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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Outcomes of the 98th session of the ACP Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group made decisions on several key issues at the close of its 98th session on Wednesday afternoon 11 December, including on the post-2015 global development programme to follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The ACP Declaration on the Post-2015 Development Agenda called for a single global mission that takes into account the three pillars of development – social, economic and environmental – while also highlighting the “persistent development challenges and vulnerabilities” in ACP countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs), those facing negative impacts of conflicts, Middle Income Developing Countries and Landlocked Countries in Africa.
The ACP Council of Ministers stated that the post-2015 development agenda should ensure transparency, coherence and accountability; sustainable use of natural resources; access to finance and technology, infrastructure and human resources to drive inclusive and sustainable growth; as well as the promotion and protection of ACP member states’ right to development.
The full document addressed principles and modalities, Sustainable Development Goals, funding mechanisms or means of mobilisation, and priority areas. A joint position with the EU on the post-2015 agenda is also expected.
The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning Ms Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria was a special guest speaker at the meeting.
The Council of Ministers reiterated its unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all forms. It also noted that factors such as poverty, deprivation, youth unemployment, social injustice, conflicts, and poor governance could become a breeding ground for fundamentalism and extremism, and called for a long term poverty-reduction and education programmes to address this. The Council also called for ACP governments to ratify international treaties on combatting and preventing terrorism, strengthen their own anti-terrorism units, and forge strategic partnerships to pool resources, share information, and survey porous borders.
The Council of Ministers passed three resolutions major commodities for ACP economies – bananas, cotton, and sugar. Ministers demanded the quick and efficient disbursement of agreed funds to carry out banana accompanying measures (BAM) in ACP countries, to the tune of EUR 190 million. The Council also called for 100% decoupling of cotton subsidies in the EU, to address market distortion and support the development of poor ACP cotton producing countries. In the sugar sector, the Council of Ministers insisted on EU policy coherence in trade, agriculture and development, and urged the review of the impact of the new sugar regime and free trade agreements on ACP sugar supplying countries. ACP sugar officials recently finalised an action plan to enhance the sector as a driver of economic growth, and tackle the difficulties linked to the abolition of EU's sugar quotas in 2017.
The Council approved the Secretariat’s budget for 2014, including an increase of more than 18% in contributions from member states, attesting to their commitment to the goals and outlooks of the ACP Group.

Source: ACP Press