WINDHOEK – Namibia has reaffirmed its commitment to the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and European Union (EU) partnership and says it will do all it can to honour and work toward the commitments embodied in the Cotonou Agreement and post-Cotonou when it expires in 2020. This was the message by Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, Tjekero Tweya, when he spoke on Wednesday at the 37TH session of ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly that took place in the Bucharest, Romania.
“We are embarking on a new chapter in the history of our partnership. The future partnership between the ACP and EU will be a unique partnership that is expected to have a greater political and strategic approach on the world fora. This approach will assist our cooperation address challenges that cannot be handled by one country, one region or one actor. It is therefore critical that the outcome of the current negotiations lead to a win–win partnership that delivers on the aspirations of our nations and the objectives of the partnership that is to have development that leaves no one behind,” said Tweya while addressing the gathering in his capacity as President-in-Office of the ACP Council of Ministers.
In grappling with the question ‘what happens after the Cotonou Agreement – the treaty between the EU and the ACP Group of States signed in 2000 in Benin - when it expires in 2020, Tweya said; “The ACP Group must endeavour to create the conditions for lasting food and nutrition security. Our efforts must be sustainable, economically, environmentally and socially.”
In December last year at the 108th Session of ACP Council of Ministers, the Central Negotiating Group [CNG] accepted a ministerial proposal to include regional protocols in the ACP EU Successor Agreement.
“This inclusion means that we will now have foundation agreement that will be at the EU – ACP level. It will contain the values and principles that bring the EU and ACP countries together to increase their affinity levels. It also indicates the strategic priority areas that the two parties intend to prospectively work on together. The agreement will have three action-oriented regional pillars that focus on each region’s specific needs,” Tweya noted.
In pointing out these regional needs, Tweya emphasised the need to develop agricultural value chains, the unmatched potential of the blue economy and the urgent need to address climate change.
He noted the ACP Group’s production of a Framework Programme on the Development of Agricultural Value Chains.
“The programme will support all actors in value chain including family farms, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, women and youth. This program will address supply-side constraints and facilitate diversification. In this way, the programme will contribute to enhancing Intra-ACP Trade and actualising the benefits of trade agreements signed such as Economic Partnership Agreements. I am confident that by working together and supporting sustainable agricultural development, we can not only improve the food security of those who are hungry; but instead create new opportunities for the ACP Group to shape the world for a better tomorrow,” said Tweya.
In addition, Tweya stressed significant importance to the sustainable development of the blue economy as a whole, and in particular, the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
“This is a crucial sector that underpins the food and nutritional security, employment, exports trade and livelihoods many countries, particularly for Small Island Developing States [SIDS]. Fish exports trade in particular continues to be of critical importance to SIDS accounting for over half of the total commodities exports in some countries. In fact, as much as US$5.3 billion worth of ACP fish exports from at least 65 ACP countries are estimated to the international market annually,” the trade minister stated.
Meanwhile, in addressing climate change, Tweya stressed that all the efforts made in addressing poverty alleviation will to a large extent depend on the measures taken to tackle climate change.
“The ACP Group maintains the strong conviction that climate change causes an existential threat to humanity. I therefore welcome the strong commitments and support by Member States in addressing climate change as a matter of urgency and priority. The ambition of addressing climate change is one that calls for partnerships, it is recalled that for the ACP Member States to implement their national determined contributions it will require at least US$2.317,” Tweya added.