CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
October 2019 - No. 626


Join us at the next Brussels Briefing n. 58 on Africa’s Agriculture Trade in a changing environment. 23 October 2019 (9h00-13h00) at Hôtel Sofitel Brussels Europe, Place Jourdan 1, 1040 Brussels.

This Briefing will be organised by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), the European Commission (DEVCO), the ACP Secretariat, Concord, IFPRI and BMZ/GIZ.
The briefing will bring various perspectives and experiences around the new trends and opportunities in intra-Africa trade in the context of free trade agreements and regional integration. We will also show Africa trade within the broader global trade picture and with the EU as one of the main trade partners.
Experts will present trends and prospects of regional trade in Africa in the light of new policy developments as well as Africa’s recent performance in different markets. We will also hear successes and innovative models in regional trade across regions in Africa and lessons learned for upscaling and expanding regional trade.
Speakers include :

  • Antoine Bouet, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • Alan Matthews, Professor of European Agricultural Policy, Trinity College, Ireland
  • Mariam Yinusa, Principal Financial Economist, African Development Bank
  • Hanna Saarinen, Policy Advisor Food, Agriculture, Land, Oxfam EU
  • Cécile Billaux, Head of Unit, DG Trade, European Commission
  • Rose Mutuku, Managing Director, Smart Logistics Solution, Kenya
  • Komi Agbokou, Founder and President, Togo Choco

Register here.
More information :

Featured CTA partner

UN World Food Day

Achieving Zero Hunger is not only about addressing hunger, but also nourishing people, while nurturing the planet. This year, World Food Day calls for action across sectors to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable and accessible to everyone. At the same time, it calls on everyone to start thinking about what we eat. In recent decades, we have dramatically changed our diets and eating habits as a result of globalization, urbanization and income growth.
We have moved from seasonal, mainly plant-based and fibre-rich dishes to diets that are high in refined starches, sugar, fats, salt, processed foods, meat and other animal-source products. Less time is spent preparing meals at home, and consumers, especially in urban areas, increasingly rely on supermarkets, fast food outlets, street food vendors and take-away restaurants.
A combination of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles has sent obesity rates soaring, not only in developed countries, but also low-income countries, where hunger and obesity often coexist. Now over 670 million adults and 120 million girls and boys (5-19 years) are obese, and over 40 million children under 5 are overweight, while over 820 million people suffer from hunger.
An unhealthy diet is the leading risk factor for deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. Linked with one fifth of deaths worldwide, unhealthy eating habits are also taking a toll on national health budgets costing up to USD 2 trillion per year.
Obesity and other forms of malnutrition affect nearly one in three people. Projections indicate that the number will be one in two by 2025. The good news is that affordable solutions exist to reduce all forms of malnutrition, but they require greater global commitment and action.

Source: FAO, 16 October 2019

Strategic Events

Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. The Committee reports to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to FAO Conference.
Using a multi-stakeholder, inclusive approach, CFS develops and endorses policy recommendations and guidance on a wide range of food security and nutrition topics.  These are developed starting from scientific and evidence-based reports produced by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) and/or through work supported technically by The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP) and representatives of the CFS Advisory Group. CFS holds an annual Plenary session every October in FAO, Rome.

The vision of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is to be the most inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together in a coordinated way to ensure food security and nutrition for all. It underwent reform in 2009 to ensure that the voices of other stakeholders were heard in the global debate on food security and nutrition. The Committee reports to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to FAO Conference.
The 46 session of the CFS was held between 14 - 18 October 2019, at the FAO in Rome, Italy.

At the occasion of the Brussels Development Briefing n. 57 on “Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition” organised by CTA, the European Commission/EuropeAid and the ACP Secretariat and held on 11th September 2019, a presentation was done on the CFS by Nora McKeon, Professor, Rome 3 University.

Watch the video


EU boosts its partnership with Cabo Verde

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica visited  Cabo Verde, a country with which the EU has a special partnership since 2007.
During his visit, Commissioner Mimica announced an EU co-funded project (€3.5 million) in the area of sustainable urban development to improve water and sanitation infrastructure for the city of Praia. The project will be carried out in partnership with the city of Madrid.
At the occasion of his visit, the Commissioner visited several EU funded projects, such as the solid waste treatment centre located on Santiago island. He will furthermore visit the cultural visitor centre and EU square in Cidade Velha, the Amilcar Cabral Foundation and its museum to the memory of this leader of the Independence.
For the period 2014-2020, the EU has allocated €79 million under the 11th European Development Fund to Cabo Verde, notably in the area of good governance to reduce poverty and boost growth, security, information society, regional integration, normative and technical convergence.
EU's cooperation with Cabo Verde

Source: European Commission, 05 October 2019

The European Union is strengthening its partnership with Senegal with €27.5 million

During a visit to Senegal, the Member of the Commission in charge of International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, signed cooperation programmes for a total of €27.5 million. The programmes will increase access to electricity and renewable energies, and boost support to civil society and the technical implementation of development cooperation with Senegal. he three programmes consist of:

  • a support programme for the development of renewable energies (€20 million) that will improve access to electricity in the most deprived rural areas.
  • a support programme for civil society (€4 million) that will support open and constructive dialogue between civil society, the Senegalese authorities, the private sector and Senegal's partners for the inclusive and sustainable development of the country.
  • technical cooperation (€3.5 million) that will improve the implementation of the EU cooperation programmes with Senegal to facilitate investment and job creation.

