariat to be filled for a 6 month period, with a possible extensions of maximum months.
    The job description of the post and the conditions of service and employment for the post are available here. Applications for this post should be sent by post or by e-mail and must reach the ACP Secretariat no later than 13 February 2014.
    Applications must be accompagnied by updated curriculum vitae, copies of degrees, diplomas, certificates and any other document testifying to the competence and professional experience of the applicants. Candidates for the post must be nationals of Member States of the ACP Group and must therefore attach a copy of their valid passport for proof of nationality.

    Source: ACP Secretariat


    Link Read more
    Link More about ACP


  3. The Council adopts general fishing opportunities for 2014
    2014-01-24
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    The Council adopted on Monday 20 January 2014 by written procedure a regulation providing fishing  opportunities in 2014 to EU vessels in Union and certain non-Union waters.
    A political agreement had been reached on this regulation at the Agriculture and Fisheries  Council meeting on 17 December 2013. The regulation establishes the total allowable  catches (TACs) and member states' fishing quotas for 2014 for fish stocks which are not subject to international negotiations or agreements and stocks subject to international negotiations or agreements. Each year, on the basis of a Commission proposal, the Council has to take a decision on fishing opportunities for the stocks in the Atlantic, the North Sea and international fisheries in which EU vessels participate. This is the main fishing opportunities regulation in terms of the number of regulated stocks. Along with the regulations fixing the fishing opportunities for the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea, this text regulates the harvesting of the stocks to levels which must be consistent with the overall objectives of the common fisheries policy (CFP). In October last year an extensive reform of the CFP has been agreed by the Council and the European Parliament.
    The regulations take into account available scientific advice and, in particular, the reports drawn up by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF).
    This year, the Council and the Commission noted that the fishing opportunities regulations include a number of TACs for stocks for which there is limited information on stock status and which are of low economic importance, or are taken only as by-catches, or which show low levels of quota uptake. In these cases, it was agreed to constrain catches at or below the TAC levels fixed for 2014 for the following four years. If the perception of the status of any of these stocks changes significantly during this period, both institutions agreed that the TAC levels should be reviewed and revised as appropriate.

    Source: Council of the EU


    Link Read more
    Link Council reaches political agreement on fishing opportunities
    Link Better fish stock management could generates billions, says report


  4. CONCORD appoints new Director Seamus Jeffreson
    2014-01-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Development Policy

    Seamus Jeffreson has begun his new role as Director of CONCORD, the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs that represents over 1,800 NGOs to the EU institutions.
    Seamus brings to the position over 20 years of experience in the international development sector. He joins CONCORD following 5 years in the Middle East working on humanitarian issues with International Medical Corps and CARE. He previously worked in Ethiopia with NGOs Trocaire and Cafod. He has Brussels based experience, having spent several years working on Eastern Europe and the Balkans, including some time at the European Commission. Seamus replaces outgoing director Olivier Consolo. Seamus is a British national and speaks English and French.
    Commenting on his new role, CONCORD President Joanna Maycock said: “We are delighted to welcome Seamus Jeffreson as CONCORD’s new Director who brings operational experience of working for NGOs on international development in both the Middle East and Africa, as well as past experience in the EU institutions. He joins us at a crucial time as the EU Parliament and Commission are set for important changes in 2014 and the post-2015 development agenda is barely a year away. We wish him a lot of success in his new role.”
    CONCORD is also a partner of CTA in the Brussels Policy Development Briefings which are held every two months since 2007 to facilitate ACP-EU policy-dialogue on key issues realted to agriculture and rural development of interest to ACP countries. The briefings target Brussels-based policy makers and the development community.

