DELEGATES have started arriving in Port Vila for the 14th regional meeting of Africa, Caribbean and Pacific/European Union (ACP/EU) Parliamentary Assembly being hosted by Vanuatu that will open Wednesday.
The Chairman of the local Taskforce Committee organising the program for the meeting, the Acting Clerk of Parliament, Leon Teter, said they expect around 66 delegates at the meeting and so far 44 participants have confirmed their presence.
These include the co-president of ACP, Ibrahim Rassin Bundu , the acting co-president of the EU, Cecil Kashetu Kyenge, the co-secretary of ACP, Leonard Emile Ognimba, and the co-secretary of the EU Parliament, Donatella Pribaz.
Also expected for the meeting are the Speaker of the Parliament of Tuvalu, Otineilu Tausi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cook Islands, Tutai Tura and the Minister of Commerce of Kiribati, Atarake Nataara.
Those already confirmed to be at the meeting are 21 members from the European Parliament and 23 from the ACP’s Parliaments of Pacific Island countries.
The Speaker of Parliament, Esmon Saimon, and his four deputy speakers plus the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Leingkone will represent Vanuatu.
In March, this year, Vanuatu through MP Marco Mahe, the country’s special envoy for ACP and Vanuatu’s Ambassador in Brussels, Roy Mickey Roy, submitted an offer for Vanuatu to host the meeting and the request from the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly came soon after, following which Vanuatu accepted to host.
Chairman of the Taskforce Committee, Teter, says that when they made a submission to the Government for funding assistance, a supplementary budget of Vt20 million (approx. US$184,000) was submitted and approved by Parliament in June allowing the organising of the meeting to move on in earnest.
“Although it has been a rather short notice for us to organise the hosting of the meeting, I believe in the capacity of the committee members for us to host a successful meeting of the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly that we can all be proud of,” he added.
On Wednesday, a meeting of the members of the EU group will take place and the 14th Regional Meeting of the Pacific region of the ACP/EU General Assembly will be officially opened by the Speaker of the Vanuatu Parliament.
On Friday, the delegates will go on a field trip to the Wind Farm project funded by the European Investment Bank and then to the King Roimata Compound at Mangalilu, part of the location of the only World Heritage Site in Vanuatu.
The ACP Group of States is a group of countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific that was created by the Georgetown Agreement in 1975.
The group’s main objectives are sustainable development and poverty reduction, within its member states, as well as their greater integration into the world’s economy.