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Integrated pest management in the Caribbean

by Don Walmsley

The answer to farmers' pest problems seemed to have been found in the late 1940s and early 1950s when synthetic pesticides became available in vast quantities in the industrialised countries of the world. In time these came into general use in the Third World countries. Not only were farmers there introduced to the new technologies through government extension services; they were also enthusiastically encouraged to adopt these practices by the representatives of the agro-chemical manufacturing companies - for obvious reasons. Generally, farmers who could afford to buy them were impressed by their obvious effectiveness in wiping out the pests and thus reducing crop losses.

Unfortunately, as is now well known, this happy state of affairs did not last for very long. Soon insect pests developed resistance to the chemicals with subsequent resurgence. The situation was made worse since often the chemicals used not only destroyed the target pest but also its natural enemies, thus upsetting the ecological balance in a negative way. The immediate answer to this was to apply heavier doses and develop new active ingredients. However, it soon became clear that this cyclic approach could not be maintained successfully on an ongoing basis. A new strategy was needed.

Thus, in the 1960s other concepts were developed whereby a total eradication of the target pests was not expected but rather that they be kept at acceptable levels through a set of management practices which might, or might not, include the use of chemical pesticides. This type of approach became known first as integrated pest control (IPC) and later, as the concept developed, as integrated pest management or IPM.

The Caribbean situation

Farmers in the Caribbean region, in common with those in other developing countries, have been using chemical pesticides in ever increasing quantities and, variety of products. They became familiar with the application techniques and were encouraged in their efforts by the agro-chemical suppliers and government agencies. Many governments, in their desire to assist agricultural development, introduced subsidy schemes for agricultural inputs. These often included pesticides, thus exacerbating the potential for their over-use.

In more recent times there has been the realisation that apart from the more costly inputs, there were other prices to pay for the indiscriminate use of these potentially dangerous agro-chemicals. These include the health hazard, not only to the farmers themselves but also to the general population, and the deterioration of the environment. There are also economic considerations which cannot be ignored. Several Caribbean producers and exporters of fresh fruits and vegetables have found out to their cost that consumers in importing countries are not willing to tolerate chemical residues in their foodstuffs and have a very strict monitoring system. Also there are likely to be losses in the newly developing ecotourism business if potential visitors have doubts about the quality of the local food and environment. Many of the Caribbean countries depend heavily on agricultural exports and tourism in their economy so in this context perhaps the proper question should be: can the Caribbean countries afford not to reduce pesticide use and adopt the more environmentally friendly IPM approach?

Major pest problems

Among the most serious pests in the Caribbean are the sweet potato whitefly, (Bemisia tabaci) and Thrips pa/mi. These two pests are usually found together and any strategy for their control has to deal with them as a complex. Both are mainly pests of annual vegetable crops, both are virus vectors, and both are believed to have assumed their present pest status as a result of the insecticide regimes currently practiced.

Thrips palmi was first recorded in the Caribbean in 1985. It has been estimated that its establishment on solanaceous and curcubitaceous crops has contributed to trade reductions of over 90% in both Guadeloupe and Trinidad. In addition, local markets can only offer smaller, deformed and scarred fruit.

During the mid-1980s a new strain of the sweet potato whitefly (sometimes referred to as silverleaf whitefly) invaded the Caribbean and is now devastating important root and vegetable crops. The diseases associated with whitefly which predominate in the Caribbean are caused by geminiviruses. Whiteflies and the diseases they transmit cause epidemics resulting in annual losses costing millions of dollars.

Another cause of great concern is the citrus tristeza virus (CTV). It was introduced with its vector, the brown citrus aphid (Toxoptera citricidus), from South Africa into South America in the early part of the century, causing havoc to the citrus industry in much of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay over the period between 1930 and 1960. More recently, outbreaks in Venezuela in the early 1980s have devastated the industry there. Since then the vector has been spreading steadily northwards and has been found in Central America, reaching Nicaragua by the middle of 1993 - its arrival in Belize is considered imminent. CTV has already been widely distributed in the Caribbean through movement of budding, grafting and planting material. Trees with sweet orange rootstocks are not severely affected but fruit on sour orange stocks is very susceptible and these are still the most common in the Caribbean. Spread is currently low because of the low transmission efficiency of the endemic vector species and there is a preponderance of the mild strain of the virus. This situation will change dramatically if no action is taken before the inevitable arrival of Toxoptera citricidus.

Also of much concern to citrus growers in the region is the damage done by various citrus root weevils - for example, in the Dominican Republic Diaprepes abbreviatus is considered a major pest.

The seminar on IPM held in the Dominican Republic

It was within this scenario that for the recent (November 1993) CTA/ CARDI ninth annual Caribbean seminar the topic chosen was IPM: A Comprehensive Strategy for the Caribbean Farmer. The meeting was held in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, one of the most recent countries to attain membership of the ACP-EU grouping. The seminar was jointly organised by CTA, the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), the Secretaria de Estado de Agricultura and its Departmento de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (SEA/DIA), the Fundacion de Desarrollo Agropecuario Inc. (FDA), the Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana Inc. (JAD), and the local office of the Instituto Interamericano de Cooperacion pare la Agricultura (IICA).

The theme was particularly appropriate for the Dominican Republic since the once thriving tomato industry has recently suffered severe losses as a result of whitefly infestation, and the citrus industry is severely affected by root weevils and under threat from CTV and its vector, Toxoptera citricidus. Indeed, the subject of the meeting was considered of such importance there that the Secretary for Agriculture, Victor Hugo Hernez, not only formally opened the seminar but also participated in the closing session.

The technical papers presented by scientists - from the region and other parts of the world - revealed that one of the main constraints introducing the IPM approach was the difficulty in persuading farmers of its value and long-term effectiveness. They were used to applying pesticides and seeing their obvious and immediate results. Therefore one of the main tasks would be to educate farmers as to the advantages of reducing pesticide use and adopting the more sustainable management practices now advocated.

