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CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
July 2019 - No. 614

Highlights

From agricultural waste to marketable products

Agricultural waste represents a huge pool of untapped resources that can be turned into valuable assets with many potential industrial applications. An EU-funded project is looking for innovative approaches to convert the growing amount of human-produced agricultural waste into eco-efficient, bio-based products. Agricultural residues such as straw, winery waste or manure can be recovered and converted into fertiliser, energy, materials and molecules offering both economic and environmental benefits.

The EU-funded NOAW project is developing more efficient processes for turning agricultural waste into marketable bio-based products. Researchers are seeking to improve existing and widely used waste-conversion methods. They are also working towards breakthroughs in agro-waste molecular science, with a view towards developing more robust, more effective and eco-friendly waste-conversion processes.
The ultimate aim is to develop a set of processes that, when implemented in a specific sequence, can achieve virtually full conversion of agro-waste. The resulting outputs are a collection of high-added-value bio-fertilisers, bio-chemicals, bio-energy sources and material building blocks. Together, they can replace a significant range of non-renewable equivalents.

A holistic, life-cycle-based approach encompassing the full chain of agricultural production, waste disposal and waste conversion is fundamental to the NOAW project. A key step for the project is the creation of innovative software-based assessment tools for closed-loop agro-waste management.
The new tools allow agriculturists to develop complete and coherent waste management strategies. These can include new processes and process sequences that take into account many variables, such as the full and diverse range of European regional and seasonal specificities.

Throughout the project, exchange of knowledge and data among a broad community of agro-scientists is being supported through the Knowledge Exchange Stakeholders Platform. The NOAW project team is also working with cross-sector business clusters. They are gathering insights into the potential for new business concepts that could help to accelerate the uptake of NOAW strategies within agriculture.

Source: EC, 11 July 2019

Featured CTA partner

Craig Hanson, Vice President of Food, Forests, Water & the Ocean at World Resources Institute (WRI)

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 60 countries, with international offices in BrazilChinaIndiaIndonesiaMexicoand the United States, regional offices in Ethiopia (for Africa) and the Netherlands (for Europe), and program offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The more than 700 experts and staff turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being.  The work focuses on six critical issues at the intersection of environment and development: climate, energy, food, forests, water, and cities and transport.

 
At the occasion of the Brussels Briefing n. 56 on The Land-Water-Energy Nexus and the Sustainability of the Food System held on 3rd July 2019, Craig Hanson shared his views on the sustainability of resources and conflict prevention through the nexus approach.

Craig Hanson is the Vice President of Food, Forests, Water & the Ocean at World Resources Institute. In this role, he guides programmatic strategy, catalyzes projects, and ensures a focus on results, financial development, and strong staff capacity. Craig has co-developed a number of leading initiatives, including Global Forest Watch, the Global Restoration Initiative, the Forest Legality Alliance, the Food Loss and Waste Protocol, Champions 12.3, the Better Buying Lab, Resource Watch, the Food and Land Use Coalition, Cities4Forests and the Ocean initiative. He is a co-author of the current World Resources Report, Creating a Sustainable Food Future, and lead author on publications such as The Restoration Diagnostic and the Corporate Ecosystem Services Review. Previously at WRI, Craig managed the Green Power Market Development Group, a coalition of a dozen Fortune 500 companies that helped pioneer corporate energy markets in the United States. This initiative won a U.S. EPA Innovation Award in 2004. Craig spent five years as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Craig holds a Master’s in Environmental Change & Management from Oxford University. While at Oxford, he also earned a Master’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, & Economics with an emphasis on environmental economics while on a Rhodes Scholarship.
 
Watch his presentation here
 

Strategic Events

EU presents EU progress on SDGs at UN High-Level Political Forum in New York

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica and Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella are attending the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development this week, to present the EU's progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals - both within the European Union and internationally.

