Saint-Vincent and the Grenadines

29th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Fiji

24/06/2015 - 00:00
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The Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) convened in Suva, Fiji on 15-17 June, co-presided by Louis Michel (EP) and Fitz Jackson (ACP). The session focussed on issues of concern to the Pacific region: climate change, the natural disaster in Vanuatu and neighbouring states, fisheries, other natural resources, maritime security and regional integration.

Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in Suva, Fiji

The members debated the link between cultural diversity and human rights, and the Assembly adopted a resolution based on a report drawn up by the political affairs committee, expressing concern regarding the need to respect and promote cultural traditions while emphasizing cultural differences must not be misused to justify violating shared human rights principles such as non-discrimination. The issue, which produced intense discussions, can be expected to remain a focus of the JPA.

The Assembly adopted a resolution on the political, humanitarian and security situation in the Central African Republic, calling for free, fair and transparent elections before the end of 2015, requesting the international community to provide electoral assistance, and stressing that there can be no impunity for the perpetrators of gross human rights violations. Other issues concerned education and vocational training in ACP countries and enhancement of revenue generation capabilities in ACP states. The JPA held an exchange with the Fijian Minister for Finance on "building economic confidence through a genuine participatory democracy".

Commissioner Mimica delivered a statement on the challenges of climate change (impacts already tangible in the Pacific region, where some islands and populations are directly threatened), emphasizing the EU's commitment and action, and the need for joint efforts to ensure a successful outcome of the Paris Conference. Latvian Foreign Minister Rinkēvičs represented the Council of the EU, and in his statement called for an ambitious outcome on the post-2015 agenda for poverty eradication and sustainable development, underlining how the EU and the ACP can work together to ensure this, and also set out the aims of the EU's agenda on migration, calling for increased EU-ACP cooperation, and the fight against trafficking of human beings.

The EEAS, DEVCO and TRADE and the EU Delegation to the Pacific intervened to provide briefings on the various issues on the agenda of the JPA and the standing committees that preceded the assembly. For the EEAS, the political affairs committee discussed migration, cultural diversity and human rights, the African Peace Facility and the role of parliamentary oversight in the fight against corruption.