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ACP28/020/09 Rev.1 Brussels, 11 December 2009


3rd ACP Civil Society ForumDeclaration 2009

Brussels, Belgium

(ACP – EU Partnership)

3rd ACP Civil Society Forum

Declaration 2009

Brussels, Belgium

(ACP – EU Partnership)

We, the Representatives of Civil Society Organizations of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP), meeting in Brussels on the 10th and 11th of December 2009, within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement and subsequent to the mandate of the adopted Plan of Action of the Civil Society meeting held in Entebbe, Uganda in October, 1997, with the precise intention of fulfilling the objectives of the ACP Civil Society Forum to promote, facilitate and enhance the vital contributions of regional and national grassroots, community based and other civil society organizations, who work for the benefit of the people of the ACP Regions ,

1. Noting that the ACP – EU Partnership Agreement signed the Cotonou Agreement on the 23rd of June 2000;

2. Acknowledging the justified place, role and the right of Non State Actors (NSAs) to be involved in all phases of the cooperation process, as legally enshrined in the ACP-EC Partnership Agreement;

3. Relying on the ACP Civil Society Plan of Action dated July, 2001 that was subsequently endorsed by the 27th ACP – EU Council of Ministers Meeting in Punta Cana on the 27th of June 2002 as the basis for its actions;

4. Recognizing, assessing, and acting upon the established objectives of the said ACP Civil Society Plan of Action;

5. Assessing the work of the delegates as presented by the Chairpersons and the Rapporteurs at the two previous statutory meetings held in 2001 and 2006 of the ACP Civil Society Forum and their respective Plan of Actions;

6. Embracing the legitimacy and legality of all the foregoing;

7. Considering the passage of time since the 1997 Meeting, the limited capacity of Civil Society Organisations, their limited access to information and subsequent low involvement in ACP-EU processes;

8. Noting the due expiration of the current Cotonou Agreement in the year 2020;

9. Hereby declare the urgency of taking ownership of the ACP Civil Society Forum and to formulate guidelines and procedures, relating to:

i. Management and Organisation of the ACP Civil Society Forum

Declare that:

1. The Civil Society Forum shall meet every two years at the headquarters of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Grouping in Brussels;

2. There shall be regional meetings of Civil Society on an annual basis to facilitate and promote regional dialogue and consensus – these meetings shall therefore be convened in the respective regions;

3. The ACP Civil Society Forum, taking into consideration, the provision of gender equality, shall adopt the following operational structure in order to provide a channel for information flow from bottom up; create a network for coordinating actions; sharing, gathering and disseminating information:

a. The Chairperson of the ACP Civil Society Forum shall lead and oversee the process;

b. One National Focal Point from each of the seventy-nine member states, and one Regional Focal Point (Vice Chairperson) from each of the Six ACP sub-regions shall be installed to manage the flow of information and communications with Civil Society Organisations in the said six sub-regions;

ii. Operations of the Civil Society Forum

Communication and interchange:

1. The ACP Civil Society Forum shall effect communications by means of an inclusive CSO social network via the internet and by any other media that is practical for that purpose in order to fill gaps in the communication flows essentially as a central pillar to fulfilling the functions of the Civil Society Forum at all levels.

2. Acknowledging the recognition accorded to the work of Civil Society by the Cotonou Agreement, the ACP Civil Society Forum shall develop positions and advocacy based on the principles and precepts of Evidence Based Knowledge Sharing and Policy Making relying on the wealth of ACP Civil Society expertise and sensitivity for that which concerns the strategic interests and the practical needs of populations they represent and advocate for.

iii. Commitments:

1. Acknowledging the established guidelines for Civil Society Capacity Building support mechanisms at the national level requiring a civil society organization to contribute up to 25% of the resources required to access European Union funding, we hereby declare that the Forum will advocate for the reduction of this stipulation and mechanism review (to no more than 10%). In that, in general, development funding mechanisms require co-payments or contributions from beneficiary populations;

2. At the next mid-term review of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, and at the all-ACP level, we advocate that EDF Intra-ACP financial resources are committed to fund the ACP Civil Society Forum, in order to facilitate the implementation of the objectives of this and all prior Meetings of the ACP Civil Society Forum, as outlined in the ACP Civil Society Forum Declarations and the Plans of Actions.

We do hereby declare that Civil Society, at the national, regional and all-ACP levels shall stand ready to:

i. Participate in the negotiation, implementation and monitoring of the Economic Partnership Agreement ;

ii. Participate in the discussions and actions addressing Natural Disasters the Environment and Climate Change;

iii. Participate in the monitoring and evaluation of attempts to accomplish national indicators;

iv. Participate in the promotion of the use of Culture as a means of National, Regional and Human Development;

v. Participate in the discussions and actions addressing the present global economic and financial crisis;

vi. Participate in fostering sustainable youth development;

vii. Participate in policy dialogue and programmes that promote transparency and good governance at all national, regional and all-ACP levels of development;

viii. Participate in the promotion of food security and sovereignty;

ix. Participate in the monitoring and evaluation of progress on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals;

x. Participate in the promotion of gender equality, human rights, good governance and democratic processes;

xi. Participate in the policy dialogue and programmes on Sexual and Reproductive Health and in the fight against HIV and AIDS;

xii. Participate in the Joint Parliamentary Assembly, ACP Parliamentary Assembly, ACP Council of Ministers, ACP Committee of Ambassadors;

xiii. Participate in the creation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Civil Society and public policy at all levels.

iv. Final Provisions:

i. Undertake to promote, distribute and implement this Brussels Declaration and Plan of Action on the aforementioned issues;

ii. Request the ACP Ministers of Finance, ACP and EU Councils of Ministers to reaffirm a commitment to provide access up to 15% of EDF resources for Civil Society Orgnisations, which will contribute to the disbursement of funds in a timely manner;

iii. Appeal to ACP States, EU and the joint ACP-EU institutions, in collaboration with our partners and financial institutions for development at national, regional, all-ACP and international level, to support, follow-up and participate in the implementation of the Brussels Declaration of the 3rd ACP Civil Society Forum; and

iv. Request the Chairperson of the Meeting of the 3rd ACP Civil Society Forum, in collaboration with the Chairperson of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors and the Secretary-General of the ACP Group, to forward this Declaration to the Chairperson of the next Meeting of ACP Ministers of Finance, Presidents of the ACP Council of Ministers, EU Council of Ministers, and European Commission, Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, Heads of the ACP Regional Integration Organisations, ACP Media and relevant bi- and multilateral partners.

Brussels, 11 December 2009

For the 3rd ACP Civil Society Forum

Mr. Lawman Layon Lynch


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