By Robert Johnson
BRUSSELS (IDN) – Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and their counterparts from 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have adopted a series of far-reaching resolutions during the 35th session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) from June 18 to 20 in Brussels.
The resolutions relate to strengthening of the parliamentary dimension, llegal trade in plant protection products and seeds, social and environmental cnsequences of urbanisaton, fighting international terrorism, and humanitarian crisis in Southern Sudan.
Ahead of negotiations to renew the Cotonou Agreement, the EU-ACP partnership’s founding treaty due to begin in August 2018, the MEPs have called for the parliamentary dimension to be strengthened in the future agreement.
The European Union and the ACP Group have undergone considerable political and economic changes since the ratification of the Cotonou Agreement, MEPs say in a press release. They insist that the financing aspect of the new partnership should be addressed and negotiated as a matter of priority, including the possible integration of the European Development Fund (EDF) into the EU budget.
MEPs advocate for gender balance in JPA delegations, integration of delegates under 40, representation of opposition parties, non-state actors and civil society in the resolution adopted by show of hands.
A clear strategy to tackle the illegal trade in plant protection products, seeds and other illegal inputs (PPPSIs) is fundamental, MEPs and their ACP counterparts say. The meaningful action to address trafficking and food insecurity should go through technical and financial assistance, and through tough action on the part of EU member states to tackle the export, or transit through their territory, of counterfeit products.
MEPs insist on the need for a thorough review of the marketing authorisation criteria for PPPSIs. They recommend establishing, as part of ACP-EU cooperation, a common fund for public research that guarantees independence from industry, and development in the various sectors making up the field of agronomy.
The EU and the international community must actively support the development of national waste management strategies and a circular economy, by providing adequate funding and monitoring, MEPs say.
The resolution stresses that pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world today, responsible for an estimated nine million premature deaths in 2015. 62 percent of urban populations in Sub-Saharan Africa live in degraded suburbs, most often located in environmentally fragile areas, and without access to basic services such as water, sanitation, energy, transport and waste management systems. Strategies to reduce waste generation should therefore take priority, while recycling and waste treatment should be viewed only as fallback solutions.
MEPs call on the EU to develop binding rules to ensure its companies are effective partners in environmental management and invest responsibly and sustainably in ACP countries, taking into account the waste-generating consequences of their investments, as well as the opportunities for reusing or recycling the generated waste.
In the first urgency resolution, MEPs accetuate that there can be no justification for acts of terrorism or for supporting and financing terrorist acts. They call on the EU and ACP countries to implement a comprehensive strategy that addresses the root causes of terrorism, through an effective and independent judiciary and appropriate policies.
Radicalisation and recruitment of individuals by terrorist networks is a global phenomenon, parliamentariaof the two groups say. They call on ACP countries and the EU to strengthen their efforts to combat radicalisation, in particular through educational and social integration.
In the second urgent resolution, MEPs and their ACP counterparts call on all parties to the conflict in Southern Sudan to immediately cease hostilities and take up a national conciliation dialogue. There can be no military solution to the conflict, they insist.
To be meaningful and inclusive, the process of national dialogue should feature neutral leadership, include opposition groups, women and south Sudanese citizens.
The 36th session of the ACP-EU JPA will be held from December 3 to 5, 2018 in the West African state of Benin. [IDN-InDepthNews – 21 June 2018]
Photo: ACP-EU Plenary. Credit: EU
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