Brussels 22 March 2016: Outpsoken Gambian politician Hon. Netty Baldeh presided for the first time over the African, Caribbean and Pacific Parliamentary Assembly on 15 March, since his appointment as Chair as well as Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly last December.

Known for his frank, straight-talking approach to discussions, Hon. Baldeh is an experienced parliamentarian in ACP-EU matters, which covers trade, political dialogue and development cooperation between the European Union and 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.

A civil engineer by training, Hon. Baldeh played a part in several important infrastructure projects of his country such as road works and water supply systems, and his election to Gambia’s National Assembly in 1996 representing the Tumana constituency. He has since chaired a number of key committees including those on Trade, Regional Integration, World Trade Organisation, World Bank, and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). He has led Gambia’s delegation to the ACP and ACP-EU Assemblies for nearly a decade, since 2007.

At the 41st session of the ACP Parliamentary Assembly held in Brussels the 15 of March, fellow Members of Parliament from across the ACP regions welcomed the new leadership, which comes at a decisive moment concerning the outlooks of the ACP Group as an organisation.

Hon. Baldeh conducted intense discussions on sensitive political and security issues in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. He also co-chaired the Bureau meeting of the Joint Assembly alongside Hon. Louis Michel for the European Parliament.

“You have taken up these responsibilities at a very critical time for the ACP Group, as we are currently in discussions about the future perspectives to guide and inform a renewed ACP Group, as well as the future direction of ACP-EU Cooperation. During the two years of your mandate, it is hoped that we would have arrived at a more concrete picture of where we are going,” stated the ACP Secretary General H.E Dr. Patrick Gomes in his opening remarks.

Baldeh’s appointment comes in the lead up to the 8th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government that will take place in Papua New Guinea on 31 May and 1 June 2016, which will take concrete decisions on the issue. He concluded that relations between ACP and EU countries need to continue in the context of an ACP-EU partnership in order to meet the development challenges facing both sides. However the procedures of cooperation will need some changes.

Underlining the importance of the parliamentarian’s involvement in the process, he concluded: “The ACP-EU parliamentary Assembly Session is like an outreach activity because we have agreed to the Cotonou agreement and we have responsibility to come and get involved and take the information back to our people, so it’s like an outreach and as parliamentarian our core function is actual oversight.”

The ACP Parliamentary Assembly brings together Members of Parliaments from the 79 Member States of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group. Twice a year they meet with Members of the European Parliament in frank and open dialogue on common concerns.

More information on these Joint Assemblies can be found here:

– ACP Press