The new partnership agreement between the European Union and the members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States marks the formal conclusion of their negotiations of the Post-Cotonou Agreement, and sets the framework for political, economic and sectoral cooperation for the next twenty years.

The role of civil society in the dialogue and in the implementation of the Post-Cotonou Agreement is clearly outlined in the text. However, the procedures and conditions for ensuring structured and effective participation of CSOs still remain unclear. Like the previous agreement, it offers a promising framework for participation by civil society actors, but it does not create mechanisms for translating this aspiration into practice.

The Post-Cotonou Agreement is a legally binding treaty which, is expected to shape political, social and economic relations between 106 countries across four continents.

In order to engage in transformative partnerships in EU-OACP relations, the Agreement must go beyond promising frameworks with concrete mechanisms for effective participation of civil society to ensure transparent, inclusive and participatory implementation.

This guide, addressed to CSOs in the EU and in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, pinpoints the crucial sections in the negotiated text of the Post-Cotonou Agreement. Particularly focusing on the role of civil society, the Insider’s Guide aims to show why CSOs must engage with the Agreement and what they can do in terms of advocacy to influence its implementation.

If the new deal is to break with old paradigms, however, more effort needs to be put into promoting a fundamental shift in power relations and the robust inclusion of civil society actors in the implementation of the Agreement – which, in practice, means providing an enabling space for civil society through engagement mechanisms that are both concrete and effective.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Katarzyna Krok | Communications Officer katarzyna.krok@concordeurope.org