In this respect, it was suggested at the meeting that a successful model which could be adapted to dealing with serious pest problems in the Caribbean was that developed under a FAO programme on rice in south-east Asia. In that part of the world problems arose because the new, improved rice variety which had been planted over very large areas was found to be susceptible to the rice brown planthopper, previously only reported to be a pest of rice grown in temperate countries. The pest quickly developed resistance to insecticides and its other characteristics, along with the destruction of its natural enemies, led to outbreaks of epidemic proportions. Research into the whole pest complex and ecology of the system eventually came up with the recommendation that the use of pesticides should be discontinued. The problem now was to get this message across to the extension agencies and, most importantly, the farmers. A massive IPM programme was mounted to sensitise farmers to the role of natural enemies in pest regulation. This was based on 'IPM Farmers Field Schools', which is a new methodology entailing a continuing close collaboration between researchers, extension workers and farmers. The method involves elements of infield training and hands-on experience. Eventually, farmers can decide what action to take themselves without having to seek advice from others. Part of the strategy is that farmers train other farmers. Three basic principles followed by the farmers are: grow a healthy crop; conserve beneficial organisms such as pest predators and parasites; and observe fields regularly to determine the management actions necessary to produce a profitable crop.

The components of an appropriate pest management regime could include: resistant plant varieties; biological control (predators, parasites, pathogens, 'biopesticides'); crop sanitation (burning residues, closed season); mechanical methods (colour traps, mulches); cultural practices (crop rotation, cropping mix, overhead irrigation); pheromone technology; judicious use of selective, less deleterious chemicals (including natural products and insect growth regulators) along with efficient spray application techniques; plant quarantine.

Research on most if not all of these elements was reported from several countries in the Caribbean but seldom had it been possible to offer farmers a complete package of IPM practices tailored to their own particular circumstances. Some examples of the use of such components are discussed below.

Farmers in Barbados have become more selective in their use of insecticides and now also include insect growth regulators. In Trinidad a range of indigenous natural enemies of Thrips palmi have been recorded, including predatory mites, anthocorid bugs and fungi, and research is now aimed at mass production of these for field application. A promising fungus species for control of both whitefly and T. palmi was found to be Paecilomyces fumosoroseus. This pathogen, which also infects diamond-back moth, is being fieldtested in aqueous and oil-based formulations. In the hope of containing whitefly and associated viral diseases, the Dominican Republic has enacted laws and regulations to enforce a closed season and to regulate planting of whitefly host crops in selected regions. Other components of alternate management strategies to conventional pesticide use tried there include intercropping vegetables with sorghum, use of neem extracts and insect growth regulators, and resistant tomato varieties. In Honduras, several types of control methods (mechanical, cultural and chemical) for geminiviruses in tomato and chile peppers have been investigated. The most effective were protected nurseries, optimal cultivation practices, and efficient insecticides. In the Dominican Republic the fungus Beauveria bassiana and the insect Tetrastichus haitiensis are being mass-produced for use in the fight against the citrus root weevil, Diaprepes abbreviatus.

In response to the threat to the citrus industry posed by the severe strains of tristeza along with its very efficient transmission by T. citricidus, most countries (including Trinidad, Belize, Martinique and Guadeloupe) are changing the susceptible sour orange rootstock used in their citrus nurseries to more resistant varieties (which should also be tolerant to other major diseases) and persuading farmers to plant them as a matter of urgency. The bud wood used must be certified free of transmittable diseases. Eradication of trees with severe CTV strains is another important but unpopular measure Cross protection techniques using mild strains of CTV are also being considered. More stringent quarantine controls are being put into effect.

Field excursion

On the field excursion, seminar participants were able to see at first hand the way in which farmers in the Dominican Republic were adopting IPM technology. By using these measures, vegetable farmers in the Valle de Constanza have been able to reduce the number of spray applications, for example, from 9-12 to 3-5 for a cabbage crop, and from 10-12 to 4-5 for tomato; sweet potato spraying has been cut out altogether from a previous 23 sprays per crop. It is implicit in this that some monitoring mechanism of the pest population be established in order to give guidelines on when it would be necessary to apply chemical pesticides. Here, farmers were using pheromone and colour traps to assist in the monitoring process. However, the difficulty of getting over to farmers that the chemicals they were using posed a health hazard was clearly demonstrated; farmers were spraying without safety equipment and children were playing nearby!

It was interesting to note that a pesticide manufacturer was actively assisting in this programme - the attitude being that in the future only pesticides compatible with the IPM concept would be acceptable.

Seminar recommendations

The participants devided into four working groups to discuss: IPM for vegetable crops; IPM for citrus; IPM for small-scale farmers in mixed systems; institutional methods to promote IPM. The main conclusions and recommendations may be summarised as follows:

· Policy-makers in the region should be made aware of the concept and importance of IPM to agricultural development consistent with a healthy and stable environment

· Noting that the International Pest Management Working Group intends to launch a Latin American and Caribbean sub-group at its 1994 meeting in Costa Rica, steps should be taken to have the recommendations arising from this present meeting placed before the sub-group for endorsement. Also steps should be taken to establish a Caribbean chapter of the subgroup with its own newsletter.

For citrus, the status of proposals for international and regional cooperation (FAO and IACNET) needs to be clarified. The conclusions of this meeting will be presented at a CTV workshop in Mexico at which international cooperation and funding will be considered. It is essential that a system of regional cooperation in transfer of information, budwood and technology be established. The offer of safe citrus germplasm transfer to the region through Martinique by the French Inter-ministerial Fund for Regional Cooperation, with approval from the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, was noted.