A detailed review of progress will be presented at the main EU side-event co-hosted with Finland on Thursday 18 July.

During the week, Commissioner Mimica will also participate in an event organised jointly with France addressing the links between inequalities and climate change; an event on clean energy transition co-hosted with Ethiopia, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the International Renewable Energy Agency; an event of the International Labour Organisation to accelerate efforts to end forced labour; and an event hosted by Iceland and Malawi on bridging the gap between education and youth employment.

Source: EC, 15 July 2019

News

ACP Group's response to recently concluded Free Trade Agreement between EU and Mercosur

The ACP Group deeply regrets that it was not consulted fully on the context and content of this Free Trade Agreement as per Article 12 of the Cotonou Agreement.
 
ACP and LDC countries note with great concern reports that 180,000 metric tonnes of tariff-free access for sugar is included in the EU/Mercosur trade agreement under the existing 334,054 tonnes CXL quota at 98 €/t for Brazil, in other words the first 180,000 tonnes of access would be duty-free each year, and also an additional 10,000 tonnes duty-free quota for Paraguay.  These new concessions would be in addition to the Brazil CXL quota of 78,000 tonnes at 11 €/t duty and the 289,977 tonnes CXL Erga Omnes quota at 98 €/t which mostly tends to be supplied by Mercosur countries.
 
Prices in the EU sugar market are already very depressed, in January 2019 reaching an all-time low, suffering from the structural reforms implemented in 2017 and the combined effects of oversupply, both domestic oversupply and ever-increasing FTA quotas.  EU sugar prices are further depressed via the current low world market prices which are well below the costs of production of even the lowest cost global sugar producers and are distorted by widespread and pernicious domestic subsidies.
 
The EU has traditionally been one of the most important markets for sugar from ACP and LDC countries.  The ACP and LDC access to the EU market has already been severely curtailed.  Further increasing supply through new Free Trade Agreements in an already over-supplied market can only have a detrimental effect on any residual preference afforded to developing countries.  It is deeply regrettable that agreements such as the new EU/Mercosur agreement manifestly ignore the collateral damage done to the EU's commitments under the Economic Partnership Agreements signed in good faith by many ACP countries.
 
It should be noted that increased access of sugar products from countries such as Brazil whose government supports its industry, is just as unfair to traditional suppliers of the EU as is the EU's continuing direct financial support for agricultural products such as sugar, dairy and beef.

Source: ACP Secretariat, 4th July 2019

ACP concerned about non-tariff barriers on agri products by EU

The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group is warning of “grave implications” for its members as it expressed concern at the “arbitrary adoption” of measures by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that negatively affect developing countries and go against the principles of facilitating development through trade.
 
Speaking on behalf of the ACP, Coordinator of the ACP Geneva Group, Ambassador Cheryl Spencer of Jamaica said the grouping, which includes 16 Caribbean countries, relies heavily on many substances that are subject to arbitrary measures, as these substances are often necessary for production and in post-harvest activities.
 
“We wish, however, to acknowledge the right of WTO members to exercise policy space to legitimately protect human, animal, and plant health and safety. At the same time, the ACP calls on members adopting these measures to do so in line with the established rules and ethos of the WTO.”
 
She said in the case of bananas, for example, the crop plays “an indispensable role” in job creation, rural development, and livelihood security in a number of ACP states and that “it is further worthy of note that the European Union has been a primary market for our banana exports.
 
“Therefore, lowering MRLs (maximum residue limits) for [the fungicide] imazalil — a key post-harvest input — can have severe and wide-ranging impacts on the banana sectors in many ACP countries.
 
“It should be borne in mind that in many instances there is no effective substitute amongst the available phytosanitary products with the efficacy of those affected by the lowering of MRLs, especially with regards to sporulation control.”
 
Ambassador Spencer said the ACP concern is particularly centred on the arbitrary nature of the steps taken toward the implementation of these new measures, given that the “assumed consumer risks are often premised on what we believe to be insufficient data and inconsistency with the recommendations of international organisations such as the CODEX, FAO, and the WHO”.

