CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
August 2019 - No. 616


Launch of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) report: "Agroecological and other innovative approaches for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition"

Food systems are at a crossroads. Profound transformation is needed to address Agenda 2030 and to achieve food security and nutrition (FSN) in its four dimensions of availability, access, utilization and stability, and to face multidimensional and complex challenges, including a growing world population, urbanization and climate change, which drive increased pressure on natural resources, impacting land, water and biodiversity. This need has been illustrated from various perspectives in previous HLPE reports and is now widely recognized. This transformation will profoundly affect what people eat, as well as how food is produced, processed, transported and sold. In this context, in October 2017, the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested its High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on FSN to produce a report on “Agroecological approaches and other innovations for sustainable agriculture and food systems that enhance food security and nutrition” to inform its discussions during the Forty-sixth CFS Plenary Session in October 2019.

In this report, the HLPE explores the nature and potential contributions of agroecological and other innovative approaches to formulating transitions towards sustainable food systems (SFSs) that enhance FSN. The HLPE adopts a dynamic, multiscale perspective, focusing on the concepts of transition and transformation. Many transitions need to occur in particular production systems and across the food value chain to achieve major transformation of whole food systems. Both incremental transitions at small scales and structural changes to institutions and norms at larger scales need to take place in a coordinated and integrated way in order to achieve the desired transformation of the global food system.

Featured CTA partner

CONCORD is the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, made up of member organisations:  28 national associations, 24 international networks and 3 associate members that represent more than 2,600 NGOs, supported by millions of citizens across Europe. It is a member-led organisation which means that the members give the strategic direction of the confederation.
CONCORD is the main interlocutor with the EU institutions on development policy. It aims to strengthen the impact of European development NGOs vis-à-vis the European Institutions and to positively influence the European Development policies for a fair, just and sustainable world.
Its strategy for 2016-2022 is based on two pillars of work supported by key principles:
  • European policy promotes sustainable economic, social and human development, addressing the causes of poverty and inequality, and is based on human rights, gender equality, justice and democracy. Making sustainable development a reality for all.
  • The rights and responsibilities of citizens and organised civil society, to influence those representing them in governments and EU institutions, are promoted and respected. An enhanced sharing and learning space to support our sector in transition.
This strategy has been translated into 4 working areas:
  • Sustainable Development and Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development
  • Financing for Development
  • Promoting Civil Society Space
  • Global Citizenship and People’s engagement
CONCORD’s views on EU support to sustainable development worldwide
This document showcases CONCORD’s views on EU contribution to sustainable development worldwide by the analysis of the Joint Synthesis Report of the European Commission.

Strategic Events

Intensified Efforts to Ensure Food Security and Nutrition in Small Island Developing States

One of the basic needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly in SIDS, is food security and nutrition. This drew the focus of a high-level side event on July 15 – jointly organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of Palau to the UN in New York. It was titled Accelerating Progress on the SDGs through the Implementation of the Global Action Programme (GAP) on Food Security and Nutrition in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The ACP Secretary General explained that in this comprehensive approach of the ACP linkages between food and nutrition, and oceans, seas and marine resources have enormous potential for economic, social and cultural development, while taking into account the environmental aspects to ensure development that is equitable and sustainable.
In the Caribbean region, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will work closely with institutions such as universities, marine research institutes, NGOs, national institutions, local communities and other regional organizations.  
In the South-East African region, the University of Mauritius, and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) will be responsible for implementing the Programme.
Another avenue for SIDS action consists of the ACP Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) Programme, an ACP initiative funded by the European Union to the tune of 25 million euros.
Since July 2014, the AAD project has been focusing efforts towards restoration of drylands and degraded lands in eight countries, namely Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Fiji, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Haiti and the Gambia – thus demonstrating South-South Cooperation in practice.
There is also the 45 million euro ACP Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme, which is a seven-year ACP initiative funded through the European Development Fund and implemented by a consortium of partners led by FAO.
Another key programme in the pipeline is the 40 million euros FISH4 ACP Programme, also called Blue Growth, which is an ACP initiative funded through the 11th EDF and implemented by FAO. It will play a crucial role in supporting the sustainable development of fisheries value chains and aquaculture in selected ACP countries, including the SIDs. It is expected to be launched at the ACP Ministerial Fisheries Meeting, scheduled to take place on September 12-13 in Apia, Samoa.

