Council Of Ministers Meeting:
Envoy Reiterates Fiji’s Stance on ACP Role
Fiji’s Ambassador to the European Union Deo Saran had delivered Fiji’s statement at the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Council of Ministers meeting in Senegal this week where he emphasised the Fijian Government’s commitment towards the work of the ACP. Speaking on the future of ACPEU relations, Ambassador Saran recalled the words of the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s keynote address on the opening of the 102nd Session of ACP Council in Brussels last November, where he stated that “We have survived as an organisation for 40 years and are planning even greater co-operation in the years ahead – more trade, more development, more opportunity. “Fiji is proud to have been a founding member of the ACP, a unique organisation that is 40 years young. Together, we have done much to improve the lives of the one-billion people around the world who look to us to provide them with empowerment and opportunity. And as we work on the blueprint to take our partnership with the EU beyond 2020, let us never forget that our ultimate responsibility is to them.” Mr Saran submitted that the Prime Minister’s statement was aptly in sync with the key conclusion drawn by the Eminent Persons Group that the “evolving global and economic landscape provides broadened opportunities and additional potential for the ACP Group.”
In this regard, he said that Fiji believes the ACP group can play a useful role in promoting development through, inter alia, creating significant trade and investment opportunities, and managing the opportunities arising from its vast natural resources and youth dividend.
For that potential to be achieved in order to give economic, social and political benefits to its one billion people, urgent reform is imperative. That is the urgent reform this report is advocating for, and we strongly believe that this is possible with the collective political will of all the member states.
He said Fiji fully supported the EPG’s recommendation that “the ACP should continue its future relations with the EU in a legally binding convention or treaty, as this is necessary to give the partnership credibility, predictability and responsibility. The future agreement could, inter alia, cover co-operation in implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and the Addis Ababa Agenda for Action; regional integration; bilateral ACP-EU and multilateral trade in- cluding EPAs; development finance co-operation including technology; migration and demography and political dialogue focused on global opportunities and challenges.” Mr Saran noted that the ACP would need to develop itself into a recognised and attractive global partner.
In doing so, it will need to demonstrate its relevance in addressing emerging global issues such as Climate change; Migration; Ocean and Blue Economy; Fight against Illegal Financial Flows and Governance; Culture and Digital Economy, and the Services Sector which is now becoming the main driver for economic growth in developing countries.
Fiji looked forward to the deliberations and working together with the Group on this critical issue as we formulate our strategies on the way forward. The 103rd session of the ACP Council ended on April 27 and has led to the 41st session of the Joint ACP-EU Council also taking place in Dakar, Senegal. Ambassador Saran is being supported by counsellor Singh from the Fiji Mission in Brussels.
Fiji’s Ambassador to the EU Deo Saran addresses the ACP Council of Ministers.