    Source: CONCORD, Brussels Policy Development Briefings


    Link Read more
    Link Brussels Policy Development Briefings


  5. EU airlifts more humanitarian supplies into Central African Republic
    2014-01-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    Amid the continuing crisis in the Central African Republic, the European Union is again transporting urgently needed humanitarian assistance into the country. Today, a plane ferried 80 tons of relief supplies from Nairobi, Kenya into the Central African Republic capital, Bangui, including emergency shelter, blankets and basic household items such as soap and kitchen utensils.
    "The humanitarian needs created by this crisis are huge - the entire population is affected," said Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "Only a few days ago we raised nearly half a billion dollars in pledges to bring yet more aid to the long-suffering Central Africans, more than half a million of whom have been uprooted from their homes in Bangui alone. We will continue to do all we can for as long as it takes." "As violence continues and the needs remain enormous, security and humanitarian access to the most vulnerable, both in and outside the capital, is an urgent priority."
    The Central African Republic ranks among the world's poorest countries and has been embroiled in a decade-long armed conflict. The surge of violence in December 2013 exacerbated this situation and today half of the 4.6-million-strong population is in need of immediate aid. Almost a million people have been internally displaced, half of them in the capital Bangui alone. More than 245 000 Central Africans have sought refuge in neighbouring countries.
    The EU is the largest provider of relief assistance to the country, with €76 million in 2013. Humanitarian aid from the European Commission has tripled last year to €39 million. The Commission has organised repeated airlift operations into the country to facilitate the deployment of relief material and personnel. A team of European humanitarian experts in the field is monitoring the situation, assessing the needs and overseeing the use of funds by partner organizations.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU confirms its support for development and stability in Central Africa
    Link EC plead for concerted international action in Central African Republic


  6. A new Common Fisheries Policy effective from January 2014
    2014-01-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    A new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has been agreed by Council and Parliament and is effective from 1 January 2014. The new CFP seeks to bring fish stocks back to sustainable levels, put an end to wasteful fishing practices, and create new opportunities for jobs and growth in coastal areas. To achieve this it focuses on banning discards, empowering the sector and decentralising decision making, prioritising aquaculture, supporting small scale fisheries, improving the scientific knowledge on the state of stocks, and taking responsibility in foreign waters through the EU's international agreements.
    The CFP is a set of rules for managing European fishing fleets and for conserving fish stocks. Designed to manage a common resource, it gives all European fishing fleets equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds and allows fishermen to compete fairly. Stocks may be renewable, but they are finite. Some of these fishing stocks, however, are being overfished. As a result, EU countries have taken action to ensure the European fishing industry is sustainable and does not threaten the fish population size and productivity over the long term. The CFP was first introduced in the 1970s and went through successive updates.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU: Council agrees on fishing policy overhaul
    Link EU fisheries reform: Council confirms political agreement


  7. Africa’s Great Green Wall reaches out to new partners
    2014-01-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Agriculture, Rural development, Development Policy

    More partnerships and investment are needed to support the pan-African partnership to tackle desertification and land degradation. So far, the African Union - in cooperation with the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew and the Walloon Region of Belgium - has mobilized more than €50 million in support of the Great Green Wall Initiative.
    The World Bank and Global Environment Facility are financing the US$1 billion Sahel and West Africa Program (SAWAP), active in 12 countries together with a regional hub project called Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication, and Knowledge Services (BRICKS), implemented by the Permanent Interstates Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
    Bold coordinated action and more investments in sustainable land management are needed to boost food production, help people adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects, support biodiversity, enhance businesses based on land resources and contribute to a green economy.
    On the 4th March 2013, Chris Reij, SLM specialist, Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute, held a presentation on “Resilience-building in the Sahel: Regreening the Sahel” as part of the Brussels Briefing on the “Agricultural resilience in the face of crisis and shocks” organized by CTA Brussels at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels. He explained how the 5 million hectares which have been re-greened in the last 20 years have had a positive impact on food security. To find out more and watch his presentation here.
    Since its adoption in 2007 by African Heads of State and Government, the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative has become Africa's flagship initiative in tackling the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation, desertification, drought and climate change.
    It is estimated that 83 per cent of rural people in Sub-Saharan Africa depend on the land for their livelihoods, but 40 per cent of Africa's land resources are currently degraded. Poverty, hunger, unemployment, forced migration, conflict and security issues are just some of the many threats arising from this situation.

    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)


    Link Read more
    Link Agricultural resilience in the face of crisis and shocks
    Link Planting trees – way to growth in African drylands


  8. Social protection: EU expertise in development cooperation
    2014-01-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive, Development Policy

    EuropeAid has set up a technical assistance facility - SOCIEUX: Social Protection European Union Expertise in Development Cooperation - in order to support the efforts of Partner Countries to better design and manage their social protection systems. It’s a demand-driven facility through which partner countries are invited to submit requests for assistance in a simple format. Its implementation period is 2013-2017.
    SOCIEUX offers support in all social protection areas including social insurance, social assistance, access to basic social services, financing, and monitoring and evaluations of social protection systems, actions ranging from the very structural issues to interventions that aim at ad-hoc transfer of know-how and respond to very specific needs. It will work on a basis of providing short-term expertise primarily from practitioners within EU Member State’s public administrations. Practitioners from low and middle income Partner Countries can also bring added value through South-South and triangular cooperation.
    SOCIEUX  targets public authorities and mandated bodies in charge of social protection at a national level. Potential partner countries will be low-income and middle-income countries from the following regions of the world: European Neighbourhood; Latin America, Asia (including Central Asia) and Middle East; and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific.The Guide for Partner Country Institutionsprovides detailed information on how partner institutions may request assistance under SOCIEUX and the financial and logistical aspects of the organisation of Actions and Activities.

