November 2015
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Friday, 27 November 2015

A potential trade pact between the European Union and Guyana must contain land rights protections for local residents in order to avert the possible displacement of indigenous people, activists said on Tuesday (24 November). Rising trade in timber stemming from such a deal could improve living standards in the South American country, according to a report released by activist groups the Forest Peoples Programme and the Amerindian Peoples Association. But current rules governing consent for using land claimed by indigenous people are not strong enough to insure against territory being unfairly seized by logging companies or other investors, they said.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Refugees, hospitals and infrastructure projects are among the beneficiaries of over €12bn worth of new loans from the European Investment Bank. The EIB’s board approved the finance bundle yesterday, which included the first-ever financial support by the long-term lending institution for refugees in the region. EIB president Werner Hoyer said: “In these sad days the EU bank shows its continued commitment to supporting work across Europe and ensuring that people who seek refuge can be welcomed with dignity. “This is consistent with the values Europe stands for and that we all strongly reaffirm despite the horror Paris, France, Europe and humanity itself have been exposed to in the past few days.”

The critical issue of bilateral trade between Europe and African countries has been high on the agendas of members of the Irish and UK AWEPA Sections this month. As part of his ongoing lobbying efforts to ensure EU trade policies do not harm African markets in sensitive industries, AWEPA Governing Council member Hon. Denis Naughten issued a press statement urging the Irish and European Parliaments to ensure flexibility within the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements.

The highest amount of funding ever allocated to refugees and development programs is an important outcome of the European Parliament's approval of the European Union's 2016 budget, which ONE and Oxfam see as a good move. Of the agreed €155 billion for the overall budget, €9.16 billion will be spent on interventions in the Middle East, as well as humanitarian aid, in order to tackle the refugee crisis. Additional funds have also been allocated to the Commission's development programs.

A report published on Tuesday (24 November) by CONCORD, the European NGO confederation for relief and development, documents an emerging trend amongst member states to divert aid budgets from sustainable development to domestic costs associated with hosting refugees and asylum seekers. Some of the expenditure items EU countries report as aid do not translate into a real transfer of resources to developing countries or, ultimately, to people who are poor and marginalised, the report has found. This is not the first time that NGOs report that EU monies are increasingly being spent on tackling the refugee crisis and border security, rather than fighting poverty and inequality.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

In a detailed report published earlier this week the European Court of Auditors, concluded that the European Investment Bank’s engagement in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific states improves access to long-term financing, helps attract other sources of investment and adds value to European development cooperation in ACP countries. (...) The report by the European Union’s independent external auditor examined more than a third of all operations financed by the European Investment Bank through the Investment Facility between 2011 and 2014. It concluded that all audited infrastructure projects were coherent with EU development cooperation and recognised the increased development impact of local currency lending.

An expected boost to the living conditions of residents in sugar-dependent communities, in addition to a push for debt reduction, are some critical elements Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says are to be addressed through more than $2 billion in budget support from the European Union (EU). Jamaica is the recipient of two budget support payments totalling $2.3 billion, as an activity to mark the 40th anniversary of partnership between Jamaica and the EU.

The government of Sweden said it will contribute 140 million SEK (16 million USD) for food aid to people "affected by the severe and ongoing drought in Ethiopia", Swedish Embassy in Addis Abeba said. The contribution is made through a grant to the World Food Program (WFP). "Through this contribution more than 1.5 million people in the Somali region will receive cereals, pulses and vegetable oil, helping to stabilize malnutrition rates, which have risen sharply in recent months since the drought took hold," a statement from the embassy reads, adding Sweden's contribution will also complement food distributions in other regions following the Government of Ethiopia's allocation of 4 billion birr (US$ 192 million) to relief efforts.

Monday, 23 November 2015

The Cook Islands Fishing Association says there's worry a new fishing ageement will impact on the sustainability of bigeye tuna. The Ministry of Marine Resources has entered into a draft agreement with the European Union that will allow Spanish purse seiners into Cook Islands waters. The president of the Cook Islands Fishing Association, Don Beer, says most members practice subsistence fishing, and have noticed a decline in fish catch over the years. Mr Beer says members are aware the Spanish purse seiners will be targetting skipjack tuna, which has a healthy population. But Mr Beer says members are concerned about the impact on bigeye and yellowfin tuna, which local fishermen rely heavily on.

The newly-accredited Ambassador and Head of delegation of the European Union to Seychelles has pledged the EU's continued support including financial assistance to the Indian Ocean island nation, for the implementation of projects in various fields of common interest. Marjaana Sall was speaking to the local press at State House this morning after presenting her credential to the Seychelles President James Michel."The European Union will stand by the government of Seychelles and provide the assistance it needs, namely through trade facilitation, supporting the implementation of the economic partnership agreement, we’ll provide more than 8 million euros in the next years to come...on climate change issues, we will provide 5 million euros to support Seychelles,” she told journalists.

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