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ACP-EU: High time to tackle the common causes of #Terrorism, #Impunity and #Famine

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MEPs and ACP members called for common causes behind terrorism, famine and impunity to be tackled: poverty, bad governance, corruption and armed conflict. 

During 33rd session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and European Union (EU) Member States, members debated impunity on crimes against humanity with Sidiki Kaba, President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC. Sidiki Kaba recalled the importance of judging crimes against humanity to allow victims to be heard, and for the guilty, whomever they may be, to be sanctioned and to prevent such atrocities. “The Court brings complementary justice, a final recourse. What is essential is that justice functions well within states”, said Sidiki Kaba. To do this, we need to strengthen independent judicial systems around the world. The aim is still universal justice for crimes that “hurt the universal conscience”.

The MEPs and ACP members also heard from Commissioner Stylianides on the imminent risk of the most severe famine and humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. This “ entirely man-made “ crisis is the result of conflicts, poor governance and poverty. The EU provided massive humanitarian aid in 2016 and 2017 (1.37 billion euros), but needs are immense and root causes need to be addressed. Strengthening the “resilience of the population is key”. “We must act now, together, to find solutions. This is our moral duty”, underlined the Commissioner. The Assembly also adopted a declaration recalling the importance of the full commitments of the COP21 Paris agreement. Concerted global action is necessary to prevent the negative impact of climate change, in particular, to address the challenges faced by the most vulnerable countries.

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An emergency resolution calling for a coherent, robust strategy to address the security situation in the Sahel and Chad Basin region was adopted by members. They favour a holistic approach including tackling the roots of instability and migration: armed conflicts, poverty, bad governance, climate change, human rights abuses, and inequalities. Regional cooperation is key to resolving the crisis, said members, underlining that the civilian population needs to be protected.

ACP and EU Members could not find common ground for a resolution on the deteriorating situation in Burundi. The resolution tabled by the EP Members was rejected.

Three reports were approved at the voting session on Wednesday afternoon on the following topics:

The financing of political parties in ACP and EU countries should allow all to be heard as part of the political process, said members. The Assembly invites governments to put in place rules on financing of political parties, including independent and efficient control mechanisms. Foreign donations and companies should be restricted in order to avoid interference in political decisions.

Members called for improving aid and development effectiveness in EU-ACP cooperation based on different needs, with the aim of beneficiaries being independent and self-sufficient. The effectiveness depends on lenders and their coordination, but also on the existence of effective institutions, good governance measures and the fight against corruption, they said.

Sport can be an enabler for education and poverty eradication, said JPA members. A powerful social tool, it brings together different ethnicities, cultures, religions, socio-economic backgrounds and languages. It can support training, innovation, ending violence, social integration including for women, children, older people and the disabled. The members called on the EU to promote the use of sport in development policy.

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Future Africa-Caribbean-Pacific States/EU Partnership - #Cotonou negotiations resume at ministerial level

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The EU and the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific Sates (OACPS), formerly named the ACP Group of States, have resumed talks at the highest political level. This is the first meeting since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the objective to advance talks towards the finishing line on the new ‘Post Cotonou' agreement. It provided an important opportunity for the chief negotiators, Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, and for the OACPS Professor Robert Dussey to build on the work, which has continued at technical level over recent weeks.

Welcoming this step forward in the negotiation talks, Commissioner Urpilainen said: “The ongoing negotiations with OACPS countries remain a priority. Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the negotiations are progressing in the same cordial spirit that has guided our talks until now. I am pleased to see that we are getting closer and closer to the finishing line.” The Cotonou Agreement, which governs relations between the EU and OACPS countries, was initially scheduled to expire on 29 February. As negotiations on a new partnership are still ongoing, parties have decided to extend the current agreement until 31 December. More information is available in the press release.

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#Wales - Launch of Climate Change Coffee Partnership

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More than 3,000 Fairtrade farmers in rural Uganda will be supported by a Welsh government-backed partnership to get them a fair price for their coffee – and help them combat climate change. A new initiative has been launched by an international Climate Change Coffee Partnership, made up of organizations in both Wales and Uganda.

The Welsh government will support the Partnership to buy coffee from producers in Uganda, allowing it to be bought, brewed and enjoyed here.

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The Partnership is the result of nearly 10 years of work, which has seen Fairtrade and organic farmers in Mbale, Uganda, join with Welsh organizations to look at farming, climate change and sustainable trade.