    Source: European Commission, EuropeAid


    Link Read more
    Link Download the guide for partner country institutions
    Link Facility supporting social protection systems in partner countries


  9. Council agrees on own resources package
    2014-01-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    The Permanent Representatives Committee today reached a political agreement on the three legislative acts forming the own resources package related to the European Union's multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2014-2020, on the basis of a compromise proposal of the Hellenic presidency. Own resources constitute the European Union (EU) revenue, which has to completely cover EU expenditure.
    The three legislative acts on own resources constitute one of the three parts of the MFF package, the other two being the MFF regulation (adopted by the Council on 2 December 2013) and the about 70 sector-specific acts the majority of which have been adopted by the end of last year. The political agreement on own resources reached today translates the European Council conclusions of 8 February 2013 into legal terms.
    As under the MFF covering the period 2007-2013, the own resources rules for the 2014-2020 period provide for the following types of own resources:
    traditional own resources (i.e. mainly customs duties and sugar levies);
    own resources based on the value added tax (VAT);
    own resources based on the Gross National Income (GNI); it is used to fund the part of the EU budget which is not covered by other own resources, with the aim of balancing EU revenue with expenditure.
    Once the European Parliament has given its consent and its opinions the Council will formally adopt the three legislative acts. This will be followed by the member states' approval of the own resources decision. As for previous MFF periods, the new own resources rules will enter into force retroactively on 1 January 2014.  The Permanent Representatives Committee is composed of the ambassadors of the 28 EU member states. Its role is to prepare decisions of the Council.

    Source: Council of the EU


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


  10. EC study outlines pathway to standardizing disaster loss databases
    2014-01-23
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness, Archive

    The European Commission (EC) released a report, titled 'Recording Disaster Losses: Recommendations for a European Approach,' which outlines a pathway for a standardized European approach to record and manage disaster loss. The EC notes that disaster loss databases are useful for: implementing local- to national-scale disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies in Europe; and helping to better understand disaster loss trends at the global level.
    The study recommends three areas that should provide the basis for a disaster prevention conceptual framework: disaster loss accounting; disaster forensics; and risk modeling. A disaster loss accounting system would enable documenting trends and aggregating statistics to inform local, national and international DRR programmes. Better disaster forensics would allow for identifying the causes of disasters through measuring the contribution of exposure, vulnerability, coping capacity, mitigation and response in order to improve disaster management from lessons learned. Loss data are necessary for risk modeling, which would improve risk assessment and forecasting, and enable better inference of vulnerabilities.  The proposed framework takes into account existing EU policies and the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015. The study analyzed the scale and scope of existing loss databases and considered whether or not a European approach was appropriate.
    The Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection of the EC commissioned the EU's Joint Research Centre to undertake the study. The three-month study is a first step that will require significant follow-up, including establishing a forum to build consensus on the precise approach to be taken by EU member States.

    Source: European Commission and United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction


    Link Read more
    Link Download the report
    Link EU approach to resilience and disaster risk reduction in developing countries


  11. EU hopes to conclude EPA deal with ECOWAS soon
    2014-01-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Trade

    The European Commission (EC) is optimistic it will reach an agreement in the coming weeks with ECOWAS on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The European Union (EU) whishes to replace its long-running preferential trade arrangements with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations, which are not compliant with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules with the EPA.
    “We are optimistic an agreement will be reached in the coming weeks. Good progress has been made though (but) there are still some challenges,” said Dr Nicholas Westcott, Managing Director for Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS) before a meeting in Accra to officially invite the Ghanaian President John Mahama to the fourth EU- Africa summit taking place in Brussels from April 2-3,2014.
    The EU and ACP countries had until the end of 2007 to sign the EPA if they didn’t want to lose their tax-free export access to the EU market. While many Caribbean states have ratified the EPA, the negotiations between the EU and ECOWAS have been held back by differences of opinion over issues such as how much of ECOWAS' market should be liberalized, and the so-called Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause – which obliges ECOWAS states to extend to the EU any more favourable treatment they may grant to third-parties in a future trade agreement. To avoid losing their generous access to the EU market, Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire, and a few other countries signed an interim EPA as they waited for their respective regional blocs to iron-out differences with the EU.
    The EC informed already in 2012 by that it will change its market access regulation - which allowed interim EPA to continue exporting to the EU quota-free and duty-free - and remove preferential access for countries that fail to ratify the EPA by the end of 2013.
    The EU is Ghana's largest export market, accounting for more than half of all exports. The loss of the current tax-free access regime would, at least initially, cause the country's exporters to lose competitiveness in the EU market. If Ghana signs a full EPA, its exports to the European market will be totally exempted from customs and other duties, while exports from the EU to Ghana will enjoy 80 percent exemption from similar duties and levies.
    But the deal has never convicted civil society organisations in the country, who warn that signing the agreement will lock the Country's economy deeper into its primary commodity dependence-trap and derail regional integration. On a cost-benefit analysis basis, some critics have even argued that Ghana will be the loser.