· There is an urgent need for the education/training of farmers and extension workers to bring about a change in attitude and to give them the required knowledge in the appropriate use of recognised IPM components in local farming systems. This would involve working with farmers and farmer organisations using succesfful models developed elsewhere and adapted to Caribbean conditions.

· A group should be set up with responsibility for producing hand-outs/factsheets on the several approaches recognised at the meeting for the control of Bemisia, thrips, tristeza and Diaprepes. These should be addressed to farmers, extension workers and researchers and be made available in the three main languages of the Caribbean - Spanish, English and French. The support of CTA, CABI etc. for this exercise should be sought

· A study of economic losses incurred in the region due to pest damage is needed along with the establishment of economic thresholds.

· An inventor of the regional physical and human resources available for IPM should be developed along with a database on all aspects of IPM.

· Plant quarantine should be strengthened (possibly with the assistance of FAO).

· Increased control of pesticide use should be implemented through updating legislation and regulations at the national level.

· Coordination of research activities is needed among universities, government institutions and other research organisations. Networks for research and information should be established with links to international groups.

· Although there is a need for support from the international donor group, it is very important that budgeter support is provided at the national and regional levels. D.W.

Acknowledgements

The author is indebted for background material to papers read at the seminar by T J Perfect and J C van Lenteren.

Books

Ramses 94 - Synthese annuelle de l'actualite mondiale

(Annual summary of world news) - Under the direction of Thierry de Montbrial and Pierre Jacquet - Published by Dunod for the Institut francais des relations internationales (IFRI), 6 rue Ferrus, 75014 Paris - 484 pages - 196 es - 1993.

The latest Ramses, which is even larger than usual, is in three sections, dealing with crises and international politics, the international economy (recession and transitions) and sub-Saharan Africa. It includes a chronological list of events for the year (August 1992 to August 1993), a statistical annex, a list of tables, charts, maps and insets, a 16-map annex outlining the state of the world, a subject index, an index of proper names by subject, an index of proper names and a list of subjects covered in previous editions. So here we have a resume of the facts and problems of the planet and how they should be interpreted as well as an outline of the political, economic and social interactions which they generate. The result is an even more important work than previous editions of Ramses.

Part one highlights the problems of an 'unfindable Europe', although, as it was published in autumn 1993, it obviously cannot include subsequent positive developments. It also assesses the chance of 'a fresh start' in the USA and describes changes in 'a multi focused Asia'. Part two looks at three countries in the throes of change - Russia, China and India.

Part three, an appraisal of the development, problems and challenges of sub-Saharan Africa and its position in the world today, is of particular interest to us here. But we should first consider the discussion of the recent changes in China, highlighted by Thierry de Montbrial in his introduction. China, he says 'has embarked upon a dizzy process of development and kept the country together. Its success is partly due to the spirit of the Chinese people (the people are a decisive element in all new industrialised countries) and the positive effect of the diaspora (a country in ruins recovers all the better if there is a prosperous diaspora to invest in it), of course, but the hand of history also has something to do with it Over the centuries, the Chinese have realised that they have every interest in living together (the exceptions being Tibet and Chinese Turkistan). There will be hitches, if only because of the inequalities of development, but China, nonetheless, is once again becoming a leading figure on the international stage.'

Things are very different in sub Saharan Africa, although the authors contrive to point to the handicaps and challenges facing the continent without giving way to deep pessimism. Enough books reviewed in this column have dealt with the subject for it not to need lengthy discussion now. But this book, which is to be recommended, was published too early to include the devaluation of the CFA franc, an idea which was in the air but failed to materialise until January this year, when all but one of the 14 countries in the franc zone devalued by 50%, while neighbouring Nigeria revalued the na by 100%. The French-speaking countries have new and unavoidable difficulties to cope with, particularly their budget deficits - which, in 1993, were twice what they were in 1992, and equal to 2.5 times the total amount of official aid. It will take stringency and a great deal of aid from the international institutions and all those concerned about the future of Africa to make a success of devaluation and cushion its effects on some of the world's poorest people. Alain Lacroix

L'economie de l'Afrique

Philippe Hugon - L'economie de l'Afrique (The African economy) - Editions la Decouverte, 9bis, rue Abe/-Hove/acque, 75013 Paris - Collection «Reperes» - 127 pages - Bfrs 311 - 1993

Philippe Hugon, who taught for 10 years in Africa, is a professor of economics at the University of Parix X-Nanterre and currently runs its development economics research centre (CERED-LAREA). This handy little book is in three parts, covering the macro-economic crisis, socio-economic rationale and economic policies and paths.

The work is somewhat academic in composition, approach and style, it says nothing new about what has caused the problems in sub-Saharan Africa and it tends to overlook the management shortcomings, human weaknesses, under-administration and domestic conflicts. But it does highlight one or two basic, up-to-date figures - for example, GDP in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa (South Africa included) was $238 billion in 1990, comparable to the figures achieved in the Netherlands or Mexico. It is also worth remembering that 35 of the 45 countries have populations of less than 10 million and 15 are landlocked.

Population is another basic factor to be borne in mind. Sub-Saharan Africa (South Africa included) had 210 million people in 1960 and, according to UN forecasts, numbers are expected to have increased to 690 million by the year 2000 and 1340 million by 2025, although the UN does say that this last figure cannot be relied upon, in particular because of the uncertainties caused by AIDS. However, the annual growth rate is close to 3% and currently 20% of the population are under five and 45% under 15. The figures quoted here are for 1990, when Africa (South Africa excluded) represented about 10% of the world population, 2% of its GDP, 1.7% of its exports and less than 1% of all value added in industry.

The author is right to say that Africa has remained an economy where people live without contributing to the production of extra goods and services and that the process of accumulation has never really got under way there. What a pity that this book came out before the devaluation of the CFA franc and do" not therefore comment on this major event. A.L.

