The summit will start today 30th May – 1st June.
The Summit will discuss the future of the ACP Group as a revitalised cohesive force advocating the interests of its member states in the international arena.
Discussions will take into consideration recent key international developments, including Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, issues of migration, climate change and the fight against terrorism.
The host, Papua New Guinea Government has confirmed the advanced state of preparations towards hosting the Summit, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, who takes over from the current President-in-Office, H.E Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
“This is a very important event, taking place at an important time in the history of the ACP Group. The future of the organisation, in terms of where it goes after the expiration of the Cotonou Agreement [the comprehensive agreement between the ACP Group and its main development partner, the European Union] in 2020 is a fundamental issue with flow-on consequences… It’s about legacy creation,” stated the Minister of Foreign Affairs of PNG, Rimbink Pato.
“Papua New Guinea regards it as a privilege and an honour to welcome representatives from all the ACP States, so that we can address together the challenges that we face as individual members, as a group, and globally, especially in terms of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
Under the theme ‘Repositioning the ACP Group to address the challenges of Sustainable Development’, leaders will focus on three main areas, including: Equitable and sustainable development for ACP peoples; Enhancing the role of the ACP Group in global governance for development; and Peace, security and political stability as a prerequisite for development.
The Summit will also receive and deliberate on the Final Report of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), chaired by former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on the future of the Group. Since its formation in 2013, the EPG has held consultations in all six ACP regions with various strata of society, and conducted in-depth research, culminating in a number of recommendations for reform, in order to reorient the ACP Group to deliver more effectively on the development ambitions of its member states.
The 8th Summit coincides with ongoing discussions on the future relationship between the ACP Group of States and the European Union. The decades-long partnership is currently outlined in the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which is due to end in 2020. Formal negotiations for a follow up framework are expected to commence in 2017/2018.
“There is a real opportunity here to make history, in contributing to the global development agenda by enhancing the voice of developing and marginalised countries on the international stage. The ACP Group seeks to enhance its capacity as a hub for South-South and Triangular cooperation, leveraging its large membership and its long experience in international cooperation amongst member states as well as with the European Union,” stated ACP Secretary General H.E. Dr. Patrick I. Gomes.
Aside from national leaders, heads of international organisations are also expected to attend. The 8th Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government will hold its plenary session on 31stMay and 1st June, preceded by a meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 30th May.
Picture by Justin Tkatchenko