As there is a degree of opposition regarding certain issues to be discussed at the upcoming sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro, the EU will be facing a challenge in achieving its goals. According to an article published by EurActiv, the EU aims to make a green economy based on sustainable growth one of its pillars, as well as further empower the UN Environment Programme and other UN agencies regarding the supervision and enforcement of treaties.
Depending on the political and economic reforms met by Zimbabwe by August of this year, the EU will or not revise development co-operation with the country. This statement was made by Claudia Wiedey-Nippold, the EEAS Head of Division for Southern Africa, during her visit to Zimbabwe, where she met with Foreign Affairs ministry permanent secretary Joey Bimha, weeks before the Zimbabwe-EU re-engagement dialogue, expected to be held in Brussels.
According to a new report by OECD, presented this week to the Parliament, EU development aid programmes run the risk of poor institutional coordination despite positive improvements in recent years. In the words of Wiske Jult from 11.11.11, the Belgian platform of Concord, once again criticizes the External Action Service as “failing to integrate development policy in its remit and clarify its role vis-à-vis the Commission”.
During the course of the last Council meeting on Foreign Affairs, ministers have recalled their conclusions of 22-23 March 2012 on Sahel firmly condemning the seizure of power by force in Mali. The EU development cooperation with the country, which is currently on hold, will be resumed “in line with progress towards the full restoration of constitutional order”. Ongoing direct support to the population will continue as well as humanitarian aid.
Following a key summit held last month, a final document which outlines initial actions to build a system for South-South (SSC) and Triangular cooperation (TrC) has been drafted by a working group of multilateral partners, including the ACP Group, which has officially been a partner since the Busan Forum . The Building Block on SSC and TrC will attempt to produce a “Menu of Practices” and a set of referential guidelines to encourage joint efforts.
Some of the most commented headlines from around the web last week focused on ACP-EU issues, notably on Africa. All seem to succumb Africa’s attractiveness: Ritesh Kumar Singh and Sudhakar Kasture, experts in international trade, say that the economic slowdown is leading the EU and the US to resort to non-tariff barriers, with the aim of restricting imports into their territories and protect local employment. As emerging economies such as India and China continue to see growth in their manufacturing sectors, “resource-rich Africa” appears to be catching the attention of global players as prospective strategic partner. “Gradually, Africa has stopped being considered as a dark continent and everybody wants a pie of the African market”, they state.
One may link these statements to the latest declarations of Benjamin W. Mkapa, the former president of Tanzania and Chairperson of the South Centre, who (again) expressed doubts over whether or not EPA negotiations were driven by European interests. This week, he goes deeper and presents the three possible scenarios for EU-EAC negotiations and the consequences thereof. The elimination of tariffs on 80 per cent of trade, restrictions on the use of export taxes and quantitative restrictions, as well as the standstill clause will result in nothing less than Africa becoming a perpetual supplier of raw materials.
Recent reports on the EU-Pacific relations seem more optimistic. As Pacific Islands are an alarming case of the adverse effects of climate change where rising sea levels have an impact upon every aspect of citizens' lives and hamper the economic development, the EU aims to develop a more comprehensive partnership, as this would successfully address issues of global importance, such as climate change, and which would go beyond the “mere” donor-recipient relationship currently in place.
-23/24 April: Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
-23/24 April: Committee on Foreign Affairs
-23/24 April: Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
-23/24 April: Committee on Fisheries
-24/25 April: Committee on International Trade
-24/25 April: Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Council of Ministers
-25 April: COREPER I
-25 April: COREPER II
-24 April : General Affairs Council (GAC) (Luxembourg)
-23/24 April: 2nd Meeting of Experts in charge of ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration
-25 April: Meeting of the ACP-EC Development Finance Cooperation
-25 April: W/G on the Future perspectives of the ACP Group
-25 April: African Union
-26/27 April: SEDT Department
-23/24 April: 7th Regional Briefing “Building resilience in small island economies: from vulnerabilities to opportunities” (Mauritius)
-23/27 April: The 10th meeting of the International Resource Panel
You can also read our newspaper “CTA Brussels Daily” (fed by our Twitter account), follow our new Facebook group CTABrussels and our Twitter account CTABrussels to receive up-to-date information on EU-ACP events.
Several weeks ago, the Brussels development Briefing on Small Island economies was held with great success. As a follow-up, the CTA and its partners, and in collaboration with the Mauritius Government, are organising the 7th Regional Development Briefing. The event, which will be held in Mauritius on 23-24th April 2012, will gather representatives from the Pacific, the Caribbean and Africa to exchange views and identify what urgent and concrete policy actions of common interest need to be in place.
The Briefing will be intended to share knowledge on the main challenges and opportunities of the small island economies, notably in key areas such as trade, climate change and natural disasters, as well as new economic opportunities for rural areas (new markets, green growth, services, ICTS...).
The Regional Briefings are linked to the Brussels Development Briefings that CTA, the European Commission (DG DEVCO), the ACP Secretariat , Concord (the Platform of European Development NGOs) as well as various media partners, organise every two months since 2007 on key issues affecting Rural Development.
The event will be webstreamed live
According to a recent report by European Dignity Watch, two of the world’s largest abortion providers, namely International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Marie Stopes International, have received funding from the EU’s development aid budget for projects related to Sexual and Reproductive Health, including abortions, among other projects.
According to the European Commission, since the end of the post-election crisis in 2011, new resources have been mobilized to help the EU's total aid for the Ivory Coast reach more than € 600 million, covering the period from 2008 to 2013. The EU has actively supported the country's economic recovery and national reconciliation. Particular attention is being paid to infrastructure-building, transportation, governance, justice, rural development, vocational training and social sectors, notably health and education.