Saint Lucia assumes Presidency of the ACP Council of Ministers
|H.E Shirley Skerritt-Andrew
Monday 27th February 2012, Brussels, BELGIUM – Saint Lucia has assumed the Presidency of the ACP Council of Ministers and the Chairmanship of its Committee of Ambassadors. Saint Lucia takes up the chair on behalf of the Caribbean region in line with the ACP’s regional rotating schedule and will be at the helm for a 6 month term ending in July 2012.
Upon the official assumption of duties on 9 February 2012 at the first sitting of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, H.E Shirley Skerritt-Andrew, Ambassador and Head of Mission of the Joint OECS Mission in Brussels, affirmed that Saint Lucia and indeed the OECS regard the ACP as a pivotal institution and pledged to advance with vigour the Group’s collective interest during her tenure.
Guided by the theme “Renewing the Vision of the ACP through Solidarity and Consolidation,” Saint Lucia’s presidency will build on the priorities of the ACP Secretary General’s strategy for renewal and transformation of the organization and will aim to contribute to discussions surrounding the future of the ACP Group as well as lay the foundation for the hosting of the next ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government at the end of 2012. Against a backdrop of enormous changes at the global, European, regional and national levels, Saint Lucia looks forward to an energetic and action oriented Presidency premised on the idea that the initial promise of the ACP Group, initiated at Lomé in Africa and confirmed in the Caribbean through the Georgetown Agreement, still applies and should underpin its future.
Importantly, Saint Lucia’s Presidency also comes amid a changing European Union landscape plagued by persistent economic and financial challenges, characterized by evolving policies for development cooperation, trade and investment. The implications for Saint Lucia, the OECS, the Caribbean and the ACP in general cannot be underestimated given the status of the European Union as a leading international partner. Therefore, as the EU reviews its Multi-Annual Financial Framework for 2014-2020, evaluates progress made on the Millennium Development Goals, and looks toward the 3rd and possibly final revision of the ACP-EC Cotonou Partnership Agreement which is set to expire in 2020, the ACP Group and the Eastern Caribbean States within it, will continue to underline the mutual value of the long lasting ACP-EU acquis.
Saint Lucia succeeds Uganda as the President of the ACP Council of Ministers and Chairman of Committee of Ambassadors.
During the next 6 months, Saint Lucia will have the opportunity to play an important role in fora such as the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the ACP Council of Ministers and other regional and international fora. It will use these opportunities to build consensus with partners to push priorities such as building resilience in Small Island Developing States, low lying countries and landlocked countries in order to reduce vulnerabilities to climate change and environmental degradation leading up to the Rio+20 in June.