EU news – Post date: May 25th, 2020.

AFD’S response to the COVID-19 crisis

The French Development Agency (AFD) has issued a webpage listing all the initiatives launched by the agency to tackle COVID-19 and its consequences. They include

  • Health In Common Initiative: AFD has mobilised €150 million in grants and €1 billion in concessional loans
  • Institutional Partnerships for Africa and the Middle East: including a partnership with the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) in six West African and Central African countries to help national authorities prepare for and respond to the epidemic
  • Suspension of debt repayments: AFD is preparing the suspension and rescheduling of overdue payments with effect from 1 May for eligible countries that request it
  • Support for weakened economies: the aim is to manage the health crisis, support the business fabric and revive economies so that they can continue on trajectories in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement
  • Support for NGOs: AFD is continuing and adapting its forms of support for French civil society organizations (NGOs, associations, unions, foundations) that have been weakened by the health crisis
  • Global response with other development actors: AFD has initiated discussions with its partners at the International Development Finance Club to prepare programmes and projects to respond to the health crisis in their countries or regions of operation, as with the West African Development Bank (BOAD), CAF in Latin America and DBSA in South Africa. There are also a number of ongoing discussions with the multilateral development banks to provide a joint response, in particular with the World Bank Group, but also with the Asian Development Bank (AsDB), African Development Bank (AfDB), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

EU Farm to Fork Strategy published

The European Union’s Farm to Fork Strategy was published on 20 May. The EU notes that the Stratgy is being launched in the context of the coronavirus crisis, which “has underlined the importance of a robust and resilient food system that functions in all circumstances, and is capable of ensuring access to a sufficient supply of affordable food for citizens. It has also made us acutely aware of the interrelations between our health, ecosystems, supply chains, consumption patterns and planetary boundaries.” It also notes that the increasing recurrence of droughts, floods, forest fires and new pests are a constant reminder that our food system is under threat and must become more sustainable and resilient.

The Strategy’s targets are:

  • a reduction by 50% of the use and risk of chemical pesticides and the use of more hazardous pesticides by 50% by 2030
  • a reduction of nutrient losses by at least 50% while ensuring that there is no deterioration in soil fertility – this will reduce the use of fertilisers by at least 20% by 2030
  • a reduction by 50% of the sales of antimicrobials for farmed animals and in aquaculture by 2030
  • reaching 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030.

The Commission will take a number of steps, including revising the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive, enhance provisions on integrated pest management (IPM) and promote greater use of safe alternative ways of protecting harvests from pests and diseases. The Commission will also facilitate the placing on the market of pesticides containing biological active substances and reinforce the environmental risk assessment of pesticides, and will develop further indicators and propose changes to the 2009 Regulation concerning statistics on pesticides. The Commission will also put forward an Action Plan on organic farming, which will help Member States stimulate both supply and demand for organic products.

How do we build a resilient food system?

Students from France’s Montpellier SupAgro have recorded a video to answer the question “How do we build a resilient food system?” How can we guarantee our ability to provide food that is adapted to our needs, even when unforeseen events such as a coronavirus pandemic occur? The video offers the vision of future agricultural engineers on tomorrow’s food production.

Translate »