By Ronald Joshua
GENEVA (IDN) – Well ahead of the High-Level Political Forum in July 2019 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the focus on “empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality“, the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held an all-day workshop at the Palais des Nations, Geneva on May 2, 2019.
The workshop focussed on the recognition of qualifications and skills as a means to reduce inequality within and among countries, and thus contribute to achieving target 10.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The overarching theme of the July 9-July 18, 2019 Forum does not only refer to Goal 10 aiming at reducing inequality within and among countries, but also four other SDGs. Goal 4 seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Goal 8 promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Goal 13 takes urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Goal 16 promotes peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provides access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Goal 17 strengthens the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
Emphasising the importance of the joint workshop, Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Director of the Division on International Trade and Commodities at UNCTAD said: “Non-recognition by a host country of skills or qualifications obtained in a home country is a salient restriction to the movement of natural persons delivering services abroad.”
Accordingly, Coke-Hamilton agreed, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, adopted in December 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco, and endorsed by United Nations member states encourages countries to conclude bilateral, regional or multilateral mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) or to include recognition provisions in other agreements, to provide equivalence or comparability in national systems.
“Trade in services agreements and MRAs could therefore positively contribute to achieving target 10.7 of the SDGs,” she added.
Promotion of preferential trading arrangements is a key aspect of the ACP Secretariat’s mission and an essential element of the post-Cotonou Partnership between the ACP and the European Union after 2020.
Speaking about the importance of the workshop for ACP Group states, Felix Maonera, Acting Head of the ACP’s Geneva office, said: “The ACP Secretariat considers Mode 4, the movement of natural persons, as the connection with most other services sectors. Linked as it is to migration, Mode 4 gives rise to unique opportunities and challenges.”
The mutual recognition of qualifications is an ever-present issue, which is addressed in some way or another by several organisations, including the Word Trade Organisation, the International Organisation on Migration, the International Labour Organisation and UNCTAD. Issues of frameworks and systems, assessment parameters and criteria arise equally whether the migration is regional, on-continent or across continents, noted Maonera.
“The ACP Group makes every effort, in all relevant processes, to turn mobility and migration into opportunity and to address challenges through the adoption of effective migration policies,” he added.
The joint workshop was not the first interaction between the ACP and UNCTAD. UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi participated in the 8th ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Port Moresby, from May 30 to June 1, 2016 and hosted by the Government of Papua New Guinea.
The ACP Summit has been held every five years since the creation of the group in 1975. The 8th session was attended by all 75 Member States of the ACP Group at the level of Heads or Deputy Heads of State or Government, Foreign Affairs Ministers, Ambassadors, international and regional organizations, and special guests.
The UNCTAD Secretary-General took part in the Summit interactive dialogue with the Heads of State and Government on the summit theme of “Repositioning the ACP Group to respond to the challenges of sustainable development”. [IDN-InDepthNews – 08 May 2019]
Graphic source: ACP Press
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