ECDPM has initiated an independent political economy analysis (PEA) of the ACP-EU partnership and on 30th September 2015 ECDPM, in partnership with the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union, organised a high-level seminar on the future of EU-ACP partnership: International Cooperation Beyond 2015: How Fit for Purpose is the ACP-EU Framework?
More about ‘Rethinking the ACP-EU partnership’ can be found at our dossier here.
At the margins of the seminar, ECDPM interviewed key stakeholders for their thoughts on the preliminary progress report. We will publish all eight videos in October and November.
At the sidelines of the conference, we interviewed ACP Secretary General P.I. Gomes. He felt the report is a helpful basis for discussion, but we must not look for an “either-or” situation on the future of the ACP.
In modern times, all international institutions must show their relevance, effectiveness and efficiency. But we must also not loose lose sight of development and poverty eradication as a common objective.
While numerous UN global goals are of vital importance to the ACP, an all embracing partnership is essential to reach these goals.
Martine Schommer, Director of Development at the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had wanted to open the debate, taking it ‘out of the box’ with academics, business, civil society and EU member states in order to see what they wanted out of this special relationship.
While she said the report was a little negative and believed there could have been more positives highlighted, she argued that the report served the purpose well of launching an open and frank debate.
Former Director General of DEVCO Koos Richelle welcomed the report and its political economy approach, which helps you identify the success and failure in a neutral, fact-based way.
The world has changed enormously he warned, so we should not immediately extrapolate old forms of international cooperation for future challenges. With the UN global goals in mind we should design institutions that can meet our objectives for 2030, with universality in mind.
“On doit être plus précis parce que le monde évolue, cette cooperation ACP-EU s’adapte à la nouvelle dynamique qui se développe dans le monde. On ne peut pas conserver la même dynamique pour répondre aux besoins d’aujourd’hui,” explique le Dr René N’Guettia Kouassi, Directeur des affaires économiques, de l’AUC à l’issue la réunion organisée par ECDPM sur les relations ACP-UE.
Dr. Kouassi argued that we have to be precise because the world is changing. While ACP-EU cooperation is adapting to the new dynamic and develops of the world, we cannot keep the same dynamic to meet the needs of today.
Dr. Dieye found that the ECDPM report helped facilitate forward thinking on how we could transform the relationship between the ACP group itself, and between the group and the EU. The most important priority was for the ACP group to build its capacities for partnerships – both in South-South cooperation and with the EU, he argued.
She welcomed the political economy analysis of ECDPM, saying that such an approahc is vital in moving the debate forward on the future of the ACP-EU partnership.
The debate should also include the voice of youth along with the private sector, governments and civil society. Young professionals need to be integrated into the decisions and structures of organisations that they will inherit in the future.
Yentyl argued we need to collectively move beyond rhetoric such as as ‘sustainable’ and ‘development’ and to really define what we mean by these terms.
He welcomed ECDPM’s political economy analysis as a ‘fascinating and thorough” and a really important start on generating dialogue on the real issues in the future of the ACP-EU partnership.
The ACP needs to move on, and Europe needs to move on and we need to identify a new positive relationship – this could be in regionalism or on the issues affected Small Island Developing States.
He argued that the private sector is the most essential component in development, and that the relationship between the European Commission and the private sector needs to change dramatically.
He argues the relationship between the ACP and the EU needs to be reinvented because realities have changed. We need to think about new forms of collaboration and connectivity between the two.
He argued that any evaluation of the the partnership should be founded on sufficient data, but currently there is not enough.