ACP-EU future relations depends on boosting parliamentary oversight, civil society participation: says Joint Assembly co-chair
Windhoek, Namibia, 13 June 2016/ EP/ ACPEU JPA: "The Cotonou Agreement remains unique in the world, and whatever form the next partnership takes, it will have to be tailored to today’s world, and include wider civil society participation and stronger parliamentary oversight and diplomacy", said Michèle RIVASI (Greens/EFA, FR), EU Co-President ad interim of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, for its 31st session.
"As a school of democracy, the JPA must set an example. It remains a unique forum where all issues, including delicate ones, can be discussed”, added Ms Rivasi.
At the opening of the 31st session, Netty Baldeh, JPA Co-President for the ACP countries, joined his European counterpart in thanking the National Assembly for its welcome. Ms Rivasi highlighted the “remarkable character of Namibia, a stable multi-party democracy with ambitious renewable energy policies in the context of COP21, sustainable development and conservation of flora and fauna.”
The changing face of conflict and global security threats
The worsening situation in several regions of the worl, civil conflicts and their consequences, including massive population movements, was outlined by Ms Rivasi, who called a minute’s silence for the victims of attacks perpetrated in Orlando, USA. "Terrorism is growing dramatically and now indirectly affects Asia, Africa and Europe", regretted Ms Rivasi. "Only effective international cooperation can put an end to terrorism and I am happy to see a strengthening of this cooperation", stressed Mr Baldeh.
Rape and violence against women and children in armed conflicts
A country’s democratic credentials can often be judged by the situation of women in its society, suggested Ms Rivasi. "Even though women assumes a key role in the family" and could be a powerful player in "conflict resolution and prevention, this potential is not only often under-exploited" but "systematically wrecked, with the obvious consequences for the chances of lasting peace". There must be zero tolerance for rape and sex slavery, she insisted.
Economic partnership agreements
Mr Baldeh called for economic partnership agreements between ACP and EU countries that "emphasize the development dimension". He noted that before the economic partnership agreements (EPAs), "several regional integration initiatives were agreed among ACP countries, broadly addressing regional development requests. Some of these regional bodies have made substantial progress towards customs union”, he said, adding that “EPAs should support and strengthen this regional integration in ACP regions."
31st ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
The Assembly will vote on Wednesday 15 June on 3 resolutions:
- the Continental area of free trade in Africa: opportunities to stimulate exchanges on the African continent and potential benefits for ACP countries (debate on Tuesday, co-rapporteurs: Jean-Marie Bulambo (DRC) and Marielle de Sarnez (FR),
- migration between ACP countries and EU member states: causes, consequences and strategies for common management (debate on Tuesday, co-rapporteurs: Magnus Kofi Amoatey (Ghana) and Norbert Neuser (DE); and
- improvement of participatory governance through decentralisation and strengthening of local governance (debate on Tuesday, co-rapporteurs: James Kembi-Gitura (Kenya) and Aymeric Chauprade (FR).
Two urgent topics will be debated and concluded by resolutions:
- pre-electoral situation and security in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (debate on Tuesday, vote on Wednesday), and
- rape and violence against women and children in armed conflicts (debate and vote on Wednesday).
On Tuesday, 14 June, MEPs and their counterparts from national parliaments of the ACP countries will also discuss the impact of the falling price of oil and other strategic commodities on the economy of ACP countries.
The changing face of conflict and global security threats – impact on world peace and stability will be one of the topics discussed on Wednesday, 15 June.
Note to editors
The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA ) brings together MEPs and MPs from 78 European Union (EU) and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states that have signed the Cotonou Agreement, which is the basis for ACP-EU cooperation and development work.
REF. : 20160613IPR32096
(Photo: MEP & Acting Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly Michele Rivasi greets Vice-President of Namibia H.E.Nickey Iyambo, with ACP-EU JPA Co-President on the ACP side, Hon. Netty Baldeh (centre)/ Courtesy of NAMPA)
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