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7 July, 2011

"Civil society must play a leading role in the sustainable and inclusive development of ACP countries"

EESC President Staffan Nilsson declared, while opening the 26th meeting of ACP-EU economic and social interest groups on 5 July in Brussels. The three-day conference brought together delegates from the EU and from most ACP countries: participants coming from civil society, institutions, and socio-professional organizations.

The general meeting of the ACP-EU economic and social interest groups takes place every three years in Brussels, to ensure that the views of civil society are taken into account in the implementation of the Cotonou Agreement.

The main topics which have animated the conference are the renewal of European Union's development policy, Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiations and the participation of non-state actors in their implementation, support to farmers as a key aspect of food security strategies, and participatory democracy.

Representatives of ACP-EU economic and social interest groups participating in the conference adopted a final declaration which called on ACP and EU authorities:

  • to give more space to civil society and non-state actors in the definition, implementation and monitoring of the Cotonou Agreement;

  • to put promotion of agriculture and support to farmers' organizations in the centre of food security strategies in ACP Countries;

  • to take more account of the social dimension in the renewed EU Development policy focusing on poverty eradication, investments in agriculture-related sectors, decent jobs, social dialogue and support to non-state actors consultation;

  • to include balanced economic, social and environmental provisions in EPAs;

  • to involve civil society organizations in the democratic governance of ACP countries.

The final declaration of the meeting is available at:

For further information, please contact:

Beatriz PORRES

EESC External Relations Unit

Tel.:+32 2 546 9131

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