Rarotonga COOK ISLANDS, 30 August 2012/ ACP: The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States has voiced concerns over the inclusion of a differentiated approach towards aid in the European Commission’s Agenda for Change.

The proposed policy seeks to deliver EU development assistance more efficiently by focussing on key priority areas and targeting resources towards Least Developed Countries, while cutting national allocations to High Income and Upper Middle Income Countries.

“The inclusion of the element of graduation, linked to a differentiated approach with respect to access to resources, in our view is not within the spirit of the Second Revision of Cotonou [ACP-EU Partnership Agreement],” stated ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, while addressing the Pacific ACP leaders in Rarotonga, Cook Islands this week.

“We believe that ACP countries that have achieved favourable economic performance should be supported to transition into a more stable and sustainable growth path. Countries should not be unduly punished because they have been able to ensure growth and prosperity through discipline, sound governance and prudent economic policies.”

Countries have argued that specific vulnerabilities faced by Small Island Developing States are not reflected in the economic classification of countries.

Caribbean countries are most likely to face exclusion from EU bilateral aid under the new policy, as well as several countries from Africa and the Pacific.

The ACP Group called on the European Union to reconsider anymeasures that might appear unilateral orthat would modify the legal framework of the 2010 revised Cotonou Agreement.

“The dialogue on this issue is continuing in Brussels and we hope that a mutually acceptable solution can be found soon,” concluded the Secretary General.

The European Union remains the largest donor of development aid worldwide, allocating more than €22 billion to African, Caribbean and Pacific nations within the 10th European Development Fund framework covering 2008 to 2013.

For further inquiries, contact Press Attachee Josephine Latu-Sanft Tel +32 2 7430617 Email latu@acp.int.