Pa Ousman Jarju, Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Water, Wildlife and Fisheries, last Wednesday presided over the launching of a 41-month EU-ACP funded project in Kerewan in the North Bank Region. The four-year project dubbed “Action Against Desertification Project” under the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) in The Gambia is an AU project, funded by the EU, executed by the FAO and implemented by the Department of Forestry. The Gambia like many other Sahelian countries in the sub-region is confronted with the familiar set of problems associated with agriculture, biodiversity loss, land degradation and out-ward youth migration. According to the minister, deforestation and land degradation are a major environmental problem that threatens agricultural productivity, thus directly affecting the livelihood of thousands of rural populations, particularly in the northern part of the country. He said there is a need to take urgent action to combat desertification that already is manifested in this part of the country (North Bank Region).
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.
This year, the G7 summit will take place from 26 to 27 May in Ise-Shima (Japan). The European Union will be represented by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. The main topics on the agenda, as set out by this year's Japan presidency, are the global economy, investment, trade, the refugee crisis, climate change and energy, the fight against terrorism, foreign policy and development. Leaders will also discuss several global health policy issues, gender equality and women’s rights (...) Traditionally, a number of third country heads of state and government, as well as chairpersons of international organisations, are invited to participate in parts of the summit. From ASEAN member states, the heads of state and government of Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Papua New Guinea are invited. In addition, the President of Chad – the current Chairperson of the African Union – and, from the international organisations, the chairpersons of the UN, OECD, ADB, IMF and the World Bank are invited. As the Ise-Shima summit is the first summit held in Asia in eight years, the Japanese hosts have indicated that the topic of one of the outreach meetings will focus on Asia. In another outreach session, participants will address the Sustainable Development Goals, with a focus on Africa.
The Government and the Federal Republic of Germany, yesterday, signed a bilateral agreement worth €15 million (about Rwf13 billion) to support energy supply in the country and the Great Lakes region. During the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning headquarters in Kigali, the minister, Amb. Claver Gatete, explained that the grant will be fully designated to the regional "Hydropower Station Ruzizi III" project. The fund is expected to contribute to improving energy supply in Rwanda as well as in fostering socio-economic development in the Great Lakes region as the hydro power project is shared by Rwanda, Burundi and the DR Congo. Gatete said: "This bilateral agreement shall increase Rwanda's clean energy generation capacity by about 50 megawatts. We very much appreciate the support of the German government.
An emergency response vehicle and 208 water tanks have been provided to the Republic of the Marshall Islands this week as part of ongoing support to boost emergency response efforts in the small Pacific Island nation. The timely gesture has been made possible through the European Union’s €19.37million Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific Project (BSRP), implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC). The European Union Ambassador for the Pacific, H.E. Andrew Jacobs presented the emergency response vehicle to the National Disaster Management Office in the capital, Majuro, today and will travel to the outer atolls of Marshall Islands including Aur, Tobal and Maloelap to see firsthand the important work of drought response and solar projects that are occurring in these communities. Maloelap is one of the 14 atoll islands that were electrified with 100 solar home systems under the EU-SPC partnership through the North Pacific ACP Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (North-REP).
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.
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.
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.