CTA Brussels News

Information on key ACP-EU programmes and events relevant to agriculture and rural development in ACP countries
July 2019 - No. 615


Digital4Inclusion: call for proposals!

The Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States has the honour to announce the launching of the call for proposals of the ACP Digital Financial Services "Digital4Inclusion" programme published on the European Commission's website (EuropeAid).

The global objective of this call for proposals is to deepen financial inclusion in ACP countries by promoting inclusive and responsible Digital Financial Services (DFS) ecosystems that can benefit poor people and entrepreneurs.
The specific objectives of this call for proposals are:

  • Develop responsible, open and inclusive digital financial ecosystems based on knowledge and innovation in ACP countries: ACP countries will have a better understanding of their needs and engagement in terms of digital financial inclusion with improved policies, legal and regulatory frameworks, a more inclusive and efficient financial market with improved infrastructure, and upgraded financial consumer capability and protection.
  • Further develop and scale up innovative digital financial solutions based on multi­ stakeholder alliances: Existing successful sustainable DFS technology business models are expanded and replicated by multi-stakeholder (including public-private sector actors) alliances aimed at having a high development measurable impact in key focal areas, including financial services (credit, savings, payments and insurance.

All requests for clarification regarding the call for proposals should be sent to the following email address:, by latest 10th September 2019.

Featured CTA partner

Ruud Grim, Senior Advisor at Netherlands Space Office

At the last Brussels Development Briefing on The Land-Water-Energy nexus and the Sustainability of the Food System held on 3rd July 2019, the Netherlands Space Office (NSO) contributed providing concrete examples on the use of more efficient inputs through use of satellite data.
The Netherlands Space Office (NSO) is the space agency of the Dutch government. NSO's task is to advise upon and realise Dutch space policy. NSO reports, both financially and substantively, through its director to its clients, who are united in the steering group NSO. These are the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). NSO can also carry out assignments for ministries that are not part of the steering group NSO. The Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy is the coordinating Minister.

NSO was established on 1 January 2009 by the later members of the steering group NSO, with the aim of consolidating various executive tasks of Dutch space policy and setting up of a single point of contact for the government with respect to the space sector. The director of NSO leads an organisation with dedicated support staff and specialists and has the NSO Programme Council available for advice.
Ruud Grim is coordinating the Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW) programme commissioned by Ministry of Foreign Affairs. G4AW supports 23 partnerships to develop and operate financially sustainable services for 4,5 million smallholder farmers and pastoralists in 14 developing countries based on innovative business models. He is advisor to Dutch ministries involving international collaboration using satellite and other geodata. He is also advisor to the Geodata for Inclusive Finance & Food Initiative (G4IFF) 3 by the Netherlands Platform for Inclusive Finance. He has worked 15 years in industry on project management and business development.

Check his presentation
Watch his intervention at BB56

Strategic Events

Accelerating progress on Food Security and Nutrition in Small Island Developing States

