Home » 2016 » February

Climate outlook ‘particularly concerning’ in Southern Africa due to El Niño – UN agency

10 February 2016 – El Niño conditions have caused the lowest recorded rainfall between October and December across many regions of Southern Africa in at least 35 years, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has reported in its latest report.

The agency found that short-term forecasts from January to March indicate the high probability of continuing below-normal rainfall in the south, signaling that this could become one of the worst droughts on record.

“The current growing season, which spans from October 2015 to April 2016, is developing under the peak of the El Niño, with the first phase of the growing season characterized by severe and widespread rainfall deficits,” the situation report highlights.

“El Niño’s impact on rain-fed agriculture is severe. Poor rainfall, combined with excessive temperatures, create conditions not conducive for crop growth,” it adds.

Although El Niño’s impact on people’s livelihood reportedly varies according to preparedness and response capacities, rain-dependent small holder farmers—comprising at least 50 per cent of the population in Southern Africa—are the hardest hit.

In Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, WFP is highlighting that delayed planting of up to two months or more, severely impacts maize yields. “As the window for planting closes, even good rainfall offers limited scope for recovery,” it warned.

In conclusion, the UN food agency underscored that the climate outlook is particularly concerning as it is coming on top of a poor harvest in 2014 and 2015.

“Poor regional cereal harvests from the 2014-2015 season have tightened cereal supplies. On average, harvests were 21 per cent lower than the 2013-2014 season and 3 per cent lower than the five-year average. In total, the cereal deficit for the region is 7.9 million tonnes for the 2015/2016 marketing year,” WFP noted.

Read More

Servers.com Reveals Advanced Software-Defined Network for Cloud and Hosting

OpenStack-based SDN and Brocade IP Fabric delivers robust on-demand services, data privacy and best value for hosting and cloud computing customers AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS–(Marketwired – Feb 9, 2016) –  Servers.com has completed the roll out of a new software-defined network using Brocade IP Fabric. The network connects four data centres across two continents to ensure […]
Read More

Answer – EUR 234 million for “racist” Mugabe once again proves impossible to justify – E-012373/2015

The EU's gradual re-engagement with Zimbabwe aims at encouraging further political and economic reforms. Issues related to the land reform are part of our policy dialogue, and the EU will continue to apply the policy to only support farmers on non-contested land.

In its dialogue with financial institutions, the Government of Zimbabwe has committed itself to clarify indigenisation, empowerment and land tenure laws, in order to restore investors' confidence.

Implementation of the EUR 234 Million National Indicative Program under the 11th EDF(1), focused on health, agriculture-based economic development and governance, is gradual and cautious. Our programs follow standard EU procurement procedures, subject to audits. Budget support is not being envisaged.

Implementation is entrusted mostly to international organisations, including the World Bank for the economic reform program, but also UN agencies such as FAO, IOM, UNDP, Unicef or NGOs such as WWF, the Law Society of Zimbabwe, la Croix-Rouge, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, World Vision, Transparency International, International Commission of Jurist Association, Save the Children.

With the roll-over of remaining restrictive measures in February 2015, the EU stressed that there is a need for continued political reform while it continues monitoring closely the situation of human rights, and is prepared to review these measures as appropriate.

(1)European Development Fund.
Read More

Written question – Decision of Scientific Review Group to continue to allow the import of lion hunting trophies – E-014852/2015

On 15 September 2015 the EU’s Scientific Review group (SRG) made a decision to continue to allow the import of lion hunting trophies from Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Commissioner Vella’s answer to my Written Question E-011937/2015 of 28 July 2015 states that the SRG concluded, on the basis of the scientific information available, that imports of lion trophies from Zimbabwe are sustainable and that imports from Zambia and Mozambique can continue but will need greater scrutiny.

This comes just a month after a report by the UN Environment Programme showing that trophy hunting has contributed significantly to a decline in lion numbers in Zambia and Mozambique.

This also follows this summer’s illegal shooting by an American tourist of a lion (known locally as Cecil) that appears to have been enticed out of Hwange national park in Zimbabwe in order to satisfy the demand for hunting trophies.

Will the Commission present the relevant scientific information on which the SRG based its decision that the import of lion hunting trophies is sustainable?

Was the Commission aware that the SRG invited members of the Tanzanian government to deliver a presentation supporting ‘sustainable’ trophy hunting without the opportunity for others to present opposing opinions? Does the Commission think this is an acceptable procedure on the part of the SRG?

Read More