PM raises concern over serious weakness highlighted by report
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says leaders should be concerned about the findings that there was a serious weakness in the ACP (African Caribbean Pacific). He told the ACP leaders’ summit in Port Moresby that this was due to “the failure of most member states to make timely, regular and sustained contributions to the ACP budget.”
Mr Bainimarama said: “Fiji urges all member nations to address this as a matter of urgency.” Fiji has endorsed the Eminent Persons Group report on ACP. Mr Bainimarama said ACP’s weaknesses, included a lack of capacity to respond to the challenges and especially policy changes in the European Union (EU) and the global environment. Meanwhile, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, in his talking points on the report, said that Fiji fully endorsed the EPG recommendation that the ACP group should continue as an entity with greater emphasis on the principles of unity, solidarity, complementarity and subsidiarity.
He said Fiji also supported the recommendation that the experience and lessons learned over the 40 years of the group’s existence should provide guidance and a clearer vision for the attainment of social, political and economic development in an inclusive and sustainable manner for its peoples. Since the Cotonou Agreement was signed in 2000, he said both the EU and the ACP had seen significant changes in terms of its membership and political and economic landscape also underwent fundamental changes. Moving forward, he said Fiji believed that consideration should be given to enlarge the ACP Group to include all the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other developing trading blocks and regions.
This would strengthen its position and provide necessary leverage to the group to play a greater role in the global arena.
He said Fiji fully supported the EPG’s recommendation that the group’s solidarity be guided by the commonality of interests among its members. Members of the committee included the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kaliopate Tavola, and the chair was the former president of Nigeria, Chief Obasanjo.