Coun­cil Of Min­is­ters Meet­ing:

En­voy Reit­er­ates Fiji’s Stance on ACP Role

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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.

Photo: DEPTFO News

Fiji’s Am­bas­sador to the EU Deo Saran ad­dresses the ACP Coun­cil of Min­is­ters.

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