Brussels, November 3, 2015/ ACP: The ACP Eminent Persons Group (EPG) made significant progress on its work on the future propects of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, with the aim of submitting a final report to ACP Heads of State and Government at the next ACP Summit, which Papua New Guinea has offered to host in May 2016.

Meeting in Brussels over 2-3 November, nine out of the 12 members of the EPG, chaired by former President of Nigeria H.E Chief Olusegun Obasanjo with former President of Guyana H.E. Bharat Jagdeo also participating as vice-chair, deliberated on its draft report related to reorienting the organisation post-2020, when the current ACP partnership agreement with the EU comes to an end.

At a press briefing on Tuesday, President Obasanjo emphasised that the broad outlook of their report supports the view that the ACP Group should remain as a cohesive force, but with a streamlined mandate.

"All the deliberations in our regional consultations pointed to the desire for this Group of 79 countries spanning Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific to stay united as a group. I repeat: the outcomes of the consultations we conducted in the six ACP regions confirm that the ACP Group should remain united as an entity," he stated.

"However, to be considered as a relevant player on the international stage, the ACP Group needs to streamline its mandate, and concentrate on where it can have an added value, given the plethora of institutions that already exist."

In this regard, the EPG is proposing a focus on trade and investment, political dialogue and advocacy, and development cooperation, as interdependent and cohesive elements.

There was also strong support for greater intra-ACP cooperation among ACP member states.

In terms of future relations with the EU, President Obasanjo stated the view that the partnership should be enhanced and strengthened, but that it not be the only dimension of ACP Group's future as an international organisation.

"It is clear that the ACP as a Group, with its vast resources, growing labour force, and vast investment opportunities, all provide the basis for the ACP and EU parties to craft a more balanced partnership post-2020. At the same time, the ACP Group should be pursuing various types of partnerships with other parties (for mutually beneficial outcomes, addressing global challenges and harnessing opportunities) in its long-term interest."
The EPG will finalise its report in coming months, which includes at least 30 recommendations to ACP leaders, having also incorporated the report of the Ambassadorial Working Group on Future Perspectives.
Following endorsement by the ACP Heads of State and Government at its 7th Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in December 2012, the Eminent Persons Group was inaugurated in March 2013 with a mandate to review the 79-member African, Caribbean and Pacific Group as an international organisation, and make recommendations that would reform the Group into a more effective, relevant and dynamic institution, making a difference in the lives of ACP peoples in terms of promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development.
The 12 members include:
H.E Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Former President of Nigeria (CHAIR)
H.E Dr. Leonel A. Fernandez Reyna, Former President of the Dominican Republic (VICE CHAIR)
H.E. Bharrat Jagdeo, Former President of Guyana (VICE CHAIR)
Ms. Valentine Sendanyoye Rubwabiza, Former Deputy Director General, World Trade Organisation
Prof. Sebastiao Isata, Special Representative and Head of African Union Liaison Office in Guinea Bissau
Prof. Ibrahima Fall, Former United Nations Assistant Secretary General
Ms. Patricia R. Francis, Former Executive Director, International Trade Centre
Amb. Nureldin Satti, Former Acting Special Representative for the UN Secretary General in Burundi
Dr. Daoussa Bichara Cherif , Former Minister of Public Works, Transport, Housing and Urbanisation, Chad
Mr. Kaliopate Tavola, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fiji
Mr. Kolone Vaai, Former Secretary of Finance, Samoa
Mr. Peter Gakunu, Former Executive Director, International Monetary Fund
The EPG conducted regional consultations in all six regions of the ACP Group (West Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) involving government officials, civil society, business sector and parliamentarians. Consultations were also held with international partners and organisations, in addition to documentary and historical background research.
The final report will be tabled at the 8th ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government, scheduled for 30 May – 1 June 2016 in Port MOresby, Papua New Guinea.
– ACP Press