The convention at work

EUROPEAN DEVELOPMENT FUND

Following, where required, favourable opinions from the EDF Committee, the Commission has decided to provide grants and special loans from the 5th, 6th and 7th EDFs to finance the following operations (grants unless otherwise stated):

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Cape Verde: ECU 1.29 million to render viable a zone designated for industrial use in Praia. Madagascar: ECU 16.4 million to rehabilitate 12 provincial airports. Madagascar: ECU 1.9 million, in the form of equipment and technical assistance, to support the revival of agriculture and fishing in the extreme south of the island. Fiji: ECU 10.24 million for the building of two bridges together with related road and structural works at Ba and Sigatoka. Papua New Guinea: ECU 20 million for improvements to the Ramu highway linking Pompaquato to the Gogol River. Solomon Islands: ECU 6 million for road building and the construction of quays in Malaita Province. All ACPs: ECU 30 million for multi-annual microproject programmes with an economic or social impact.

TRADE PROMOTION/ STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT

Central African Republic: ECU 10 million from the structural adjustment facility to support a general import programme.

ENTERPRISE

Member States of the West African Monetary Union (WAMU): ECU 512 000 for the West African Development Bank to support the promotion and financing of the private sector in the countries in question.

EDUCATION

Niger: ECU 3.15 million for a professional and technical training programme for entrepreneurs and trained workers in the formal and informal sectors. Zimbabwe and SADC Member States: ECU 9.1 million towards a training and education programme aimed at reinforcing the personnel of the University of Zimbabwe's Veterinary Science Faculty and of the public and private veterinary services in the region. SADC: ECU 8 million towards a regional training project for the management of fauna in the southern African Development Community. All ACPs: ECU 9.65 million for a programme to support training in statistics (COMSTAT).

ENVIRONMENT

Papua New Guinea: ECU 1.6 million for training of mining teams in environmental protection.

MISCELLANEOUS

Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda: ECU 1.95 million to support a five-year programme aimed at improving cereal cultivation and for research in agropathology. Countries of East Africa: ECU 1.95 million towards the second phase of a research and training programme designed to improve livestock. Solomon Islands: ECU 1.5 million towards phase 11 of an artisanal fisheries project. All ACPs and OCTs: ECU 40 million (global engagement) for financing of technical cooperation, trade promotion and tourism.

EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK

Loans

Cote d'Ivoire: ECU 4.2 million to finance the drilling of a confirmation oil well dose to the Belier oil field some 15 km off Grand-Bassam. The drilling will be undertaken by Petroci (the Cote d'Ivoire national oil company). Lesotho: ECU 20 million, consisting of a direct loan of ECU 5m to the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) and a risk capital loan of ECU 15m to the government of Lesotho, towards the reconstruction of the Muela hydroelectric power station. This forms an integral part of a 30-year project and should allow for the export of water to South Africa as well as providing Lesotho itself with an independent source of renewable energy.

MISCELLANEOUS

Support for structural adjustment in Ethiopia stepped up

During the recent meeting in Paris of the World Bank's consultative group on Ethiopia's reform programme, donors declared themselves ready to provide $1.1 billion in 1994-1995 in support of the programme. They also recognised that supplementary aid might be needed to tackle the food shortages in the country. At the meeting, the representative of the European Commission reported that Ethiopia has a financial allocation of ECU 265m for the first five-year period of LomV and that the EU has contributed ECU 75m to the structural adjustment programme. He added that the promptness with which support was given was in line with the wish expressed by the World Bank in its document. The Commission, he said, was currently examining the possibility of providing Ethiopia with aid for rapid disbursement from Stabex resources.

European Union

New member of the European Commission appointed

The former Spanish Foreign Minister Marcelino Oreja Aguirre has been appointed a member of the Commission of the European Communities.

The announcement was made at a meeting of the Permanent Representatives of the Member States in Brussels on 27 April. Mr Oreja, who has also served as Secretary-General of the Council of Europe and held a seat in the European Parliament, succeeds the outgoing Spanish Commissioner Abel Matutes, who is retiring after eight years in the post to contest the forthcoming European elections. The new Commissioner will take over his predecessor's responsibilities for Transport and Energy.

Report on cooperation with the development NGOs

The Commission recently published its annual report (for 1992) on its cooperation with European nongovernmental development organisations in areas of interest to developing countries.

Established 18 years ago, cooperation between the NGOs and the European Union is a practical manifestation of the Union's involvement in the solidarity of Europe's citizens with the least-favoured peoples of the Third World. In 1992, the amount provided under this heading reached ECU 634m, 32% more than in 1991 (ECU 480m) and 99% more than in 1990 (ECU 318.5m).

Most of the funds were directed towards development activities in developing countries (ECU 98m), informing the European public about development problems (ECU 11.4m), food aid (ECU 255.7m) and emergency aid (ECU 110.3m). It has been possible, however, thanks to the opening of new budget lines, to diversify adivities as well as to increase the resources available.

In this context, 1992 saw the allocation of ECU 39.3m for refugees and displaced persons, ECU 4.5m for NGOs involved in supporting the democratic process and economic cooperation in Chile, ECU 4.2m for the campaign against chugs, ECU 80m for the victims of apartheid, ECU 11.5m for the people of the frontline states of Southern Africa (aimed at counteracting the destabilisation activities of South Africa in these countries), ECU 17m for NGOs working in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ECU 1.5m for NGOs involved in Vietnam and ECU 0.5m for those engaged in work in Cambodia.

As is indicated in the introduction to the report, this diversification underlines the capacity of NGOs to be involved in a wide range of areas, and in particular, in situations where the EU's official cooperation programmes are sometimes unable to function. This is not to mention the important role NGOs play in following up humanitarian actions financed by the EU as regards reconstruction/rehabilitation and the promotion of democracy and human rights.

Human rights, democracy and development

The Commission has approved a report on the implementation during 1993 of the resolution on human rights, democracy and development which was adopted by the Council and the Member States at a meeting on 28 November 1991.

The Report emphasises the interdependence between development on the one hand and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, together with democracy, on the other. It describes the positive actions supported by the Commission in favour of developing countries as well as the measures taken by the EU and its Member States in cases where there have been serious human rights violations and/or an interruption of the democratic process.

It is reported that 143 operations were either financed or co-financed by the Community during the year in question, representing a financial commitment of ECU 39.2m. The breakdown was as follows:

ACP

38.6%

Asia/Mediterranean

6.1 %

Latin America

51.7%

Other developing countries

3.6%

The report also contains:

- a restatement of the criteria applied by the Commission in implementing positive actions;

- a succinct description of the actions concerned;

- a description of the measures taken by the EU and its Member States following serious human rights violations or an interruption of the democratic process;

- the guidelines that the Commission would like to adopt as regards possible future initiatives in this area.

Equal rights for immigrants

Some ten million immigrants will shortly have the right to live and move freely within the territory of the European Union. This was the message delivered by Padraig Flynn, the European Commissioner with responsibility for social affairs and immigration, when he recently presented a plan for the integration of immigrants. Mr Flynn believes that all foreign nationals who are legally settled in any of the Member States should be treated in the same way as citizens of the EU, thereby conferring on them the same rights.

In a statement to the press, Mr Flynn underlined the fad that the plan was an example of the political progress made possible by the Maastricht Treaty, which gives competence to the EU in the fields of immigration, justice and police cooperation. Confirming the intention of the Commission to work on the basis that there is only one category of citizen, and to extend the same rights to all, Mr Flynn also recognised that a gradual approach would have to be adopted when it came to immigration questions.

Resolution of banana dispute with Latin American countries

On 29 March, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Rene Steichen, announced an agreement with four of the five countries involved in the GATT panel on bananas (Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Venezuela). In his announcement, Mr Steichen said that he was satisfied with the agreement as it resolves a long-running dispute with these countries. At the same time, it ensures that the objedives of the Community's regime for bananas - namely, protection of ACP banana producer interests and of Community producer and consumer interests, as well as respect for the Community's international obligations - will continue to be maintained. The agreement involves an increase in the tariff quota to 2.1m tonnes in 1994 and to 2.2m tonees in 1995. A share of this quota will be allocated to each of the countries in question on the basis of their past exports to the EC and the national authorities will be entitled to export licences for 70% of these exports. The in-quota tariff will be reduced from ECU 100 per tonne to ECU 75 per tonne on the full tariff quota. It has therefore been agreed that Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Venezuela and the EC will not seek the adoption of the GATT panel report. Furthermore, the four countries concerned will not initiate GATT dispute settlement procedures against the EU's regime for the duration of this agreement (which is valid until 31 December 2002).

Future relations with South Africa

The Commission foresees the establishment of future relations between the EU and South Africa falling into two phases: a package of initial measures to be presented to the incoming South African government following the election, which should include an immediate offer to negotiate an interim agreement, and then an offer to begin negotiations on a more comprehensive, longer-term agreement. With this in mind, the Commission has decided to submit to the Council a proposal for drawing up a first package of measures to meet the immediate needs of South Africa and without prejudice to a longer-term global arrangement to be put in place at a later stage. For the initial package, the measures currently proposed are as follows: Better market access: South Africa already has most favoured nation (MFN) status but the Commission is proposing to grant the benefits of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) on top of this. Regional economic cooperation: In order to encourage intra-regional trade in Southern Africa, it might be useful to explore the possibilities and conditions for 'origin cumulation' within the region in order to stimulate the use of inputs from neighbouring countries. Investment promotion: To encourage investment in South Africa, it would be useful to offer the benefits of the European Community Investment Partners (ECIP) financial instrument. This enables grants and loans to be made to small firms and public organisations in both the EU and the eligible countries, for joint ventures. It would also be advisable to extend the Business Cooperation Network (BCNET) to South Africa and finally, the EIB will be consulted as to whether, and on what terms, it could consider expanding its activities to South Africa. Other areas of cooperation: In a number of areas, including education and training, industry, telecommunications, and science and technology, closer cooperation between the EU and South Africa is both feasible and desirable. Development cooperation (special programme): The election of the new South African government will, for the first time, enable a proper dialogue on future development assistance to take place. This will cover both the areas for assistance and the channels for implementation. lifting cd sanctions: In parallel with a decision to that effect to be taken by the United Nations, the Commission proposes the lifting of those sanctions that remain in force, namely the ban on arms exports and imports and the refusal to cooperate in the military sphere. To embody these measures, the Commission proposes that an interim agreement with the new South African Government, once it has been elected, be concluded without delay. Such an agreement should serve as a legal basis for future cooperation between the EU and South Africa. The agreement, while including financial provisions relating to the EU budget, will entail, among other things, a solid human rights clause designed to underline the fact that respect for democracy and human rights constitutes a fundamental element of future relations between the parties. The new relationship between the EU and South Africa should be tied in with the development of a political dialogue to be strengthened further in the longer term. At the initial stage, this dialogue should focus on support for democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and the promotion of social justice, as well as on working together to combat poverty and all forms of racial, political, religious and cultural discrimination. The dialogue should also include the regional dimension.

