During an official visit to Haiti after the appointment of a new Government, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica announced a new EU aid package. The first of which is a special allocation of €18.5 million (€14.5 million in exceptional budget support and €4 million for an agricultural project) in response to Hurricane Matthew which hit the island in October 2016 and caused widespread damage to housing, agriculture, and infrastructure. The EU had also provided initial emergency relief last year when the hurricane struck the country. Commissioner Mimica said: "Through our new support we clearly show the solidarity of the European Union towards Haiti. We remain committed to supporting the Haitian population and the reconstruction and stabilisation of the country."
Africa needs more than token action towards building green economies. Without adequate climate action, African farmers may lose 40 % to 80 % of their croplands for growing grains. Preventing the loss of biodiversity (SDG 9) and ecosystem degradation will safeguard urban people’s food supply too. The big question is: how will private sector resources be mobilised? No doubt, African financial institutions have significant capacities to support investors. However, they have a history of risk aversion and lack sufficient market instruments to facilitate risk-sharing. Therefore investments in agribusiness has stayed below what is needed. A further drag is the macroeconomic situation. Interest rates are rising and are increasingly beyond what smallholder farmers and small and mid-sized enterprises can afford.
Climate change is the central focus of the European Union’s continuing relationship with the Pacific, says the international cooperation chief. Stefano Manservisi, Director-General of International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission (DEVCOM), says his organisation is fully behind the Pacific on raising awareness of climate change. European Union’s Stefano Manservisi … “100 percent backing” for the Pacific. Image: Unimedia “Having consulted already with national level authorities on how we can step-up support, notably on climate change, we are 100 percent backing determination to do more,” he told Asia Pacific Report.
PACIFIC regionalism plays an important role in effectively addressing the challenges and threats faced in the Pacific Region. This was one of the issues that were highlighted at the European Union Regional Pacific Seminar held in Suva on Saturday. Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat secretary general, Dame Meg Taylor said the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, endorsed by forum leaders in 2014, represented forum leaders' renewed emphasis on regionalism, as a means to achieve regions development goals and aspirations. "We face common threats arising from climate change, ever encroaching sea levels, and more frequent and more intense disasters from natural and man-made hazard risks," she said.
Climate change remains a major collective concern for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, which are particularly vulnerable to its negative effects. A special meeting organised by the ACP Sub-Committee for Sustainable Development laid the groundwork for an enhanced ACP role at the COP23 global climate talks in Bonn, Germany this November.
Between 26 March and 11 April 2017, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Flavia Schlegel, is visiting Samoa, the Cook Islands, New Zealand and Fiji. High on her agenda will be a ministerial meeting on 29 and 30 March in Apia, Samoa, with representatives of 13 developing Pacific island nations
Efforts are underway in Fiji to revive the country's cocoa industry, one year on from Tropical Cyclone Winston.A European Union-funded project, in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, has set up three new cocoa processing units, each of which includes a fermenter and cocoa dryer. The co-founder of a Fiji-based chocolate company, Tomohito Zukoshi, built the units and says they will provide a consistent A-grade quality cocoa for export. Mr Zukoshi said Cyclone Winston devastated Fiji's cocoa sector and it is still recovering. "We had invested so much of our manpower to do the pruning, and clearing, before the cyclone and then the cyclone hit and it just became worse - we lost the entire 2016's crops."
Fiji’s preparation to host the next global conference on climate change has received a major boost. This comes after the European Union exclusively told FBC News that it will offer more technical assistance to the Fijian government to host this meeting. EU Ambassador to the Pacific Andrew Jacobs says negotiations are currently underway between the European Union and the Fijian government on what type of assistance Fiji will need towards hosting the COP 23 meeting.
East African states have been asked to invest more resources in the development of renewable power projects like solar energy where the region has a better comparative advantage as compared to Hydropower which is more expensive to finance. Development partners say the climate conditions in some countries within the community such as Uganda supports the development of solar power but the country has not yet exploited such opportunities which have kept Uganda depending too much on Hydropower and biomass as sources of Energy. Speaking during the commissioning of the US$ 19 million solar photovoltaic project in Soroti, Eastern Uganda, the Head of European Union delegation in Uganda Ambassador Kristain Schmidt said Uganda is conducive for solar power development because of the climatic conditions and the regulatory framework.
The projects of the African Portuguese Speaking Countries and Timor-Leste (PALOP-TL) financed by the European Union were finalised on Thursday and Friday during technical meetings held in Praia, the capital of Cabo Verde (Cape Verde). The ministerial meeting on Friday, assessed the projects to be financed by the 11th European Development Fund, with the participation of the Director General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, Stefano Manservisi.