Dr. Patrick Gomes Secretary-General of the ACP Group of States made a presentation at the FAO High Level side-event on “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)” during the High level Political Forum of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on 15 July 2019, New York.
Some significant FAO-ACP activities have been undertaken with ACP countries, including SIDS, at the multi-lateral level and I would briefly refer to these.
• The ACP Forum on Small Island Developing States with 35 Million Euros.
Since 2015, the ACP Forum on Small Island Developing States is implementing a “Support Programme for ACP SIDS and Coastal Countries” that addresses three areas, including: Capacity-building; Support to local efforts to assess, conserve, protect, manage and sustainably use marine and terrestrial biodiversity; and  Developing and strengthening partnerships for environmental sustainability.
• ACP Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) Programme (25 Million Euros)
The ACP MEAs programme is an ACP initiative funded by the EU to the tune of 25 million euros. The FAO and UNEP are the global implementing partners. The programme brings together three regional hubs: The Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM, Caribbean Hub), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP, Pacific Hub), and the African Union Commission (AUC, Africa Hub).  The overall objective is to enhance the capacity of ACP countries to implement the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, with the sound management of chemicals, and disposal of waste and obsolete pesticides.
• The Action against Desertification which included 2 ACP SIDS, Fiji and Haiti (20 million Euros to a total of 40 million Euros)
Since July 2014, the Action against Desertification (AAD) project – an ACP initiative implemented by FAO and partners with funding from the 10th EDF – has been focusing its efforts towards the restoration of drylands and degraded lands in eight countries, namely Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Fiji, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Haiti and the Gambia. It demonstrates South-South Cooperation in practice. The project supports the implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative. Local communities are at the heart of the restoration activities, ensuring that the restored lands serve their needs in fodder and other products and services.
• ACP Sustainable Wildlife Management (SWM) Programme
The ACP Sustainable Wildlife Management Programme is a EUR 45 million, seven-year ACP initiative funded through the European Development Fund and implemented by a consortium of partners led by FAO, including the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the French Agricultural Research Centre (CIRAD) and the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS).
The programme aims to reduce unsustainable hunting practices, minimize wildmeat consumption to sustainable levels, protect endangered wildlife species and conserve biodiversity. In addition, it addresses the food security and nutrition concerns of rural and indigenous communities.  This ACP multi-country initiative has among the Pilot projects three ACP SIDS – Guyana, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
• FISH4ACP Programme
The FISH4ACP programme (also called Blue Growth), an ACP initiative funded by the EDF and implemented by FAO, will play a crucial role in supporting the sustainable development of fisheries value chains and aquaculture in selected ACP countries, including the Small Island Developing States.  The EUR 40 million programme financed through the 11th EDF is expected to be launched at the ACP Ministerial Fisheries Meeting, scheduled to take place on 12-13 September 2019 in Apia, Samoa.

Source: ACP Secretariat, 17 July 2019


The new President of the European Commission is elected

Ursula von der Leyen is the new President of the European Commission after she was voted by a majority of the European Parliament. Von der Leyen will be the first female European Commission president. The new President will have to tackle crucial issues for the EU such as Brexit, climate change, international trade and rule of law.


EU agenda for the next five years (2019-2024)

At its meeting in Brussels on 20 June 2019, the European Council agreed on an agenda for the EU for the next five years. 'A new strategic agenda 2019-2024' sets out the priority areas that will steer the work of the European Council and provide guidance for the work programmes of other EU institutions.

The strategic agenda focuses on four main priorities:
  • protecting citizens and freedoms
  • developing a strong and vibrant economic base
  • building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe
  • promoting European interests and values on the global stage
It also sets out how to achieve those objectives.
  • Protecting citizens and freedoms
  • Developing our economic base: the European model for the future
  • Building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe
  • Promoting Europe's interests and values in the world
In a world of increasing uncertainty, complexity and change, the EU needs to pursue a strategic course of action and increase its capacity to act autonomously to safeguard its interests, uphold its values and way of life, and help shape the global future. In this area, the European Council has agreed the following key actions:
  • promoting sustainable development and implementing the 2030 agenda
  • supporting the UN and key multilateral organisations
  • cooperating with partner countries on migration
  • upholding the European perspective for European states able and willing to join the EU
  • developing a comprehensive partnership with Africa
  • ensuring ambitious and robust trade policy, within the reformed WTO and at the bilateral level between the EU and it partners
  • cooperating closely with NATO 
Source: European Council
EU priorities at the United Nations and the 74th United Nations General Assembly adopted

The Council adopted conclusions on the EU's priorities at the 74th UN General Assembly(September 2019 – September 2020). These conclusions complements the Council conclusions on strengthening multilateralism which were adopted on 17 June 2019.

The EU's engagement for a more peaceful, cooperative and just world rests on common values - peace, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, gender equality, sustainable development - as well as the EU's profound commitment to effective multilateralism.

In recent years, the EU has intensified its engagement as a global player and is translating multilateralism into action. In the current global context, the EU seeks to reaffirm the added value and relevance of the UN, and to prove that it delivers benefits to people around the world. The EU will continue to work with and support the United Nations, as part of its efforts to promote, develop and reform the rules-based international order.

Recognising the importance of the United Nations at the core of effective multilateralism, the EU and its member states will focus at the 74th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on three mutually reinforcing priorities: 1. Conflict prevention, peace and security, 2. A common positive agenda, 3. Engagement on global challenges.

