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We still too often view Africa “through a European or western prism”, said Louis Michel, European Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, at its 28th session on 1-3 December in Strasbourg. Today’s Africa is no longer the “hopeless case” of the past but, on the contrary, it “can live up to its ambitions”, said keynote speaker and former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo.
On Wednesday the Assembly passed three resolutions tabled by the standing committees on the social and economic consequences of malnutrition in ACP countries, private sector development strategy and the challenge of national reconciliation in post-conflict and post-crisis countries. It also voted two urgent resolutions on the Ebola outbreak and the expansion of terrorism in Africa.
The Ebola outbreak is not only a public health issue
A resolution on Ebola outbreak in West Africa, passed as a matter of urgency on Wednesday, underlines the need “to isolate the disease without isolating the countries affected” and “to prevent the stigmatisation of survivor patients”.
Members criticise the international community’s initial underestimation of the crisis, but welcome the scaling-up of the international and European commitment against Ebola. They urge international donors to fulfil their commitments and point out that this endeavour should not be limited to fighting the disease but also to creating the conditions for post-Ebola social and economic reconstruction, including support for Ebola orphans in affected countries.
The urgent resolution was passed unanimously.
Fighting terrorism and the culture of impunity
Whereas « the threat of terrorism /…/ in Africa has increased at an alarming rate » JPA members reiterate, in an urgent resolution on the expansion of terrorism in Africa, that poverty, youth unemployment, social exclusion, intolerance, lack of education, social injustice, conflicts, poor governance and corruption may constitute fertile ground for radicalisation.
The JPA also “condemns in the strongest possible terms all forms of violence against women and girls” and underline that counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are complementary.
The resolution was passed by 55 votes in favour and none against, with 1 abstention.
The social and economic consequences of malnutrition in ACP countries
The economic cost of malnutrition is estimated to range from 2-3 % of gross domestic product to as much as 16 % in the most affected countries. The Assembly, in its resolution on the social and economic consequences of malnutrition in ACP countries, sets out recommendations to improve nutrition, which it says is a precondition for eradicating poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating disease, empowering women and achieving universal primary education.
Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment. Co-rapporteurs: Alban Bagbin (Ghana) and Norbert Neuser. The resolution was passed unanimously.
Private sector as a key driver of sustainable growth in the ACP countries
The private sector is a key driver of economic growth, job creation, delivery of goods and services, trade and innovation, says the JPA’s resolution on private sector development strategy, including innovation for sustainable development. Members called for more effective private-public collaboration between national and local authorities and the private sector with a view to supporting increased participation by the private sector in the formal economy.
The resolution was passed unanimously. Committee on Economic Development, Finance and Trade. Co-rapporteurs: Arnaldo Andrade Ramos (Cape Verde) and Bogdan Brunon Wenta. The resolution was passed unanimously.
National reconciliation in post-conflict and post-crisis countries
The Assembly passed a resolution recommending action to promote reconciliation in countries that have undergone internal crisis and conflicts. The text underlines the need to find a fair balance between justice and reconciliation, memory and social peace, despite the difficulties involved.
Committee on Political Affairs. Co-rapporteurs: Komi Selom Klassou (Togo) and Joachim Zeller. The resolution was passed by 55 votes to 1, with no abstentions.
Statement by Co-presidents on climate change conference in Lima
ACP-EU JPA Co-Presidents Louis Michel (ALDE, BE) and Fitz Jackson also issued a declaration on “the UN climate change conference in Lima (COP20)”
Next meeting in Vanuatu
The 29th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly will be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu (Pacific) from 15 to 17 June 2015. It will be preceded by meetings of the three standing committees and the Bureau on 13 and 14 June 2015.