Brussels, 10 November 2014/ ACP: A milestone step for the ACP commodities sector is set to take place next week, with the ultimate aim of creating a sustainable integrated programme for commodities in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

Commodities specialists, development partners, regional organisations, as well as representatives of ACP countries in Brussels will convene at the ACP House on 18 November to examine existing trade opportunities and tackle the issues of diversifying commodities, developing value chains and governance in the sector.

The Forum on the New Approach to the ACP Commodities Sector will also mark an opportunity to review the preliminary results of a key feasibility study funded by UNCTAD for a highly targeted and pro-active multi-sectoral approach to ACP commodities as a whole. Recommendations from the meeting will help to define an “All-ACP” roadmap for a sustainable comprehensive programme for the ACP commodities sector, to be financed under the European Development Fund.

The initiative follows on the call by ACP Heads of State and Government at their 7th Summit in 2012 for concerted efforts at adding value and higher technological content to commodity exports and diversifying into industrial and services sectors with potential for dynamic growth.

Commodities account for a major part of ACP exports, making up 94% in Africa, 85% in the Caribbean and 60% of exports in Pacific countries for the period 2010-2012, according to UNCTAD estimates. Cotton, bananas, sugar, tobacco and rum are some examples of commodities that have been of particular concern in ACP trade with the EU.

At the same time, ACP economies remain very vulnerable, due notably to their poor diversification, coupled with a heavy dependence on commodities as the main avenue for economic development and global trade. In recent years, the commodities market has experienced fundamental challenges, particularly in its financing and price structure, along with new requirements for quality, ethical and environmental standards, posing particular risks for ACP countries.

The upcoming Forum and the anticipated “new approach” to ACP commodities will seek to address these issues, with a focus on vertical and horizontal diversification, the functioning of supply chains, the status of trade practices and the innovation, stability and interdependence of markets, management of economic resources linked to production and export, as well as effective commodity-related policies.

Concept Note

Draft Programme

For more information on the Forum, contact Commodities & Protocol Expert Mr. Yao Adingra, +32 2 743 0691, For media enquiries, contact Press Officer Ms. Josephine Latu-Sanft, +32 2 743 0617,