On 19th October 2016, Yentyl Williams, ACP YPN Founder and President and Researcher on EU-ACP trade affairs at the University of Gent, spoke on the high-level panel at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development alongside: Thomas Silberhorn, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (Berlin); Dr. Berhard Felmberg, Director at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; Dr. San Bilal, European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM); Dr. Evita Schmieg, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) on the subject of “Sustainability and human rights in EPAs: A comparative analysis between the Caribbean and African EPAs.”
Yentyl discussed three important issues related to (1) the role of civil society in the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs); (2) Sustainability and human rights in practice and (3) how the African EPAs cans become a benchmark for the Caribbean EPA.
- First, Yentyl explained that in the Gent University ECDPM Briefing note 93 on Civil Society & EPAs show that there is an inconsistent approach to civil society in EU trade agreements, between the EU trade agreements since EU-South Korea and the ‘EU Global Strategy’ on the one hand and the EU ACP EPAs on the other. The EU-Eastern African Community (EAC) and the EU-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) EPAs establish a transnational meeting (also called Consultative Committee, like Caribbean Forum, CARIFORUM EPA) and EU-Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA has no reference to this. The Briefing note, makes three suggestions and ten specific recommendations.
- Second, Yentyl used the example of ACP YPN advocacy to show that the legal text does not mean implementation of the agreement, as ACP YPN continually reminds the EU and ACP states to utilise Article 26 of the Cotonou Agreement on Youth issues.
- Third, Yentyl explained that South Africa is the only ACP country to register three agricultural GIs in their SADC-EU EPA. This can be used as a case study on GIs in practise in ACP countries, and be a useful case study for the Cariforum countries who have committed to monitoring GIs under their EPA. (Forthcoming research)