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December 2017
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EDITO
Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Today 1 June, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will begin his visit to the Pacific Region, where he will announce new support for post cyclones Pam (in Vanuatu) and Winston (in Fiji) recovery and response to the effects El Niño (for the most affected six Pacific countries) and together with New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and New Zealand Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett, will leave for a joint official visit to Vanuatu, Kiribati and Tuvalu. The Commissioner will conclude his visit in New Zealand by co-hosting a high-level conference on energy, agriculture and climate change in the Pacific. The visit will also be an occasion to expand the cooperation with New Zealand in energy with Tonga and Nieu, as well as in agriculture in Vanuatu. EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: "The European Commission is amongst the Pacific's leading partners, not only in the struggle against climate change, but also in achieving sustainable development in the region. In addition to the €634 million allocated for the Pacific Region in the period 2014-2020, we will be contributing additional 54,5 million for climate change mitigation and climate relevant actions. We value the strong foundations of our partnership and remain committed to contribute to the wellbeing of the citizens of the Pacific."

Source: scoop.co.nz

The impact of natural disasters is increasing, despite countries’ efforts to reduce it. Over the past year, drought has affected more than 6.2 million people in the Caribbean, especially in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Irregular and insufficient rainfall throughout 2015 has caused loss of crop and livestock in the region. For the third consecutive year, some people are facing periods of drought that threaten their livelihood, with the most vulnerable groups being small producers, day-labourers and people with no land of their own. In this context, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is contributing 13.9 million euros to help the Caribbean cope with drought in 2016, facilitating access to food and water, and protecting the livelihoods of more than 429 000 people. The European Commission has allocated 12.2 million euros of this contribution to Haiti, 1.1 million euros to the Dominican Republic and 600 000 euros to Cuba.

Source: nationnews.com

Wednesday, 01 June 2016

The European Commission today discussed an enhanced cooperation with four European National Finance Institutions (EFIs). The objective is to allow better leveraging of existing financing flows to the regions, in order to further enhance tangible results on key common priorities. European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica said: "Realising the vision of the new global sustainable development and successfully addressing the root causes of irregular migration requires much strengthened international efforts, including stronger involvement of private investments. National development banks will play an important role in these efforts. I am delighted therefore that with today's meeting we agreed on an enhanced cooperation framework that allows us to learn from each other and reinforce our strategic cooperation." The Institutions entering into this enhanced cooperation are initially the European Commission (EC), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), the KfW Bankengruppe (KfW), the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID).

Source: ec.europa.eu

The European Union's Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Mr Neven Mimica and Fiji's Prime Minister, Rear Admiral (Retd.) Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama today signed an agreement for a new initiative with a budget of EUR10 million (FJD 23 million), in the margins of the EU-ACP Summit currently underway in Port Moresby. The financial assistance package will assist Fiji's recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the agriculture following Tropical Cyclone Winston. "The EU is proud to offer its assistance to Fiji during these trying times for the country. The FJ$23 million will not only help the sugar and agriculture sectors to recover quickly, but will also give hope and optimism to hundreds and thousands of Fijian citizens who depend on the sectors for their livelihoods and survival", says Commissioner Mimica. "The support will come in the form of direct budget support so the Government is able to use the funds according to the priorities identified in the recovery plan for the sectors. The Government and development partners have produced a comprehensive Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) and we now look forward to a speedy implementation of the recovery plan". The Fijian Prime Minister warmly thanked the European Union and asked Commissioner Mimica to convey the gratitude of every Fijian to the Commission, member governments and the people of Europe.

Source: eeas.europa.eu

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A UK departure from the European Union could help African countries to speed up agricultural innovation that is currently held back by stringent health and safety regulations. Next to raw minerals, agriculture is the most promising driver of economic growth on the continent of 54 countries. With commodity prices flat many countries are struggling with low growth, leaving them scrambling for alternative revenue sources. However, trade deals – particularly with powerful trading blocs such as the EU – have not generally gone well for individual African states trying to secure access to one of the world’s wealthiest markets. At the same time, the EU’s raft of health and safety regulations have stifled the deployment of technology such as genetically modified crops (GM), slowing agricultural advancement. “The EU needs to rethink its attitudes towards African agricultural innovation irrespective of the outcome of UK vote," says Professor Calestous Juma from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School in the United States. A Kenyan national, Prof Juma is one of a growing number of African academics who feel restrictive trade policies that rely on unscientific safety barriers are hindering food security on the continent. Currently GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are widely used in the US and many other countries, including South Africa. However the EU places extensive restrictions and controls on their consumption, making it difficult for African exporters to gain access to the market, Prof Juma says.

