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The ACP Observatory on Migration


by Joyce van Genderen-Naar

On Monday 2 August 2010 a press conference and prelaunch of the ACP Observatory on Migration took place in the ACP House in Brussels, with statements from the ACP Assistant Secretary General, Ms. Michèle Dominique Raymond; Head of Governance and Operational Support Section EuropeAid Cooperation Office (AIDCO) European Commission, Ms. Kirsi Pekuri; and Director of the ACP Observatory on Migration, Mr. Laurent de Boeck.

The objective of the Observatory is to produce data on South-South ACP migration flows. There are 12 pilot ACP countries selected, but the research will concern all ACP countries and all ACP regions. The Observatory cooperates with universities in Africa, Caribbean, Pacific and EU. One of the main pillars of the Observatory’s activities is Capacity Building for civil society. They wish to integrate civil society actors in the dialogue concerning policy-making on migration, and give NGO’s, local organizations and individual actors from civil society their say in the process of improving migration policies in ACP countries. Furthermore, these contacts will help to increase the visibility of the Observatory amongst civil-society based organizations.

The Observatory is an institution designed to produce data on South-South ACP migration flows for migrants, civil society and policy-makers and enhance research capacities in ACP countries for the improvement of the migrants’ situation and the strengthening of the migration-development nexus. The total budget for the project is 9 404 776 €. The European Union contributes with 7 994 060 € .

The Observatory will create a network of research centres and private researchers to provide policy-makers, the civil society and the public at large with reliable and harmonized data on ACP migration. It will focus its attention on the migrants’ situation and will foster the inclusion of migration into pilot countries’ development strategies. The Observatory will be officially launched in October 2010. While currently based in Brussels (Belgium), the Observatory will move to one of the 79 ACP countries. The Observatory is open to the participation of Universities, research centres, government agencies, consultants, experts and general public interested in producing or using comprehensive data on ACP migration. Joining institutions will be part of a high-level research network including research facilities from around the world focusing on migration data and migration management policies. The Observatory will function as an exchange platform for migration research papers and expertise. Through its website, the Observatory will publish research studies and papers which will contribute to a better understanding of ACP migration flows and migration and development issues for policy-makers, government officials and general public.

The ACP observatory works with :

A Research Consortium with 15 partners, among which National University of Lesotho, Roma, Lesotho, University of Cape Town (UCT) , Cape Town, South Africa, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (UCAD), Dakar, Senegal; Université Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis, Senegal; Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; MOI University, Eldoret, Kenya; Centre for the Study of Forced Migration of the University ofDar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Université de Goma, Goma, DRC; University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji; University of the West Indies, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Associated Partners are: The International Migration Institute, Oxford, United Kingdom; The Commonwealth Secretariat, London, United Kingdom; Université de Yaoundé II, Yaoundé, Cameroon; The Economic and Social Research Foundation, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The 12 Pilot Countries are: in West Africa: Senegal and Nigeria; in East Africa: Kenya and Tanzania; in Central Africa: Cameroon and DRC; Southern Africa: Lesotho and Angola; Caribbean: Haiti and Trinidad&Tobago; Pacific: Timor-Leste and Papua-New-Guinea.

PRESS RELEASE: 02/08/2010 – For immediate release

The ACP Observatory on Migration: improving migration research in ACP countries for better policy making
The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States Observatory on Migration is a new institution created to provide reliable data and information on migration flows in ACP countries. The objective is to design better policies to enhance the migration contribution to development. The Observatory will be officially launched in a ceremony foreseen for 25-27 October 2010 which will gather relevant figures from the political, economic and cultural fields both in the EU and the ACP countries.

The European Commission and the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States have partnered in the establishment of an intra-ACP Migration Facility aimed at fostering institutional capacity in the ACP countries and strengthen the civil society with the ultimate aim to include migration issues into national and regional development policies and strategies.
Available data on ACP migration is scarce and often unreliable. In many countries, the lack of relevant information has serious political consequences, since migrants’ need cannot be taken into account by policy makers. Migration is widely considered to present one of the factors influencing development but in many cases it has not been included in development strategies because of the lack of reliable data. According to Laurent de Boeck, Director of the ACP Observatory on Migration, “unlike South-North movements, South-South migration flows have received very limited attention in the past years.

