Dr Fatumanava Pa’o Luteru was recently appointed the chairman of the ACP Group of States’ Committee of Ambassadors. In this video clip he talks about what he will do as chairman.
Report – By Daniel Drageset
Stronger stances on key global issues and an improved way of dealing with European Union (EU) partners are some of the focus areas in the pipeline for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Committee of Ambassadors, according to its new Samoan chairperson.
Dr Fatumanava Pa’o Luteru said his recently commenced six month term at the helm will have members taking more of a “world focus”, and underlined the need for the ACP Group of States to act on climate change.
His comments come ahead of a meeting of a so called Eminent Persons Group (EPG) consultation in Samoa, over two days next month.
The Samoan diplomat also emphasised dealing with the “bread and butter” issues of the ACP, which includes mapping programming criteria for the European Development Fund, tackling trade agreements between the EU and the ACP Group of States, and supporting the ongoing work on the future outlooks of the ACP.
“We need to look also at some of the key global issues that are of importance not only to the ACP but also the wider international community.
“And 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,” he said, according to a statement from the ACP.
To expedite actions concerning the EU, Dr Luteru called for “a new methodology for doing business”.
“Basically what we need to look at is to perhaps engage and have reflections with our partners a lot more on the political level – targeting principles, frameworks and seeking agreement at that level.
“Then you’ll be able to move a lot faster… then the officials and the technical people can continue to thrash out the details.”
The former ACP Assistant Secretary-General has met with a number of officials at the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, to discuss these issues.
He said in moving away from the “donor-recipient” mentality focused solely on seeking aid, the ACP Group of States can place itself in a stronger position where it can offer benefits to its partners.
This way, its large membership of 79 countries, making it the largest intergovernmental organisation in the world, would have a clear advantage.
The committee’s agenda, however, will be “demanding”.
Over the next five months, the chair will be involved in several major activities, including the first round of consultations by the Eminent Persons Group on the future perspectives of the ACP, scheduled in Dr Luteru’s home country of Samoa on October 17-18.
Dr Luteru 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,” said ambassador Luteru.
The Committee of Ambassadors is the second decision-making body of the ACP Group of States, 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.
Daniel Drageset is the Pacific Scoop internship editor.