It is both a privilege and an honour for me and fellow members of the Committee of Ambassadors to welcome, this afternoon, a colleague and a brother in the new Secretary-General of the ACP Group, His Excellency, Dr. Patrick I. Gomes.
Mr. Secretary-General,
On behalf of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors and on my own behalf, I would like to warmly reiterate our congratulations on your appointment to the post of Secretary-General of the ACP Group and to wish you every success in this highly important mission entrusted to you by the highest authorities of the ACP Group.
I have no doubt that your brilliant career and vast experience acquired over the last thirty-five years, as an academic in the political analysis of international development, research, planning and the promotion of institutional development between developed and developing countries, and as a diplomat, will enable you to shoulder this new responsibility skilfully and effectively.
Since your appointment as Ambassador of Guyana in 2005, you have worked tirelessly in the interest of our Group through the various subcommittees and working groups that you had the honour of chairing in the last few years.
The first ACP Symposium on Improving South-South Cooperation, held in 2011 during your tenure as chairman of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, in collaboration with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), is a perfect example of that.
Under your visionary and dynamic leadership as chairman of the ACP Ambassadorial Working Group on the Future Perspectives of the ACP Group, our Group adopted a Vision, a Mission and Core Values based on the principles of solidarity and unity.
It is in this framework that the Group adopted its flag and anthem, which are, among other things, the fruits of your tireless efforts.
It was only logical that your professional and personal qualities would be recognised and rewarded at the highest level, through your appointment on 12 December 2014, as Secretary-General of our Group at the 100th session of the ACP Council of Ministers.
Mr. Secretary-General,
Your appointment to the post of Secretary-General of the ACP Group comes at a pivotal stage in the history of our Group.
The new challenges facing all ACP States must motivate us to take new initiatives to better reposition our Group in the new global landscape.
Today, the need to chart a new course for the future of our Group is becoming increasingly persistent, in this period of multidimensional crises and upheavals on the international scene.
The new developments in the international arena, characterised by the growing power of emerging economies and the successive enlargements of the European Union towards the countries of the East, must prompt the ACP countries to reflect on the future of ACP-EU relations, with the Cotonou Agreement due to expire in 2020.
In this respect, our Group's efforts to reinvent itself and to become a major global player are to be encouraged.
We need, therefore, to continue to strengthen solidarity and unity among our countries, with a view to better positioning ourselves at the international level.
The numerical strength of the ACP Group whose 79 Member States are spread out over three continents will enable it to make its mark at the international level, provided there is unity and solidarity among its members.
Together, we can play our part in combating the devastating effects of climate change and food insecurity, by ensuring prudent and efficient management of the abundant natural, mineral and energy resources of our continents, for the sustainable development of our societies.
At a time when the International Community is engaged in discussions on the general post-2015 framework, which will be of vital importance for poverty eradication, the ACP Group must continue to pay special attention to the upcoming United Nations Conference on this issue, to be held in New York in September 2015.
With regard to cooperation, which constitutes an important dimension for the economic, cultural and social development of our countries, it should be recalled that during the Malabo Summit, ACP Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their determination to promote intra-ACP cooperation.
In that regard, I am delighted with the significant progress that we have made with our European partners in programming the resources of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
Another significant challenge that the ACP States must overcome is that of creating the stable political and institutional environment necessary for sustainable development.
Stability, security and peace are critical to any type of development.
In order to meet all these challenges, our Group's Secretariat must be more effective and proactive, acting as the primary body for reflection and impetus for the ACP Group, steadfastly moving towards the future.
Mr. Secretary-General,
In concluding, I wish to again express the warm and sincere congratulations of the Committee of Ambassadors, who have no doubt that you will spare no effort to inject fresh momentum into our Group, to enhance its visibility at the international level, in the legitimate defence of the interests of the ACP countries.
Rest assured that you will have the trust and support of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors and all the organs of our Group in your efforts to serve the ACP States throughout your tenure.
Thank you for your kind attention.
H.E Roy Mickey Joy
Ambassador of the Republic of Vanuatu