Samoan ACP Ambassadors’ chairman urges trade focus

29/09/2013

Dr Fatumanava Pa’o Luteru, the Ambassador of Samoa to the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group, says his six-month term at the helm of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors will have members taking more of a world focus, in addition to dealing with the “bread and butter” issues of the ACP.<!--more-->

Dr Luteru plans to map programming criteria for the European Development Fund, tackle ACP-EU trade pacts, and support the on-going work on the future outlooks of the ACP Group. Dr Luteru’s term runs from August 2013 to February 2014.

“We need to look also at some of the key global issues … We need to articulate clearly our positions on these issues … Climate change is an important one, energy, investment in our countries, and of immediate concern, the post 2015 development agenda,” Dr Luteru said.

The Cotonou Agreement, which defines the ACP Group, runs out in 2020. Consultations for a potential successor to the agreement will get under way starting in the Pacific with meetings in Apia, Samoa on October 17-18 (as detailed in last week’s <b>Pacific Periscope</b>).

Dr Luteru called for a new methodology for doing business. He said in moving away from the “donor-recipient” mentality focused solely on seeking aid, the ACP Group can place itself in a stronger position where it can offer benefits to its partners. This way, its large membership (79 countries) will be a clear advantage. Dr Luteru, a former ACP Assistant Secretary General who headed the Political Affairs and Human Development department from 2000 to 2005, has met with a number of executives at the European Commission in this regard.

He is also pushing the launch of the first Pacific-EU summit, which has garnered support in initial talks with European officials. “One has to be realistic in the five months of our Presidency in what we can do, but as with all these things, the central theme in our presidency is action rather than talk,” Dr Luteru said.

The Committee of Ambassadors is the second decision-making body of the ACP Group, whose main role is to monitor the implementation of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement. Chairmanship is selected on the basis of a rotation among the four African regions.