Yet contrary to public perceptions, South-South migration is highly important in many regions and often takes place between neighbouring countries and those with small wage differentials. Drive factors include labour migration, family reunification, forced migration, traditional cross border flows and the effects of climate change”.
The ACP Observatory on Migration will tackle existing data and information gaps by improving policy-oriented knowledge on migration flows between ACP countries. Under the Secretariat of ACP States and funded by the EDF and Switzerland, the Observatory will introduce an innovative approach to enhance research capacities in ACP countries and provide policy makers the tools to improve their action. Information will be provided to general public to improve knowledge on migration issues. Research will focus on the protection of migrants’ rights through several research topics including forced migration, labour migration, migration and health, remittances and migration and climate change. The Observatory will foster networking and cooperation between research institutions, private researchers and government agencies through a website and will conduct research to obtain currently inexistent information. The total budget for the project is 9 404 776 €. The European Union contributes with 7 994 060 €.

An official ceremony will be organized in Brussels on 25-27 October 2010 to launch the Observatory. High representatives from EU and ACP institutions will be present to support the initiative, which strengthens the cooperation between European and ACP countries on migration and development. The launching ceremony will include working session and an artistic event foreseen for the 26th October 2010 where cultural and artistic creations from the ACP countries will be presented to the public.
END

Contact:mrfbrusselsacp@iom.int

An ACP Initiative, Empowered by IOM, Funded by the European Union (European contribution: 7 994 060 €) and with the financial support of Switzerland.

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Live coverage from the 3rd Annual European Union Equality Summitt (Nov 17th)

UPDATE: I am uploading videos from today’s program. Please scroll down. For optimal enjoyment use headphones when viewing.

The third Equality Summit will be held in Stockholm on 16–17 November.

This is an annual event for ministers, chairs of national equality bodies, chairs of NGOs at EU level, EU social partners and representatives of international organisations.

The purpose is to share knowledge and experience so as to develop stronger and more effective ways of working against all forms of discrimination, and to promote equal rights and opportunities for all in the EU. Get full details, get the program and external resources form the summit website.

If there is a problem viewing the live blog here you can click here instead.

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Live Coverage from the 3rd Annual European Union Equality Summitt

UPDATE 4:

I have uploaded videos of Ted Childs of Ted Childs, LLC (global strategic diversity advisor) who was a key note speaker on Diversity & Inclusion: A Global Perspective. For optimal enjoyment use headphones when viewing.

UPDATE 3:

I have added an EU video on the puzzle that is Europe’s diversity. For optimal enjoyment use headphones when viewing.

UPDATE 2:

I have added video of Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe’s keynote address. For optimal enjoyment use headphones when viewing.

UPDATE 1:

I have added videos of Minister Nyamko Sabuni’s from Sweden’s, opening address. Please scroll down below the live covereage box. For optimal enjoyment use headphones when viewing.

The third Equality Summit will be held in Stockholm on 16–17 November. This is an annual event for ministers, chairs of national equality bodies, chairs of NGOs at EU level, EU social partners and representatives of international organisations. The purpose is to share knowledge and experience so as to develop stronger and more effective ways of working against all forms of discrimination, and to promote equal rights and opportunities for all in the EU.

Get full details, get the program and external resources form the summit website.

If there is a problem viewing the live blog here you can click here instead.

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EU is not a REAL Partner


by Joyce van Genderen-Naar

Published in Global Watch, April 2009 Joyce van Genderen-Naar is a lawyer and journalist from Suriname based in Brussels. She writes regularly about ACP-EU issues.

The ACP Working Group on Bananas chaired by the Ambassador of Suriname Mr. Gerhard Hiwat organized an ACP press conference on Monday 6 April 2009 in Brussels to inform the media about the serious implications that recent EU decisions will have for ACP banana producing countries, such as Belize, Cameroon, Cote d?Ivoire, Cape Verde, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Ghana, Grenada, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Eastern Caribbean States, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadine, Suriname and Tanzania. The press was also addressed by the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Frederico Alberto Cuello Camilo and the representatives of Cameroon, Mr. Anatole Ebanda Alima, and of Côte d’Ivoire, Mr Philippe Mavel.

