Video guest: Josephine Mwangi

September 2017
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EDITO
Saturday, 23 September 2017

With competition for the use of forest resources ever increasing, the EU-funded project DIABOLO sets out to track disturbances and degradation more effectively. Seeing the wood for the trees with advanced sensing technology © Traveller Martin, Shutterstock As part of what has been called the ‘green infrastructure’, Europe’s forests are at the forefront of competing drives. They fulfil various functions including: the supply of raw materials for energy production, carbon sequestration to offset greenhouse gas emissions, provision of sanctuary for biodiversity conservation, and water protection, as well as offering recreation opportunities. As demands for each use increase so EU policies, regulatory frameworks and reporting requirements strive to keep up.

The Government of Liberia has signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union to boost and strengthen the country's forestry sector. The agreement was signed by Ambassador Tina Intelmann, Head of the European Union delegation and Sister Mary Laurene Browne, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Forestry Development Authority during a press conference at the Monrovia City hall on Friday, April 7, 2017. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement aims to improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products from Liberia to the European Union. Speaking at the press conference, Ambassador Intelmann said the European Union has played an enormous role in helping Liberia to build the forestry sector, adding that it is time for the country to take a complete control of its forest and begin to fund it.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Ensuring young people in rural areas can access financing and earn decent incomes is essential to stem migration to Europe and elsewhere, said Gilbert F. Houngbo, who began his term as the sixth President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today. IFAD is a specialized United Nations agency and international financial institution, which invests in eradicating rural poverty and hunger in developing countries. Houngbo - who has extensive experience in political affairs, international development and financial management, including a term as Prime Minister of Togo - takes up the helm at a crucial time. Changing government priorities and numerous global emergencies, such as the 20 million people currently facing starvation in the Horn of Africa, threaten to divert funding away from long-term development.

Could the coming century belong to Africa instead of Asia? The idea of “Africa Rising” has taken off in recent years based on Africa’s fast-growing economies, young population, natural resource wealth, and expanding consumer class. Despite these advantages, Africa must grapple with a number of problems that could hinder its economic, political, and social progress. Its population is projected to double to 2.4 billion people by 2050, and could double again by 2100. Africa has the fastest urban population growth rate in the world, but its cities lack the basic infrastructure to adequately manage influxes of people. Security concerns, such as the threat of terrorism, also present significant risks to both northern and sub-Saharan Africa. In an increasingly interconnected world, these problems will not remain Africa’s alone.

Monday, 10 April 2017

The European Union will support Timor-Leste (East Timor) with a budget of 57 million euros over the next five years, under a cooperation agreement signed at the end of last week in Dili by the head of the EU delegation in Timor-Leste and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste

Tuesday, 04 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.

Experts have highlighted the importance “coherent global actions” to ensure the sustainability of the world’s fish stocks – a valuable export commodity for more than 60 ACP countries. Fisheries is particularly significant to the ACP’s 37 member states that are classified as Small Island Developing States (SIDS) as well as coastal economies.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The European Commission needs to take measures to promote the responsible cultivation of palm oil and phase out its use for biofuels, Czech MEP Kateřina Konečná said. The environment committee votes on her report on 9 March. Palm oil is extensively used in food, cosmetics and biofuels, however the unsustainable production of the cheap vegetable oil leads to deforestation, loss of nature habitats and greenhouse gas emissions, the European Parliament said in a press release. The production of palm oil leads to deforestation as jungle is removed to be replaced by palm plantations. In her report Konečná said the European Parliament should be very ambitious. “There should not be any palm oil in biofuels,” she said.

Thursday, 09 March 2017

Guyana says it will sign the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) under the European Union Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EU/FLEGT) initiative, which Georgetown adopted in 2003. The VPA will result in Guyana having access to more lucrative markets in the European Union (EU) for its timber products. It will also see improved governance at all levels, more revenues, capacity building, international recognition and reform policies and laws where needed. Commissioner of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC), James Singh, said upon the completion of the agreement between Guyana and the EU, the VPA will be used as a legal binding agreement. “I am happy to report that before the course of this year, before June we will be able to sign the initial agreement.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

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."