On 30th and 31st October, the ACP Secretariat held the 1st ACP Non-State Actors Forum to discuss their role in the ACP agenda. The Forum discussed the three thematic areas as defined as ACP priorities in the document ‘The ACP We Want‘;
- Trade, Investment, Industrialisation & Service.
- Development cooperation, technology, science and innovation and research.
- Political dialogue and advocacy
ACP YPN was invited as a youth led civil society organization and participated on the panels. ACP YPN delegation included Yentyl Williams (President & Founder), Bora Kamwanya (Parliamentary relations Officer) and June Paskalina Lacour (Project Coordinator). Bora Kamwanya and June Lacour made two interventions, while Yentyl Williams was in the drafting committee of the Forum along other Non State Actors from Africa, Caribbean and Pacific.
June Lacour presented on the topic ‘the role of NSAs and implementation’. June presented an analysis at the present state of ACP – EU relationship and its fulfilment of article 26, where she acknowledged that their recent involvement of the youth was well appreciated but more initiatives were welcome. Indeed, ACP YPN’s invitation to the Forum was a sign of commitment and support from the secretariat. June hoped and expressed the ACP YPN’s willingness to be involved in the post 2020 negotiations as they were pertinent to the youth across the ACP regions.
When discussing trade, investment industrialisation and services, the challenges to industry development and support agriculture sector in the global value chain of some of the issues that were addressed. Moreover, NSAs contributed to the discussion putting emphasis on maximisation of intra ACP relations for competitive trading and insisting on taking advantage of trade in service since it is the fastest-growing commodity in the region. There was open agreement on the need to facilitate the correlation of good practices from the different regions so that the NSAs could have an easy access to readily available data and apply them to their own countries.
Thirdly, under political dialogue and advocacy the Forum addressed the role of NSAs in the implementation of development issues in ACP states. This topic had four components that were adequately discussed. First, was the role of NSAs in the implementation of the 2030 agenda on sustainable development. June highlighted that as ACP YPN we have a role in monitoring and outreach to youth in ACP regions, to make sure that the agenda is inclusive of our contribution and reflects the future we want. Additionally, the discussion on non-state actors’ participation in negotiation and implementation of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) was discussed and ACP YPN expressed willingness to be involved in future negotiations as this agreements had a greater impact on youth entrepreneurship, access to markets and job creation. On development corporation technology science and innovation, ACP YPN’s position was that there was a need to educate the youth on intellectual property rights, how to develop them and mobilise their expertise in order to curb brain drain in ACP countries. In particular, June underlined that research capacity cannot be enhanced without people and that’s the ACP needed to invest in its people
The two-day forum ended with a proposed resolution that mainly called for the creation of an independent NSA desk within the ACP secretariat that would follow up on the agreed points and be a point of contact for all NSA organisations from the ACP region. Lastly, there was a call for continuous involvement of NSA in ACP affairs and especially in post 2020 discussions as opposed to the last interaction of ACP Secretariat & NSAs 9 years ago.
By June Lacour, ACP YPN Project Coordinator
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