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Understanding the EU Strategy for the Sahel

07-09-2020

The August 2020 coup in Mali has once again demonstrated the instability of the Sahel. The region is affected by climate change and rapid population growth. Rivalries over access to livelihoods exacerbate grievances against states. Struggling to provide basic services throughout their territory and security at their borders, governments are competing with armed groups that have emerged from the failed regimes of Central Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. The instability in this region has ...

The August 2020 coup in Mali has once again demonstrated the instability of the Sahel. The region is affected by climate change and rapid population growth. Rivalries over access to livelihoods exacerbate grievances against states. Struggling to provide basic services throughout their territory and security at their borders, governments are competing with armed groups that have emerged from the failed regimes of Central Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. The instability in this region has direct consequences for the security of the European Union's neighbours and for the EU itself. In 2011, to respond to the multiple factors of this instability, the EU adopted the Sahel security and development strategy: the first comprehensive approach aimed at ensuring various external policy programmes and instruments converge towards common objectives. Despite the revamping of the strategy in 2015 based on the lessons learnt, its implementation, which involves the coordination of multiple stakeholders, has been difficult. While it has contributed to notable progress towards integration and regionalisation, security challenges have impeded tangible achievements in preventing radicalisation and fostering inclusive development. The Sahel action plan, adopted in 2015 to provide an overall framework for the implementation of the strategy, comes to an end in 2020; its revision (or replacement) will need to take the EU's and Africa's new geopolitical interests on board. As the EU endeavours to reconnect with Africa in a regional and full-fledged partnership, the successes and failures of the EU Strategy for the Sahel could inspire the whole EU development and security policy on the continent. This briefing is a translated and revised version of Le Sahel: un enjeu stratégique pour l'Union européenne, of November 2017.

The political crisis in Venezuela

07-12-2017

In December 2015, the results of elections to the Venezuelan National Assembly saw the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition (MUD) prevail by a wide majority over the ruling Socialist Unified Party of Venezuela (PSUV) of President Nicolás Maduro. Since then, Venezuela has faced increasing political crisis. Initiatives by the duly elected Parliament have been systematically blocked, first by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and the National Electoral Council, and since August 2017 by the new National ...

In December 2015, the results of elections to the Venezuelan National Assembly saw the Democratic Unity Roundtable coalition (MUD) prevail by a wide majority over the ruling Socialist Unified Party of Venezuela (PSUV) of President Nicolás Maduro. Since then, Venezuela has faced increasing political crisis. Initiatives by the duly elected Parliament have been systematically blocked, first by the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ) and the National Electoral Council, and since August 2017 by the new National Constituent Assembly, which has taken over most of the Parliament's legislative powers. Two attempts at dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition, promoted by international mediators, have so far failed to break the deadlock. The economic and social situation in the country is far from improving, and the number of Venezuelan asylum-seekers abroad has risen exponentially. Nevertheless, regional elections were finally held on 15 October 2017 – with a PSUV victory in 17 of the 23 Venezuelan states, amid accusations of fraud from the opposition – and the government has promised to go ahead with the presidential elections due in 2018. This is an update of a briefing published in October 2017.

Towards food security in Africa: Are international private-public initiatives paving the way?

16-10-2017

The rise in global hunger in recent years undermines the perspective of 'zero hunger by 2030' set out in the United Nations Agenda 2030. Africa is particularly affected, with more than a quarter of its population living in a situation of severe food insecurity, and its agriculture suffering from major hindrances to production. Launched in 2012, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) is one of the international initiatives that have both raised high expectations and opened up controversy ...

The rise in global hunger in recent years undermines the perspective of 'zero hunger by 2030' set out in the United Nations Agenda 2030. Africa is particularly affected, with more than a quarter of its population living in a situation of severe food insecurity, and its agriculture suffering from major hindrances to production. Launched in 2012, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) is one of the international initiatives that have both raised high expectations and opened up controversy. Bringing together governments from both the North and the South, multinational firms and international agencies, it aims to boost investment in African agriculture so as to increase food security. Improved commercial seeds, use of inorganic fertilisers, infrastructure development and land-administration reforms are among the key elements of the project, underpinned by the use of public-private partnerships. After its first years of implementation, NAFSN proponents praise its market-oriented reforms and investments in the African countries involved. By contrast, its critics say that while paying lip service to smallholders, it serves the interests of corporate farming with no proven impact on food security. In 2016, the European Parliament voiced its concerns, pointing at a number of negative repercussions mainly on small-holders, and calling for a deep revamp of the NAFSN and the European Union (EU) support for agro-ecology based on small-scale farming. This briefing is a follow-up of an EP Library Briefing from October 2013.

The European Year for Development: Food Security

01-10-2015

Food security is a multilayered concept, covering availability, access, use and stability. It is recognised as a global public good. To be free from hunger and malnutrition is also a human right. Following the 2007/2008 food crisis, the international community committed to investing more in agriculture and to better governance. The MDG target to halve the proportion of hungry people was nearly achieved, but 795 million people remain undernourished. The Sustainable Development Goals include an ambitious ...

