Brussels, 28 October 2014/ ACP: Envoys from all six ACP regions paid tribute to the commitment and friendship of Mr. Andris Piebalgs, who completes his term as European Development Commissioner at the end of this month.
During a special session of the Committee of Ambassadors, the Chairman H.E Dr Ousmane Sylla of Guinea applauded Mr. Piebalgs’ leadership role in promoting global energy security, driving the European Commission’s new development policy known as “Agenda for Change”, and facilitating the development of joint ACP-EU positions on certain key international agendas, including a joint declaration on the post-2015 development agenda and joint declaration on the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development.
Mr. Piebalgs’ commitment to ensuring the 11th cycle of the European Development Fund for ACP countries and Overseas Territories, worth EUR 31.5 billion for the period 2014-2020, was also highlighted.
In his last speech to the Ambassadors as Commissioner, Mr. Piebalgs underlined key outstanding areas that needed continued commitment. He stressed that solidarity needs to be built into any future relationship between the EU and ACP countries, with a stronger focus on relations rather than just a legal agreement. He called for a focus on quality results in development programmes, citing the ebola crisis as an indication of failure to build resilience within countries to be able to better deal with such disasters. Energy, nutrition education and trade were also mentioned.
Mr. Piebalgs pointed to the UN’s Third International Conference on Financing for Development scheduled for July 2015 in Addis Ababa as a major event in development cooperation. The outcome of the Conference is expected to constitute an important contribution to the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. Intergovernmental preparations of the Conference were launched on 17 October 2014.
The coordinating Ambassadors of all four African regions as well as the Pacific and Caribbean acknowledged the importance of cooperation with the European Union and the work of the Commissioner in this regard.
The Caribbean representative, H.E Mrs. Margaret King-Rousseau of Trinidad and Tobago expressed ongoing concerns with the EU Commission’s approach to “differentiation”, which mainly uses Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures to categorise countries, influencing the types of financial assistance they can access. She called for enhanced attention to the vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States.
The Ambassador of Namibia H.E Mr. Hanno Rumpf raised the issue of the global changes in development thinking, where domestic trade flows are expected to take over a large part of the responsibility in terms of development finance and cooperation. He urged against a “complete reversal in developmental approaches” and underlined the ongoing need for humanitarian intervention and other assistance.
The Dean of ACP Ambassadors, H.E Dr. Patrick I. Gomes of Guyana concluded the session by acknowledging the commitment by Mr Piebalgs to “open dialogue” with ACP states during his tenure and encouraged him to raise awareness of ACP issues amongst the Eastern European states.
Mr Piebalgs served as European Commissioner for Development since 2010. Before that he was European Commissioner for Energy. He is a member of the UN High Level Panel on the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda beyond 2015 as well as the UN High Level Group on Sustainable Energy for All. He has held several ministerial and ambassadorial posts in his home country of Latvia.
Mr. Neven Mimica will serve as the next European Commissioner for Development beginning November 2014.
(Photo: European Development Commissioner Mr. Andris Piebalgs and Chairman of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, H.E Dr. Ousmane Sylla.)
– ACP Press