Source: ACP Secretariat, 19 July 2019


Africa-Europe Cookbook: A selection of recipes from the two continents

Those who have had the privilege of travelling to our two continents have been struck by the vast diversity that can be observed in the culture and ways of living within Africa and Europe. This diversity is a source of richness. Without it, as human beings our lives would be significantly limited, less meaningful. Those who are engaged daily in the relationship between Africa and Europe see diversity as an attraction, not a challenge. It is our profound belief that diversity is something to celebrate and to build on, and it drives our commitment to this relationship. Culture in general and food in particular are essential elements of this diversity.

When we travel, whether for leisure or business, most of us are keen to experience the local food and restaurants. If we did not it would almost feel as if our visit never happened. Food also has a unique ability to connect people, to make them feel closer. Complex negotiations and business deals always include a meal. It is on these occasions that trust, friendship and understanding are established. This applies also in our day to day work with our African friends and colleagues from the African Union. A relationship, to be sustainable and productive, requires enjoyment and appreciation of each other’s culture including food. This is the reason for this cookbook.

This volume is a celebration of what unites all of us, from Lapland to Cape Agulhas: the necessity and the pleasure of food. Food as an expression of our cultural identities and as the epicentre of our social lives. To prepare this cookbook we have reached out to AU and EU Commissioners, AU and EU Member State Ambassadors and other colleagues involved in building the Europe-Africa relationship, based both in Addis Ababa and across Africa. The contributions we have received are compiled on the pages that follow.

> Ranieri Sabatucci, EU Ambassador to the African Union

Source: EU, July 2019

Finnish EU presidency programme presented at EESC – sustainability and wellbeing top priorities

The 18 July plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels played host to PR 35/2019, Finland's Minister of Social Affairs and Health, who presented the programme of the Finnish EU presidency. This includes a special focus on sustainability and the wellbeing of citizens. Minister Pekonen also listed enhancing the rule of law and EU values among its other priorities. 

Introducing Aino-Kaisa Pekonen's speech, EESC president Luca Jahier spoke of the main challenges the Finnish EU presidency would have to address by the end of the year, including the growth of populism, threats to the rule of law, climate change and global issues. The implementation of Agenda 2030, said Jahier, will need a holistic approach that requires economic and social challenges to be addressed together.

The EU's global leadership in climate action is therefore a key priority for Finland's presidency. To this end, it expected to reach an agreement on the main elements of a long-term plan committing the EU to climate neutrality by the end of 2019, as requested by the European Council.

The Finnish presidency's priorities mean that all measures designed to fight climate change have to be socially sustainable. In the words of Minister Pekonen: One of the main objectives of the European Union is to promote the wellbeing of its citizens. As the general view is that the goal of economic growth has been more prominent, this ultimate goal sometimes seems forgotten, but these two objectives do not rule each other out and are mutually reinforcing.

As defined by the Finnish presidency's priorities, the Economy of Wellbeing means that economic growth is pursued in line with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The EU must champion multilateralism and take the lead in solving global issues such as climate change, insisted the minister.
To achieve its goals, the Finnish presidency will strengthen dialogue not only with other global actors, but also within the EU with other institutions and partners, focusing particularly on civil society. Dialogue with social partners is one of the priorities of the Finnish presidency, Minister Pekonen concluded. The EESC plays a key role and we are pleased that it is drafting key opinions that are in line with our proposals.

Source: EESC, 18 July 2019
Private Sector Development: Update on Business ACP Activities

To develop sustainable economic growth in our countries, there must be, inter alia, a permanent dialogue with the private sector. It is in this perspective that with our European partners, we have developed instruments specifically dedicated to the Private Sector Development, which we are now presenting to the players on the ground. The ACP Secretariat has just organized the first two Regional Information, Knowledge Sharing and Networking events: the first was for East and Southern Africa and the second for the Caribbean. The idea is to bring together practitioners, representatives of the private sector (chambers of commerce, employers, investment promotion agencies, professional organisations, etc.), to inform them about the possibilities and financing mechanisms available to them, to support the transformation of the private sector or assist its development process.

Source: ACP, July 2019
Launch of the Intra-ACP GCCA+ newsletter

The first Intra-ACP GCCA+ newsletter is part of the efforts to communicate activities and progress. In the past months, their work has been given extra impetus by the launch of a new Intra-ACP GCCA+ website, including a set of success stories, and Twitter feed too. The stories and communications will help to stimulate dialogue and to facilitate conversations with relevant audiences.

The programme's focus is to support the 79 ACP states to address climate change. Look at the recent report - Climate Ambitions - which provides a comparative overview of national plans in ACP countries to combat climate change, the nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The report found that ACP countries will need at least USD 2,317 billion for climate action.
It's their hope that this newsletter will keep stakeholders up to date with the activities and encourage their readers to share their own projects and efforts.

