Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 8 September 2015/ ACP: The ACP Group announced concrete steps being taken to address the specific challenges of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including the serious threats of climate change to people’s livelihoods, cultures, economic development, and even more critically, their survival in coming generations.

Addressing leaders of the Pacific Island members of the ACP Group today, the ACP Secretary General H.E. Dr. Patrick Gomes said: “We fully share the concerns of the Pacific peoples regarding the existential threats posed by climate change.” [View photo gallery of the ACP's participation at the 46th Pacific Forum leaders' meeting]

“I strongly urge Pacific ACP leaders to continue their support and active participation in the ACP Group, so that together we can better represent the Pacific’s interests in Brussels and beyond, in areas such as poverty reduction, climate change mitigation and adaptation, international trade negotiations, and sustainable utilisation of natural resource.”

The ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) Group of States recently endorsed the set-up of a permanent SIDS forum within the Group to raise awareness of SIDS issues and to implement the SAMOA Pathway outcome document from the Third International Conference on SIDS held in Samoa in 2014.

The Secretary General also informed the leaders of the major areas of concentration outlined for the ‘Intra-ACP’ envelope (worth €3.59 billion for 2014-2020) of the 11th European Development Fund, which include climate change, resilience building and the environment; private sector development; and the development and management of natural resources.

ACP countries and regions are eligible to tap into these funds, available in 2016, in addition to the national and regional envelopes.

In preparations for the Paris Climate Change Conference or CoP21 scheduled for December this year, the ACP Group will organise a preparatory meeting in Brussels, which will provide the opportunity for member states to work towards a common position.

Pacific’s pivotal role

Dr. Gomes commended the significant involvement of the region, including host country Papua New Guinea, in the work of the Brussels-based intergovernmental body, which comprises 79 member states from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The ACP works in partnership with the European Union, while also promoting South-South and Triangular Cooperation to achieve poverty eradication and sustainable economic development in its member states.

The Secretary General said the Pacific has a key role in setting the future direction of the organisation, allowing more of the regions’ development concerns to be addressed in the global fora.

“The Pacific has always deployed its highest calibre of representatives to the ACP Group and the EU, who without exception contribute outstandingly to the Committee of Ambassadors, the various decision-making bodies and in the joint ACP-EU institutions,” he told the meeting.

Papua New Guinea has offered to host the 8th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government in mid-2016, the second country in the Pacific to do so since 2002, when the high level event was held in Fiji. The 8th Summit, which aims to bring together all Heads of State and Government of the ACP countries, comes at a critical time as the organisation considers how to reform its structures to become more effective as a global player.

It is expected that leaders will make policy decisions at the 8th Summit that will affect the nature of its relationship between the ACP Group and the EU, and set a clear pathway for transformation.

The Secretary General applauded the Papua New Guinea Government for being the first to pledge €500,000 towards a feasibility study on the establishment of an ACP Endowment Fund, a long-term investment and development facility to ensure the future financial sustainability of the organisation.

The Pacific ACP leaders’ meeting precedes the main plenary sessions of the 46th Pacific Forum leaders’ conference. The ACP Group has been an Observer Member of the Pacific Islands Forum since 2011.

(Photo: Above – Heads of Government of the Pacific region along with the Secretaries General of the ACP Group, H.E Dr Patrick Gomes [standing, fourth from left] and the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor [standing, third from right]; Top – ACP Secretary General with the President of Kiribati H.E. Anote Tong, who is a globally recognised voiced on the issue of climate change. The Secretary General was able to hold bilaterals with a number of Pacific leaders and delegations to discuss how to work better together to achieve sustainable development goals.)

View photo gallery of ACP Secretary General's mission to Papua New Guinea for the 46th Pacific Island Forum leaders' meeting

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