EU seeks new alliances prior to the Rio+20
Development Minister Christian Friis Bach aims to create a new alliance between the EU and Pacific, African and Caribbean countries on sustainable development ahead of the RIO+20 Summit.
"The ACP-EU Partnership numbers 105 countries on four continents. It is a large part of the world community, which jointly has a significant voice. We have a common interest in combating climate change and poverty while promoting sustainable development for all," Bach says.
On 12 June in New Zealand, the minister will debate EU development cooperation with the Pacific Islands Forum. On 14-15 June in Vanuatu, the Minister will attend a ministerial meeting with government representatives from African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) and Europe.
The meetings in Vanuatu may lead to a new alliance in the climate debate across the traditional divide between developing and industrialized countries.
"If we can agree on a joint declaration on sustainable development in Vanuatu it would be a very strong message. It could be an important input to the large summit," Minister Bach says.
After the meetings, the minister will travel directly to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to participate in the Rio+20 Summit on 20-22 June.
The low-lying Pacific Island States are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts in the form of floods, saltwater contaminating water supplies, hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions.
Ten of the Pacific States are among the world's 15 smallest economies. There are only a total of 10 million people on the Pacific islands, more than half of which live in coastal areas. Vanuatu, which is hosting the ACP-EU Ministerial meeting, is a small island in the Pacific, east of Australia.
In addition to preparations for Rio +20, the agenda for the Ministerial Meeting will also cover: trade relations between EU and ACP countries; and the link between development and migration.
"The ACP-EU Partnership numbers 105 countries on four continents. It is a large part of the world community, which jointly has a significant voice. We have a common interest in combating climate change and poverty while promoting sustainable development for all," the Danish minister says.
The EU is donating EUR22.7 billion to the 79 ACP countries through the European Development Fund in the period 2008-2013, including help to combat climate change and poverty.
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