Source: The Intra-ACP GCCA+ newsletter, 1st edition
African Peace Facility: African Union Peace & Security Operations boosted by an additional €800 million from the European Union

“This is a commendable milestone in a long history of EU support to Africa and is in line with the African Peace and Security Architecture and African-led efforts to silence the guns,” said Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat. “I also commend the African contributions to the recently revitalized Peace Fund, which demonstrates the commitment to African ownership of peace and security operations on the continent.”
Commissioner Neven Mimica said: "Europe remains Africa's first partner in the area of peace and security. Since 2004, the African Peace Facility has provided €2.7 billion to support African solutions to African problems. Most of the additional €800 million announced today will go to peace support operations led by our African partners.”
Under this phase of the African Peace Facility, the EU will support (i) the strengthening of conflict prevention, management and resolution structures and mechanisms of the African Peace and Security Architecture; (ii) AU efforts to establish a continental Human Rights and international humanitarian law compliance framework; (iii) an Early Response Mechanism which will provide the African Union with quick funding for preventive diplomacy initiatives, mediation, fact-finding missions, and the first stages of peace support operations; (iv) the financing of African-led peace support operations, such as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against Boko Haram, the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) or the G5 Sahel Joint Force specifically, with regards to capacity building, troop allowances, non-lethal equipment. It will also support efforts of the AU to promote gender and human rights principles and practices in peace support operations.

Source: EEAS, 22 July 2019

Key resources

Rethinking Strategic Autonomy in the Digital Age

In the 21st century, those who control digital technologies are increasingly able to influence economic, societal and political outcomes. In this context, the growing ‘geopoliticisation’ of technology implies a paradigm change for the notion of strategic autonomy.

‘Rethinking Strategic Autonomy in the Digital Age’ argues that the EU’s ability to defend and promote its interests – as well as its credibility as a strong foreign policy actor – is ever more a function of its cyber resilience and technology leadership.

Policymakers around the world are waking up to the critical imprint that digital technologies have on their countries’ strategic autonomy and a global race for technological leadership has ensued. Despite its many assets, the EU is in danger of falling behind in this race. This not only places its long-term economic prosperity at risk, but opens it up to a whole range of strategic vulnerabilities – all the more so against a backdrop of escalating geopolitical tensions. While staying true to its long-standing commitment to openness, competition, and free and fair trade, the EU must also acknowledge and better understand the new dependencies and vulnerabilities that accompany technological progress and ubiquitous connectivity, and ensure it has the right protections in place to deal with them. The EU’s ability to defend and promote its interests, as well as its credibility as a strong foreign policy actor, will largely be a function of its cyber resilience and technological command.

Source: EC, July 2019

Impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture - Synthesis of current knowledge, adaptation and mitigation options

The Technical Paper highlights the multifaceted and interconnected complexity of fisheries and aquaculture, through which direct and indirect impacts of climate change will materialize. Efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change should be planned and implemented with full consideration of this complexity. Failure to do so would increase inefficiency and maladaptation, exacerbating rather than reducing impacts. Finally, the Technical Paper is a reminder of the critical importance of fisheries and aquaculture for millions of people struggling to maintain reasonable livelihoods through the sector. These are the people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and particular attention needs to be given to them while designing adaptation measures if the sector is to continue to contribute to meeting global goals of poverty reduction and food security.

Source: FAO, 2018


Brussels Development Briefing n. 57: “Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition”
11 September 2019
Brussels, Belgium
2019 African Diaspora Agro Food Forum
13-14 September 2019
Meise Botanical Gardens, Belgium
Registration link
European Research and Innovation Days
24-26 September 2019
Brussels, Belgium
CARIFORUM-EU Business Forum and Authentic Caribbean Trade Expo
26 Sep - 28 Sep 2019
Union Halle Frankfurt, Germany
Click here for more info
European Week of Regions and Cities
More than six thousand people from all over Europe are expected to join the European Regions and Cities, this year under the headline "Regions and Cities: Pillars of the EU's Future".
7-10 October 2019
Brussels, Belgium
Registration Info
Food 2030: Nourishing people and nurturing the planet through sustainable health diets for all
Event organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
16 October 2019
From 13:00
Brussels, Belgium

This CTA Brussels newsletter is produced weekly by the CTA Brussels Office

Publisher: Ms Isolina Boto, Manager CTA Brussels Office (
Editor: Mariana Lemos (
Contributor: Félix Ajong (
Technical support: Thierry Lewyllie (

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The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is a joint international institution of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the European Union (EU). CTA operates under the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and is funded by the EU.
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