Atlantic African States committed to bolster integration, stability, shared prosperity in the region

The 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the Atlantic African States Process (AASP) wrapped up on Wednesday in Rabat, with the adoption of the Rabat Declaration II, which underlines the political commitment of AASP member countries to implement their partnership aimed at strengthening the ties of cooperation and integration between African countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean, in order to consolidate peace, stability and shared prosperity in the region.

According to the text of the Declaration, the Ministers taking part in this 3rd meeting of AASP adopted the partnership’s Action Program, which aims to “articulate in the form of programmatic objectives the vision of a flexible, progressive and mutually supportive African-Atlantic partnership.”

In the Declaration, the Ministers recognized the importance of the Action Program’s strategic priorities in supporting integration and co-development in the region.

The Action Plan contains recommendations for collective action on three strategic priorities. They are: political and security dialogue on the fight against terrorism, transnational organized crime, maritime piracy and illegal migration; the blue economy, maritime connectivity and energy; and sustainable development and the protection and conservation of the marine environment.

In this Declaration, the Ministers welcomed the participatory and inclusive nature of the consultation process on the Action Program, under the coordination of the Permanent Secretariat, and also praised the commitment of the Focal Points to this consultation process, including at their meetings held in Rabat on 07 and 08 March 2023 and on 11 July 2023.

In addition, they stressed the importance of reviewing the Action Program as required and in line with the evolving context of cooperation in the African-Atlantic region as well as at international level, and affirmed, in this respect, that the Ministerial Meeting is responsible for providing guidance for the review of the Action Program when necessary.

Participants at the meeting noted the importance of establishing synergies and partnership links with other cooperation initiatives and processes in the southern and northern Atlantic, including the US initiative on strengthening cooperation in the Atlantic, so as to maximize the beneficial effects of cooperation on shared stability and prosperity in the region.

The Ministers called on the Permanent Secretariat and the Focal Points to begin consultations for the formulation of the Action Plans of the three Thematic Groups, whose respective leaders are Nigeria, Cabo Verde, and Gabon, on the basis of the Action Program. The Action Plans should include concrete actions to implement this partnership.

The Ministers stressed the importance of coordination at both national and regional levels, and encouraged member countries of this partnership to establish national coordination mechanisms to facilitate its implementation.

In an address before the gathering, Moroccan Foreign minister Nasser Bourita said Morocco has made the Atlantic “an identity and an opportunity”, calling on African Atlantic states to seize the joint opportunities offered in the blue economy, energy and other fields for co-development, integration and shared stability.

The next AASP ministerial meeting is scheduled to take place in New York in September 2023, on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.