CARICOM, ACP Secretariats examine areas for collaboration
Representative of the CARICOM Secretariat and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States met at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana on Tuesday. The teams were led by CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Human and Social Development, Dr. Douglas Slater, on ACP Assistant Secretary-General, Political Affairs and Human Development, His Excellency Leonard-Emile Ognimba.
The purpose of the meeting was to explore possibilities of engagement between CARICOM and the ACP. Mr. Ognimba gave a briefing of the status of the ACP, noting that the Georgetown Agreement of 1975 was being revisited. The ACP Group of States is comprised of African, Caribbean and Pacific States signatories to the Georgetown Agreement or the Partnership Agreement between the ACP and the European Union, officially called the ‘ACP-EC Partnership Agreement’ or the ‘Cotonou Agreement‘. The ACP ASG said the Agreement was being revised to help reposition the group to be a key player in the global arena.
“Our vision is an eradication of poverty in ACP countries. However, today there are new challenges and the time has come for a blueprint to be created for the group”, he said.
He said the revision process, which was expected to help respond to new challenges, had begun and was expected to be completed before February 2020. He outlined that the Cotonou Agreement was also being renegotiated and was at a stage where the European Union and the ACP Group had elaborated their negotiating mandate.
Turning to the matter of possible areas of cooperation between CARICOM and the ACP, Mr. Ognimba said one of the main areas was natural disasters as some ACP states faced similar challenges as CARICOM countries.
Challenges related to terrorism were also addressed.
“Today Africa, mostly Northern Africa is confronted with this very burning challenge, but we should be able to get together to combat terrorism. It is a global challenge also confronted by the US, UK and Canada”, he said.
Dr. Slater signalled his agreement with Mr. Ognimba as it related to the challenges confronting the Region, and reiterated that the Caribbean Region, together with the Pacific, were particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. He also emphasised the value of unity noting that CARICOM as a regional organisation acknowledged the importance of sticking together.
“We should all stick together and send the message that GDP should not be the only factor used in determining our status. We have to strengthen our partnerships and see how we can development our relationships”, ASG Slater said
This meeting was held in the margins of the Twenty-Sixth Meeting of the Regional Cultural Committee (RCC) at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, on Monday and Tuesday.