What is the Cotonou Partnership Agreement?

Cotonou Partnership Agreement is a comprehensive agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It was signed in Cotonou, on 23 June 2000.

The Cotonou Partnership Agreement is based on three complementary pillars: development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation, and the political dimension.

The agreement expired in 2020 and the formal negotiations between the governments started in September 2018. These EU-ACP relations are reviewed in the “post-Cotonou” process .

What is the Post-Cotonou Agreement and how does it link to the Cotonou Agreement?

The new partnership agreement between the European Union and the members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS, formerly known as the ACP Group of 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 negotiated version of the Agreement was published by the European Commission on 15 April 2021, and is expected to be signed in the second half of 2021. 

This Post-Cotonou Agreement will supersede the current Cotonou Partnership Agreement, a comprehensive, legally binding framework for relations between the countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and the EU.


JAES Seminar on mechanisms for CSO participation in post-Cotonou

17 July 2019

CONCORD, together with its partners from the JAES Civil Society Steering Committe (coming both from Europe and Africa) held a seminar to discuss effective mechanisms for Civil Society space in the future EU-Africa pillar of post-Cotonou. Several stakeholders from the EC post-Cotonou task force participated.


Discussion Paper




CONCORD briefings on the EU-Africa pillar 

14 June 2019

CONCORD presents four new briefings on the EU-Africa pillar of the ongoing post-Cotonou negotiations. The topics covered are migration and mobility, mechanism for Civil Society, inclusive sustainable economic development, and human development and dignity.

Briefing on Civil Society

Briefing on Migration

Briefing on Economic Development

Briefing on Human Development



The EU-ACP Consultation on the African Pillar 

2-3 May 2019

The EC and the ACP African leaders met in Eswatini to discuss needs and priorities of the future EU-African pillar in the post-Cotonou framework.

European Commission Press Release



CONCORD exchanges views with Anne Pakoa

24 April 2019

Anne Pakoa, a vocal figure in Vanuatu’s civil society, exchanges views with CONCORD on the Pacific’s most pressing issues for future EU-ACP relations.

The Interview


The EU-ACP Consultation on the Caribbean Pillar 

15 April 2019

The EC and the ACP Caribbean leaders met in Jamaica to exchange views on the priorities of the future EU-Caribbean pillar in the post-Cotonou framework.

European Commission Press Release



Meeting of the EU-ACP Chief Negotiators

4 April 2019

The two chief negotiators met in N’djamena, Chad, to take stock of the process. Although the two parties have not reached an agreement on all the sections of the common Foundation, they decided to trigger the talks on the regional pillars (EU-Africa, EU-Caribbean, EU-Pacific)

European Commission Press Release


ACP Non-State Actors Consultation

7-8 March 2019

The ACP Group held a consultation with ACP Non-State Actors (NSA) to take stock of the post-Cotonou process and gathers views from Civil Society and other actors. CONCORD Europe attended the consultation as external observer.

CONCORD’s Observation



The EU-ACP Consultation on the Pacific Regional Pillar

26 February 2019

The EC and the ACP Pacific leaders met in Samoa to exchange views on the priorities of the future EU-Pacific pillar in the post-Cotonou framework. The contribution of Pacific CSOs was vibrant and, on that occasion, they adopted a strong position on civil society participation for the fight against climate change.

EEAS reports on Consultation


CONCORD’s vision for the future EU-ACP partnership agreement

January 2019

CONCORD adopted the paper “CONCORD’s vision for the future EU-ACP partnership agreement: putting sustainable development and human rights at the centre”: the document examines and addresses the “6 Strategic Priorities” of the foundation in the future EU-ACP agreement. It follows the EU’s mandate structure, but puts forward clear recommendations based on Civil Society’s views on the future post-Cotonou agreement.

human eye

CONCORD’s recommendations (EN)

  Recommandations de CONCORD (FR)


CONCORD panel discussion on EU-ACP negotiations

17 December 2018

Civil Society from ACP countries and the EU will actively monitor the new Cotonou Partnership Agreement. In this regard, CONCORD organized a panel discussion on the ongoing ACP-EU negotiations where the relevant stakeholders of the process will gather and will share their views on several issues.

Panel discusion


Facebook album


Meeting of the EU and ACP chief negotiators

14 December

The two chief negotiators, the EU Commissioner for Development and International Cooperation Mimica for the EU and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Togo Dussey for the ACP Group, met in Brussels for the first time after the launch of the negotiations to take stock of the process.

EU Council June 2018 visual MFF

Commission’s Press Release


CONCORD exchange with the Commission on post-Cotonou prospects

9 October 2018

Mr. Doens, Head of European Commission post-Cotonou task force, exchanged on the state of play and prospects of the post-Cotonou negotiations. The event, organised by CONCORD, aimed to examine which will be the course of the negotiations and which will be the space and opportunities for CSOs throughout the process.


