Brussels, 19 September 2013/ ACP: Stronger stances on key global issues and an improved way of dealing with EU partners are some of the focus areas in the pipeline for the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, says its new Chair.

The Ambassador of Samoa, H.E Dr Fatumanava Pa’o Luteru said his six month term at the helm (August 2013-February 2014) will have members taking more of a world focus, in addition to dealing with the “bread and butter” issues of the ACP – that is, mapping programming criteria for the European Development Fund, tackling ACP-EU trade pacts, and supporting the on-going work on the future outlooks of the ACP Group.
“We need to look also at some of the key global issues that are of importance not only to the ACP but also the wider international community. And we need to articulate clearly our positions on these issues…Climate change is an important one, energy, investment in our countries, and of immediate concern, the post 2015 development agenda,” he told ACP Press.
To expedite actions concerning the EU, Dr Luteru called for “a new methodology for doing business”:
“Basically what we need to look at is to perhaps engage and have reflections with our partners a lot more on the political level – targeting principles, frameworks and seeking agreement at that level. Then you’ll be able to move a lot faster… then the officials and the technical people can continue to thrash out the details.”
The former ACP Assistant Secretary General – Dr Luteru headed the Political Affairs and Human Development department from 2000 to 2005 – has met with a number of executives at the European Commission in this regard.
He said in moving away from the “donor-recipient” mentality focused solely on seeking aid, the ACP Group can place itself in a stronger position where it can offer benefits to its partners. This way, its large membership (79 countries) will be a clear advantage.
However, the Committee’s agenda will be demanding. Over the next five months, the Chair will be involved in several major activities, including the first round of consultations by the Eminent Persons Group on the future perspectives of the ACP, scheduled in his home country Samoa on 17-18 October.
He is also pushing the launch of the first Pacific-EU summit, which has garnered support in initial talks with European officials.
“One has to be realistic in the five months of our Presidency in what we can do, but as with all these things, the central theme in our presidency is action rather than talk,” stated Ambassador Luteru.
The Committee of Ambassadors is the second decision-making body of the ACP Group, whose main role is to monitor the implementation of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement. Chairmanship is selected on the basis of a rotation among the four African regions, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
– ACP Press
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