“Over the past three decades, the PALOP-TL have made significant progress towards sustainable development, reinforcing and promoting values such as democracy, good governance and human rights. The EU supported their efforts, providing €118 million in funding,” said the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, during her speech at the Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting for the Cooperation of Portuguese-Speaking African Countries and Timor-Leste with the European Union (PALOP-TL and the EU), on March 1, 2023, in Brussels, capital of the Kingdom of Belgium.
The Secretary of State for the Treasury and Public Accounting of Guinea-Bissau, Mamadú Baldé, said in turn that the cooperation had brought clear results in the areas of public finance, reinforcement of the capacity of civil society in matters of budgetary processes, and budgeting sensitive to the gender in Guinea-Bissau. “From 2014 to this part, the two phases of the Economic Governance project, the Pro PALOP-TL SAI, have contributed critically to placing transparency and accountability at the center of attention of public managers, but also of the central institutions of the management system of Public Finances in our country, having allowed, in an increasingly frequent way, the regular elaboration of the opinion of the Court of Auditors on the General Accounts of the State, as well as, the auditing of the Accounts of the institutions that generate public resources ”, underlined Mamadú Baldé, who was at the meeting on behalf of the Minister of Finance of Guinea-Bissau, in his capacity as President of the Cooperation of the PALOP-TL with the European Union.
“The project was also very important for strengthening the capacity of our civil society to participate in budget processes (…) and to promote gender equality through gender-sensitive budgeting (…)”, he added.
The coordination of PALOP-TL Cooperation with the European Union by Mozambique was also praised by the participants. “I wish to give a vote of praise to the GON of Mozambique, which in recent years has promoted proactive coordination in this PALOP-TL program with the EU and organizes this technical and political meeting (…)”, said Ambassador Francisco Tilman Cepeda, Secretary General, representing the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste.
Cepeda also said that the projects implemented within the framework of the Cooperation of the PALOP-TL with the European Union “(…) have improved Timor-Leste’s performance in terms of accountability and accountability, effectiveness and transparency. Gender-Responsive Budgeting has also had a major impact on building the capacity of Civil Society and Government Institutions to create a more favorable environment for the fulfillment of women’s rights and to achieve real and tangible improvements in terms of gender equality, allowing the decision-making is more transparent.”
Cooperation between the PALOP-TL and the European Union began in 1992, first only with the PALOP, and from 2007, Timor-Leste became part of the group. This cooperation, said Mamadú Baldé, “is based on the set of factors that must be defined as ‘belonging’ to our countries, namely historical and political ties, shared language, similar systems of governance and even administrative procedures common.”
The singularity of this cooperation, questioned by some, was highlighted by the participants, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Sao Tome and Principe, Alberto Pereira. “The uniqueness of this cooperation, which was based on our particularity, has the merit of the projects identified and executed, over these 30 years, to be inductors of development in our countries, incentives for reflection and modernization of our public institutions, promoters of the rights of our fellow citizens, innovation in the management of public policies, but also the strengthening of civil society”, he underlined.
The Secretary of State for the Economy of Angola, Ivan Emanuel Marques dos Santos, said, in turn, that over the 30 years, the Cooperation of the PALOP-TL with the European Union had made remarkable gains. “Over 30 years of joint trajectory, our 6 Countries and the European Union have developed a unique work with the achievement of remarkable results, internationally recognized, through mechanisms of South-South, Triangular cooperation and the sharing of Good Practices among peers” , he underlined, revealing particular satisfaction with the results of the Project to Support the Consolidation of the Rule of Law (PACED). “As the leader of this project, we rejoice because the objectives were largely achieved and its impact was significant in several areas, namely, 5 of the 6 PACED partner countries, including Angola, improved their position in the Index Corruption Perception Survey for 2021 released by Transparency International.”
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Cape Verde, Olavo Avelino Correia, mentioned the good results of the Cooperation and also praised the Pro PALOP-TL SAI project. “The Pro PALOP-TL project has been an example of success and we must continue to reinforce the focus on investing in the response capacity of our governments. We have to improve the way we respond, but we must also improve transparency and accountability for what has been done.”
The Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of the PALOP-TL Cooperation with the European Union, which was preceded by the Technical Meeting of the PALOP-TL with the EU, on 28 February 2023, was attended by the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen , and the Director General of the European External Action Service for Africa, Rita Laranjinha.
From the PALOP-TL countries, the Deputy Prime Minister of Finance of Cape Verde, Olavo Avelino Correia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique, Verônica Nataniel Macamo Ndlhovo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities of São Tomé and Príncipe, Alberto Pereira, the Secretary of State for the Treasury and Public Accounting of Guinea-Bissau, Mamadú Baldé, the Secretary of State for the Economy of Angola, Ivan Manuel Marques dos Santos, and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Timor-Leste Cooperation, Francisco Tilman Cepeda.