Resolutions from the ACP-EU joint parliament
By Magreth Nunuhe
Windhoek – The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly at its 31th session that closed on Wednesday, June 15, in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, agreed on several resolutions including urgent initiatives to improve the deplorable situation of migrants and refugees within the EU or immigrants en-route to Europe.
The assembly also expressed he urgent need to see an end to rape and violence against women and children in armed conflicts.
Participants also adopted resolutions on improving participatory governance through decentralisation and strengthening local governance; fostering intra-Africa trade and potential benefits for the ACP through a continental free trade area for Africa; and finding causes, consequences and strategies for the common management of migration between ACP and EU member states.
A resolution calling on the authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to approve a timetable and budget for the presidential and legislative elections expected in November 2016 was also approved.
The joint parliamentary assembly further called on countries to build upon existing regional agreements and reiterated the need for access to capital to support growth and job-creating African industry.
They called for greater autonomy in local decision taking, which, they pointed out, entails transferring powers and resources to local level.
Members further called for a renewed post-Cotonou architecture, which is the basis of the ACP-EU co-operation and development work, to adapt the ACP-EU partnership to new global challenges.
The Cotonou Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2000 and is of central importance for future ACP-EU relations.
Past Joint Parliamentary Assembly initiatives taken have made active contribution towards implementing and reinforcing successive ACP-EU conventions and put forward numerous proposals, such as the upgrading of the role of women in the development process; the integration of environment policy in development projects; promotion of trade as a tool for development, particularly by way of the Economic Partnership Agreements foreseen in the Cotonou Agreement. Furthermore, the assembly has also made contributions to drawing-up of rural development programmes and micro-projects tailored to the needs of specific communities; the improvement of measures aimed at combating epidemics and the reinforcement of health and hygiene services; the creation of decentralised development policies.
Other contributions include the convening of annual meetings between economic and social partners; promotion of regional, political and commercial co-operation; closer co-operation with non-governmental organisations engaged in development; aid for indebted countries pursuing structural adjustment policies to allow them to maintain indispensable services; measures to enhance the cultural dimension in North-South co-operation; the acceleration of aid procedures and the increase in appropriations intended for refugees and for displaced persons (the latter is a new departure) and measures to reinforce the commitment to respect and defend human rights and human dignity.
The 32nd Parliamentary Assembly is scheduled for 19-21 December 2016 in the Central African region.