The CONCORD Cotonou Working Group (CCWG) was present at the 28th session of the ACP – EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA), taking place in Strasbourg in 2014. Members of the Working Group attended the Committee meetings on 29/11 and the Plenary on 01/12 – 02/12.
Photo: Lunch debate orgnanised by CONCORD’s Cotonou working group.
During the event, the group members set up an information stand which was well visited by both MEPs and MPs from African, Carribean and Pacific countries. At the stand briefing papers were offered in French and English, on subjects related to ACP-EU relations such as the future of the Cotonou Agreement, the European Development Fund, the Economic Partnership Agreements, Post-2015 sustainable development agenda; malnutrition, migration and the role of civil society in ACP-EU relations.
A number of these briefing papers were particularly relevant for this JPA. The briefing paper on malnutrition for example was drafted to feed into the report and debate on ‘the social and economic consequences of malnutrition in ACP countries’ taking place in the Committee on Social affairs and the Environment and in the plenary. In addition to this briefing paper, our working group provided amendments to the above-mentioned draft report on malnutrition and to another report dedicated to the private sector development strategy, including innovation, for sustainable development. The proposed amendments to both reports were successfully tabled and accepted during the vote in plenary.
Lunch debate on role of civil society
In addition to the stand, CONCORD’s Cotonou Working group also organized its well-known lunch debate. This year the debate focused on the role of civil society within ACP-EU relations, the European Development Fund and malnutrition. The debate was opened by MEP Michèle Rivasi, who openly expressed her support to the role of civil society in the ACP-EU partnership. The panel was supported by two experts from partner countries, Sylvestre Tiemtoré from the ‘Sécretariat Permanent des Organisations Non Gouvernementales’ (SPONG, Burkina Faso) and the ‘Network of West and Central African NGO National Platforms’ (REPAOC), and Abdoulaye Ka from ‘Cellule de Lutte contre la Malnutrition’ (Senegal). Christina Lionnet from Action contre la Faim and the Génération Nutrition Campaign completed the last panel dedicated to nutrition. In total there were around 120 participants, including 9 MEPs from different political groups and countries.
The debate was well recieved with several political representatives referencing CONCORD’s briefing papers and perspectives.
Our representative, Gérard Karlshausen, talked to the press giving an interview on Radio France International on the future of the ACP-EU partnership.