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Suriname to host ACP heads of government summit
Published on June 14, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor

PARAMARIBO, Suriname -- Suriname is on track to welcome the largest gathering of heads of state in its history from November 6 to 7, when it hosts the eighth African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States Summit of heads of state and government under the theme “Repositioning the ACP Group to fulfill the aspirations of our Peoples”, according to Foreign Minister Winston Lackin.

According to a press release from the ACP Secretariat in Brussels, leaders of 79 member countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific regions are expected to address key development issues, especially in the context of the post-2015 agenda, covering areas such as human security, climate change, trade and private sector growth, and development finance.

The meeting will deliberate on South-South and intra-ACP cooperation and the future orientation of the organisation when the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, the cooperation framework between the ACP Group and EU bloc, expires in 2020.

This year’s summit is a crucial one, as leaders are also expected to take a decision on the final report of the eminent persons group (EPG) on the future of the ACP, which includes the former president of neighbouring Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo. The group is led by former Nigerian president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and co-chaired by the former president of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernandez Reyna.

The 12-member panel is currently reviewing the past successes and failures of the ACP Group as an organisation. The EPG will submit recommendations to the summit on how to better position the group to be more effective and relevant on the global stage.

Jagdeo will play a key role at the Paramaribo summit and is assisting Suriname in preparing for the summit.

The main plenary sessions for ACP heads of state and government will be preceded by meetings at the ministerial level, namely by the ACP Council of Ministers and ACP ministers of foreign affairs from 3-5 November.

Suriname was nominated as the 2014 host country by the Caribbean region. The country has invested heavily to improve infrastructure. There are more hotels in the capital city, which include international brands such as Marriott, Wyndham International, Best Western and Princess. Roads, airports and other tourism infrastructure have seen improvement since tourism is now seriously being developed as a source of income for the country.

Paramaribo also wants to use the event to promote Suriname’s tourism and investment potential by drawing international attention to the country.

Lackin will travel to Kenya next week to attend the ACP/EU ministerial meeting from June 18-20.
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