Brussels, 2 August 2014/ ACP: The Drafting Committee of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) concluded a vigorous week of work in Brussels on Friday, preparing its report on the future orientation of the ACP Group. The report is to be a key item on the agenda for the upcoming Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government, scheduled for the 6-7 November in Paramaribo, Suriname.

The Drafting Committee, chaired by former head of the International Trading Centre Ms. Patricia Francis, and including as members former IMF Director Mr Peter Gakunu and former Financial Secretary of Samoa Mr Kolone Va’ai, compiled a draft document, which will undergo editorial revisions over the coming weeks. They are also awaiting the outcomes of the final round of EPG regional consultations in Luanda, Angola on 1-3 September for the Southern African region.

“The Drafting Committee has made a lot of progress but there is still much work left to be completed before we have the final report. However, the committee has been able to re view and analyse the bulk of relevant material, including research, expert opinions, as well as inputs from various stakeholders in the ACP regions,” said ACP Secretariat’s coordinator for the EPG, Mr Morgan Githinji.

New research includes commissioned studies on the “successes and failures” of the ACP Group since its inception and mapping trade patterns in the ACP regions. The Committee is particularly concerned with having sound, feasible recommendations for the ACP Group, and presenting a clear picture of the resources needed to achieve them.

After completing its draft report the Drafting Committee will spend the month of September conducting validation meetings with various groups of stakeholders, including the full EPG panel, chaired by former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and co-chaired by former Heads of State of the Dominican Republic (President Leonel Fernandez Reyna) and Guyana (President Bharatt Jagdeo).

They plan to dispatch the final report to ACP Heads of State and Government in early October, a month before discussions take place at the Summit in Suriname.

The final report is expected to include key recommendations for revamping the ACP Group – an international organization encompassing 79 member countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, The Caribbean and the Pacific – to be more effective in delivering results to its populations. It will also include recommendations on how to move forward after the ACP’s cornerstone partnership with the European Union, known as the Cotonou Agreement, comes to an end in 2020.

The EPG has held regional consultations in five of the six major ACP regions, meeting with government officials, parliamentarians, as well as members of civil society and the business sector to gather their views on the future perspectives of the ACP Group. The final regional consultation is scheduled to be held in Luanda, Angola on 1-3 September 2014. Consultations also took place with representatives of international organizations as well as the EU, and inputs were sought from members of the public through the EPG website.

(Photos from top: Research presented to the Drafting Committee on ACP trade mapping; Drafting Committee members Ms Patricia Francis (centre), Mr Peter Gakunu (left) and Mr Kolone Va'ai (right))

– ACP Press