Opening remarks by the Chair of the Committee of Ambassadors, H.E Samuel O. Outlule (Botswana) at the Inaugural Meeting of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Post-2015 Overarching Framework, 12 July 2013, Brussels

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Ambassadors and Representatives of ACP Embassies and Missions; 
It is a great pleasure, for me to welcome you to the Inaugural Meeting of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Post-2015 Overarching Framework.  
Let me begin by thanking the Chair of the Ad-hoc Working Group, Dr. Sylla,  Ambassador of the Republic of Guinea, and your goodselves the Core Members of the Working Group for volunteering to undertake this important work.  I am confident that with the able guidance of Ambassador Sylla and the support of the Inter-departmental Committee, headed by the ASG, Achille Bassilekin the Ad-hoc Working Group will successfully achieve its mandate. 
The post-2015 framework should take into account the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainable development.  In this regard I wish to highly commend  the ACP Secretariat  for establishing an ACP Inter-departmental Committee on the Post-2015 Overarching framework to support the work of the AWG in its quest to fulfil its mandate. 
We must recognise at the very beginning that the success of this Committee depends on the contribution of all of us.  The outcome of consultations on the Post-2015 Overarching framework will have a fundamental impact on global development policy and action for a considerable period.  Each and everyone of us must therefore make the business of this Working Group their business.
As you are all aware, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement objectives are focused on (1) eradicating poverty, (2) achieving sustainable development and (3) integrating ACP States into the world economy.  In order to achieve these objectives, policy measures at the global, regional and national levels must be put in place. The decision by the international community to develop a Post-2015 Overarching Framework, should be viewed as an opportunity to agree on measures aimed at creating an enabling environment for development.
It is against this background that that the 861st meeting of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors (COA, having acknowledged the importance of the Overarching Framework, deemed in necessary to establish an Ad-hoc Working Group on Post-2015.  This decision was endorsed by the 97th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers.
Excellencies, the processes to develop the Post-2015 Overarching Framework have begun at the global, regional and national levels.  The Report of the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons of the Post-2015 Development Agenda was realeased on 31st May 2013.   The Report clearly indicates that in moving forward “business-as-usual is not an option” and therefore the post-2015 development agenda needs to be “guided by five big, transformative shifts”:
1. Leave no one behind;
2. Put sustainable development at the core;
3. Transform economies for jobs and inclusive growth;
4. Build peace and effective, open and accountable institutions for all; and 
5. Forge a new global partnership.
The High Level Panel stated, inter alia, that  “these five changes are right, smart and necessary thing to do!  Their impact will depend on how they are translated into specific priorities and actions”.
The High Level Panel believes that the above-mentioned principles can bring together social, economic and environmental issues in a coherent, effective and sustainable manner, with a view to improving the quality of life for our present and future generations.  
The work of the Ad-hoc Working Group is vitally important to ensuring that the concerns and interests of the ACP Group are incorporated into the process to develop the Post-2015 Overarching Framework.  In order to achieve this, the Working Group was specifically tasked with developing an ACP Position Paper and an ACP-EU Joint Declaration on the post-2015 overarching framework.  In addition, the Working Group will contribute to the preparatory process of ACP Member States to participate effectively in meetings related to the Post-2015 process at the regional and global levels.
Excellencies, The process to develop the post-2015 overarching framework must not be undertaken in isolation from the on-going process to achieve the MDGs.  In fact, both processes should be merged to ensure that issues of poverty eradication and sustainable development are addressed in a comprehensive manner. 
While progress has been made in implementing the Millennium Development Goals, analysis has shown that many goals and targets have not yet been achieved.  Therefore the overarching framework will need to take into account the efforts made towards achieving the MDGs, the current state of implementation, the challenges which remain and recommendations to accelerate progress in order to attain them by 2015.
Africa has already embarked on the process to articulate its common position.  The Assembly of Heads of State and Government mandated the African Union commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa to hold consultations to identity Africa’s priorities and common position.
A number of multiple sub-regional and regional consultations with African policy makers, civil society, academia, youth, private sector have already been held.
The outcome of the consultations were presented at the 6th Conference of African Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in March 2013 and were subsequently considered at the 21st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU in May 2013.
The Assembly decided to establish a High-Level Committee of Heads of State and Government led by President Helen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia to finalise the African Common Position.  The African Union will present the common position during the 68th UN General Assembly in September 2013.
I understand that Small Island Developing States have already began to develop a common position.  The European Union recently adopted a policy paper on A Decent Life for All.
With these few words, I wish you a success in the work ahead. 

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