Source: CMC, Geneva, 11 July 2019
Post-Cotonou Agreement: “The ACP Group could be the OECD of the countries of the global South”

While the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group and the European Union (EU) are negotiating the new version of the Cotonou Agreement, Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant Secretary-General, is calling for greater balance in this partnership.
 
For Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group, in charge of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade, the future partnership with the EU must be a real driver of economic transformation. This Togolese economist, who is very involved in the negotiations for a post-Cotonou Agreement, spoke to Jeune Afrique at the European Development Days, which took place in Brussels on 18 and 19 June 2019.
 
Bringing together 79 ACP and 28 EU States, the Cotonou Agreement, which was signed almost twenty years ago and revised every five years, sets out the key areas of trade cooperation and development policies linking the two regional groupings. Its current form will expire on 29 February 2020.

Read the full interview

Source: ACP Secretariat, 11th July 2019
Federica Mogherini on tour in the Sahel region

During her tour of the Sahel, High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini participated in the Fifth EU-G5 Sahel Ministerial Meeting and visited Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
 
During her visit to Burkina Faso she attended the fifth ministerial meeting held in Ouagadougou with the G5 Sahel Foreign Ministers. This meeting was dedicated to the analysis of the security situation and the operationalization of the G5 Sahel joint force. She announced that the European Union will support the joint G5 Sahel force with 138 million euros.
 
On the occasion of her visit, the High Representative was received by the Burkina Faso President, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, then by the Prime Minister, Christophe Dabiré and the members of his government, to discuss the bilateral partnership between the EU and Burkina Faso. Discussions focused on the government's integrated strategy for security and development, the expanded Sahel emergency program (SPS), for which additional support of € 55 million was confirmed.
 
Federica Mogherini had the opportunity to visit, together with the Burkina Faso Minister of Education, a Franco-Arab school which is receiving EU support under the program "Protection of young people in risk areas in the country". Burkina Faso through education and dialogue "which aims to strengthen the educational offer in vulnerable areas and the employability of young people.

Source: EEAS, 13 July 2019
EU signs financing agreement with Dominica in support of renewable energy and energy efficiency

The partnership between European Union and the Commonwealth of Dominica grows stronger with a new commitment from Brussels to support the island nation’s renewable energy sector.
 
The agreement, recently signed by the two parties, will make available the amount of XCD $7.91 million (€ 2.55 million) to the government of Dominica as assistance towards increasing the resilience of the country’s strategic infrastructures, strengthening the competitiveness and the resilience of the energy sector, and implementing its international commitments under the Paris Agreement.
 
Among other activities, this support aims to render the country’s international airport energy-independent and disaster-resilient, through the installation of a solar power plant within the Douglas Charles airport premises. The programme is expected to run until 2022 and comes in addition to the ongoing programmes that the European Union and the government of Dominica are implementing in the housing and post-disaster recovery sectors.
 
Acknowledging the need claimed by most Caribbean States for a swift and smooth transition towards renewable and efficient energy systems, the European Union remains committed its partnerships, supporting also similar programmes at regional or national level (in addition to Dominica, in St Kitts and Nevis, Barbados and Montserrat).

Source: Caribbean News Now, 10 July 2019
Scaling up climate change adaptation

The European Union in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization has unveiled a new five-year project that seeks to empower Uganda’s rural communities in most vulnerable districts located in the cattle corridor.
 
The project dubbed Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+), now in its second phase (2018 –2023) and with funding of €8 million (Shs33.8 billion) from the EU, will help to scale up agricultural adaptation to climate change in the rural areas, enabling rural households to become more resilient to climate change effects and food insecurity by promoting sustainable and gender transformation actions.
 