The Chairman started by saying that the EU is not a real partner and that the EU does not really know what partnership is, because a real partner would help to find solutions for problems resulting from measures they implement. The cooperation between the ACP and the EU/EC is based on a „Partnership Agreement?. The longstanding ACP-EU development partnership is in question, now the ACP is to lose both much of its vital existing tariff preference on bananas and much of the funds

2.originally promised by the EC to make possible the adjustments necessary for the ACP banana producing countries to cope with the consequences. This is the bad news the European Commission delivered to the ACP Ambassadors in these final days of the longstanding banana dispute at the WTO, ongoing since 1995.1 The EU will soon conclude with the Latin American Banana producing countries an agreement that will harm the production and export of bananas of ACP-countries.

The European Commission proposed on March 12, 2009, that the current tariff of 176 Euros/ton to MFN countries would be reduced by 2011 to 136 Euros/Ton, with a possibility of continuing its reduction to 114 Euros/Ton by 2019. This will facilitate further the access of bananas from the Latin American countries (MFN of Most Favored Nations), who today already own 80% of the European and nearly 100% of the North American markets of bananas. ACP banana producing and exporting countries have only a small share of 18% of the EU market and as good as no access to the USA market.

To compensate ACP banana producing countries for the negative effects of these concessions, the European Commission proposed an assistance package of barely 100 million euros for the period 2010-2013. Paradoxically, it is now encouraging ACP States to reprioritize the funds already committed under the respective National Indicative Programmes, Regional Indicative Programmes and other ongoing programmes for the implementation of necessary projects. So the promised funds for the banana reforms are gone.

1 ACP Press Release 06/04/09 www.acp.int

Trade goals prevail on development
For the ACP it is obvious that the EC is choosing trade over development, that for the EC trade goals prevail over development objectives and that profits are more important than poverty eradication and the preservation of decent jobs in rural areas.

3 The ACP says that the EC is yielding to pressure for trade liberalisation regardless of the consequences for the development objectives set out in the Cotonou Agreements with ACP countries and the social and economic impact that such sudden and rapid changes will have on jobs and living standards in rural areas. Bananas for ACP countries are not only about trade, but also about the development of their countries.

In a Press Release dated April 6, 2009, ACP stresses that now the world is suffering from a global financial crisis, ACP countries can not afford to sacrifice their few sources of hard currency to the altar of free trade. According to ACP it might cause a food security crisis, since the ACP countries are all net-importing developing countries. Furthermore, ACP countries have repeatedly pointed out to the EU Commission that such substantial tariff cuts would have dire consequences for ACP export trade, for which the established preference is of vital importance.

ACP stresses that such rapid reductions are neither necessary nor justified. The sharp reductions proposed between 2009 and 2011 cannot be reconciled with any of the EU commitments towards ACP Countries, specifically the recently signed Cariforum-EC Economic Partnership Agreement which provides that tariff reductions should not only be “unavoidable” but “should be phased in over as long a period as possible”. Moreover, there is no justification, in advance or in the absence of a Doha settlement, for imposing the whole programme of reductions to 114 euros, originally proposed in the context of the Doha negotiations.

The DOHA Round Talks collapsed in July 2008. Any agreement between the EU and the Latin American countries should be part of new Doha Talks in the WTO. For the moment the EC should not do more than is needed and that is just binding the tariff. ACP understands that the longstanding preferences will have to be moved, but that has to be done gradually so that ACP production and industries can become more competitive. For ACP it is difficult to see how any adjustment aid could deal in sufficient time with the problems arising from the deep initial cut proposed.

The EU argues that it is urgent to conclude an agreement with the Latin American countries because the EC lost all the complaints that the Latin American countries and the USA since 1995 have filed in the WTO against the EC and its preferential

4 tariff for the ACP countries. The EC wants to put an end to this ongoing battle as soon as possible. What the ACP wants is more time to become more competitive and financial compensation for the loses they will be suffering. The EC told the ACP that they should use the funds of their National and Regional Indicative Programmes to address the negative impact of the EC measures. These funds however are already allocated for other projects and programmes in the ACP countries. So this is not an adequate solution.

