Brussels, 9 February 2012/ ACP: The Secretary General of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) H. E Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas presented a list of key priorities for the organisation, setting the tone in the lead up to the ACP Heads of State Summit to be held this December in Equatorial Guinea.

Speaking to journalists today, Dr Chambas declared 2012 to be a “year of restoration”, underlining plans to enhance the ACP as a “forward-looking international organisation.”

In 2012, the Group will focus on strengthening South-South solidarity and collaboration, intensifying attention on the Millennium Development Goals, advancing sustainable development programmes in ACP communities, and boosting the collective voice of ACP countries and their role as a group in the global arena. This includes 48 countries from Africa, 16 from the Caribbean, and 15 from the Pacific.

“The ACP Council of Ministers took the decision late last year to hold the 7th ACP Heads of State Summit in 2012. A theme has yet to be set, although a task force has been appointed to mobilise preparations for this meeting. As the ACP has not had a Heads of State Summit since 2008, we will certainly have a lot to talk about,” remarked the Secretary General.

Key achievements for the Group in 2011 include the first ever symposium on South-South relations between the ACP and IBSA states – India, Brazil and South Africa, which led to a Memorandum of Understanding signed last December between the ACP Secretariat and Brazil to promote technical cooperation and dialogue.

“As well as remaining a true partner of Europe, we do wish to deepen our relationships amongst ACP states, as well as other developing countries which share our goals of alleviating poverty, and promoting the effective, fair and gradual integration of our nations into the world trade system.”

Since early last year, an ACP Ambassadorial Working Group on the Future Perspectives of the ACP Group began its work to consolidate a long term direction for the Group. With support from the UNDP, a report is being prepared outlining alternative future scenarios for the ACP family of nations.

The ACP includes 79 member states with a combined population of around 980 million. Forty are Least Developed Countries (out of 48 globally) and 36 Small Island Developing States. All but one are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement (ACP-EC Partnership Agreement) with the European Union.

Read SG's full speech

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