98th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers: Seychelles defends the ACP Fisheries
Secretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Barry Faure defended the Seychelles position at the 98th session of the African Caribbean Pacific Council (ACP) of Ministers in Brussels (9th to 11th December 2013) where he represented the Foreign Minister Jean-Paul Adam. Seychelles has come out strongly to insist that previous ACP Council decisions on fisheries in ACP states and regions be fully implemented by the ACP.
The Council of Ministers meets in ordinary sessions twice a year. Once, towards mid-year when a joint session is held with the EU Council, and, the second time, at the end of the year, to consider the budget for the following year as well as other matters before the organisation.
SS Faure explains that the ACP Fisheries Mechanism was approved by Council in 2009 under Seychelles’ leadership. The Fisheries Mechanism put in place an Ambassadorial Working Group, a Fisheries Ministerial Committee and a Permanent Fisheries Expert at the ACP Secretariat to assist the Committee of Ambassadors and the Council of Ministers in defending ACP interests in fisheries policy management and sustainable fisheries development in all ACP states and regions.
However, whilst the Ambassadorial Working Group has been instituted, never has the Fisheries Ministerial Committee ever met in the margins of ACP Council ordinary sessions like is the case for the Ministerial Committees on Sugar, Cotton and Bananas. SS Faure drove the point home and got the meeting to agree that the necessary should be done by the Committee of Ambassadors and the Secretariat to implement past Council decisions on fisheries, including making funds available to finance a Fisheries Expert on a full time and permanent basis in 2014.
Other matters that were addressed by Council were the post-2015 development agenda, the future prospects of the ACP Group beyond 2020, the ACP Budget for 2014 which sees an increase of almost 26 % in contributions by member states, a framework for a private sector development strategy, the necessity or not for a third revision of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, a resolution to combat terrorism, and transitional financial arrangements between the expiry of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and the operationalisation of the 11th EDF.
An ACP Press Release on the Outcome of the 98th session of the ACP Council may be accessed on the ACP home page.