Secretariat of the ACP Group of States The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States Secretary-General, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, in a meeting with the ACP Working Group of the European Union Council this week stressed the need to reduce poverty in ACP states, which he describes as at an “unacceptable level.”
Addressing a meeting which was organized by the Belgian Presidency and attended by EU member states to discuss pertinent issues that were highlighted in the Second Revised Cotonou Agreement, which was signed in June in Burkina Faso between the two parties, Dr. Chambas pointed out poverty as one of the major issues that needs urgent attention.
Secretary-General Chambas’ statement comes only two weeks before the High-level Plenary Meeting of the sixty-fifth session of the UN General Assembly which will be dominated by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Based on very recent data available, many ACP countries are not on track to reach the MDGs by 2015. The situation is particularly worrying in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) as well as in countries in situations of conflict and fragility. Certain MDG targets such as hunger, child and maternal mortality and access to sanitation, are particularly off track and require specific attention and actions.
Dr. Chambas acknowledged that the ACP is fortunate to have a special partner, the EU, and the signing of the revised Cotonou Agreement was a statement of intent by the two parties to address new and old challenges.
He re-iterated that fighting poverty remains at the core of everything that both parties are doing as the current state of poverty in the 21 century is unacceptable.
He strongly believes that trade is an important aspect of the ACP-EU relations to address poverty.
The Secretary-General further stressed that social and economic activities also need to be scaled-up in order to achieve economic growth.
On that, he acknowledged that the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPAs) negotiations have been slow.
Re-iterating that the EPAs must be development focused, Dr. Chambas noted the need for the negotiations to be advanced.
He urged all sides to bring some new life into the EPAs.
Of all the six ACP regions, only the Caribbean had signed a full EPA.
The role of regional organizations has also been acknowledged in the revised Cotonou Agreement.
Dr. Chambas said regional integration is vital to promote trade, good governance and security.
He said the role of regional organizations is critical as seen in certain parts of the ACP Group where they are have taken the lead role to address internal problems, which were often difficult for external intervention because of arguments of national sovereignty.
Other issues addressed by the revised Cotonou Agreement, which Dr. Chambas also briefed the Europeans on include: the role of parliament and parliamentarians, migration and climate change amongst others.
The Secretary-General told the meeting that the signing was over and it’s time for implementation.
Post your comments