President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana has underscored the need for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries, to advance in human security and development. These two concepts, he noted, are linked and central to the development endeavours of ACP states.
President Kufuor made the call in a message delivered on his behalf at the opening of the Ministerial Council Meeting of the 6th ACP, last Tuesday, in Accra.
The President observed that the ACP states are not the only group seeking to promote human security and development, adding that 'the United Nations Organisation has been promoting a development agenda that challenges governments and multilateral institutions to recorgnise the nexus between the concepts'.
He outlined some of the challenges of development that confronts ACP States currently to include environment, climate change, migration, rising food and oil prices, as well as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).
President Kufuor urged the ACP Group to use the Accra Summit to re-affirm their commitment to the ACP-EC Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which among other things, acknowledges that a political environment which guaranteed peace, security and stability, respect for human rights, democratic principle and rule of law, and good governance is part of a long term development process.
He said the responsibility of establishing such conditions in ACP states rests primarily with individual countries concern, adding that commitment to such principles is in 'our quest to improve the well-being and lives of our people'.
The Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Akoto Osei, welcoming participants, emphasised the need for the ACP Group to fully publicise the 'noble causes' they embrace in order to receive support and encouragement, not only from the EU, which is their closest partner, but the entire world.
Dr Akoto Osei appealed to the ACP States to prepare and move with changes in 'global priorities' for the organisation not to become obsolete.
He was hopeful that the Summit will serve as an opportunity for ACP leaders to reflect on many pertinent and pressing issues confronting the world and reminded the world that the ACP Group is vibrant and ready to contribute its share to the dialogue to help advance the cause of mankind.
The Council of Ministers Meeting will prepare the agenda for the Summit of ACP Heads of States and Governments, which begins today.
ACP leaders attending the summit are expected to discuss the rise in food prices and its effects on development of ACP States, the energy crisis, especially electricity and oil prices.
Climate change, which is a major concern for small island states, is also expected to feature prominently, so also the status of play of the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).
The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States was created in 1975 following the signing of the Georgetown Agreement in Guyana.