ACP Press Release: 13 April 2011 – The 9th Meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) National and Regional Authorising Officers started this morning with Secretary-General Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas highlighting the importance of the European Development Fund as an important instrument to fight poverty in ACP countries.

National Authorising Officers (NAOs) and Regional Authorising Officers (RAOs) are made-up of ACP Ministers, senior members of ACP governments and regional organisations who are in charge of the implementation of the European Development Fund (EDF) National and Regional Indicative programmes.

Opening the meeting, Dr Chambas noted that one of the reasons we remain attached to the European Development Fund is because of its “predictability in providing the Group with financial resources to combat poverty and poverty-related diseases in our countries and regions.” He stressed that the EDF has fostered growth in diverse sectors and the development of a special culture of openness and mutual accountability which has made the ACP-EU partnership a model of development cooperation.

“It is in that respect that the principle of ownership of aid—introduced through the Cotonou Agreement—is closely linked to the idea that the spirit of partnership between donors and recipient governments is essential to the success of sustainable development cooperation,” the Secretary-General, said.

Dr Chambas added that another specific feature of the ACP-EU partnership is the co-management of aid, which is based on the sharing of responsibility between executing agents. “It also implies taking joint decisions within the various bodies established for that purpose, thereby creating synergies in the decision-making process. Predictability and security of resources are crucial, since they are determining factors in the medium- and long-term planning of sustainable economic and social development projects and programmes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Chambas told the delegates that the 9th meeting comes at a time when a number of adjustments are taking place on the international scene, against a backdrop of financial, institutional and humanitarian crises. He noted that the inexorable process of transformation will, without a doubt, lead to the emergence of new geopolitical realities that will see a shift in traditional interdependencies with the risk of greater asymmetry. “Given the multiple challenges it must meet in the coming years, the ACP Group must ensure that any future solution provides guarantees for the fundamental aspects of development finance cooperation,” he said.

The meeting among other issues will discuss budget support under the 10th EDF, Status of the MDG Implementation in ACP countries, the European MDGs Initiative and the future of EU budget support to the third countries. ENDS