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Opening Statement by Mr.Achille BASSILEKIN III, Assistant Secretary General, Head of the Sustainable Economic Development and Trade Department during the Workshop on the Draft Framework of Action for the Development of Mineral Resources in ACP Countries

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Brussels, 20 May 2011

Excellencies Ambassadors,
Distinguished Representatives of International Organisations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First and foremost I would like to convey the apologies of the Secretary General, Dr. Chambas who could not make it to the meeting this morning due to other important commitments. It is therefore on his behalf that I welcome you all to the ACP House today.
I am happy to note the presence of several participants from Capitals. We are aware that this is a very difficult time of the year, with so many parallel meetings going on all over the place. Your presence here today is a clear demonstration of the importance of the Mineral resources sector for your countries.

Excellencies Ambassadors,
Distinguished Representatives of International Organisations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you are aware this workshop has been organised as a follow up to the First ACP Ministerial meeting on Mineral Resources, which was held from 15-18 December 2010, in Brussels.
You would recall that one of the major recommendations of this Ministerial meeting was the need for the elaboration of an all ACP Framework of Action for the Mineral Resources Sector and which would encompass actions you would wish to see undertaken in the short/medium/or long term, to complement your existing national and regional initiatives.
On the basis of the Declaration and recommendations of the Ministerial meeting, Secretariat has with the assistance of an Expert in Mineral sector (Mr. Michel Chaperoux), prepared a draft Framework of Action, which will be discussed in detail today.
It should be noted that this document has during its initial stage of preparation received inputs from experts of the informal Working group, which was established in the context of the Ministerial meeting.
Once validated, the draft Framework of Action, as you are aware would be submitted for consideration by the ACP Council of Ministers, scheduled for 28 and 29th May.
Excellencies Ambassadors,
Distinguished Representatives of International Organisations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to say a few words on the draft the Framework of Action which is in front of us today. Its overall objectives are to foster the development of the mineral resources industry in support to the sustainable development of ACP countries and to contribute to poverty alleviation and social development in the mining sector.
In terms of specific objectives, the draft Framework, aims at:

■Firstly, strengthening the management capacity of ACP countries in the mineral sector;
■secondly, integrating sustainable development measures into the ACP mining sector and
■thirdly, enhancing the ability of states to derive maximum economic and social benefits from the sector, while mitigating the negative impacts of the mining industry.
As you would note, in elaborating the draft Framework of Action, six main strategic areas of intervention have been identified. They are namely:

■Enhancement of Institutional Capacity;
■Development of Exploration and Geoscientific Information Systems;
■Development of Small- and Medium-Scale Mining Sector;
■Reduction of Social and Environmental Impacts;
■Improvement of Energy and Transport Infrastructure; and
■Development of Industrialisation and Diversification
Excellencies Ambassadors,
Distinguished Representatives of International Organisations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

To conclude, I have to stress that our initiative could not have been more timely. On the hand we are at a juncture when our Development partners are endeavouring to secure access to raw materials, while on the other hand we are in the process of elaborating an ACP Framework for Action in the Mineral Resources sector. Clearly, these two objectives should be reconciled so that we can successfully achieve win-win partnerships for sustainable development. In this regard we need bring our development partners on board so that together we explore all possibilities for technical and financial support measures, which can be made available to assist ACP States in developing their Mineral resources sector.

With these words, I thank you all for your attention and wish you fruitful deliberations.


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