……..President Granger assures as he accredits new EU ambassador
PRESIDENT David Granger registered Guyana’s strong commitment to the Post-Cotonou Framework and the longstanding relationship it shares with the European Union (EU) as he accredited Fernando Ponz Cantó as the EU Resident Ambassador to the country.
Ambassador Cantó presented his Letters of Credence to President Granger during a simple, but significant ceremony at the Ministry of the Presidency on Wednesday. Through the EU’s development cooperation programmes, the country has benefitted significantly in the fields of agriculture, sugar-cultivation, education, training, housing, public health, public and private sector development, coastal zone management and climate change.
In his address, President Granger noted that Guyana and the EU have collaborated within the ambit of the successive Lomé Conventions and the current African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States: ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
“These arrangements establish a platform on which to construct a new generation of partnership for their mutual benefit. These agreements will assist in the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals to which Guyana is unequivocally committed,” the Head of State explained.
The Cotonou Agreement, which spans for 20 years, is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU. Since 2000, it has been the framework for EU’s relations with 79 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP).
Here in Guyana, President Granger said the Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) is a strong indication of the government’s commitment to cohesive and sustainable development. “The ‘green state’ will place emphasis on the protection of our environment, the preservation of our biodiversity, the promotion of renewable energy and practical measures to ensure climate adaptation,” he detailed, while noting that the country is now pushing for increased access to modern, clean and affordable energy, notwithstanding the development of the oil and gas sector. Emphasis, he said, is also being placed on climate adaptation.
The new Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union, in his address, took note of the fact that Guyana and the EU share a broad agenda of political, developmental and socio-economic cooperation. “We can only succeed in our important mission if we work even more closely together involving all actors, at all levels of government, together with non-state actors, the private sector and community-based organisations,” he told President Granger in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Karen Cummings.
Like President Granger, Ambassador Cantó noted that for more than 40 years, the EU has been a reliable partner and supporter of Guyana’s development. This period, he posited, has been marked by contributions in multiple sectors such as education, health, agriculture, infrastructure development, strengthening of governance, institutional capacity building and trade facilitation as well as democracy and human rights.
“Of particular note is the EU’s extensive contribution to helping Guyana maintain and rehabilitate its sea defences, which become more and more relevant each day as we witness the harsh effects of climate change. Your Excellency, we also look forward to supporting Guyana’s efforts in other areas, such as human security, and implementing the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) in the years ahead. This is also part of our joint efforts to address the challenge of making the most of natural and extractive resources, while preserving the environment and fostering sustainable and inclusive development,” the EU Ambassador told the President.
He noted that the political partnership, between Guyana and the US, is also becoming more and more important due to shared objectives, interests and values. “As your Country approaches the next electoral date, I am happy to reiterate the EU’s availability to accompany your efforts, as we know we agree on the importance of ensuring transparent, inclusive and timely processes meeting all relevant standards,” he said.
Added to that, Ambassador Cantó, while describing the two sides as like-minded partners and friends, said by building on the solid partnership, they can also achieve the most useful results in the multilateral arena. It was noted that the post-Cotonou framework, in which Guyana plays a key role, is another great opportunity for closer cooperation at the regional level. “I am looking forward to increasing our cooperation and coordination in the promotion of common objectives at regional and global level, for the benefit of both the EU and Guyana,” he posited.
Guyana and the EU established diplomatic relations in 1975 which is premised on the common principles of equality, mutual respect, the rule-of-law, and tolerance.
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