Food security is a multilayered concept, covering availability, access, use and stability. It is recognised as a global public good. To be free from hunger and malnutrition is also a human right. Following the 2007/2008 food crisis, the international community committed to investing more in agriculture and to better governance. The MDG target to halve the proportion of hungry people was nearly achieved, but 795 million people remain undernourished. The Sustainable Development Goals include an ambitious zero hunger target and address the structural causes of food insecurity. Helping small farmers to enhance sustainable production is one important way to address food insecurity in developing countries. The EU has made food and nutrition security a focal area of development cooperation. The EU and its Member States committed to reducing the number of stunted children by 7 million before 2025. Parliament has supported a human rights-based approach to addressing food security and has expressed strong concerns over land grabbing.

Tackling food waste: The EU's contribution to a global issue

23-01-2014

In the EU, food waste has been estimated at some 89 million tonnes, or 180 kg per capita per year. Besides the economic costs, this has significant negative effects for the environment. The EU is taking steps to tackle this trend and aims to halve the disposal of edible food in the EU by 2020.

In the EU, food waste has been estimated at some 89 million tonnes, or 180 kg per capita per year. Besides the economic costs, this has significant negative effects for the environment. The EU is taking steps to tackle this trend and aims to halve the disposal of edible food in the EU by 2020.

Gaza's Population at the Breaking Point

29-11-2013

Over the past six years, Gaza's 1.8 million residents – 70 % of whom are refugees and 80 % of whom depend on humanitarian assistance for their daily livelihood – have struggled with the land, air, and sea blockade imposed by Israel for security reasons. In the last year, the decline of Gaza's socio-economic situation has accelerated dizzyingly. Almost one in three people is unemployed, with youth and women the hardest hit. The blockade and Israel's restrictions on the movement of goods and persons ...

Over the past six years, Gaza's 1.8 million residents – 70 % of whom are refugees and 80 % of whom depend on humanitarian assistance for their daily livelihood – have struggled with the land, air, and sea blockade imposed by Israel for security reasons. In the last year, the decline of Gaza's socio-economic situation has accelerated dizzyingly. Almost one in three people is unemployed, with youth and women the hardest hit. The blockade and Israel's restrictions on the movement of goods and persons to and from the territory mean that sustainable economic activity in Gaza is next to impossible. This bleak economic picture goes hand-in-hand with the fragile humanitarian situation, which has also deteriorated further in the last few months, as Egypt has closed most of the illegal tunnels for reasons of national security and limited crossings at Rafah. Fuel shortages have closed the only electric power plant in Gaza, adding to residents' sea of troubles. In the recent words of the Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), 'Gaza is quickly becoming uninhabitable.' To alleviate Gaza's economic woes and prevent a further radicalisation of the political landscape, humanitarian assistance must be delivered to the people in need. This assistance must be supplemented by greater efforts to improve governance in Gaza and to bring about a political solution to the siege of the enclave.

Food Security in a Just Food System

08-11-2013

Hundreds of millions of people live in food insecurity, lacking nutritious food and the means to develop their resilience to natural and man-made disasters and shocks. Obstacles to improving the situation are numerous and include climate change and resource scarcity, poor regulations and rights-based considerations, insufficient human and technical capacities and training. Nevertheless, it is possible to produce enough food for all and to build a more sustainable and just food system. For this to ...

Hundreds of millions of people live in food insecurity, lacking nutritious food and the means to develop their resilience to natural and man-made disasters and shocks. Obstacles to improving the situation are numerous and include climate change and resource scarcity, poor regulations and rights-based considerations, insufficient human and technical capacities and training. Nevertheless, it is possible to produce enough food for all and to build a more sustainable and just food system. For this to happen, small-scale, sustainable agriculture must be developed and strengthened. Private finance across the food system will play an increasingly important role in this process. But for the livelihood and resilience of agricultural producers to be ensured, investments must be responsible and combined with targeted and inclusive initiatives.

Opportunity for food security in Africa? The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN)

07-10-2013

The G8's recent New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) initiative is attracting more and more African states. Bringing together governments from both the North and the South, multi­national firms and international agencies, it aims to boost investment in African agriculture so as to increase food security. After its first year of implementation, NAFSN proponents praise its market-oriented reforms and investments in the six founding African countries. In contrast, both African and global ...

The G8's recent New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN) initiative is attracting more and more African states. Bringing together governments from both the North and the South, multi­national firms and international agencies, it aims to boost investment in African agriculture so as to increase food security. After its first year of implementation, NAFSN proponents praise its market-oriented reforms and investments in the six founding African countries. In contrast, both African and global NGOs remain sceptical, pointing to a number of negative repercussions mainly on small­holders.