Brussels, 28 March 2017/ ACP: Representatives from the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union have agreed on several major issues to discuss at the upcoming joint ministerial council meetings, scheduled for 4-5 May 2017 in Brussels.

Ambassadors and officials from both sides met in Brussels in March to elaborate on a common agenda that would guide the highest joint decision-making body in the ACP-EU partnership, during its 42nd session. The Joint Council is expected to take decisions on the following items:

The implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains a top priority, and both ACP and EU sides agree that cooperation between the two parties should align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Climate change is also high on the agenda, being a concrete area where ACP and EU collaboration has enabled the global community to forge an international coalition, and paved the way for achieving the historic Paris Agreement. Continued cooperation is envisaged, including the development of effective programs and actions under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).

The future relations between ACP and EU countries is a fundamental issue in the lead up to negotiations for a renewed partnership agreement to follow the current ACP-EU framework, which expires in 2020. The ACP Group intends to negotiate as a unified entity, supporting a legally binding agreement with a dedicated development finance mechanism.

Discussions on migration will look at the progress of the Valetta Action Plan as well as the EU Trust Fund for Africa, sourced from the EDF resources with the primary goal of assisting African countries to help stem migratory flows to Europe. The ACP Group highlighted synergies with the ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration, while also underlining trends in the Caribbean and Pacific regions, particularly in relation to human trafficking, smuggling of migrants, and high cost of remittances.

Both the EU and ACP recognize the importance of private sector development. Ministers will consider the progress made under the Joint ACP-EU Cooperation Framework for Private Sector Development Support. The ACP Group urges the prompt set up of the ‘Light Structure for ACP Private Sector Development’ to support the joint framework.

As far as development finance cooperation, talks will focus on aspects related to implementing the SDGs, the status of the European Development Funds and the implementation of the ACP Investment Facility. The Council will also discuss the revision of Chapter 3 of the Annex II to the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, on support for ACP countries affected by exogenous shocks.

Finally, economic issues such as trade cooperation (including the state of play of the ACP-EU regional Economic Partnership Agreements – EPAS), the European External Investment Plan and perspectives of the Investment Facility, round up the main part of the agenda.

Exchanges are also scheduled on preparations for the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, youth, job creation and demography, strengthened cooperation in the international arena, and ocean governance.

The 42nd session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers will be co-chaired by ministers from Ethiopia and Malta.

– Press ACP