Fighting illicit financial flows, investing in family and small-scale agriculture and coordinating aid for Haiti after Hurricane Matthew were among the issues on which Members of the European Parliament and their counterparts from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries agreed at the 32nd session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in Nairobi, which closed on Wednesday.
The 32nd session of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and European Union (EU) member states, which closed on Wednesday afternoon, approved a declaration on the future of ACP-EU cooperation. The text outlines a renewed partnership between the two regions after 2020, when the Cotonou Agreement expires, and calls for a strong parliamentary dimension, of which the JPA forms the core.
MEPs and their counterparts from ACP national parliaments also debated the role of trade in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Secretary General Mukhisa Kituyi on Tuesday afternoon. The issue of migration and resettling migrants in their home countries, and the role of infrastructure development in fostering regional integration were also debated during the three-day session.
Two reports and an urgent resolution were approved at the voting session on Wednesday afternoon. They concern the following topics.
Fight against illicit financial flows (IFF): need for a political effort
The fight against money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance, and corruption “requires strong international cooperation”, the simultaneous involvement of all national and international players, and an effort “primarily of a political nature”, says the Assembly.
The text, approved by a large majority, calls for:
- information on beneficial ownership of companies to be made publicly available for all corporate structures, including trusts, foundations and shell companies,
- public country-by-country reporting by multinationals to stop base erosion and profit shifting, and
- penalties to be considered in the event of financial centres failing to cooperate in the global fight against illicit financial flows.
Family farming and small-scale agriculture in ACP countries: more investment needed
Family and small-scale agriculture remain essential in ACP countries to combat poverty, ensure food security and protect biodiversity, say parliamentarians in a second resolution. In it, they reiterate the many difficulties facing small-scale family agriculture, and notably access to land, capital and markets. The need to increase public spending on agriculture, given that it suffers from a lack of investment, is also underlined in the text.
This area will receive aid under financing agreements with Kenya worth €104 million, signed by EU Commissioner for international cooperation and development Neven Mimica on the fringe of the JPA. This aid will help small farms by enabling them to access finance and training or by facilitating their integration into the market.
Hurricane Matthew in Haiti: donors must fulfil their pledges
To meet needs on the ground effectively, the international community and Haiti’s partners should work in coordination with the Haitian government, say MEPs and their ACP counterparts in the second urgent resolution voted on Wednesday. They add that donors should deliver on their pledges, underlining that only 40% of the US$ 120 million requested by the Haitian government and the UN has so far been provided.
At the closing press conference of the 32nd session of the JPA, Co-Presidents Netty Baldeh (The Gambia) for the ACP countries and Michèle Rivasi for the European Union denounced the violence raging in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “We condemn these pointless deaths, which would not have taken place if the President of the Republic had respected the Constitution”, said Co-President Michèle Rivasi.
Next ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
The 33rd ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly will be held from 19 to 21 June 2017 in Valletta, the capital of Malta, which will chair the Council of the European Union from 1 January to 31 June 2017.
Distributed by APO on behalf of European Parliament.