Vision for the future EU-ACP partnership agreement: putting sustainable development and human rights at the centre

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA), signed on 23 June 2000, is coming to an end in February 2020. The CPA the partnership agreement between the EU (28 countries) and ACP group of states (79 countries) – making up a total of about 1.7 billion people. Both ACP and EU are jointly managing the European Development Fund (EDF) with a budget of €30.5 billion (2014-2020). The CPA is based on three pillars: Development Cooperation, Economics and Trade, Political Dimension.

The post-Cotonou negotiations have been officially launched in New York, in the margins of the UNGA, on 28 September 2018 by the 2 chief negotiators: the EU Commissioner of International Cooperation and Development Mimica (EU) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Togo Professor Robert Dussey (ACP). CONCORD welcomed the renewal of the agreement as it represents a great opportunity to build a people-centered cooperation among equal partners based on sustainable development objectives, Agenda 2030 principles and the Paris Agreement. However, CONCORD also stressed that EU’s interests should not guide the new partnership – SDGs and sustainable development should be leading the future framework.

The EC’s proposal for the new ACP-EU partnership has a different shape and structure than the CPA: the new agreement would be legally binding; it would be made up of a foundation (including principles, priorities and objectives of the future agreement), common to all the signatories. Then, it would consist of 3 regional pillars, to be negotiated with the 3 different ACP regions.

In this context, CONCORD has developed this paper on the foundation of the future agreement: it examines and addresses the “6 Strategic Priorities” proposed by the EC, which represent a central part of the EU mandate and the overarching framework for the three regional compacts. Related to this and following the EU’s mandate structure, CONCORD’ recommendations aim to contribute with CS’ views to the debate on the strategic priorities of the future EU-ACP partnership.