Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

November 2017
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EDITO
Sunday, 19 November 2017

Massive agriculture intensification is contributing to increased deforestation, water scarcity, soil depletion and the level of greenhouse gas emission, the United Nations warns. To achieve sustainable development we must transform current agriculture and food systems, including by supporting smallholders and family farmers, reducing pesticide and chemical use, and improving land conservation practices, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) director-general on May 30 said in Brussels addressing European lawmakers.José Graziano da Silva stressed that while high-input and resource intensive farming systems have substantially increased food production, this has come at a high cost to the environment.

Thursday, 08 June 2017

Countries in the tropics and sub-tropics are particularly vulnerable to climate change, as extreme weather conditions pose a serious threat to their food security. In India, droughts and damaging floods are continuously affecting the well-being of a growing population, of which the vast majority reside in rural areas and are highly dependent on natural resources for their food, shelter and income. To address these issues and find solutions to climate-related challenges for Indian agriculture, ClimaAdapt, an interdisciplinary and integrated research project, was initiated in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu states in 2012. The project had its final meeting in May 2017. ClimaAdapt's coordinator, Dr Udaya Sekhar Nagothu from the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, NIBIO, explains that active participation and continuous dissemination of research results and other information between researchers, policy makers and stakeholders, has been essential in the project.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

As we celebrate this year's Europe Day, May 9, we have great confidence and satisfaction in the many ways in which our partnership with the government and the people of Kenya is progressing. Looking back over the past year, the strength of this relationship has enabled us to respond effectively to crises, most notably the stalling last summer of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and more recently, the impact of drought on Kenya and its neighbours. By working closely together, we've been able to maintain the free access of Kenyan exports to the European Union, which is this country's biggest export market, despite the delays of the other countries in signing the EPA.

The European Commission and the EU’s foreign policy chief on May 4 presented a revitalised framework for joint action, to build a stronger strategic partnership between Europe and Africa for more prosperity and stability in the two continents. The 27-country bloc is Africa’s closest neighbour and main partner. The Communication presents innovative proposals in a number of key areas – such as peace and security, migration, job creation or energy, the Commission said, noting that this comes ahead of the Africa-EU Summit in November this year, which will put a specific focus on youth. Closer EU-Africa cooperation would help tackle global challenges such as terrorism and transnational crime, climate change, epidemics, pressure on natural resources, humanitarian crises, irregular migration.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Today in each EU nation, most people wear genetically modified (GM) cotton, and farm animals massively feed on imported GM soy. Yet many countries vote against import authorizations of the very same GM crops they depend upon: We import more than 60kg of GM soya for each of the EU’s 500 million citizens each year; on the other hand, most European farmers are banned from growing GM crops. The European Academies of Science have said: “There is compelling evidence that GM crops can contribute to sustainable development goals with benefits to farmers, consumers, the environment and the economy.”A recent Food and Agriculture Organization report confirms that agricultural biotechnologies can help small producers to be more resilient and adapt to climate change. Like safety authorities around the world, the European Food Safety Authority regularly confirms that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are as safe as conventionally bred crops

Tuesday, 02 May 2017

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."

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

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.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

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.

Monday, 10 April 2017

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.

Wednesday, 05 April 2017

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.