Joint EU embassy building in Nigeria

Ten Member States of the European Union, and the European Commission, are going to have their missions to Nigeria housed in a joint embassy building, Europa House, in the new capital, Abuja. This will be the outcome of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOW) signed by ministers from the ten participating Member States and the Commissioner responsible for external political relations, Hans van den Broek, at a meeting held alongside the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 19 April. (The United Kingdom has already established an embassy in Abuja, and Luxembourg does not have a mission to Nigeria.) The legal basis for the Memorandum is Article J.6 of the Treaty on European Union, and the move is a consequence of the decision by the Nigerian government to transfer its seat from Lagos to Abuja. The next step in the process will be the launching of a competition for the design of the embassy building among 15 architects from the Member States with proven experience in designing for tropical climates. An independent panel of representatives of the Member States will judge the entries and rank them in order of merit. As a precursor to the permanent joint embassy in Abuja, the same Member States and the Commission already operate a provisional arrangement of a similar nature which was inaugurated on 28 October 1992 (see issue No 137 of the Courier, page 14). This was a 'first' in the history of the Community and probably also in diplomatic history.

COMMON FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY

The European Union has, within the framework of its Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), recently issued the following statements on events of international interest:

Statement on Sudan 21 February 1994

The European Union remains deeply concerned at the suffering being inflicted on the Sudanese people by the continuing civil war and the ever worsening human rights situation in Sudan. The Union therefore condemns the current bombings by the Sudanese air force, which are hamming the civilian population and causing a mass exodus to neighbouring countries. Consequently, the EU would urge the parties to implement an immediate ceasefire as the first step towards a negotiated overall settlement. Such military action against a population already sorely tried by the conflict in Southern Sudan is unacceptable, particularly since it constitutes an inadmissible obstacle to humanitarian aid. The EU has frequently impressed on all part)es to the conflict the negative effects of their military activities and the fact that they are therefore primarily responsible for the fate of the Sudanese people. The Union stressed the major effort which the international community, including the EU, has been making for a long time to assist those sections of the population which are victims of the violence. The EU remains prepared to hold a hank dialogue with the Sudanese authorities on all the political and humanitarian concerns of the international community. K also intends to continue its talks with the factions in the south of the country in the interests of peace. The EU strongly urges the Sudanese Government and all part)es involved to make a serious effort to achieve a negotiated solution to the conflict between them. In this connection, it is fully backing the diplomatic efforts being made under the aegis of the IGADD by the four Heads of State in the region.

Statement on Namibia 22 February 1994

The European Union warmly congratulates the government and the people of Namibia on the occasion of the reintegration of the enclave of Walvis Bay into Namibia, thereby achieving its territorial integrity through peaceful negotiation and dialogue. The international community has long supported the integration of Walvis say into Namibia and the European Union is delighted to witness this historic event.

Statement on Togo 28 February 1994

The European Union welcomes the maturity shown by the Togolese people in accomplishing their civic duty by participating in large numbers in the parliamentary elections on 6 and 20 February 1994. K notes that the elections have enabled the Togolese people to express their will democratically, despite difficult institutional and political conditions, and calls upon the main parties involved to abide strictly by the results of the vote.

Statement on Nigeria and Cameroon 3 March 1994

The European Union expresses its grave concern at the skirmishes taking place in the border region between Nigeria and Cameroon. K strongly believes that there is only one way of resolving disputes, namely through peaceful settlement. To this end, the European Union urges the governments of Nigeria and Cameroon to seek a solution to the dispute, through arbitration or mediation of any regional or international organisation, and consequently to refrain from any military anion which might aggravate the situation. Recent information indicates that there is concentration of troops on one side of the frontier line and therefore the European Union requests their immediate withdrawal.

Statement on Somalia 4 March 1994

The European Union has welcomed the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of Resolution 897 and reaffirms its full support for the work of the United Nations in furtherance of its revised mandate to encourage the process of political reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction in Somalia which could otherwise be jeopardised. The European Union continues to follow closely the situation in Somalia. Of particular concern is the increasing banditry and violence throughout the country which threatens the efforts of the organisations and personnel engaged in relief operations. The European Union supports the efforts by the Somalis to reorganise the Somali police as an important element in restoring order. The European Union believes that the Somali people bear the ultimate responsibility for setting up viable national political institutions. In this regard, the European Union welcomes the ongoing consultations and contacts among Somali clans and factions aimed at reaching a political settlement acceptable to all the parties concerned. Progress on political reconciliation is essential if the risk of renewed armed confrontation and further human suffering is to be avoided. In addition, the European Union commends and supports the regional organisations and countries in their efforts to expedite dialogue and negotiations among Somali leaders on the future of their country. The European Union is ready to contribute actively to the rehabilitation and reconstruction process, in accordance with the Addis Ababa Declaration, where prospects for reconciliation and security conditions make possible effective international assistance for economic and social recovery.

Statement on Liberia 22 March 1994

The European Union welcomes the establishment, on 7 March, of the Council of State. It expresses its strong wish to see the transitional government quickly established and functioning and looks forward to the implementation of other elements in the Cotonou Agreement. The European Union welcomes such substantial progress on the road to peace and stability and underlines its strong wish that the disarmament and demobilisation process be carried out in a genuine and timely fashion, paving the way to the electoral consultation aimed at founding the new democratic and peaceful Liberia which would enable the European Union to continue its support.

Statement on Togo 23 March 1994

The European Union notes with satisfaction the announcement of the results of the parliamentary elections in Togo, which strictly respects the votes cast and democratic rules. The time has come for the people of Togo to commit themselves to national reconciliation and respect for the institutions, development and economic revival of their country. The European Union expresses the wish that the next stages in the reinstatement of Togo's democratic institutions will take place peacefully and it calls on the principal participants to continue in this way with the meeting of the elected National Assembly and the establishment of a government representing the choice of the Togolese people.

