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1. The second meeting of the Joint Committee under the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the European Union (EU) and Central America (CA) took place on 22 February 2019 in Brussels. The meeting was attended, on the Central American side, by the representatives of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as Belize as a participant in the political dialogue and the Dominican Republic as an observer. In addition the General Secretariat of the SICA provided support. Guatemala was the coordinator for the Central American side. The EU was represented by the European External Action Service (EEAS) which took over the role of the presidency and the European Commission; diplomatic representatives of Spain were also in attendance.
2. The representatives of CA and the EU underlined the importance of the relations between the two sides in their various dimensions. They appreciated progress made since the San José Dialogue established in 1984, the EU-CA Framework Cooperation Agreement, and Luxembourg in 1985 and the entry into force of the PDCA in May 2014. At the same time , the provisional application of the Trade Pillar of the Association Agreement between CA and the EU and the previous Joint Committee held in Tegucigalpa in October 2014 were recalled.
3. The importance of encouraging the ratification process of the Association Agreement between the EU and CA in the parliaments of those Member States which have not yet done so was underlined, to facilitate as soon as possible, the entry into force of the Agreement in a comprehensive manner. Reference was made to the 14 June 2018 meeting in Brussels on the implementation of the trade pillar of the Association Agreement between the EU and CA and to the process of Croatia’s accession to the Agreement.
4. The EU and CA reaffirmed the importance of the agreement of Luxembourg and the PDCA as key instruments towards the Association Agreement between Central America and the European Union, allowing to develop dialogue on political and cooperation issues based on the principles of respect for democratic values, human rights and the rule of law, and the principles of cooperation contained in both agreements.
5. This meeting was based, both on a political and a cooperation dialogue. Both parties shared their priorities and challenges in their respective regions.
6. The commitment to deepening the dialogue on the political, social, economic and institutional challenges that the EU and CA are facing in the current context were expressed. Equally, discussions included among others regional challenges such as institutional strengthening, multilateralism, the rule of law, human rights and migration.
7. The representatives stressed the importance of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as the strategic framework to tackle the main challenges of the Central American region, as its multidimensional approach comprehensively addresses issues such as the fight against poverty and cross-cutting themes such as gender equality and migration; they underlined crucial aspects of the Central American region, such as disaster prevention and mitigation, climate change and food and nutrition security.
8. They stressed the importance of deepening economic integration, promoting productive and commercial development, addressing the issue of coffee, and the structural causes of the migration cycle, as well as citizen insecurity and strengthening transparency and the fight against corruption. They agreed that a stable region, built on the basis of good regional cooperation and integration, contributes to the promotion and attraction of investments for sustainable development.
9. They stressed that financial and non-financial cooperation plays an important role in complementing national efforts to transfer resources, for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
10. The representatives agreed that with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, a development paradigm which encompasses several interrelated and interdependent pillars (including the social pillar and the environmental pillar) is promoted and that they allow a more comprehensive look at development.
11. The representatives welcome the forthcoming United Nations High Level Conference on South-South Cooperation (PABA + 40) to take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 20-22 March, which will provide an opportunity to revitalise South-South and triangular actions and their increasing contribution to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda, thereby generating comprehensive public development cooperation programmes, measures and policies that increase their impact and sustainability over time. This process will be vital for deepening bi-regional cooperation relations between the EU and CA.
12. The representatives value the input of the Central American Integration System as the regional mechanism for joint monitoring of issues of regional interest.
13. They discussed the issue of regional integration and reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together in particular in the context of relations between the EU and CA .
14. They welcomed the conclusion of the second meeting of the Joint Committee between Central America and the European Union in the framework of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement, and agree to hold its third meeting in Central America in 2020, on the basis of the principle of alternating venues.
15. Both regions welcome the achievements and agreements reached so far. They undertake to follow up on joint projects and initiatives and agree to continue the promotion of joint actions. Finally, the representatives of Central America thanked the European Union authorities for their hospitality, the organization and preparation of the second meeting of the Joint Committee so as to be a success.