May 14, 2021
H.E. Maria O'Brien, Extraordinaire and Plenipotentiary of The Bahamas to the Kingdom of Belgium and Head of Mission to the European Union, recently represented The Bahamas at the official ceremony to finalize a new partnership agreement between the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union. The ceremony was the culmination of a 2-year period of intensive negotiations that began in September 2018 on the margins of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly under the leadership of Patrick Gomes, Past Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).The new partnership agreement between 79 countries, representing the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), was represented by Chief Negotiator, Professor Robert Dussey, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad and by the European Commissioner for International Partnership, Jutta Urpilainen for the European Union (EU).
The post-Cotonou Agreement outlines the framework for the relations between the OACPS and the EU, including a foundation and three protocols for each of the three regions. While the parties did not share similar views on sensitive issues on human rights and migration in the General Part of the Agreement, there was agreement on technical negotiations. concurrence.
According to Ambassador O’Brien, the Caribbean-EU Regional Protocol enumerates a number of specific strategic economic and environmental priorities for the region that are supported by the Agreement and endorsed by the regional members. The agreement seeks to develop regional economies by deepening economic relations, promoting transformation and diversification, supporting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and developing the private sector through trade and sustainable industrialisation. Environmental strategies include improving environmental sustainability and climate resilience, pursuing sustainable management of natural resources, strengthening disaster management, and building inclusive, peaceful and secure societies.
In addition, special attention was given to human and social development in the OACPS member nations.
Namely, advancing human rights, gender equality, justice and governance, financial governance, and citizen security. The agreement also focused on issues such as addressing poverty and growing inequalities, and harnessing the benefits of well-managed migration whilst leveraging the diaspora’s knowledge, entrepreneurial skills and investment.
The transitional period of the new partnership agreement and the subsequent alignment of the sunset clause of the 11th Economic Development Fund has been extended to November 30, 2021, or until the new agreement enters into force.
The chief negotiator for the Caribbean was the Honorable Carl Greenidge, Past Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana while the Honorable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, gave final remarks on behalf of the region.
Minister Smith called on the EU to support the development of a vulnerability index, which will be critical to post-Covid19 recovery efforts of The Bahamas, and concluded that the new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement heralds a new dawn in the relationship between the two groups.
News date : 05/14/2021 Category : Press Releases