21 June, 2012: The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union have adopted a joint declaration reaffirming their shared commitment to the principles of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, while calling for an “ambitious and action oriented” outcome at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20), currently underway in Rio de Janeiro.

“We are committed to advancing the sustainable development agenda at the global level – especially as our 79 members are developing countries, with 40 of them the least developed in the world. The joint declaration is the result of hard work over some time, and we must congratulate both ACP and EU sides for their contribution,” said ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who is currently heading delegation from the ACP Group at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20).

"The ACP-EU Partnership numbers 105 countries on four continents. It is a large part of the world community, which jointly has a significant voice. We have a common interest in combating climate change and poverty while promoting sustainable development for all," stated the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Mr Christian Friis Bach.

Amongst other things, the declaration pledges both the ACP’s and EU’s commitment to working constructively during the Rio +20 Conference, urging the forum to adopt decisions in line with the outcomes of the Durban Conference on Climate Change, the Nagoya Conference on Biodiversity and the Changwon Conference on Desertification, and calling on the international community, including non-traditional donors, to deliver on commitments. Read the full declaration

The document backs the transition to a green economy as a mutually beneficial way to achieve sustainable development in ACP and EU member states, while also highlighting the value of the blue economy – oceans and marine resources – to the survival of many ACP countries, especially Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

In addition, the joint declaration stresses the need for an improved Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development to monitor progress towards goals, calling for the transformation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) into an international specialised agency for the environment, based in Kenya. It also welcomes the proposal on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a way to help monitor the implementation of sustainable development commitments, to be coordinated and coherent with the Millennium Development Goals.

The joint declaration was passed at the ACP-EU Council of Ministers meeting on the 14th and 15th of June in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

The ACP Group is comprised of 79 member states from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, working towards the eradication of poverty and the integration of member countries into the world trade system. On behalf of its member states, the ACP carries out political dialogue as well as trade and development aid negotiations with the European Union, within the framework of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement.

– ACP Press