    Source: Citifmonline.com


    Link Read more
    Link EU finalises trade deal with western African states
    Link Ghana: Decision on EPA by end of October


  12. MiFID directive to curb food speculation
    2014-01-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Food Policy, ACP-EU Trade

    The European Parliament and the Greek EU Presidency sealed a deal on Wednesday 15 January 2014 on the reform of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID), which sets new regulation for financial markets. The deal includes new rules to limit speculation on financial products linked to what we eat. These so-called ‘commodity derivatives’ are derived from commodities, including agricultural commodities such as wheat, corn, soybean or sugar.
    Deregulated and secretive agricultural commodity derivatives markets have attracted huge   sums of speculative money, and there is growing evidence that they deliver distorted and unpredictable food prices. There is extensive debate about the harmful effects of excessive speculation. While there is no unanimous consensus on the effects, a long list of studies and analyst reports have found various indications for price distorting and inflating impacts of commodity speculation. Position limits cap the number of contracts in a particular commodity that can be held by a trader or group of traders, preventing concentration by the individual or group concerned. This ensures speculators do not exert an excessive influence on prices.
    In a reaction to the deal, Marc Olivier Herman, Oxfam's EU policy advisor, said that the “decision marks a good start in tackling ‘gambling’ on food prices which are a matter of life and death to millions in the developing world. The agreement introduces limits on speculating in spite of attempts by the UK and other governments to block any meaningful reform.”
    “The Parliament has succeeded in making significant improvements to the legislation. Limits to the bets that speculators can make will apply to contracts traded ‘over the counter’ and throughout the lifetime of the contracts. This is good news for millions in the developing world, who can spend up to 75 per cent of their income on food, as well as producers who rely on stable food prices. It is also important for people across Europe struggling to cope with high and volatile prices.”
    “The deal is far from perfect. Unjustified exemptions were granted to powerful lobbies and limits will be set nationally, rather than at the European level. There is a real risk, particularly in the UK, of ineffective sky high limits triggering a regulatory race to the bottom between European countries. The European Commission and the European Securities and Management Authority must now take a lead in ensuring that position limits are implemented effectively.”
    The political agreement reached on Wednesday 15 January between the European Parliament and the Council of the EU will have to be formally approved by both institutions in the coming months. This is expected to happen before the upcoming elections of the European Parliament in May 2014.

    Source: European Parliament, Oxfam


    Link Read more
    Link EU to wage war against speculation on commodity markets
    Link France calls for stricter EU rules on commodity derivatives


  13. EU confirms its support for development and stability in Central Africa
    2014-01-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Aid effectiveness, Archive, Development Policy

    EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs announced yesterday close to €3 billion in grants for countries and organisations in the region of Central Africa for the period 2014-2020. The announcement was made during a two-day event to discuss development cooperation with Ministers and other authorities of the involved countries and regional organisations. The new funding, still subject to confirmation by the EU Member States, will aim to benefit the 162 million citizens living in a region that has suffered from a number of armed conflicts as well as chronic poverty and malnutrition. Future programmes are expected to support investments that generate growth, improve access to basic social services (e.g. health, energy), reduce food insecurity and promote peace and stability.
    Commissioner Piebalgs commented: "There are many challenges ahead in the region of Central Africa: poverty and malnutrition, lack of access to energy, proper infrastructures or strong public institutions, are all putting a break in the countries' development and their population wellbeing. The EU is firmly committed to working with partner countries to tackle those challenges".
    He added: "In doing so, it is important that Central African countries make full use of its developing potential without endangering its natural environment, endowed with a wealth of natural resources and a remarkable biodiversity".
    The new funds will address key priorities being discussed with the countries present in the programming seminar, which finishes on January 23 in Brussels, as well as with the representatives of the two regional organisations CEEAC (Economic Community of Central African States) and CEMAC (Central African Economic and Monetary Community).
    Future cooperation will consider innovative forms of implementation, as set out in the Agenda for Change, the EU's blueprint to make development aid more efficient and more result-targeted. In particular, this will include the blending of funds (i.e. the mixing of EU grant money with loans from other sources of funding).
    The region of Central Africa includes ten countries (Gabon, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tomé & Principe, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Central African Republic, Rwanda and Burundi). The combined population is 162 million, almost half of which live in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the country which also covers most of region's territory.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Central Africa: EPAs, threat to regional integration
    Link The EU's relations with Central Africa


