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Thursday, 31 May 2018

Johnson-Smith urges closer collaborations to deal with “challenges” facing ACP grouping

African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) ministers are meeting here amidst concerns over several serious challenges including security issues, migration as well as the devastating effect of climate change. Addressing the 107th session of the ACP Council of Ministers, Jamaica's Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, said these challenges “pose serious threat to the achievement of growth and development goals we have set ourselves as well as to those we have subscribed. “Elsewhere, significant fluctuations in the world market price for oil and other commodities exported by ACP countries have resulted in revenue shortfalls and budget deficits that threaten the stated development objectives of our member states in the short and medium term,” Johnson Smith, told the meeting that will end later today. Johnson Smith, who is serving as President-in-Office of the ACP Council of Ministers, said many of the countries are facing the daunting task of employing their large number of young people “so as to maximise their contributions towards society as well as to address the urgent need to fight the scourges of radicalisation and terrorism in all their manifestation. She said notwithstanding “these indisputable challenges” the ACP grouping must have good reason for hope and optimism. She said on the political front, many countries within the grouping have successfully held elections at all levels “effecting stable democratically transfer of power” while on the economic front many countries were engaged in implementing reform strategies. The meeting is taking place amid what ACP officials have described as “a very crucial time of the ACP-European Union relations”. The ACP Council of Ministers is the main decision-making body of the ACP Group under the Summit of Heads of State and Government and it is hoped that the 79 countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific will speak with one voice as they prepare to adopt a negotiating mandate between the ACP and the EU post -Cotonou Agreement. The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the European Union and the ACP that was signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin's largest city. It entered into force in 2003 and was subsequently revised in 2005 and 2010.

Source: Jamaica Observer