During his visit, Commissioner Mimica met President Macky Sall to discuss shared priorities, in particular job creation through the development of the private sector and investment in regional infrastructure, as well as combating climate change.

Source: European Commission, 4 October 2019
Africa-Europe Alliance in action: Digitalisation project launched in Central African Republic

An ambitious digitalisation project was launched on Friday in the Central African Republic (CAR). It will provide improved broadband access both within the CAR and with neighbouring countries to promote regional interconnectivity. The project is supported through the EU’s ‘blending’ mechanism, meaning that EU grants are used to leverage further investment. The EU has contributed €17 million to this project, leading to a total investment of €33.7 million.
The Central Africa Backbone (CAB) project aims to install terrestrial optical fibre links that interconnect the countries of Central Africa in order to provide high-speed broadband internet access. Each country of the region is implementing cross-border interconnections in order to eliminate the missing links.
In the Central African Republic, the project will finance ICT infrastructure, ICT applications and services, institutional support, capacity building and project management. This project, fully embedded in the Africa-Europe Alliance, will contribute to the overall development of the national economy through use of new technologies. It will promote the recovery of the private sector, by reducing transaction costs, creating jobs especially for young people, and increasing government revenues.

Source: European Commission, 7 October 2019
EU to join agreement enhancing protection of geographical indications

The European Commission welcomes the support expressed today by the Council to allow the European Union to join the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement, a multilateral treaty for the protection of geographical indications managed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). This comes after a positive vote in the European Parliament plenary session.

Agriculture and rural development Commissioner Phil Hogan said: “I welcome the Council and Parliament's positive decision for the EU to become a member of the Geneva Act. This is a step forward to better protect our geographical indications at a multilateral level. They mirror the EU's valuable geographical diversity, authenticity and know-how, in terms of agricultural products, food, and drinks. This membership will add on to the protection already granted through international bilateral agreements.”

The Council adopted a legal package setting the legal basis for the European Union's accession, as well as the rules on how the EU will operate as a member of the Geneva Act. Being a member allows to secure protection for appellations of origin (AO) through a single registration. This means that once the EU officially becomes a member, all EU geographical indications can in principle get rapid, high-level and indefinite protection in other members of the Geneva Act.

Source: European Commission, 07 October 2019
Caribbean Time And Energy Needed To Better Relate To A Changing Europe

This article examines consequences for the Caribbean region of EU repositioning and of potential consequences of Brexit for the region.
As a fail-safe the Caribbean has agreed the text of a CARIFORUM-UK Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which can be rapidly approved in the event of a hard Brexit. This will, if required, provide Caribbean exporters of goods and services to the UK near identical market access terms to those it has under the EU-CARIFORUM EPA. Much less certain is whether the Anglophone Caribbean has yet recognized that this is the moment at which it should set aside its UK-centric view of Europe and develop an intimate relationship with at least some of Europe’s twenty-seven other member states.

What appears to be little appreciated is that the EU27’s world view is changing, not as a result of Brexit, but through a process of strategic reorientation. This involves a fundamental change of thinking about the EU’s future role in the world by member states and within Europe’s powerful executive, the European Commission.
Changes that require the Caribbean to think less about its historic relationship with the UK and invest more time and energy in finding new ways to relate politically to the EU27. It requires more than repeating the past by drawing a dividing line the length of the North and Irish Seas. It suggests finding new ways to ensure the Caribbean’s voice is heard more clearly across a continent that shares the region’s values.

Source: Newsamericas, 7 October 2019
Fiji: EPA concludes on a high

Resolutions and undertakings to build better trade and economic partnerships between the European Union (EU) and the Pacific has been reached.
Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Shaheen Ali says this follows the successful 7th Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) Trade Committee Meeting.
Ali as the presiding co-chair, stated in his opening remarks, that trading beyond Fiji’s borders was not a choice but a necessity for the Pacific economies, as our markets are too small to generate enough income to provide a decent standard of living for our people. In Fiji, a number of reforms and initiatives have been undertaken to improve better linkages to markets, uplifting of standards, building supply capacity and strengthening trade facilitation at our ports.
The Trade Committee Meeting was attended by the Parties of the IEPA, the EU, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the newly acceded member Samoa. Solomon Islands and Tonga were in attendance as observers.
This is the first time the IEPA Trade Committee meeting was held outside of Brussels.
The Trade Committee Meeting, which was held in Suva on October 3-4, was complemented by a series of bilateral meetings between the EU and the Pacific, and the Meeting of the Special Committee on Customs Cooperation and Rules of Origin (SCCCROO) on 2 October 2019, and related capacity building workshop from 30 September to 1 October 2019.
The Trade Committee also discussed key issues, such as trade and sustainable development, Pacific Regional Integration Support Programme, capacity building on Rules of Origin and the Pacific Kava project for the ACP commodities funding support.

