Second revision of the Cotonou Agreement initialled: renewed impetus in the fight against poverty

EU website. On 19th of March 2010, the EC and the ACP group concluded the 2nd revision of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA). As a result of fruitful dialogue since mid-2009, ACP-EU cooperation will be adapted to today’s challenges, such as climate change, food security, State fragility, aid effectiveness and regional integration. Regarding Africa, the revised CPA puts more emphasis on the continental dimension than in the past, and the AU becomes a partner of the EU-ACP relationship. This agreement will be reviewed every five years until 2020.

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said: “The Cotonou Partnership Agreement is our key instrument in the fight against poverty in the ACP States. The revised agreement promotes an open dialogue and a flexible and participatory approach to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty. It aims to foster regional integration, to address global challenges such as climate change and supports ACP countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. With this new agreement, the EU and ACP States are geared up to better deliver to the poor and to strengthen their political relations.”

The Cotonou Agreement is the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU. Since 2000, it has been the framework for the EU’s relations with 79 countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The first revision took place in 2005 and prepared the ground for the 2007-2013 financial framework of development assistance.

This second revision adapts the partnership to changes which have taken place over the last decade, in particular:

  • The growing importance of regional integration in ACP countries and in ACP-EU cooperation will be reflected. Its role in fostering cooperation and peace and security, in promoting growth and in tackling cross-border challenges is emphasized. In Africa, the continental dimension is also recognized, and the African Union becomes a partner of the EU-ACP relationship.
  • Security and fragility: no development can take place without a secure environment. The new agreement will highlight the interdependence between security and development and tackles security threats jointly. Attention will be paid to peace building and conflict prevention. A comprehensive approach combining diplomacy, security and development cooperation is developed for situations of State fragility.
  • Our ACP partners face major challenges if they are to meet the Millennium Development Goals – food security, HIV-AIDS and sustainability of fisheries. This will be addressed in the new agreement. The importance of each of these areas for sustainable development, growth and poverty reduction will be underlined, and joint approaches for our cooperation are now agreed.
  • For the first time, the EU and the ACP recognize the global challenge of climate change as a major subject for their partnership. The parties commit to raising the profile of climate change in their development cooperation, and to support ACP efforts in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change.
  • The trade chapter of the Agreement will reflect the new trade relationship and the expiry of preferences at the end of 2007. It reaffirms the role of the Economic Partnership Agreements to boost economic development and integration into the world economy. The revised Agreement highlights the challenges ACP countries are facing to integrate better into the world economy, in particular the effects of preference erosion. It therefore underlines the importance of trade adaptation strategies and aid for trade.
  • More actors in the partnership: the EU has been promoting a broad and inclusive partnership with ACP partners. The new agreement will clearly recognize the role of national parliaments, local authorities, civil society and private sector.
  • More impact, more value for money: This second revision will be instrumental in putting in practice the internationally agreed aid effectiveness principles, in particular donor coordination. It will also untie EU aid to the ACP countries to reduce transaction costs. For the first time, the role of other EU policies for the development of ACP countries is recognized and the EU commits to enhance the coherence of those policies to this end.

On 19 March, the negotiators, EU being represented by Commissioner PIEBALGS and ACP countries by Mr. Paul BUNDUKU-LATHA, Minister of State for Economy, Trade, Industry and Tourism of Gabon have formally concluded the negotiation and initial the revised texts. Once approved by the EU Council, it is envisaged to officially sign the new Agreement in Ouagadougou by all Parties (79 ACP States, 27 EU member States, EU Commission) at the EU- ACP Council in June 2010. Thereafter, the Agreement will have to be ratified by all ACP States and the EU member States and for the EU, will require the consent of the European Parliament under the Lisbon Treaty.

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