Archive for June, 2008

Countdown to CPR2 begins

23 June, 2008

The second chronic poverty report is released on 8 July, folks. A launch will take place at Houses of Parliament. It will be available to download from the CPRC web site, and we are launching as well in Bangladesh, Brussels, Washington DC and Uganda (with more to come). Watch this space for further news.

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Human cost of landmines

22 June, 2008

The horror of landmines is set out in a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum North. It presents the photos of Sean Sutton who  works for the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) International. MAG trains locals to clear the mines. Interviewed in the Manchester Evening News, the photojournalist said: “the majority of people who are injured by landmines know they are in a mined area but have no choice but to travel through to get food and water”. Landmines continue to impoverish communities long after war ends, with children being especially vulnerable — walking to school or to collect water.

The WTO’s war on the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries: Part 2

3 June, 2008

In a previous post I examined the recent ruling from the WTO Dispute Settlement Body over the EC’s banana quotas for ACP countries. This was simply the latest in a number of issues that have been damaging to the interests of ACP countries. Another concerns the dispute between Brazil, Australia and Thailand on one side and the EC on the other over sugar. This had the positive effect of reducing the EC’s colossal sugar subsidies. In the latest year reported to the WTO these were reported to be €5.6 billion, on a crop of sugar worth a total of €4.8 billion. But the ruling also had a strongly negative effect on ACP countries because it removed the preferential market access quotas that they previously had. These quotas allowed ACP countries to export a certain amount of unrefined sugar to the EC at the EC’s high internal price rather than the much lower world price. The effect of removing this was estimated to cost the ACP countries $352 million a year.

Finally, there is the issue of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) currently being negotiated by the EU. These result from the expiry at the end of 2007 of the previous Cotonou Agreement that granted preferential market access to ACP countries into the EC market. The Cotonou Agreement was not compliant with WTO rules since it did not include any reciprocal preferential market access for EC exports into ACP countries, but was entirely one-way. As such, it could be challenged by other developing countries that were not part of the ACP group that felt that their exports were harmed by the arrangment. In order to prevent this, the EU (more…)