Jamaica will head the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States until July 31, 2018. This is a critical period for the grouping of 79 States, formed in 1975 through the Georgetown Agreement or “Cotonou Agreement,” which binds all members (except Cuba) to a Partnership with the European Union. It includes 48 countries from sub-Saharan Africa, 16 from the Caribbean and 15 from the Pacific. Times are changing, so the Cotonou Partnership Agreement is going to evolve into something else.
One of the major ACP goals is to develop “close economic, social and cultural relations among developing countries and develop cooperation among ACP States in the areas of Trade, Science and Technology, Industry, Transport, Education, Training and Research, Information and Communication, the Environment, Demography and Human Resources.” (Quoting from the ACP website, where you can find much more about the history of the grouping). One of the group’s most challenging core goals – for some members – is also the “establishment and consolidation of peace and stability in a free and democratic society.”
Here is the press release from the Embassy of Jamaica in Brussels:
Jamaica Launches ACP Presidency Under Theme: Common Interests, Common Goals and Common Destiny
Brussels, February 15:
Jamaica has exhorted the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States to remain focused on its “common interests, common goals and common destiny,” as it begins the final stretch of preparations for the negotiations with the European Union on a successor arrangement to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. The engagement with the EU for this purpose is set to begin by September 2018.
Jamaica’s Presidency of the ACP, which runs from February to July 2018, is led by Foreign Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, and is expected to culminate in the adoption by the Group of the ACP Negotiating Mandate.
Jamaica’s theme was communicated to the 907th Session of the Committee of Ambassadors meeting in Brussels on 15th February, by Her Excellency Sheila Sealy Monteith, Ambassador of Jamaica to the European Union and Chairman of the Committee. Speaking on behalf of the Presidency, the Jamaican Ambassador stated that the time had come for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States to “demonstrate, with purpose and determination, the seriousness with which we are addressing our future and future relations with the EU.”
This charge comes on the heels of the recent high-level visit to Jamaica by Mr. Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development in the European Commission from 1st to 2nd February for regional and bilateral talks with government representatives from Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
Later this year, at the 107th Meeting of the Council, Minister Johnson Smith will lead ACP Ministers in deliberations dedicated to Post-Cotonou and to the Group’s own internal arrangements, as it positions itself to leverage new relations with the EU and with other international partners.
The ACP comprises 79 Member States, 48 from Africa, 16 from the Caribbean and 15 from the Pacific.