Brussels, 23 March 2017/ ACP: The ACP Parliamentary Assembly held its 45th session and first plenary meeting of the year on Wednesday 22 March at the ACP House in Brussels. Hon. Netty Baldeh of the Gambia presided over deliberations, which brought together lawmakers from more than 70 countries to discuss relevant political and development issues, and prepare for the intersessional meetings with members of the European Parliament later this week.
The ACP Parliamentary Assembly highlighted the importance of preparations for negotiating future relations with the EU after the current partnership with ACP countries (known as the Cotonou Agreement) comes to an end in 2020, especially engaging the ACP regions in political dialogue.
Speaking on behalf of the ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick Gomes at the event, Assistant Secretary General Amb. Léonard Ognimba reminded the Assembly of their critical role to “actively defend the interest of the ACP Group to achieve the ACP we want,” stating:
“The year 2017 is one of great expectations. We have a range of issues on the table like migration, climate change, private sector development and most importantly, negotiations for the post Cotonou framework.
With regard to the post Cotonou negotiations, we have the solemn Declarations by ACP Heads of State and Government… of their commitment to the objectives and principles of peace and security of all nations, the solidarity among nations of the global south, and most importantly an ACP that remains unified as a trans-regional entity.”
Amb. Ognimba highlighted the decision of the ACP Council of Ministers in November 2016 to focus on three strategic pillars as the basis of a new all ACP umbrella organisation:
i. Trade, investment, industrialisation and services:
ii. Development cooperation, technology, science and innovation/research; and
iii. Political dialogue and advocacy.
He said the negotiation process for an ACP-EU post-Cotonou Agreement is envisaged as leading to a legally binding agreement, in addition to a dedicated development finance mechanism.
The ACP Parliamentary Assembly session also debated reports from its three standing committees, that is the Committee on Political Affairs (currently chaired by Côte d’Ivoire), Committee on Economic Development Finance and Trade (chaired by Kenya), and the Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment (chaired by Samoa).
The meeting, along with the joint intersessional meetings with EU counterparts, will lead to the 33rd session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, which will together both ACP and EU Members of Parliament in St. Julian’s, Malta on 17-21 June.
– ACP Press
(Photos from top: President of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly Hon. Netty Baldeh; Report of the Committee on Economic Development Finance and Trade delivered by Hon. Joyce Laboso of Kenya; Assistant Secretary General of the ACP Group Amb. Leonard Ognimba (centre) welcomes the Assembly to ACP House; Samoan MP (centre) delivers report of the Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment)