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November 2017
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EDITO
Sunday, 19 November 2017

The U.K. government issued a document on Tuesday detailing plans to maintain U.K. aid cooperation with the EU after it exits the bloc in 2019. The paper, released by the Department for Exiting the European Union, is scant on figures and makes no explicit commitments regarding the almost 1 billion euros in development and humanitarian aid spent annually through the EU; nor does it commit to specific joint funds or other instruments. However, it describes a strong desire for continued collaboration on aid — particularly on migration — and outlines the U.K.’s hope for a relationship that uses current engagement “as a starting point.”

The EU mobilised all its emergency response tools last week before Hurricane Irma approached the Caribbean. As a first step last week, the EU's Copernicus satellite mapping system was activated to deliver high quality maps for Guadeloupe, Saint Barthélémy and Saint Martin at the request of France, and of Sint Maarten at the request of the Netherlands, as well as for the British Virgin Islands. The Commission has also activated Copernicus for areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Commission is also supporting a Disaster Relief Emergency Fund operation by the International Federation of the Red Cross, providing basic relief kits to the affected populations in Antigua and Barbuda.

To say the EU’s ability to promote values through external action is declining may be an understatement. This time the observation is made in a report aimed at improving and making more coherent Union diplomacy and the way the bloc’s taxpayer money is spent. The limitations of EU outreach became visible in recent years particularly in the context of the Eastern Partnership, an initiative which sought to closely associate six countries in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood. Another perhaps more tragic example is the failure of the EU’s engagement with neighbours in the south, following the Arab Spring. But a report points out the same deficiencies vis-à-vis the ACP countries, 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states, with all of them, with the exception of Cuba, signatories to the Cotonou Agreement, also known as the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement, which binds them to the European Union.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, British Minister for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, visited Samoa last week for the Pacific Islands Forum. While in Apia, he visited Women in Business Development Inc (W.I.B.D.) and met with W.I.B.D President Peseta Afoa and Executive Director Adi Tafunai. Lord Ahmad heard about W.I.B.D’s long and successful partnership with BodyShop and about W.I.B.D.I’s decision to become a social enterprise. Lord Ahmad also announced the next two stages of UK support for the development of Social Enterprise in Samoa and across the region.

Danish fish feed group Aller Aqua will continue to “take risks” when it comes to developing emerging aquaculture markets, CEO Hans Erik Bylling, told Undercurrent News. The firm has grown rapidly in recent years and in 2017 will open two new plants in Zambia and China to bring its total up to six – doubling its overall production capacity, to around 300,000 metric tons. However, its recently-reported 2016 results showed that depreciation in the Nigerian and Egyptian currencies had hit the group's bottom line profit. “That's something that's very hard to protect yourself against,” said Bylling, during AquaNor 2017.