60th Session of the OACPS Parliamentary Assembly and 41st Plenary Session of the JPA
On Saturday 2 April, the morning session opened with a statement and a lively debate with Jutta Urpilainen, Member of the Commission with responsibility for international partnerships. Topics discussed included the post-Cotonou ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, the Global Gateway, the Russia-Ukraine war and its consequences, climate change, technology transfer, and food security. This was followed by a lively debate on the "Threats to stability, security and democracy in Western and Sahelian Africa". Most Members recognised the complexity of the situation and called for the need to address the root causes of violence and instability in the region.
The afternoon session continued with the topical debate on "Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its global impact" (with Nataliya Bugayova, National Security Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of War, former Chief Executive Officer of the Kyiv Post). The discussion was lively as well as controversial. Two other discussions followed - on "Enhancing the resilience of small island developing states against climate change and natural disasters" (urgent resolution) and on "Overcoming the global COVID-19 pandemic: cooperation for economic recovery and investments to achieve Universal Health Coverage" (with Jakkie Cilliers, Chairperson of the Board and Head of African Futures & Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria).
On Sunday 3 April, following a timely debate on "Building international solidarity to address the global education crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic", the ACP-EU JPA celebrated "20 years of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement and the future OACPS-EU parliamentary cooperation" through an enriching debate with a diverse set of speakers, including a strong focus on the voice of the youth. Two former JPA Co-Presidents also participated in the discussions, namely Mr Fitz Jackson from Jamaica (Co-President, 2013-2015) and Mr Joseph Owona Kono from Cameroon (Co-President, 2017- 2019). Looking to the future, a debate on the "Draft Rules of Procedure for the JPA under the post-Cotonou Agreement" took place. The Rules of the JPA - prepared by a Drafting Committee over a one-year period - would be complemented by three sets of Rules for the RPAs and consequently adopted by the JPA in the coming months.