Brussels, 4 April 2022/OACPS:  The 41st session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) took place from 1-3 April 2022 in Strasbourg, in the presence of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and their counterparts from 78 countries of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).

The joint session was preceded by three meetings of the OACPS committees and the 60th session of the OACPS Parliamentary Assembly. Among the issues discussed were the challenges of peace and security within Members of the OACPS and climate change, in particular, the European Commission’s (EC) proposal to establish a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) with the European Union (EU).

Paricipants noted that the CBAM will put pressure on exporters to the EU, to decarbonise the production of certain goods and that many exporters and producers in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and other developing countries such as those in members of the OACPS will face particular difficulties to finance necessary investments.

Members also discussed trade issues guaranteeing access to the European Market for producers in the framework of new regulations arising from the green pact for Europe.

The OACPS members also discussed the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and the list of high-risk third countries with strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime.  Members requested that a study to be carried out on the impact of the list on their countries.

An innovation in the work of the OACPS PA was the holding of the first round table of the Speakers and Deputy Speakers of the National Assemblies with the Secretary-General of the OACPS, H.E. Mr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti. The Secretary-General called on the Members to support the work of the OACPS, enhance the visibility of the OACPS and its work in their respective countries, and invited them to commemorate key OACPS days in their national assemblies.

This dialogue was complemented by the Secretary-General’s presentation of the 2nd Annual State of the Organisation (SOrg) Address to the OACPS parliamentarians, an event that was live-streamed and followed in all Member States.

Among the issues discussed at the JPA, the parliamentarians debated the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its global impact. They highlighted the many consequences of the invasion beyond Ukraine, including rising food prices which pose a serious threat to food security and energy prices.

With regard to the new agreement between the EU and the OACPS, the JPA members called on the EU to fast track the internal European process with a view to signing the new agreement as soon as possible.

The JPA participants recalled that the Members of the OACPS and the EU have clearly stated their support for EU-OACPS collaboration on key issues such as economic recovery and investment, the fight against global warming, environmental protection, ensuring universal health coverage and access to COVID-19 vaccines for all. The assembly adopted a resolution on enhancing the resilience of small island developing states (SIDS) against climate change and natural disasters.

MEPs and OACPS parliamentarians also discussed the threat to stability and peace in West Africa and the Sahel, which has led to governance problems and increased poverty. In this context, they also discussed the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, climate change and land scarcity – all of which threaten peace and security in parts of the Sahel and West Africa.

At the 41st Session, the JPA held a special session to celebrate its 20 years of existence, during which the many accomplishments and achievements of the JPA were highlighted, in particular the establishment of a solid basis for constructive dialogue and international political cooperation with a focus on multilateral solutions. The importance of the parliamentary dimension of the OACPS-EU partnership was another key message of the commemoration. The session also featured young leaders from the OACPS Members who expressed their views on the post-Cotonou agreement. Speakers highlighted the need to engage young people, by establishing a youth forum under the revised Georgetown agreement.

Global tensions

Carlos Zorrinho MEP, Chair of the EP’s Delegation to the ACP-EU JPA and JPA co-president, said: “We are living in time of global tensions, with war in Ukraine, Yemen and in several African regions, and with food insecurity spreading and the threat of climate change. The 41st Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the EU and Members of the OACPS showed great maturity in affirming a multilateral approach to these challenges, based on a response to peoples’ practical problems and on our shared values. We all expressed the urgency of finalising the post-Cotonou agreement, and its coming into force as a partnership of equals.”

Peter Kenilorea Jr., President of the OACPS PA and JPA co-president, added: “This JPA session showed the importance of strengthening our dialogue in view of achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.”