ACP Press Release – Monday 6 June 2011: In celebrating the 36th Anniversary of the ACP Day, Secretary-General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas has challenged the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group to re-assess its place in the world as its key partner, the European Union, also undergoes changes.

Speaking at ACP House in Brussels during the occasion, Secretary-General Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said: “I need not remind us that our world is changing with breathtaking rapidity. Globalisation imposes new competitive pressures on the economies of our member countries even as the rules-based WTO international trading regime no longer accommodates the privileged trading arrangements that we once enjoyed with Europe.” Dr. Chambas added: “We also face a new era of uncertainties.

The New Europe, with its changing institutional architecture and emerging geopolitical priorities poses a challenge for us to reassess our place in the world.” He also went to explain: “While we appreciate the support we have continued to receive from our EU partners, it is evident that we must take our future into our own hands while embracing South-South cooperation and the opportunities opened up by the emerging economies of China, India and Brazil.”

Dr Chambas observed that, in an increasingly difficult global environment, the ACP Group needs to reaffirm its solidarity and unity of purpose; faithful to the spirit of the Georgetown Declaration and the collective wisdom which inspired its Founding Fathers to embark upon this great adventure anchored on solidarity and interdependence. “We at the ACP believe that there is no alternative to dialogue and there can be no retreat from cooperation based on ethics and global responsibility,” he said.

The 2011 ACP Day had attracted three remarkable guest speakers: Ms. Patricia Francis from Jamaica and Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC) based in Geneva; Professor Mirjam van Reisen from the Netherlands, Marga Klompé Professor of International Social Responsibility, University of Tilburg; and Professor Meghnad Lord Desai from India and Britain, a member of the British House of Lords and Professor Emeritus of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

The three speakers exchanged their views around the theme: “The Role of Dialogue in Sustainable Development: Implications and Prospects for ACP-EU Cooperation in a Changing Global Environment.” The session concluded with very lively exchanges by Ambassadors and other invited guests. There were also have two exhibitions; one, by the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM), who were showcasing some of their activities; the other, a photo exhibition on Haiti before the earthquake, sponsored by the Organisation International de la Francophonie (OIF). There were also cultural performances from various regions of the ACP Group. The ACP is a group of 79 countries, created by the Georgetown (Guyana) Agreement in 1975.

For further details contact: Robert Iroga, Press Attaché