ACP PRESS RELEASE: 31 January 2011 – The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group has launched an Ambassadorial Working Group on the Future Perspectives of the ACP Group last week in Brussels, Belgium.

The decision to set-up the Working Group was mandated by the 92nd Session of the ACP Council of Ministers held in Brussels in November 2010, in view of the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement with the European Union by the year 2020.
The ACP was created by the Georgetown Agreement signed in Guyana in 1975. It is composed of 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific States signatories. These countries also have a Partnership Agreement with the European Union, officially known as the “ACP-EC Partnership Agreement” or the “Cotonou Agreement”.
Speaking at the launch, Chairman of the Committee of Ambassadors and Ambassador of Guyana, H.E Patrick Gomes, stressed that it is time the ACP Group began to envision an alternative future for the group. He also commended Secretary-General Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, under whose leadership the Committee was being created.

On his part, Dr. Chambas underscored that the ACP needs to keep abreast with current global changes, institutional architecture and shift of gravity in world economics and politics — noting that even the European Union is also undergoing changes. He also stressed that the output of the Working Group and its recommendations will be crucial to providing the kind of thinking and policy choices that would give new direction to the Group.

Chairman of the Working Group and the Ambassador of Mauritius, H.E Mr. Sutiawan Gunessee, in accepting the challenge to chair the Group, said that since 2010, which was also the beginning of the Lisbon Treaty, “we have seen that the ACP Group was not the privilege partner as it used be.”

The Working Group consists of very senior ambassadors from the six ACP regions, members of the ACP Secretariat Staff Association and has a four year mandate.