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ACP GENEVA - Launch of the TradeCom II Support Programme

Posted on: March 24, 2017

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Following the signature of a service contract by the PMU of the TradeCom II Programme with SAANA Consulting, the implementation of the Programme “Targeted Support to the ACP Group in Geneva to Strengthen the Group’s participation in the multilateral trade negotiations under the World Trade Organisation (WTO)” started on March 1, 2017 with a kick-off meeting that was held in the Offices of the ACP Secretariat in Geneva. The project is aimed at empowering the ACP Delegations in Geneva to participate effectively in trade negotiations/deliberations in the WTO.

A team of three senior experts on Services, NAMA and WTO Special and Differential Treatment and Agriculture were recruited to provide the necessary technical expertise during the 12 months (February 2017 – February 2018) implementation period.  

The formal launch of the project took place on March 20, 2017 at the WTO in Geneva. At that event, the ACP Secretariat was represented by, H.E. Patrick I. Gomes (ACP Group Secretary General), H.E. John R. Deep Ford (Ambassador & Permanent Representative, Mission of Guyana, Geneva) and Viwanou Gnassounou (Assistant Secretary-General responsible for Sustainable Economic Development and Trade at the ACP Secretariat). H.E. Marc Vanheukelen (EU Permanent Representative to the WTO) represented the European Commission.

Ahmed Ndyeshobola, (TradeCom II Team Leader) and El Hadji Diouf (Multilateral Trade Expert) represented TradeCom II programme at that event. In attendance also was Tom Pengelly, (Managing Director of the contractor SAANA Consulting).

H.E. John R. Deep Ford opened the session emphasizing the great appreciation for the support from the Brussels community on trade policy and other technical issues that feeds into the ACP positions in the multilateral trade negotiations.

Viwanou Gnassounou highlighted that the project will be able to support and meet the objectives and needs of the ACP Group in Geneva. It will also compliment the support provided by other institutions like the WTO, ITC and UNCTAD for the benefit of the beneficiaries—the ACP Member States.

H.E. Marc Vanheukelen reaffirmed the close cooperation between the ACP Group and the EU, and the importance of the project in fostering that cooperation. To enhance cooperation, he empathized the need for working together to get a better outcome at the MC11. In that regard, he encouraged greater ownership of the project and the inherent processes.

Ahmed Ndyeshobola expressed appreciation to all stakeholders who supported the TradeCom II team at various stages during the development of the project, in particular: H.E. Ambassador Ngarambe (the former ACP Group coordinator) and his staff, H.E. Ambassador Kisiri (Head of the ACP Office in Geneva), Ms. Tiina Satuli (EU Delegation Geneva), and the colleagues from the EC and ACP Secretariat in Brussels: Mr. Koen Rossel-Cambier (EC), Mr. Viwanou Gnassounou and Mr. Morgan Githinji (ACP Secretariat).

Furthermore, he reaffirmed that the wide consultations by the TradeCom II team with the relevant stakeholders in Geneva enabled the team to cover all grounds and issues within the context of the multilateral trade negotiations under the WTO.  As a result, the structure and content of the project reflects the broadly agreed actions that, when fully and timely implemented, should sustainably meet the needs of the ACP Group in the next 12 months and beyond.

Tom Pengelly (Managing Director of SAANA Consulting) reassured the meeting that all the Key Experts are on the ground in Geneva and SAANA is providing the required backstopping. Further reassured the meeting that the team will continuously work in a demand-driven and coordinated manner towards the MC11.

In conclusion, H.E. Dr. P. Gomes declared the project launched, reassuring the ACP Representatives in Geneva, the beneficiaries of the project, that his office will do all what is possible to ensure the successful implementation of the project also in the context of enhancing the cooperation between the ACP Group and the European Union in Geneva.

Programme funded by European Union at the request of ACP Group - Implemented by AESA CONSORTIUM