The GCCA+ Project will be implemented in nine districts of the central part of the country’s cattle corridor, including six previous beneficiary GCCA districts of Nakasongola, Luwero, Nakaseke, Mubende, Kiboga and Sembabule and three new adjacent, vulnerable districts of Kalungu, Gomba and Lyantonde.
 
The new phase of the Project builds upon the successful implementation of the first phase of the GCCA project, implemented from 2012 to 2017, which helped to make Uganda one of the leading countries in Africa undertaking climate change adaptation.
EU Ambassador to Uganda, Attilio Pacifici, said climate change impacts on the joint efforts towards sustainable development. “ Actions are urgently needed to preserve and expand key ecosystems such as forests, to use natural resources sustainably and to promote ecosystem services,” he said.
 
“The action we are launching is complementary to other EU supported initiatives in the sectors of transport and energy infrastructure and agriculture, which are all implemented with the goal of ensuring inclusive and sustainable social, economic and environmental development.”

Read the full article

Source: The Independent, 15 July 2019
Sahel and Lake Chad: EU Trust Fund for Africa has assisted over 57,000 people in developing income-generating activities and nearly 499,000 people have participated in conflict prevention and peace building activities

Thanks to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa in the Sahel and Lake Chad region, more than 11,700 jobs have been created and nearly 15,000 individuals have benefited from professional training or skills development since the launch of the EUTF in November 2015. Approximately 42% of the jobs created have been benefitting women. These are some of the main employment-related results under the first Monitoring and Learning System (MLS) report, presenting results for the Sahel and Lake Chad window until 31 December 2018 for 7 out of 12 countries of the region (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal). Upcoming reports will include additional countries covered by the Sahel and Lake Chad window.
 
Resilience activities have also contributed to significant results. More than 603,000 people have received nutrition assistance (screening malnutrition, awareness raising activities on nutrition best practices and support to health centres) and nearly 489,000 have benefited from improved access to basic services such as health, sanitation, education. Around 206,536 people, from which 44% women, have received food security-related assistance: they were supported in the creation of income-generating activities enabling them to raise their household livelihood and support their family needs.

Source: EC, 15 July 2019

Key resources

OECD Development Co-operation Report
 

This report is the OECD’s annual flagship report on development co-operation. For more than 50 years, the Development Co-operation Report has brought new evidence, analysis and ideas to the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the international community more broadly, shaping policy reform, behaviour change and promoting best practices in development co-operation. Each year the report analyses a fresh policy issue that is timely, relevant or challenging for development co-operation policy and finance. In addition, the Development Co-operation Profiles detail aggregate and individual trends in policies, allocations and institutional set-up for a broad range of providers, including members of the OECD and its Development Assistance Committee (DAC), other countries and philanthropic foundations.

Source: www.oecd.org

European Investment Bank Annual Report 2018 on EIB Activity in Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific, and the Overseas Countries and Territories
 

The EIB report on Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific explains how developing countries have different needs that require different solutions. But they all need to invest in roads, bridges, renewable energy, climate resilience, water, sanitation, telecommunications, as well as increasing and diversifying financial sector capacity to support small businesses. This is how they can create vibrant, sustainable economic growth.

Source: EIB, June 2019

EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund Annual Report 2018


The EU-AITF promotes infrastructure investment in sub-Saharan Africa and thereby helps eradicate poverty and stimulate sustainable economic growth. The Fund works by blending grants, provided by donors, and long-term financing, provided by participating financiers. This report gives an overview of its achievements from 2007 to 2018.

Source: EIB, July 2019

Events

Brussels Development Briefing n. 57: “Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security and nutrition”
11 September 2019
09:00-13:00
Brussels, Belgium
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
 
This CTA Brussels newsletter is produced weekly by the CTA Brussels Office

Publisher: Ms Isolina Boto, Manager CTA Brussels Office (boto@cta.int)
Editor: Mariana Lemos (lemos@cta.int
Contributor: Félix Ajong (ajong@cta.int)
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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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