Statement on Burundi 25 March 1994

The European Union notes that the situation is deteriorating in Bujumbura, where repeated confrontations between civilian militias and the forces of order are causing many victims, especially among the unarmed and innocent people of the two ethnic groups. The European Union condemns this violence which, sustained by extremist elements among those in power and among the members of the opposition and the forces of order, is endangering the institutions of law and order in Burundi, so patiently and courageously set up by the democratic forces of the country. The European Union appeals urgently to all members of Burundi society to end this violence and make every effort to achieve the necessary national reconciliation and the preservation of the safety of all Burundi's people under democratic law.

Statement on South Africa 7 April 1994

The European Union is deeply concerned by the continuing bloodshed in South Africa. K urges all South Africans to refrain from violence and to work together for a peaceful transition to the new South Africa. It strongly hopes that the summit of 8 April will produce a solution enabling all parties to participate in elections later in the month. As previously announced, the European Union is firmly committed to assisting the transition to democracy and remains ready to help South Africa's economic reconstruction and development after the elections.

Statement on Rwanda and Burundi 12 April 1994

The European Union is deeply concerned to learn of the tragedy which has led to the death in Kigali of the Heads of State of Rwanda and Burundi together with members of their entourage. It wants an international commission of inquiry to investigate fully the causes of the destruction of the presidential aircraft and urges all Rwandese authorities to safeguard the achievements of the Arusha Agreement. The European Union is also deeply saddened by the deaths of a number of Belgian citizens in Rwanda, both civilian and military. It strongly condemns these appalling assassinations and hopes that justice will be done as quickly as possible. The European Union appeals in the strongest terms for the lives of Rwandese and foreign nationals to be protected as they work together within Rwanda to safeguard its internal peace and its prosperity.

Statement on Rwanda 18 April 1994

The European Union notes with dismay that the widespread violence and atrocities are continuing and extending in Rwanda, where very many lives have been lost since 6 April.

The violence and the resulting chaos prompted the forced evacuation of virtually all nationals of the international community present in Rwanda. As a result of the solidarity shown by Member States, it was possible to rescue those nationals in a satisfactory manner. The European Union repeats its pressing call for Rwandese lives to be protected and urgently appeals to the opposing forces to bring the violence to an end and to resume negotiations on the basis of the principles of the Arusha Agreement. It wishes to see appropriate humanitarian action organised in response to the human tragedy unfolding in the region and undertakes to play its part in such action.

General information

DAC Annual Report

The annual report of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC) for 1993, entitled 'Development Cooperation: Aid in Transition', has recently been published. In the first part of the report, given over to a global analysis, the director of the DAC sees the new international context as a source of hope but also one which poses significant new threats. On the one hand, the end of the East-West conflict and the democratisation that is under way in many Third World countries offer an opportunity to rationalise the criteria for development assistance and, in particular, to limit the scope of purely political motivations. On the other hand, the proliferation of conflicts and the growing problems associated with refugees, population movements and peace-keeping operations threaten to divert attention away from long-term development objectives towards more immediate crises requiring aid operations. All this is taking place at a time when economic recession in the industrialised countries is making it increasingly difficult to mobilise aid for development purposes. According to the DAC, in the face of the current global challenges, the donor countries should introduce new priorities into their aid policies. The first of these should be to increase the resources allocated for development purposes. While one might not perhaps expect ODA (Official Development Assistance) to rise, it ought to be possible to rely on growth in private capital flows such as has been seen in Asia and certain Latin American countries. At the same time, it needs to be recognised that a number of developing countries, notably in sub-Saharan Africa, remain dependent on ODA, given the continuing absence of growth and economic stability. An increase in the resources of developing countries could be achieved by giving priority to their exports, by developing their private sectors and by persuading them to reduce their military spending.

A second priority should be to look again at the way in which aid is allocated and used. K should be shared out between the East and the South in such a way as to avoid one losing out at the expense of the other, and a distinction should be drawn between those countries that are in a position to attract private investment and those that are wholly dependent on aid. In any case, there should be an emphasis on human development and participation while at the same time avoiding the situation whereby the countries in question find themselves ever-more dependent on aid.

Improvement of aid efficiency should be the third priority. Faced with increasing demands for assistance without an increase in the resources allocated for development, donor countries need to make an effort in such' areas as technology transfer and the untying of aid. There also need to be improvements in respect of parliamentary accountability in the donor countries, and in information to the public, with a view to broadening understanding about the aims and achievements of development policy. As far as recipient countries are concerned, making institutions more democratic and improving the management of public affairs are prerequisites for more efficient aid.

Following this general analysis, the report looks at the major challenges associated with development - population growth, urbanisation, migration, drug-abuse, AIDS and political, ethnic and regional conflicts. It then goes on to review development priorities region by region, in which context it underlines the need for two complementary approaches: a thematic one, which is needed to tackle the growing number of transnational problems, and a regional one, which must take account of regional specificities and focus on establishing suitable priorities at this lower level.

The second part of the report gives an account of the development policies currently pursued by the DAC member countries and provides figures on financial transfers, debt levels, ODA volumes and the way in which the aid is divided up. The third section takes the form of a statistical annex containing all the basic facts and figures that are available on development assistance.

