Parliamentarians adopt Urgent Resolutions on Climate Change

The 38th Session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and European Union (EU) Joint Parliamentary Assembly (ACP-EU JPA), which was held from 14th to 21st November, 2019, in Kigali, Rwanda has adopted urgent resolutions on “challenges addressed at the Nations Climate Change Conference COP25” and on the “threat of climate change to fisheries and aquaculture.” This is in the wake of the up-coming COP25 to be held in December, 2019, in Madrid, Spain, during which outstanding issues in the Katowice Climate Package, including provisions under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which aims at promoting integrated, holistic and balanced approaches that will assist governments in implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) through voluntary international cooperation, are expected to be addressed.
During the debates, parliamentarians, who included Mr Elias M Mwila, Member of Parliament for Chimwemwe Constituency and Zambia’s Representative to the ACP-EU JPA, described climate change as an existential threat, and called upon ACP and EU governments to place emphasis on investments in projects and infrastructure that will ensure more resilience and better adaptation to climate change, especially in ACP countries.
Apart from the foregoing, the 38th Session of the ACP-EU JPA witnessed intensified discussions on the post-Cotonou framework. During the debates, parliamentarians noted that the world had changed considerably since the Cotonou Agreement was adopted almost two decades ago, adding that global and regional contexts (in Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific) had evolved significantly, and so had the common global challenges to be addressed and opportunities to be grasped. In this regard, the ACP-EU JPA called upon the negotiating teams of the post-Cotonou Agreement from both the ACP and EU sides to review the core objectives of the partnership in order to adapt to the new realities. In addition, parliamentarians called for the post-Cotonou Agreement to entrench a stronger parliamentary dimension and for it to be based on and respect the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and proportionality.
At the end of the Session, the  ACP-EU JPA agreed to support initiatives in a number of fields, ranging from the use of social media to promote democracy and stability, promoting youth participation in public life, to  industrialisation and digitalisation as catalysts to the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this vein, the AP-EU JPA also adopted the following texts:
(i)    a resolution on the impact of social media on governance, development, democracy and stability, with a call for urgent action to set up online defence strategies and to develop media literacy programmes for all in order to fully benefit from the opportunities that social media have to offer;
(ii)    a resolution on sustainable industrialisation and digitalisation: the approach and industrialisation and digitalisation policies, calling for the need to create inclusive and sustainable strategies on digital infrastructures in order to enhance manufacturing production, find new sustainable ways to diversify productive capacities, improve trade environment and investment climate and provide Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) access for all; and
(iii)    a resolution on promoting the active participation of young citizens in public life in ACP and EU countries, calling for significant investments in the education and health of young people, including removing barriers to their political participation.
The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly was created out of a common desire to bring together the elected representatives of the European Community - the Members of the European Parliament - and the elected representatives of ACP countries that have signed the Cotonou Agreement. It is the only international assembly in which the representatives of various countries sit together regularly with the aim of promoting the interdependence of North and South.