  14. MEPs give go-ahead to ratify UN deal to stop arms flow to conflict regions
    2014-01-22
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

     

    MEPs from the Committee on International Trade suggested in a today’s vote the authorization by the European Parliament for EU countries to ratify the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty which establishes binding international rules on trade in conventional weapons, aiming to eradicate the illicit trade of weapons globally and put a stop to arms flows to conflict regions.
    "The Arms Trade Treaty is a huge achievement in beginning to regulate the global arms trade. This is a $22 billion industry which urgently needs global monitoring, as the trade in arms often has a devastating effect on peace, security and human rights in some of the world's most vulnerable countries”, said rapporteur David Martin (S&D, UK), after Trade MEPs had unanimously backed his recommendation.
    "I hope Member States will ratify the Treaty as soon as possible to show global leadership in implementing the Treaty and encouraging some of the world's biggest players in the arms trade, including the arms industry, to follow our lead in promoting peace, security and transparent, responsible trade", he added.
    The EU cannot sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty, since only Member States can be parties to United Nations treaties; however, as the treaty touches upon aspects of common commercial policy, falling under the exclusive competence of the EU, it requires consent of European Parliament. The decision has yet to be voted in law by the full House.
    The Arms Trade Treaty was adopted on 2 April 2013 through a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly. Three States voted against the Treaty (North Korea, Iran and Syria) and 23 abstained (including China, India and Russia).
    Source: European Parliament

     


    Link Read more
    Link Blurring the lines between humanitarian and military action undermines aid
    Link Post-War and Post-Conflict Challenges for Development Cooperation


  15. Water innovation in action: €50 million for new research projects
    2014-01-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Environment

    Biotechnology to treat heavy metal pollution in waste water; new 'Aquaponic' systems combining aquaculture and hydroponics in agricultural production; smarter management of water distribution networks. These are just three of 11 new projects approved for EU research funding, aiming to promote innovative solutions for water-related challenges (see MEMO/14/34). The projects involve 179 partners from research organisations and private companies (including more than 70 SMEs), across 19 European countries.
    European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: "Water is probably our most precious resource and managing it is one of our greatest challenges. These projects will help find innovative solutions to some of today's most pressing problems, such as maintaining water quality and tackling water scarcity.”
    The €50 million in funding comes from the 2013 'Environment' call of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). This brings total funding for water-related projects under FP7 (2007 to 2013) to more than €1 billion.
    Securing safe and plentiful water supplies will remain a key objective under Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation funding programme launched on Jan. 1. Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn added: "Horizon 2020 is more than any previous EU research programme focused on research issues that make a real difference in people's lives. At the same time, the goal is to develop technologies that also create new market opportunities for industry."
    The projects announced today and future research under Horizon 2020 will also contribute to the aims of the European Innovation Partnership on Water (EIP Water). Launched in May 2013, the group brings together public and private sector as well as civil society to help speed up innovation in the area.
    Under the first Horizon 2020 calls for projects, published 11 December, around €165 million is expected to be provided to projects in the focus area 'Water'. In addition, efficient use of water will be addressed through other actions, such as the proposed public private partnership for a Sustainable Process Industry (SPIRE).