Farmers in the Mbale region are suffering from the impact of extreme climate change with droughts, storms and landslides – but are also among those who have contributed to climate change the least.

The Partnership wants to ensure that farmers in the region are able to trade their coffee fairly and build sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their communities – as well as building their capacity to the point where they can help in the fight against climate change - while the people of Wales can access high-quality, Fairtrade and Organic certified coffee.

The Welsh Government’s support was announced by Eluned Morgan, the Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language, in a launch event for the Partnership at the Senedd with Jenipher Sambazi, a coffee farmer and Vice Chair of MEACCE.

The Minister said: “We’re very excited about this partnership that will see people who grow beautiful coffee paid a fair price.

Climate change has been devastating for farmers in Uganda despite the fact they contribute little towards emissions.

“Wales has a long standing partnership with Mbale and we want to help wherever we can to give those communities dealing with the climate emergency on the ground the support they need by trading with them on Fairtrade terms.”

“This is also an excellent example of how coffee drinkers here in Wales can make a real difference to the lives of people that grow their coffee”

Jenipher Sambazi said: “If we can sell our coffee on Fairtrade terms, we can grow our business so we can do more to adapt to climate change.

“Fairtrade guarantees a better price for our coffee and the Fairtrade premium will be spent by our community on projects that help us improve our lives”

MEACCE is one of the 4 partners planting trees with the Size of Wales in Mbale. More than 10 million trees have been planted so far with a target of 25m by 2025.

Jenipher added: “Coffee is very sensitive to even small temperature increases. The trees we are planting with help from Wales provide shade to keep our coffee bushes cool and the quality of our coffee high.”

The minister concluded: “Each of the partners involved in this effort is well-placed to ensure it is a success, but we want to play our part as Welsh Government to help where can, as the goals of the Partnership aligns well with those outlined in our International Strategy, and the Well-being of Future Generations Act.”

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New Africa-Caribbean-Pacific/European Union Partnership: Chief negotiators agree on economic priorities for future agreement

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Meeting in New York on 28 September in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, the chief negotiators CommissionerMimica (pictured) and Togolese Minister Robert Dussey further specified the economic framework of future relations between African, Caribbean and Pacific countries with the European Union after 2020.

International Co-operation and Development Commissioner and the EU's Chief Negotiator Neven Mimica said: “One year after launching our negotiations, the shape of the future agreement is becoming more precise with every day. Today, we endorsed the text on the economic priorities that aim to boost growth, jobs, and better living conditions for all. But the clock is ticking, and I am counting on all partners to put in the necessary efforts to soon deliver an agreement that we all want: modern and ambitious.”

Togo Foreign Affairs, Co-operation and Africa Integration Minister Robert Dussey, the ACP's hief necgotiator and chairman of the Ministerial Central Negotiating Group, said: "We are delighted with the work our negotiators have done since our last meeting. We have made excellent progress together, and I thank all those who have worked steadfastly to advance the common foundation and the regional protocols. We uphold our commitment to conclude an Agreement that will produce a win-win outcome for both the ACP and the EU.”

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Next steps

Negotiations will continue on the remaining parts of the agreement in the coming weeks. Discussions on the so-called “common foundation” for all countries cover the general provisions, international cooperation, the means of cooperation, the institutional framework and the final provisions.

At the same time, talks on the three partnerships with each region will intensify. The chief negotiators are expected to discuss progress on the three regional pillars at their next meeting, scheduled for October.

Background

The Cotonou Agreement currently governing EU-ACP relations is due to expire in 2020. Negotiations on a new ACP-EU Partnership were launched in September 2018.

The initial rounds of talks mainly focused on the “common foundation”, which sets out the values and principles that bring the EU and ACP countries together and indicates the strategic priority areas that both sides intend to work on together.

In addition, the future agreement is due to include specific, action-oriented regional pillars focusing on each region's needs. The first round of consultations on the regional pillars was concluded in spring 2019.

The future ACP-EU Partnership will serve to further cement the close political ties between the EU and ACP countries on the world stage. Together, the ACP countries and the EU represent more than half of UN member countries and over 1.5 billion people.

More information

ACP Negotiating mandate

EU Negotiating directives

Questions and answers: New ACP-EU Partnership after 2020

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