Your Excellency Ambassador Peter THOMSON, President of the 71st UN General Assembly,

Your Excellency, Dr. Abraham TEKESTE, Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and President of the 105th Session of the ACP Council,

Honourable Ministers,


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I begin by expressing my deep honour and sense of privilege to welcome you to the ACP House for the 105th Council Session. A special welcome to the President of the 71st UN General Assembly, Ambassador Peter THOMSON, whose presence with us today signals the high esteem you accord to the ACP Group in its modest contribution as an effective global player.

Your presence further reinforces the conviction we all share of the high status your beautiful country, the Republic of Fiji, has always accorded to the ACP Group. Council would recall that our Guest Speaker for the 102nd Session in November 2015 was none other than the Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Ratu Josaia BAINIMARAMA.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

At the 104th Council Session last November, important decisions were taken pertaining to the future of the Group on the one hand and the future of ACP-EU relations on the other. The Secretariat has therefore been working hand-in-hand with the Committee of Ambassadors to implement these Decisions, details of which are captured in the Committee of Ambassadors’ report to Council, to be presented later on. At the same time, conscious of evolving global dynamics, the Secretariat has been engaged in the review of its programmes and systems to enhance the capacity of our member states to be more resilient and innovative. Details of these initiatives can be found in my report.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies

May I briefly draw attention to the issue of financial contributions. They are, as we all agree, a prerequisite to the continued wellbeing of the ACP Group in general, and your Secretariat in particular to better serve all our stakeholders. I would therefore like to appeal to Member States to continue your efforts towards the timely payment of statutory obligations in order to improve our self-reliance and the smooth functioning of the Secretariat. This is all the more important as the Committee of Ambassadors and the Secretariat intensify outreach activities in the second half of the year, subject to the guidance of Council, in preparation for the negotiations on a post-2020 ACP-EU Agreement. In this vein, voluntary contributions outside of statutory obligations would also be very welcome as we work towards an Endowment & Trust Fund!

Beyond all those necessary elements of finance, strategic planning and improved working relations, today more than ever, has to be steadfast commitment of our political leadership. By your presence and the great effort you have made to attend this important session of Council, your resolve to make of the ACP a great institution is truly admirable. The Secretariat is deeply indebted.

In closing, I would like to place on record the Secretariat’s appreciation for the extensive collaboration and support we have enjoyed from the Chair of the Committee of Ambassadors, the distinguished Ambassador Teshome Toga CHENAKA of Ethiopia, the Land of Origins. I am also highly appreciative of the work done by the various Subcommittees, Working Groups, and Task Forces set up by the Committee of Ambassadors to implement the Decisions from previous Council Sessions. Finally, allow me to place on record my appreciation for the level of professionalism and extra efforts demonstrated by the staff of the Secretariat in the discharge of their functions.

Honourable Ministers, Excellencies

May I once again welcome you to the ACP House, your House, and I wish the 105th ACP Council successful deliberations.

Thank you for your kind attention.

Patrick I. Gomes
ACP Secretary General