Strong versus weak lobby
Besides the ending of the ongoing legal battle in the WTO another argument is given why the EC is not listening to the ACP. It is about lobbying: some EU representatives say that the Latin American countries have a good and strong lobby and that the ACP countries do not lobby enough, which is not helping them. The ACP does not agree with this argument and says that the EC is sufficiently aware of the problems the ACP is facing; the EC has enough information and knows exactly what the ACP is proposing.

There is no need and no money to pay expensive lobbyists like the Latin American countries and their multinationals do. Which raises the question if it is just and normal that the interests of poor countries become less important when their lobby is not strong enough. What a strange argument. Even stranger when a Member of the European Parliament argues that it is about democracy and that the stronger the lobby is the more they will be heard. It seems like the survival of the fittest. What about poverty eradication and sustainable development of poor countries, what about support for their sensitive industries and export markets based on existing agreements such as the ACP-EC Partnership agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)?

35 out of the 77 ACP countries concluded and signed an EPA with the EC in 2007/2008 to safeguard their interests and their duty free access to the EU-market. They wanted to prevent that they had to pay taxes for their products to enter the EU market as from January 1, 2008. That was their main reason to close the EPA with the EC, a full EPA for the 15 CARIFORUM-countries in the Caribbean and interim agreements for 18 African countries and 2 Pacific countries. The ACP-EC banana

5 issue is a first and disappointing test case and puts the whole meaning of the EPA into question. EPAs should not be rushed 42 ACP countries (29 in Africa and 13 in the Pacific) did not sign an agreement with the EC and are still negotiating with the EC. In March 2009 Claude Maerten, Head of unit DG Trade – D2 -„EPA I? and Elisabeth Tison, Head of unit DG Development – D3 – „Central Africa region and Great lakes?, wrote an article about the State of Play of the EPA negotiations with Central Africa and stated2 :

2 EPA negotiations with Central Africa:
The state of play Claude Maerten, Head of unit DG Trade – D2 -‘EPA I’ and Elisabeth Tison, Head of unit DG Development – D3 – ‘Central Africa region and Great lakes’

ec.europa.eu/trade/issues/bilateral/regions/acp/index_en.htm; ec.europa.eu/development/geographical/regionscountries_en.cfm.

“Although progress on the EPAs is necessary, it should not be rushed. There are strategic issues at stake for the ACP and it is important to match the content of the partnerships under negotiation to the specific needs of each region. This takes time, particularly because the regional negotiation format requires substantial co-ordination efforts on the ACP side.

But there are still common objectives, whatever the pace of negotiations, which are to: (i) help meet Cotonou Agreement goals, particularly sustainable development and support for regional integration; (ii) strengthen supply capacity and diversification within economies and hence promote greater integration into the global economy; and (iii) ensure WTO compatibility, particularly in relation to the degree of liberalisation necessary to comply with the definition of “substantially all trade” in GATT article XXIV.

The EU has no wish to exercise pressure at the risk of obtaining agreements that might not meet the specific needs of each region”.

6 Different approach
This seems to be a total different approach from the EC compared to the concluding of the EPA and interim EPAs in December 2007 with the 15 Cariforum Countries, the 18 African and the 2 Pacific countries. The position of the EC is now that the EPAs should not be rushed. So the 42 Countries in Africa and the Pacific can take their time to negotiate a good agreement and to prevent the mistakes of the ACP countries that already signed.

They did not conclude nor signed a EPA in December 2007 because they were not sure about the impact of the EPA for their economies and for coming generations and their future. They wanted to have more time for discussions with all the stakeholders in their countries, more research and data. So the negotiations between the four regions of Africa, the Pacific region and the EC have continued since January 2008. Progress has been made with some regions like Central Africa, draft texts are available, but no EPA has yet been signed. No ACP-EU Heads of States Meetings

The ACP Heads of States have sent a request for a meeting to the European Council to discuss the EPAs and other ACP-EC-partnership issues at the highest level. This is not the first time they are officially requesting such a meeting, but like before their request has been refused with the argument that the dialogue should take place in the institutions the ACP-EC-Partnership Cotonou Agreement provides for, such as the ACP-EC-Council of Ministers. It is not understandable why ACP and EU-Heads of States should not meet each other on regularly basis and discuss what is important for their cooperation and their countries. This is not promoting real ACP-EC-partnership and cooperation nor bridging the gap between North and South, EU and ACP. Brussels

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