Source: thenational.ae

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Almost all of Europe’s maritime trade with Asia passes within a few miles of the coast of the Horn of Africa, in particular the narrow straits of the Bab al Mandab, where the tiny African country of Djibouti is separated from Yemen by less than 30 kilometers of water. The Horn of Africa — which also includes Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan — has never historically defined itself as a region. It is diverse in physical and human geography, with extraordinary linguistic diversity, and with equal numbers of Christians and Muslims. Its peoples are linked to Africa, the Middle East and the Indian Ocean — and more recently to Europe and America. But they rarely convene as the people of the Horn. Rather, the Horn of Africa has been defined by outsiders, particularly the world’s great powers, as a region that spells trouble (...) Out of desperation, the EU has started to overcome its scruples and provide development aid to Eritrea.

Source: opendemocracy.net

Over 50 world leaders and 5 000 humanitarian, development and political stakeholders gather on 23-24 May, in Istanbul, to share responsibility to reverse the trend for increasing humanitarian needs and improve the effectiveness of response. The European Union (EU) and its Member States will jointly call for a global partnership for a more efficient and effective humanitarian aid system at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. As a major donor and key policy-setter, the EU and its Member States will play a leading role at the Summit on 23-24 May, where over 50 world leaders and some 5,000 humanitarian, development and political stakeholders gather to shift from response to crisis towards effectively managing prevention and early action and supporting resilience and self-reliance. Worldwide, over 125 million men, women and children are in need of humanitarian assistance. Despite record contributions in recent years, donors cannot fully cover the growing humanitarian needs generated by today’s emergencies.

Source: europa.eu

On the occasion of the World Humanitarian Summit on 23-24 May in Istanbul, Turkey, Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the European Commission, Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development and Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, have issued the following statement: "Every day, thousands of innocent people are the victims of natural disasters and conflict. Over 130 million men, women and children depend on humanitarian assistance across the world, and the needs are constantly growing. At this critical juncture, the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit has brought together the international community to seek ways to prevent and end crises as well as to strengthen and reshape the way aid is delivered. We welcome the political communiqué endorsed on this occasion. The European Union pledged individual commitments at the summit concerning policies, programmes and funds it is responsible for and is committed to strong progress on each of the five core responsibility areas, for which core commitments have been formulated by the UN (...)"

Source: europa.eu

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Despite the highest ever humanitarian spending globally, the exponential growth of the number of people trapped in long-term crisis has deepened the funding gap. This unprecedented discrepancy between humanitarian needs and the available funding translates into tragic losses in human potential. The European Parliament has stressed the urgency to reduce the gap and the need for 'globally coordinated, timely, predictable and flexible funding'. Hence during the two-year long preparation for the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS), humanitarian financing has focused much attention. The UN High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, co-chaired by European Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva, has made several proposals. Among paths to enhance aid supply: the broadening of the funding base that would come from better involvement of emerging government donors and of the private sector; innovative ways of financing such as Islamic social finance or a voluntary levy, and more efficient use of money (local involvement, cash transfers, result-oriented funding).

Source: europarl.europa.eu

Africa is the continent that receives the most humanitarian aid. African countries are not big donors, but many of them host large populations of displaced people. The African Union (AU) has developed a framework outlining innovative humanitarian principles and tools to prevent and mitigate crises, and since 2010 more coordinated action from AU states has been taking shape. Nineteen of 2016's 33 humanitarian emergencies to date concern Africa. In 2015, humanitarian aid from AU states and the African Development Bank (AfDB) accounted for only 0.03% of global humanitarian funding. However, Sub-Saharan African countries host more than 17 million displaced people out of 60 million 'people of concern to UNHCR' in the world. This figure includes 4 million refugees and 10 million people displaced within their own country (IDPs: internally displaced persons). Refugee laws and principles are widely respected, in particular in Central and West Africa. But UNHCR has reported violence against refugees in South Africa and cases of refugees being sent back to Nigeria from Chad and Cameroon, and Kenya has announced plans to shut down all its refugee camps, which host around 600 000 people.

Source: europarl.europa.eu