8th ACP Summit reaffirms commitment to Sustainable Development Goals
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 1 June 2016/ ACP: The 8th Summit of Heads of State of Government of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group concluded today with a renewed commitment to rally together to contribute more effectively to the global development agenda, and bring about concrete action on the Sustainable Development Goals.
In this vein, leaders made pronouncements in the Port Moresby Declaration on the areas of peace and stability, culture, gender equity, sustainable economic development, trade, and climate change. Issues of development finance and global governance were also cited.
Peace & security, migration
ACP leaders in the Port Moresby Declaration stated their concern by the escalation of terrorist attacks in some member states, and underscored the central role of regional integration organisations and the importance of intra-ACP cooperation in promoting architectures of regional peace and security. They urged more systematic implementation of the Framework and General Principles for enhanced Intra-ACP Political Dialogue in this regard.
ACP leaders condemned all acts of terrorism, piracy and transnational crime, including human trafficking and smuggling of migrants and pledged to cooperate against such threats and taking coercive measures against the perpetrators of such acts.
Leaders also highlighted the link between migration and development, and underlined the vital contribution of the ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration and Development to the global discourse.
Culture, women, youth
The Summit recognised the value of ACP countries’ rich cultural heritage and underlined the need to place culture at the heart of development policies and strategies, given that cultural industries are not only sources of employment and innovation, but also vectors of peace, social cohesion and sustainable human development.
The Summit committed to progressively reducing social and wealth inequalities by strengthening national social protection systems and supporting families to have access to enough food, invest in productive activities, and overcome financial and social barriers to health and education. On health, the Summit called for universal health coverage and accessible health systems, while committing to tackling communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Leaders highlighted women’s advancement and called for a strong collaboration with all stakeholders to jointly address gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as the need to help women’s organisations in ACP countries to boost organisational and operational capacities.
They reaffirmed their commitment to harnessing the potential of youth through empowerment, quality education, health and decent work. Leaders committed to continue prioritising funds for youth entrepreneurship programmes, vocations skills training, research, science and technology, and ICTs.
The Summit also deliberated on environmental challenges to ACP member states, particularly the adverse impacts of climate change and lack of access to energy. Leaders called for the removal of barriers as well as technology transfer, developing the capacity of ACP entrepreneurs in the energy sector, and facilitating access to finance, and investment in renewable energy in ACP countries.
The Summit underlined the green economy and blue economy as crucial tools for attaining sustainable development in ACP countries, including the importance of sustainable fisheries management. Leaders welcomed the established of a special forum for Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) within the ACP Group, recognised the specific challenges faced by SIDS, including climate change.
The Summit noted with concern the territorial and maritime border disputes faced by Guyana, Belize as well as Mauritius, and called on all nations to negotiate in good faith when defining maritime boundaries, and to ensure that Small Island States are granted the sovereign rights in line with international law.
Trade, development finance and global governance
The Summit welcomed the important contribution of the European Development Fund towards development programmes in ACP states and regions, and encouraged further cooperation with the EU in identifying other sources for financing the SDGs.
Leaders called for a conference to be organised, with the support of the European Commission along with the United Nations and other international financial institutions, on strategies for development financing, in particular financing multiannual development programmes for ACP countries, and the intensification of South-South and Triangular Cooperation to build productive capacities of ACP countries. At the same time, the Summit also called on developed countries that have not yet done so to honour their developed aid commitments.
The Summit deplored illicit financial flows and the haemorrhage of financial resources from ACP member states through all forms of capital flight, in particular, tax evasion schemes of multinational enterprises. At the same time ACP leaders deplored the European Commission on its Communication on a “Fair and Efficient Tax System in the European Union”, unjustifiably listing 15 ACP states as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, causing severe damage to the financial sectors of these states.
The Summit called on the EU to immediately withdraw the list and refrain from issuing such publications in the future.
On trade, the Summit reaffirmed full commitment to conclude the Doha Development Agenda of the World Trade Organisation. ACP leaders expressed their deep concern at the negative consequences of trade pacts outside the WTO system being negotiated by the EU and other partners, while also urging more intra-ACP trade as a way to address preference erosion for ACP trade.
Finally, the ACP Summit reaffirmed its confidence in multilateralism as a major instrument in global political, economic and financial governance. Leaders support continued democratisation of the institutional architecture of multilateralism, including the UN bodies and Bretton Woods institutions. The ACP Group is actively seeking observer status for the President of the Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government and the ACP Secretary General in major international fora of strategic interest to the ACP.
The Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government is the highest political organ of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, which brings together 79 member states under the common pursuit of poverty eradication and sustainable development.
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