Brussels, 12 December 2013/ ACP: The Council of Ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group made decisions on several key issues at the close of its 98th session on Wednesday afternoon 11 December, including on the post-2015 global development programme to follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The ACP Declaration on the Post-2015 Development Agenda called for a single global mission that takes into account the three pillars of development – social, economic and environmental – while also highlighting the “persistent development challenges and vulnerabilities” in ACP countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs), those facing negative impacts of conflicts, Middle Income Developing Countries and Landlocked Countries in Africa.
The ACP Council of Ministers stated that the post-2015 development agenda should ensure transparency, coherence and accountability; sustainable use of natural resources; access to finance and technology, infrastructure and human resources to drive inclusive and sustainable growth; as well as the promotion and protection of ACP member states’ right to development.
The full document addressed principles and modalities, Sustainable Development Goals, funding mechanisms or means of mobilisation, and priority areas. A joint position with the EU on the post-2015 agenda is also expected.
The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning Ms Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria was a special guest speaker at the meeting.
Resolution on Terrorism
The Council of Ministers reiterated its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all forms. It also noted that factors such as poverty, deprivation, youth unemployment, social injustice, conflicts, and poor governance could become a breeding ground for fundamentalism and extremism, and called for a long term poverty-reduction and education programmes to address this. The Council also called for ACP governments to ratify international treaties on combatting and preventing terrorism, strengthen their own anti-terrorism units, and forge strategic partnerships to pool resources, share information, and survey porous borders.
Resolutions on Commodities
The Council of Ministers passed three resolutions major commodities for ACP economies – bananas, cotton, and sugar. Ministers demanded the quick and efficient disbursement of agreed funds to carry out banana accompanying measures (BAM) in ACP countries, to the tune of EUR 190 million. The Council also called for 100% decoupling of cotton subsidies in the EU, to address market distortion and support the development of poor ACP cotton producing countries. In the sugar sector, the Council of Ministers insisted on EU policy coherence in trade, agriculture and development, and urged the review of the impact of the new sugar regime and free trade agreements on ACP sugar supplying countries. ACP sugar officials recently finalised an action plan to enhance the sector as a driver of economic growth, and tackle the difficulties linked to the abolition of EU's sugar quotas in 2017.
Future of the ACP Group and 8th Summit of Heads of States and Governments
The Caribbean region has been recommended as the next venue of the 8th Summit of ACP Heads of States and Governments, with the host country to be finalised. The final report and recommendations of the ACP Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on the future prospects of the ACP Group as an organisation is scheduled for presentation at the Summit in the last quarter of 2014. The EPG, led by former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and co-chaired by former president Leonel Fernandez Reyna of Dominican Republic and former president Bharatt Jagdeo of Guyana, have begun consultations in all our six ACP regions to gather the views of local and regional stakeholders on the issues. Discussions in the Pacific and Caribbean regions have already held successfully, with the next round scheduled for the West African region in mid-January, hosted by Benin.
Approval of the ACP Secretariat budget
The Council approved the Secretariat’s budget for 2014, including an increase of more than 18% in contributions from member states, attesting to their commitment to the goals and outlooks of the ACP Group.
Proposed changes to Annex IV of the Cotonou Agreement
The Council of Ministers endorsed several proposed changes regarding the contract procurement procedures for EDF-funded projects and activities. The proposed changes will be discussed by the Joint Development Finance Committee before adoption by the Joint Committee of Ambassadors.
Official use of the ACP flag and anthem
The Council of Ministers has mandated the Committee of Ambassadors to set out the rules and procedures for the new ACP flag and anthem. These are symbols of the solidarity and common goals of ACP member states, as well as their commitment to strengthening their future as a Group.
– ACP Press