By Robert Johnson
BRUSSELS (IDN) – Dr. P.I. Gomes, Secretary General of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (OACPS), sees “great scope” for the 79-nation grouping in 2020 to be “a powerful catalyst and advocate to accelerate implementation” of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the 2030 Agenda.
“This can be most effective, especially on Gender Equality (given the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative that received Euro 350mn from 11th EDF); Health Systems Strengthening (Euro 150mn); Oceans & Seas (for fishing that has Euro 40mn with FAO); Climate action ( with the strong Global Climate Change Alliance+ and cooperation with the Alliance of Small Island States, which is using Euro 70mn; (Access to Justice by promoting Peace & Reconciliation in The Gambia and fighting to end an Arms embargo vs the Central African Republic),” Dr. Gomes told IDN.
These SDGs are known to have received substantial funding from the European Development Fund (EDF) of the ACP and the European Union (EU) as well as technical support from actions of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states. “These should be consolidated in 2020 and have tangible results for the UN’s 2030 Agenda,” added Dr. Gomes.
His five-year term expires end of February. He will be succeeded by Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Ambassador of Angola to Belgium and Luxembourg and Permanent Representative to the EU.
A name change from the ACP to the OACPS is an important outcome of the December 9-10 Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The Summit took a decisive step towards ‘A Transformed ACP Committed to Multilateralism’. The heads of state and government revised the constitutive act, the 1975 Georgetown Agreement.
In calling for a revision of the Georgetown Agreement, ACP States ascertained their desire to strengthen their cooperation, particularly in the economic field, to take full advantage of the global economy.
Reflecting the Secretary General’s call for the ACP becoming “a powerful catalyst and advocate to accelerate” the implementation of the SDGs, the revision of the Georgetown Agreement also underlines the Group’s determination to tackle the challenges to development in all its dimensions, including with respect to environment and climate change, peace and security, gender and private sector development. In addition, ACP States also recognize the international impact they could have as a group and as a major multilateral actor.
The 9th ACP Summit was preceded by a meeting of the ACP Council of Ministers – the Group’s main decision-making body – in Nairobi on December 7, 2019. The Council is composed of a member of Government from each ACP State or a government-designated representative.
It outlines the terms and conditions for implementing the Group´s objectives as set out in its general policy, and periodically checks to see whether these objectives have been attained.
The Council took a significant decision related to the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which has constrained many ACP States to remain outside the EPA framework. The Council’s resolution was endorsed by the Summit.
This, they noted, is “causing friction at the regional level and posing a risk of undermining regional integration processes, due to the existence of different trade regimes operating in the various regions”.
The ministers are keen to ensure that EPAs “truly become tools for development” that contribute to poverty reduction, sustainable development, regional integration, and industrial transformation, through value chains and value addition, while attracting investment, creating employment, and stimulating trade for the beneficial integration of ACP States into the world economy.
In particular, the Council called on the EU to ensure that the process of updating the 2002 negotiating directives for the negotiations of EPAs with ACPs countries and regions does not result in the imposition of conditionalities on ACP States and trade disruptions.
The Council further called on the EU to use the window provided by the review of the EU directives to ensure that the updated EU EPA mandate provides the necessary means to address their concerns. It also urges ACP States to continue with the EPA processes as collectively as possible with a view to supporting seamless regional integration.
Also, the Council reiterated the need to strengthen the Joint ACP-EU Ministerial Trade Committee, to serve as a joint EPA monitoring implementation mechanism under the post-Cotonou agreement. [IDN-InDepthNews – 27 December 2019]
Photo: Secretary General Dr. Gomes at 9th ACP Summit. Credit: Flickr | ACP Press
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