Source: EU Council, 15 July 2019
Making fish farming in eastern Africa’s Lake Victoria sustainable

EU-funded researchers have developed a system that helps fish farmers in Lake Victoria while also protecting the environment. Overfishing, water shortages and pollution – these are just some of the environmental problems Lake Victoria has been facing over the last few decades. Bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, the world’s second largest freshwater lake provides the main source of income for the populations living around the Lake Victoria basin. However, the environmental pressures put on the lake have seriously compromised fish farmers’ livelihoods.

The EU-funded VicInAqua project developed a model for more environmentally friendly, sustainable aquaculture that helps fish farmers maintain their livelihoods. Their model was based on recirculating aquaculture systems (RASs), a technology for farming fish that minimises pollution while also securing a higher and more stable fish production with fewer diseases.

RASs use biofilters to treat the water, 90 % to 95 % of which is reused. The technology offers a number of advantages: it uses less water and land, is more eco-friendly, provides waste management control and ensures safe food. A unique element of the VicInAqua project was that the 5 % to 10 % top-up water used in the RASs was treated wastewater. The wastewater was purified in a membrane bioreactor that uses novel self-cleaning membranes.

Source: European Commission, CORDIS

Key resources

Faith is Not Enough: Ensuring that aid donor-private sector partnerships contribute to sustainable development

Aid donors increasingly assume uncritically that private-sector partnerships are crucial for global development. In the right context and with the right regulatory frameworks in place, the private sector can generate growth that reduces poverty and economic and gender inequality. However, donor engagement with for-profit entities entails important inherent risks. Donors must institute checks and balances so partnerships ‘do no harm.’ If Official Development Assistance is involved, the partnership must ‘do good.’ Oxfam reviewed nine donors and 20 partnerships, finding that donors fail to sufficiently integrate development, human rights and environmental principles and standards. They inconsistently implement due diligence and risk management requirements, and development impact assessments are inadequate. Oxfam recommends donors put measures in place to ensure their partnerships with private actors reliably result in people-centred and sustainable development.

Source: Oxfam International, July 2019

A new report by UN Women examines how transformations in families impact women’s rights. 

As women’s rights have advanced over the past decades, families around the world have become a place of love and solidarity but also one where fundamental human rights violations and gender inequalities persist, according to the report Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World published by UN Women in late June 2019.
Anchored in global data, analysis and case studies, the report shows the diversity of families around the world and provides recommendations to ensure that laws and policies support today’s families and meet the needs of all their members, especially women and girls, together with an analysis of what it would cost to implement them.

Inequalities persist in many countries
Today, three billion women and girls live in countries where rape within marriage is not explicitly criminalised. But injustice and violations take other forms as well. In one out of five countries girls do not have the same inheritance rights as boys, while in others (a total of 19 countries) women are required by law to obey their husbands. Around one third of married women in developing countries report having little or no say over their own healthcare. Women continue to enter the labour market in large numbers, but marriage and motherhood reduce their labour force participation rates, and the income and benefits that come with it. Globally, just over half of married women aged 25-54 are in the labour force, compared to two-thirds of single women, and 96 percent of married men, new data in the report shows. A major driver of these inequalities is the fact that women continue to do three times as much unpaid care and domestic work as men in the absence of affordable care services. The report sheds some positive light on parental leave, with an increase of its intake by fathers, particularly in countries where specific incentives, such as ‘daddy quotas’, are in place that reserve a non-transferable portion of the leave for them on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis. It also puts a spotlight on the challenges that women and their families face when they migrate. Unjust regulations mean that not all families have the right to family reunification, and that they are often excluded from access to public services. When women’s migration status is tied to their partners, it may be difficult or even impossible for them to escape violent relationships.

Transforming families into places of equality and justice
The report calls on policymakers, activists and people in all walks of life to transform families into places of equality and justice – where women can exercise choice and voice, and where they have physical safety and economic security.
An analysis produced for this report found that most countries could implement a package of policies, including income support throughout the life course, healthcare, and care services for children and older persons for less than five per cent of GDP. Ensuring that families serve as a home for equality and justice is not only a moral imperative, but is essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world’s most comprehensive agenda to ensure human progress.



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

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

Publisher: Ms Isolina Boto, Manager CTA Brussels Office (
Editor: Mariana Lemos (
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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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