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MEPs to #DRC and #Gabon presidents: 'Respect the rule of law'

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eu-report-casts-doubt-over-gabons-election-outcome-youtube-thumbnailThe results of 2016 Gabon’s presidential election are "non-transparent and highly doubtful", say MEPs in a resolution, voted on Thursday, on the rule of law crises in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Gabon. They also call on the Congolese authorities to hold credible elections before the end of 2017.

Condemning all the election-related violence perpetrated in Gabon and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), MEPs call for full, thorough and transparent investigations into alleged serious human rights violations in both countries.
Gabon’s President Ali Bongo and the DRC’s President Joseph Kabila should guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms and govern "with the strictest respect of the rule of law", urge MEPs in the resolution, which was approved by a show of hands.
Gabon
MEPs question President Bongo’s legitimacy, noting that the official 2016 presidential election results are "non-transparent and highly doubtful". They are deeply concerned about the unfolding violence which followed the proclamation of the results.

The resolution condemns the intimidation of, and threats against, members of the European Union election observation mission, led by MEP Mariya Gabriel (EPP, BG), and urges the Gabonese government to "conduct a thorough and expeditious reform of the electoral framework to improve it and make it fully transparent and credible.”

Democratic Republic of Congo

MEPs urge all political players to engage in a peaceful and constructive dialogue and call on the EU to support the implementation of the agreement reached in late December 2016 denying a third term to President Kabila and calling for the election to take place before the end of 2017.

The Congolese government should "immediately address open questions related to the sequencing of the electoral calendar, its budget and the updating of the electoral register in order to allow free, fair and transparent elections", MEPs add.

Africa

EU and Republic of Kenya launch strategic dialogue and engage towards implementing the East African Community Economic Partnership Agreement

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The European Commission has welcomed the launch of the Strategic Dialogue between the European Union and the Republic of Kenya, and the strengthening of multilateral partnership between EU and the East African Community (EAC) region. In the context of the visit of president of the Republic of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, Executive Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis met Adan Mohamed, cabinet secretary for East African Community and regional development. Both sides agreed to engage towards implementing bilaterally the trade and the economic and development cooperation provisions of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the East African Community.

Executive Vice President Dombrovskis (pictured) said: “I welcome Kenya's efforts and leadership in the region. It is one of EU's most important trade partners in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Chair of the East Africa Community. The recent decision of the EAC Summit allows EAC members to implement the regional EPA bilaterally with the EU, based on a principle of ‘variable geometry'. The EU will now engage with Kenya - which has already signed and ratified the regional EPA - on the modalities towards its implementation. The EPA is an important trade and development tool and its implementation with Kenya would be a building block towards regional economic integration. We encourage other members of the East African Community to sign and ratify the EPA.”

International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, who exchanged with Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo added: “I welcome the new impetus to the EU-Kenya bilateral relationship with agreement on the launch of the strategic dialogue together with a renewed engagement with the East African Community. This will create a dialogue focusing on common policy aims and real benefits for all involved. We will immediately begin work on a roadmap to implement the strategic dialogue. We are committed to accompany the country's ambitious green transition, job creation and digitalisation efforts. In addition, investing in People, in education or health, will be paramount to build resilience and help tackle COVID-19 challenges and we are working intensively on Team Europe initiatives to support small and medium enterprises and pharmaceutical industries in Africa to complement the efforts at country level.”

More information is available in the press release.

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Africa and Europe discuss investment to dismantle false choice between conservation and development at European Development Days 2021

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The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) convened a discussion on African Landscapes for People and Wildlife: Dismantling the false choice between conservation and development on Wednesday 16 June 2021 at 15h10 CET as part of the European Development Days 2021.

The discussion explored how the services that ecological systems provide underpin human existence, political stability, and economic prosperity, particularly in Africa. And how investing in Africa as if conservation and development are competing objectives will lead to the continued loss of species and habitat degradation. In terms of solutions, the session focused on the role Africa leaders play in shaping a more sustainable path by investing in wildlife economies that incentivise conservation and restoration while providing for people and the importance of mobilizing into conservation and ensuring funding gets to where it is needed but also how the green deal will reshape how Europe invests in African landscapes. The discussion made a clear case for smarter, greener investments in Africa’s landscapes.

Speaking after the session, Frederick Kumah, Vice President External Affairs at AWF said: “I am glad that the session explored the role African leaders need to play in shaping a more sustainable path by investing in wildlife economies that incentivize conservation and restoration while providing for people.”

Ecotrust Pauline Executive Director Natongo Kalunda, panellist at the discussion, explained: “There is not enough effort in global consumption to understand that nature is an asset and that investments must be made to protect it and support growth….Sustainability relies on these landscapes and if investors do not understand that, then it will be impossible to reach sustainability targets.”

This timely debate featured panel speakers from the two continents Simon Malete, Lead of the African Group of Negotiators to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Pauline Nantongo Kalunda, Executive Director of Ecotrust and Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Member of the European Parliament. The session was moderated by Simangele Msweli, Senior Manager of the AWF’s Youth Leadership Program.

About African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.

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EU sanctions: Commission publishes specific provisions concerning Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic and Ukraine

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The European Commission has adopted three opinions on the application of specific provisions in the Council Regulations on EU restrictive measures (sanctions) concerning Libya and Syria, the Central African Republic and actions undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine. They concern 1) changes to two specific features of frozen funds: their character (sanctions concerning Libya) and their location (sanctions concerning Syria); 2) the release of frozen funds by way of enforcing a financial guarantee (sanctions concerning the Central African Republic) and; 3) the prohibition to make funds or economic resources available to listed persons (sanctions concerning the territorial integrity of Ukraine). While Commission opinions are not binding on competent authorities or EU economic operators, they are intended to offer valuable guidance to those who have to apply and follow EU sanctions. They will support the uniform implementation of sanctions across the EU, in line with the Communication on the European economic and financial system: fostering openness, strength and resilience.

Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets Union Commissioner Mairead McGuinness said: “EU sanctions must be implemented fully and uniformly throughout the Union. The Commission stands ready to assist national competent authorities and EU operators in tackling the challenges in applying these sanctions.”

EU sanctions are a foreign policy tool, which, among others, help to achieve key EU objectives such as preserving peace, strengthening international security, and consolidating and supporting democracy, international law and human rights. Sanctions are targeted at those whose actions endanger these values, and they seek to reduce as much as possible any adverse consequences for the civilian population.

The EU has arond 40 different sanctions regimes currently in place. As part of the Commission's role as Guardian of the Treaties, the Commission is responsible for monitoring the enforcement of EU financial and economic sanctions across the Union, and also ensuring that sanctions are applied in a way that takes into account the needs of humanitarian operators. The Commission also works closely with member states to ensure that sanctions are implemented uniformly throughout the EU. More information on EU sanctions here.

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