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Thursday, 21 January 2010

Revised framework for relations with ACP countries

The second revision of the Cotonou Agreement governing relations between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries should be finalised in March 2010. Progress in the negotiations is assessed in a report by Development Committee Chair Eva Joly (Greens/EFA, FR).The report also proposes improvements to tackle climate change, tax havens, migration, agriculture and "land-grabbing" (government-backed foreign investors buying up arable land in developing countries), mostly on the African continent.EU policy towards developing countries must be coherent and consistent.  Policy in areas such as trade, fisheries and agriculture must be designed to have sustainable development in the ACP countries in order to fight poverty, and guarantee decent income and livelihood, which is not the case now", said rapporteur Eva Joly in the debate preceding the vote.

Clearer focus on agriculture in ACP countries:
Agriculture remains a neglected sector in ACP-EU co-operation, despite the fact that 60% of ACP countries’ population lives in rural areas. ACP countries are therefore urged to focus more clearly on agricultural development so as to ensure food security.  "ACP farmers need support and decent wages to produce for local markets and that they need infrastructures which can sustain trade and the movement of goods", said the rapporteur during the same debate. On the issue of "land grabbing", MEPs urge Cotonou revision negotiators to avoid the adverse impacts of farm land acquisition, such as expropriation of small farmers.  "If this acquisition continues, not only would extreme poverty be further exacerbated but violent conflict and food riots could also take place. It is extremely urgent to tackle this issue by adopting guiding principles, which recognise, as an inalienable human right, the right of the people to control vital natural resources including land and water and other vital natural resources", stated the EP rapporteur Eva Joly.

Source: European Parliament