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link EU supports water and sanitation sector in Angola
    Link EU funds safe water project in 150 Senegalese villages


  16. Latest reports on the EU fisheries sector released
    2014-01-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    The Annual Economic Reports (AER) on the fishing fleet, aquaculture and fish processing sectors provide a comprehensive overview of the structure and economic performance of the EU fisheries sector and highlight key trends, based on data obtained from the latest DCF data calls, Eurostat and the EU fishing fleet register. The reports  were reviewed by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) during their plenary meetings held in Brussels, Belgium.
    This summary of the 2013 Economic Performance Report on the EU Aquaculture Sector states that aquaculture production by the 28 European Union Member States (EU-28) reached 1.28 million tonnes and 3.51 billion Euros in 2011 according to FAO. Volume and value of sales reached 1.35 million tonnes and 4.02 billion Euros in 2011 (DCF). EU aquaculture production is mainly concentrated in 5 countries: France, Greece, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom, making up 77% in volume and 76% in value of EU totals.  The future evolution of the EU aquaculture sector is uncertain due to the following 3 factors hindering the full potential of the EU aquaculture sector: fierce foreign competition that brings market prices down, high labour and capital costs and administrative burdens that slow down investments in the sector.

    Source: European Commission


    Link Read more
    Link Download the reports and summaries
    Link Fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2013


  17. The Council adopts general fishing opportunities for 2014
    2014-01-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Regional Fisheries

    A political agreement had been reached on this regulation at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 17 December 2013. The regulation establishes the total allowable catches (TACs) and member states' fishing quotas for 2014 for fish stocks which are not subject to international negotiations or agreements and stocks subject to international negotiations or agreements. Each year, on the basis of a Commission proposal, the Council has to take a decision on fishing opportunities for the stocks in the Atlantic, the North Sea and international fisheries in which EU vessels participate. This is the main fishing opportunities regulation in terms of the number of regulated stocks.
    This year, the Council and the Commission noted that the fishing opportunities regulations include a number of TACs for stocks for which there is limited information on stock status and which are of low economic importance, or are taken only as by-catches, or which show low levels of quota uptake. In these cases, it was agreed to constrain catches at or below the TAC levels fixed for 2014 for the following four years. If the perception of the status of any of these stocks changes significantly during this period, both institutions agreed that the TAC levels should be reviewed and revised as appropriate.

    Source: Council of the European Union


    Link Read more
    Link Council Regulation fixing for 2014 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks


  18. Donors pledge $496 million for Central African Republic
    2014-01-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : Archive

    The European Union and the United Nations are looking to balance short-term security and "stabilisation" measures with immediate humanitarian aid, pledging along with other donors half a billion dollars to the conflict-stricken Central African Republic.
    The EU and the UN, as well as other donors such as the United States, World Bank and African Development Bank, pledged $496 million (€366 million) to the CAR after a meeting at the European Commission in Brussels on Monday (20 January).
    Some $296 million will go to "stabilisation" measures, including part humanitarian relief as well as the restoration of basic services and cash-for-work programmes, officials told reporters.
    The other $200 million will go to urgent humanitarian needs coming as a result of the increased violence.
    “The United Nations and partners have scaled up our efforts significantly to deal with the humanitarian consequences of that deterioration,” UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said.

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link EU and UN mobilise half a billion dollars to save lives in Central African Republic
    Link European External Action Service: Central African Republic - Factsheet


  19. EU Commissioner pledges to align development, farm policies with Africa
    2014-01-21
    NEWSLETTER_CATEGORIES : ACP-EU Policy

    The International Green Week was held in Berlin last Thursday (16 January), in which EU Commissioner Dacian Cioloş called for an elimination of agricultural export refunds in trade with African countries.
    In his speech, Cioloş announced: "I am ready to propose stopping, once and for all, the use of export refunds to those developing country destinations – even in times of crisis when this instrument can still be used."
    Since 1992, the EU's agriculture policy has gradually been shifting from price support to directly providing aid to farmers. This shift is intended to continue supporting farm incomes while lowering EU food prices and reducing the agricultural price gap with developing countries. Cioloş expressed further: "Since 1 January, EU legislation is also very clear," Cioloş said, "export refunds have ceased to exist as a means of systematically supporting a sector. ... in the framework of preferential partnership agreements with African countries: I am prepared to go one step further."
    However, some relief organisations are not convinced that Commissioner Cioloş’proposal will curb distortions in the agriculture market adversely affecting developing countries: "Here, a well-meaning move to eliminate export subsidies will force Africa into agreements that are even less suitable for fighting poverty and hunger", said Francisco Mari, an advisor on agriculture trade for the German relief organisation Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World).
    According to Germanwatch, the commissioners decision is linked to the ongoing negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreements with African countries.

     

    Source: EurActiv


    Link Read more
    Link A modern farming sector, producing in line with society's expectations
    Link The International Green Week Berlin



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Ms Isolina BOTO
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Editor: Etienne GOFFIN (goffin@cta.int)

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The opinions expressed in the comments and analysis are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CTA.

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