ECDPM , 1 November 2011: Ambassador P.I. Gomes succeeds Ambassador Lingston Cumberbatch as Chair of ECDPM Board; Aart Jan de Geus succeeds Berend-Jan Baron van Voorst tot Voorst as member.

After almost ten years Ambassador Lingston Cumberbatch stepped down as Chair of the Board of Governors of ECDPM (European Centre for Development Policy Management) to be replaced by Ambassador P.I. Gomes who took office as the new ECDPM Board Chair from August 1, 2011.

Ambassador Cumberbatch’s leadership provided the Centre with a strong beacon. His keen interest in practical ways to effectively improve ACP-EU relations and his enthusiasm in leading ECDPM’s efforts to facilitate it had great impact. During his Chairmanship of almost 10 years, Ambassador Cumberbatch therefore left a decisive mark on the organisation. His name will be forever connected to a decade in which ECDPM achieved both success and continuity as an independent foundation working on Europe’s relations with the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Ambassador P.I. Gomes, Ambassador of Guayana in Brussels has accepted to be the next Chairperson of the Board of ECDPM. A renown academic and ACP Ambassador, and an experienced ECDPM Board member as well, he will continue to guide ECDPM on its path of non-partisan, yet committed broker and facilitator of ACP-EU policy process. With him at the helm, the ECDPM Board is confident that it will be able to continue to critically but fairly steer the Centre to excel in facilitating an equal and fruitful ACP-EU partnership in line with its mandate.

Mr Berend-Jan Baron van Voorst tot Voorst stepped down from the Board also. The former Governor of the Province of Limburg was an active ECDPM Board member for almost two decades. His outstanding grasp of Dutch, European and world politics, and his contributions to rooting the European Centre for Development Policy Management in Maastricht and in Limburg will be remembered as decisive for the history of ECDPM.

In his place, Mr. Aart Jan de Geus has kindly accepted his nomination to become Board member of ECDPM. After having been Minister of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands in three subsequent cabinets, Mr. de Geus was Deputy Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, before he returned to the Netherlands in 2011.

Ambassador P.I. Gomes and Mr. de Geus received a warm welcome by their colleagues from the Board and staff of ECDPM during the recent October Board meetings.

ECDPM was established as an independent foundation in 1986, to improve international cooperation between developed and developing countries, with a particular focus on the relations between the European Union and its member states and the countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. ECDPM helps to strengthen the capacity of public and private sector organisations in developing countries and regions to design and manage international cooperation effectively, while at the same time actively supporting the reform of European policies and institutions to ensure an effective response to the development challenges of our time. ECDPM’s work focuses on the development effectiveness of European external action, economic governance and international drivers of change; governance and democracy in Africa and, regional integration, markets and agriculture for food security. ECDPM organises and facilitates international policy dialogues, provides regular knowledge and information updates, participates in numerous South-North networks and does practical policy-oriented research with partners from the South. Crosscutting units focus on international partnerships, knowledge management and communication, institutional relations and policy innovation.

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Contact person for this press release: Laura Dominguez ( Tel: +31 43 3502905