Source: FBC, 7 October 2019
The EU and Solomon Islands Step Up Cooperation

The European Union (EU) and Solomon Islands have agreed on a number of steps to further strengthen their bilateral relationship, including in the common fight against climate change.
In addition to the common commitment to the fight against climate change, including through actions in international fora, the EU and Solomon Islands reviewed Solomon Islands' steps towards joining the EU-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), and the priorities for development cooperation. The EU already supports Solomon Islands' efforts to reform and develop its public sector and foster an enabling environment for private businesses. The EU is also contributing to water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and rural development in the country.
Both parties concurred that the current negotiation to replace the existing Cotonou Development Cooperation Agreement should reflect regional and global priorities that are of interest to Solomon Islands, the EU, and the Pacific region.
These priorities include notably climate change, disaster preparedness, maritime security, sustainable management of global public goods, fisheries and oceans management, inclusive and sustainable development, as well as peace and security.

Source: Solomon Times, 21 October 2019

Key resources

Fixing the Business of Food – Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition

This report summarizes the joint effort of four organizations to support the food industry in aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals: The Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition (BCFN), the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), and the Santa Chiara Lab of the University of Siena (SCL). The first stage of our Project on Sustainability in the Food Sector preliminarily assesses the industry’s progress to date in aligning with the SDGs. In the next phase, we will work with industry leaders, in cooperation with other stakeholders, to recommend SDG-based operating principles and metrics for the future.

Sustainable Development is the globally agreed holistic framework for addressing the world’s economic, social, and environmental challenges. All 193 UN member states signed Agenda 2030 with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement that calls on all nations to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 ̊ C. The obligations are society-wide, including citizens, businesses, and civil-society organizations. They will shape markets and the behavior of businesses, government, and civil society in the years to come. A prerequisite is good corporate citizenship, including honesty in business practices, fair play with stakeholders, and business practices that do not impose harms on others or the environment.

The Food Industry is increasingly aligning its practices with the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement in order to promote its financial, social, environmental, and legal sustainability. (For purposes of brevity, we will use the phrase SDG alignment to include the Paris Climate Agreement, which is incorporated in SDG 13). Our basic conclusion in this first report is that many industry leaders have already taken important steps towards alignment with the SDGs but that much more work is needed in terms of business action towards sustainable development, as well as to make sustainability reporting more systematic, detailed, and useful for all parties: the companies, the investors, civil society organizations, and the public.

Source: Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition

Getting from policies to employment : Lessons learned from the EU and ILO STRENGTHEN project – October 2019

Promoting employment and decent work has been an important part of the European Union’s (EU’s) development cooperation for a long time, and increasingly so since the mid-2000s. The 2006 ‘European Consensus on Development’ declared that ‘the EU will contribute to strengthening the social dimension of globalisation, promoting employment and decent work for all’ (EC, 2006a, p. 24). In the same year, a communication by the European Commission (EC) on ‘Promoting Decent Work for All’, called on ‘the other EU institutions, the Member States, the social partners and all those involved to work together to promote decent work for all in the world’ (EC, 2006b, p. 10). In 2011, the EU’s emphasis on employment promotion was further strengthened in the ‘Agenda for Change’ (EC, 2011).

The ‘New European Consensus on Development’ published in 2017, aligned the EU’s development policy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, reflecting a shared vision of a world where achieving sustainable development includes addressing the education and employment needs of society, especially for vulnerable and marginalised groups such as women and youth (EC, 2017a).
The EU agenda on employment and decent work focuses on four broad priority areas (EC, 2007):

1) maximise decent job creation, supporting job-rich growth;
2) improve the quality of existing jobs in terms of earnings and working conditions (both in the formal and informal economy);
3) ensure increased access to these decent jobs, particularly of the most vulnerable in the labour market, through improved employability (education and training) and efficient labour market policies;
4) mainstream the employment perspective in economic policies/programmes and other sectors such as agriculture, energy or private sector development.

Source: European Commission, 9 October 2019


Brussels Briefing n.58 - Africa's Agriculture Trade in a changing Environment
23 October 2019
09:00 - 13:00
Hotel Sofitel Brussels Europe
Place Jourdan 1, 1040 Brussels
Register here
More information:
EC Infopoint - The ACP Innovation Fund
23/10/2019 - 12:30 to 14:00
Rue de la Loi 43-45, Ground floor, Brussels
EC Infopoint - Up-scaling community resilience through Ecosystem-Based Disaster Risk Reduction
24/10/2019 - 12:30 to 14:00
Rue de la Loi 43-45, Ground floor, Brussels
EC Infopoint - Joint Programming in Fragile States
25/10/2019 - 12:30 to 14:00
Rue de la Loi 43-45, Ground floor, Brussels
Civil Society Dialogue on Rules of Origin and Foreign Direct Investment Screening
07/11/2019, 09:30-12:00
Conference Center Albert Borschette
Room 2.B, Rue Froissart 36
This CTA Brussels newsletter is produced weekly by the CTA Brussels Office

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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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