The Cotonou Partnership Agreement, i.e. the main agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP) countries, is coming to an end in 2020. The negotiations have started and in order to ensure a fair ground leading to a “partnership of equals”, CONCORD has developed a list of recommendations. This would serve as a contribution from Civil Society to the ongoing EU-ACP negotiations and ensure mutually beneficial priorities.


Where do we stand?

Recently, both the EU and the ACP published their respective negotiating directives by June. The negotiations for a post-Cotonou partnership agreement were launched in September and will continue for the coming months.

CONCORD is following this process, examining and evaluating the two mandates, since this partnership agreement is a great opportunity to demonstrate the commitments of the EU towards international frameworks such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction or the New Urban Agenda.

In this context, civil society’s role is more important than ever. On one side, we worked on concrete provisions for Civil Society space and engagement in the future agreement. On the other, we tackled the “6 Strategic Priorities” that the EU’s mandate contains. On that basis, CONCORD developed a list of 6 recommendations in which you can go through below.


CONCORD Recommendations for the 6 Strategic Priorities

1. Human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy, rule of law and good governance
  • Include binding political elements and concrete references to accountability mechanisms
  • Commitments to meaningful participation of the Civil Society at all levels
  • Promote the principles of policy coherence for sustainable development and the implementation of the Agenda 2030
  • Mainstream gender equality as a cross-cutting issue and non-discrimination
2. Human development and dignity
  • Ensure an integrated and holistic approach to sustainable development by mainstreaming the 3 dimensions of sustainability (economic, social and environmental) and the leave no one behind principle
  • Deliver on the ODA target
  • Avoid the diversion of funds to emerging political priorities as well as concentration of funds to countries and regions based on EU’s security and migration policies
  • Address Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and include the UN agreed language on both issues
  • Provide an equitable access to social services
  • Foster youth empowerment
3. Inclusive sustainable economic development
  • Do not impose trade and investment commitments nor make trade and investment negotiations compulsory
  • Promote a more sustainable, resilient agriculture, less vulnerable to climate change
  • Ensure that priority is given to private investments and activities that provide development and financial added-value and that have a high impact on sustainable development, poverty reduction, gender equality and socio-economic rights of populations, including through decent work. They must provide the highest guarantees of sustainability and long-term impact

  • Safeguards must be in place to ensure that the leveraging of private finance and the use of blended finance do not undermine the debt sustainability of the ACP countries
4. Environmental sustainability, climate change and sustainable management of natural resources
  • Reflect on, capitalise and integrate global action plans, like the Paris Agreement, to bring them further
  • Support strong commitments to: biodiversity protection and ecosystem restoration; climate mitigation and adaptation; resilience building; good governance and sustainable use and management of natural resources; fighting environmental crime and wildlife trafficking; fighting pollution; promoting investments in renewable energy sources; promoting sustainable consumption and production practices
  • Climate and environmental considerations should be mainstreamed across the framework
5. Peace, security and justice
  • Focus on human security rather than state security. Also, human security should be translated into safety from chronic threats, as well as into protection from sudden and hurtful disruptions in people’s daily lives
  • Systematically conduct conflict analysis integrating CSOs input to reach peace, security and justice
  • Actively support the diverse contributions of civil society organisations – including women’s organisations and local communities – to peace-building and conflict prevention
6. Migration and Development
  • Reinforce the protection of refugees and other displaced persons and maximise the benefits that migration and mobility can bring to the EU and ACP countries
  • The EU should pay attention to the policies and challenges of its partner countries
  • EU aid and trade cooperation with ACP countries should not be used to leverage their cooperation in the area of migration and the EU and its Member States must refrain from applying conditionality on development aid for ACP countries

Looking for more information? Read the recommendations below and get more insights on the negotiations process via the Cotonou timeline.