20th NGO General Assembly looks at the role of NGOs in conflict situations

The annual General Assembly of the European development NGOs, which is organised by the NGO Liaison Committee, was held in Brussels from 7 to 9 April. The Committee, which is the body that represents the NGOs before the European Commission, consists of members of national organisations from all the countries of the EU. Its main functions are to ensure ongoing consultation and cooperation between the Commission and the NGOs which receive EU funds to cofinance various operations. The role of the Liaison Committee as the political 'spokesperson' for more than 700 NGOs is increasing in importance. The 20th Assembly, whose central feature was the presentation of the Liaison Committee's activity report and its programme for 1994, highlighted the growing focus on emergency aid at the expense of long-term development assistance. There was also an emphasis on the need for NGOs to maintain their identity and autonomy and to avoid becoming merely the instruments of government policy. The Assembly was followed by a conference on 'Conflict, Development and Military Intervention' which focused on the experiences, role and position of development NGOs in these areas. The theme reflected current concerns and attracted a good attendance from interested parties. It has become necessary for NGOs dearly to define the scope and limits of possible action that they can undertake in countries suffering from internal conflicts, the frequency of such conflicts having increased since the end of the Cold War. After a general presentation of the problem, a closer look at four specific cases (Somalia, Haiti, Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia) and more detailed discussion by the participants, a number of principles and proposals were set out by the conference. These will form the basis of future representations by the Liaison Committee to the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council of the EU, and can be summarised as follows: - Much greater efforts must be made to prevent conflicts breaking out, and NGOs should put pressure on governments to take positions and act before a crisis blows up. In order to do this, sufficient financial resources must be made available to provide for the implementation of a systematic policy aimed at both conflict prevention and the stabilisation of countries that have suffered wars. More generally, it is stressed that although conflicts exacerbate the problems of under-development, development nevertheless remains the best way of combating the causes of conflict.

- When a conflict does break out, international military action should only be considered as a last resort (this is not the same as taking such action 'at the last minute') where the population is under threat. The forces intervening must be given a mandate and objectives that are clearly defined and they must remain impartial from the humanitarian standpoint.

- In certain cases, NGOs may have to have recourse to military protection in order to carry out their work, but they must always make sure that their functions and those of the military remain distinct from each other.

- Military intervention should not be limited to preventing war but should also contribute to achieving peace and to re-establishing a process of sustainable development.

- Due to their strong links in the field and their profound knowledge of the people concerned, the NGOs have a particular experience which must be brought into play at all stages in the prevention, tackling or resolution of conflicts.

- Finally, the NGOs take the view that an effort must be made by the 'West' in the area of international arms control. They seek, in particular. a prohibition on the production, trade and use of anti-personnel mines as well as the establishment of an international fund, managed by the United Nations, for demining operations and the destruction of mines. The resources for this purpose should come from those states where the mines are manufactured.

HUMANITARIAN AID

Aid decisions

The Commission has recently taken the following decisions to provide humanitarian aid (including emergency and food aid):

ACP countries

Burundi: ECU 13.5 million as the second tranche of a wider aid package for the refugee camps.

Burundi: ECU 14 million as a contribution to the aid programmes carried out by humanitarian organisations to help victims of the conflict. Liberia: ECU 995 000 in food aid for populations that have fled to the Gbarnga region as a result of the recent fighting south-east of Buchanan. Liberia: ECU 1 million for a supplementary food programme for 125 000 people living in the counties of Bong and Grand Bassa and in the Upper Marghibi region. Madagascar: ECU 670 000 for basic essentials and medicines for people affected by the floods and other damage caused by the cyclones which struck the east coast of the country. Mauritania: ECU 400 000, of which ECU 300 000 is for the transport of essential goods and medicines from Nouakchott to the southeast of the country where 60 000 Tuareg refugees are currently living. The remaining ECU 100 000 is for medical/nutritional assistance to very young children in Nouakchott itself. Mozambique: ECU 860 000 in the form of medicines and basic materials for a number of health centres which have recently become accessible for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Rwanda: ECU 500 000 for victims of the latest wave of interethnic violence. Somalia: ECU 1 051 million for four medical projects to bring hospitals back into use, produce artifical limbs (including associated retraining of the disabled) and provide vaccinations, as well as to cover the costs of transporting personnel and medicines from Djibouti to various de*inations in the north of the country. Sudan: ECU 17 million as a contribution to a global humanitarian aid scheme for victims of the conflict, with particular emphasis on people in the south of the country. Sudan: ECU 490 000 for three months' worth of medical/nutritional aid for displaced people in the Mundi and Marindi regions. Haiti: ECU 850 000: ECU 500 000 for the purchase of fuel and ECU 350 000 for an urgent vaccination programme against measles. Mayotte: ECU 500 000 for initial help to the population affected by the earthquake which has struck both the south and the north of the island.

Non-ACP countries

Bolivia: ECU 410 000 for the purification and deepening of wells providing drinking water, as part of measures to combat the cholera epidemic in the province of Cordillera. Peru: ECU 500 000 to provide basic essentials for victims of the floods in a huge area of the country covering the cities of Lima, El Callao, Pucallpa and Cuzco. Mexico: ECU 360 000 in the form of food and medical aid, and basic equipment, to help Guatemalans who fled the civil war in the El Quiche district of their own country resettle. Ex-Yugoslavia: ECU 24.15 million to cover the food needs (from March to June) of refugees, displaced persons and other disadvantaged groups in Croatia. Azerbaijan: ECU 850 000 in the form of basic essentials for the functioning of hospitals, to help the people of Nagorny Karabakh, following the upsurge of fighting between Armenians and Azeris. The Caucasus region: ECU 9.5 million for refugees and displaced people, notably in Georgia, in the form of bulk food supplies and family food parcels. Ukraine and Belarus: ECU 1.3 million to help victims of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, through the supply to hospitals in Kiev and Minsk of the equipment needed for the detection and treatment of thyroid cancers, from which some 400 children currently suffer. Afghanistan: ECU 1.985 million, in addition to the aid previously granted in January, in the form of medical and nutritional assistance to dispossessed people in the capital and to refugees on the recently dosed Pakistan frontier. Palestine (the Occupied Territories): ECU 2.3 million to purchase 8500 tonnes of flour for Palestinians suffering from a shortage of basic foodstuffs in the aftermath of the Hebron massacre. Cambodia: ECU 1 million to continue demining activities in the Angkor region for a further six months. Philippines: ECU 200 000 for the provision of food aid and other basic essentials to the victims of four cyclones which struck during December and January.