On Tuesday 3 November, the Swedish Presidency and the European Commission met with the Ambassadors to Brussels of the 78 countries of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) to discuss key common challenges, including in particular climate change and the global economic crisis.
“This was an excellent opportunity for us to explain the EU’’s position in the climate change negotiations, inform about the outcome of last week’’s European Council and to identify a number of issues where the EU and the ACP-countries – together a coalition of 105 states –should work together in the run-up to the Copenhagen Summit in December”” noted H.E. Christian Danielsson, Sweden’’s Permanent Representative to the European Union.“There was a common sense of urgency in the room –a feeling we now together need to translate into concrete progress in the negotiations, first in Barcelona this week and then in Copenhagen in December.””
There was a consensus that all parties to the negotiations need to reinforce their efforts in the coming weeks, building on the principles outlined in the Joint Declaration on Climate Change and Development adopted at the EU-ACP Ministerial Council in Brussels in May 2009. Ambassadors from a number of small island developing states (SIDS), in particular from the Pacific region, noted that for their countries climate change is not just an environmental or an economic issue, but an existential issue – a matter of life and death.
“Thanks to the agreement at the European Council last week the EU now has a solid mandate for continued leadership in the climate change negotiations going into this week’’s talks in Barcelona””, noted Stefano Manservisi, Director General for Development in the European Commission.
“Strong and sustained support for the poorest and most vulnerable countries – many also hit hard by the economic crisis – must be part of the final deal in Copenhagen.””
The next steps in the Brussels calendar is the ACP-countries’’ own Council of Ministers in Brussels on 16-19 November and – the same week – a meeting of EU Development Ministers on Tuesday 17 November, where climate change and development is on the top of the agenda. Ambassadors agreed to stay in close contact in the coming weeks and meet again before the Copenhagen Summit.