[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former President Bharrat Jagdeo, a member of the Eminent Persons Group, recently participated in a meeting of the group in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to look at the future of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).
A year shy of its 40th anniversary, having spent decades working to lift its people out of poverty, the 79-member ACP – the largest intergovernmental association of developing countries in existence – is undergoing a period of profound self-review.
According to a release, the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), comprising of 12 distinguished personalities led by the former Nigeria President Olusegun Obasanjo, have been charged with gathering views from stakeholders across the six geographical regions of the ACP, as well as reviewing past successes and failures of the organisation.
They will submit proposals of how to reorient the ACP Group directly to Heads of State and Government by the end of the year.
“We have to project forward to look at what do we think is the future of the ACP and what will its character look like. Will it be different from what we currently have? There have been a lot of changes of the world since the construct was created – do we have the right construct today?” said Patricia Francis, former head of the International Trade Centre in Geneva and Chair of the Drafting Committee of the EPG.
The three-member Drafting Committee, which also includes former IMF Executive Director Peter Gakunu of Kenya, and former Financial Secretary for Samoa Kolone Vaái, had met in Brussels to begin analysing information gained so far.
To date, the Eminent Persons have held comprehensive consultations in the Pacific, the Caribbean, West Africa, and Eastern Africa, with Southern and Central Africa to be organised before June. Meetings with EU officials, ACP ambassadors and the staff of the ACP secretariat, were also held.
“Once there is clarity on the organisation’s vision, mission and objectives beyond 2020, the institutional framework for implementation should be considered as a matter of priority.
Political commitment will be essential in terms of resources to fund the ACP Secretariat and its financial sustainability,” adds Vaái.
“Amendments to the [ACP founding document] Georgetown Agreement to affect these reforms may be required,” he said.