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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

ACP Group: Did it weaken itself?

Reviewing the latest events of note for developing countries, Ronald Sanders, an international consultant and former diplomat in the Caribbean region, spoke of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the ACP Group meeting held in Brussels last week. Even if the two parties agreed to join forces on key challenges, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding, Mr. Sanders regrets that actions taken would be limited to “the exchange of information and views”. Still, he states that “even this small step with the UNDP is better than nothing”.
But key questions he delves into lie at the core of the ACP Group. While aware of the strong unity demonstrated by the members between 1975 and 2000 “when they found enough strength in their unity to secure advantageous aid, trade and investment treaties with the EU”, the author states that the ACP members “allowed the EU to fragment them in the negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)”, which has led, in his opinion, to an unfair arrangement.
Yet, he states that unsatisfactory EPAs are not only the fault of the EU: “The ACP group has also failed to collaborate effectively in analysing the weaknesses and strengths of their member states and regions, and to provide collectively their own pool of experts to overcome hurdles and take advantage of such opportunities and funding as the EPAs provide”, he stresses.
He points out that should the ACP Secretariat in Brussels be properly supported by ACP member governments, “it could strengthen bargaining for countries and regions and help unlock barriers to EU markets and funding”. Accordingly, he invokes the calls of the ACP secretary-general, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, for a collective voice of the ACP, which is yet to be seen.

Source: Kaieteur news