Video guest: Stephane Durand
October 2016
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Sunday, 23 October 2016

The European Union has reaffirmed its support for Fiji in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Winston and says detailed discussions will be held in the coming weeks on European assistance in the recovery and rebuilding phase. The assurance was made by the European Commission’s Director for Asia and the Pacific responsible for Europe Aid, Pierre Amilhat, at a meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, with the Attorney-General and Minister for Finance, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Mr Amilhat said he intended to hold talks with the AG in the next few weeks to canvass a number of areas of support, including initiatives and programs for the sugar cane industry. The two men discussed the Post Disaster Needs Assessment Report on Cyclone Winston, which has been jointly prepared by the European Union, the World Bank, the United Nations and the Asian Development Bank. The Report is a comprehensive assessment of the damage caused by Cyclone Winston and the needs of Fijians living in the affected areas.


European Union represents the most successful process of regional integration and remains the richest continent in the world, says EU ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific Andrew Jacobs. Speaking at the Europe Day celebrations in Suva, Jacobs said despite the difficulties faced by the union, there was much to be celebrated. “Over the years our union has grown from six members in 1957 to twenty-eight, with 500 million people,” Jacobs said. “The dreams of our founding fathers have become a reality and Europeans live together in peace and prosperity, bound together by principles of democracy and human rights. “We have a responsibility to our own citizens and also to the rest of the world.” Jacobs said the union would continue to strengthen its relationship and partnership with Fiji and the rest of the Pacific Island countries in addressing climate change after the Paris Agreement. “The EU and Pacific partners were, and remain, leading members of the High Ambition Coalition that pushed the bar high and got results.


Wednesday, 11 May 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be among some 50 leaders attending the first-ever world humanitarian summit in Istanbul to rethink the global aid strategy, UN diplomats said yesterday (9 May). The 23-24 May summit has been criticized by medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which announced it will not be taking part, calling it a “fig leaf of good intentions”. Merkel, who has been at the centre of Europe’s refugee crisis, confirmed her attendance, as did Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country holds the six-month presidency of the European Union. A question mark remains over the representation from France and Britain. The United States is expected to send the head of the US Agency for International Development. Others attending include Kuwait’s emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou and Lebanon’s Prime Minister Tammam Salam, whose country is hosting more than one million Syrian refugees. In all, 110 countries have confirmed that they will send a delegation to the summit, which has been in preparation for the past three years. MSF said it was pulling out of the summit because it had lost hope that it will address “the weaknesses in humanitarian action and emergency response” in conflict areas and during epidemics.


It’s a project to rival the Great Wall of China and Game of Thrones’ formidable barrier that protects the inhabitants of Westeros from the horrors to the north. The Great Green Wall is Africa’s solution to the rapidly expanding Sahara desert. It would eventually see a wall of greenery extending from Senegal on the Atlantic coast to Djibouti on the Gulf of Aden. In 2007, the African Union officially launched the project, but it has been mooted for decades, since Richard St. Barbe Baker, a British environmental activist, suggested it back in the 1950s. The aim is to prevent the further degradation of soil and desertification of local communities in 14 countries. The wall, which would be 15 metres deep, forms part of a development programme in sub-Saharan countries which has already exported its ideas to other parts of the world such as Haiti and Fiji (...) The nations involved in building the Great Green Wall are under no illusion that the project is a magic bullet to stop desertification. “Countries like Senegal have replanted a lot, but it gets to a point when that’s not enough,” said Nora Berrahmouni of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), one of the international bodies taking part along with the European Commission and the World Bank.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Netherlands government has pledged 1,5 million euros to Zimbabwe as assistance towards fighting the effects of the El Nino-induced drought. This is part of the 8 million euros that was pledged to Southern Africa by the Dutch government. Speaking at the Netherlands National King's Day celebrations last Thursday, Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Gera Sneller said this would help enhance mutual relations between the two countries. "El Nino has hit Zimbabwe hard and the Government has been forced to declare it an emergency situation. "The Netherlands is among the countries that have responded to the request for assistance and recently my government pledged 8 million euros to WFP and FAO to help combat the current crisis in the region as well as increase the resilience of people and systems. Of this pledge, 1.5 million euros is earmarked for Zimbabwe," said Ms Sneller.


Monday, 02 May 2016

This report examines various interactions between trade policy, with a specific focus on market access conditions, and factors that constitute the basis for achieving sustainable development. Market access conditions vis-avis imports are determined by a combination of border measures and behind the border measures, both of which add costs to the price of an imported product. By generating significant impact upon consumer welfare and the competitiveness of domestic industries, market access conditions in international trade thus are a key determinant of the effectiveness of trade as a means of implementation.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Last week, the EU’s most senior foreign affairs, development and emergency aid officials travelled to Addis Ababa to pledge a further €122 million in European aid to head off the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the country from heading into a full-blown famine. It was a mark of the gravity of the El Niño weather phenomenon, a rising of surface sea temperatures, exacerbated by climate change, which has the contradictory affects of increasing both flooding, and – in large parts of East Africa and the Horn of Africa – droughts. Ethiopia – a country of some 100 million people – has been the worst affected, with more than 10% of its population reliant on food aid for survival.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The sugarcane industry's plans to revitalise cane farming will hinge on the assistance that will be offered by the European Union, says Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman Abdul Khan. The EU announced earlier this month its commitment of more than $47million over four years to aid the agriculture and sugarcane industry's post Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston recovery efforts. However, what was not revealed was how the funds would be released, a timeframe for aid delivery and how much each sector would receive. "We are still talking to the EU and obviously they have said they will help agriculture and sugar," said Mr Khan.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Harvesting a crop in Cameroon’s Far North Region is becoming an increasingly uncertain proposition. Armed conflict between Boko Haram militants and Cameroon’s armed forces in the region has made it difficult for some farmers to access their fields, deepening food security, said Felix Gomez, the World Food Programme’s country director (...) Just as problematic, climate change is gradually rendering the traditional agricultural calendar unreliable, making just getting in a crop hard work, farmers in the region say.

Monday, 11 April 2016

The European Commission announces €122.5 million to help Ethiopia deal with a deteriorating humanitarian situation caused by the El Niño extreme weather phenomenon. Today the European Commission has announced €122.5 million for Ethiopia to address the immediate needs of people affected by the worsening humanitarian situation caused by one of the most severe extreme El Niño weather phenomenon on record. This new support aims to combine a humanitarian response and early recovery assistance with initiatives that address the root causes of fragility and vulnerability