First round of negotiations


Start of the negotiations

September 2018

The European Commission officially launched the negotiations with the ACP on a new partnership agreement which will succeed the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.


CONCORD’s reaction


Adoptions of both ACP and EU negotiating mandates

May/June 2018

The ACP Council of Ministers met in Lome on 30 May 2018 and adopted the ACP Group negotiating mandate. At the end of June, the Council of the European Union approved the EU’s negotiating directive as well.


ACP Group negotiating mandate

EU’s negotiating directive


CONCORD recommendations for CS participation in the future EU-ACP relations

April 2018

CONCORD puts forward a list of recommendations aiming at shedding light on which would be the most effective and meaningful mechanisms and elements to include and defend Civil Society role and space in the post-2020 EU-ACP agreement.


CONCORD’s recommendations (EN)

Recommandations de CONCORD (FR)


Aid & Migration: externalisation of Europe’s responsibilities

March 2018

CONCORD’s report on aid and migration aims at clarifying how EU’s development cooperation and migration agendas are interlinked in today’s EU policies. The report draws a couple of key recommendations, and more specifically, identifies 3 trends outlining how EU aid is in fact used to curb migration, done on-purpose by EU policy-makers to serve domestic priorities

CONCORD’s report


Analysis on promotion of civic space

March 2018

CONCORD did an analysis on the promotion of civic space and enabling environment in EU external action.

This paper examines civil society at the heart of democracy and sustainable development and looks at the key components of civic space which are necessary to enable an environment where civil society can peruse and express basic rights. Civil society organisations can play an important facilitating role to make the voices of people audible. This paper targets civil society as well as EU institutions and Member States by building some relevant recommendations.

CONCORD’s analysis


CONCORD’s reaction

February 2018

In reaction to the European Commission’s communication, CONCORD prepared recommendations to put people and the planet at the center of the future agreement.

Environment Sustainability

CONCORD’s recommendations


European Commission’s communication 


December 2017

The European Commission prepared recommendations for a Council Decision on the negotiation mandate. The Council decision was authorising the opening of the negotiations on a Partnership Agreement between the European Union and countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.

The Commission’s recommendations


Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Malta

19 to 21 June 2017

In June 2017, CONCORD prepared several briefing papers aiming to provide EU NGDOs’ views on some specific aspects of the future EU-ACP partnership. Among these, we invite you to read the analysis of the EC communication on the partnership, our papers on the future of the institutional set-upthe development cooperation and global challengesthe private sector and trade, and on the paper on the role of civil society. These papers were presented at the Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in Malta.

malta eu presidency

This event gathered members of the Parliaments from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and members of the European Parliament. MEPs discussed sport, development aid, famine and security issues in Sahel regions.

Reporting back from Malta


CONCORD event on post-Cotonou

6-7 December 2016

This two-day event, co-hosted by CONCORD and the Slovak Presidency in collaboration with the International Forum of National NGO Platforms (IFP), was a dialogue on the EU’s partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states after 2020.

Slovak presidency and IFP logos

Part of this event, a moderated debate, brought together authorities and Civil Society Organisations from both the EU and the ACP, to discuss their future partnership after 2020. The main outcome was the joint ACP-EU civil society statement.

  Outcomes of the post-Cotonou event


European Commission’s communication

22 November 2016

European Commission released A Joint Communication “Towards a renewed partnership with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries after 2020” which builds on:

The Joint Communication


Publication “Beyond Cotonou”
November 2016

Research conducted by Kaleidos Research for the Ready for Change consortium. This publication analyses the functions of and opportunities for Civil Society in the post-Cotonou process.

Beyond Cotonou report cover

The publication here


CONCORD’s Position
April 2016

In 2015 CONCORD organized several exchange of views on the post-Cotonou process and responded to the joint consultation issued by the European Commission and EEAS. As a follow up in April 2016, CONCORD summarized its views by developing a short position paper. These positions will be further discussed with ACP civil society organisations during an internal CSO seminar preceding the debate with ACP and EU authorities on 7 December.

Construction elements

Full documentFrench version


Revisions of the agreement

Since 2000, ACP-EU cooperation has been revised in order to adapt to new challenges such as climate changefood securityregional integrationState fragility and aid effectiveness.

The revision in 2010 was preceded by a previous revision in 2005, in accordance with the revision clause to re-examine the Agreement every five years.

More info on the 2010 revision

More info on the 2005 revision


Adoption of the agreement
23 June 2000

The Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2000 for a 20-year period. The Agreement entered into force in April 2003 and will expire on 29 February 2020.

The Cotonou Agreement



ACP-EU cooperation dates back to the birth of the European Treaty of Rome establishing the European Economic Community in 1957, which expressed solidarity with the colonies and overseas countries and territories and a commitment to contribute to their prosperity.

The first formal association agreements were Yaoundé I and II in the 1960’s, followed by the Lomé Conventions (I-IV), covering the period 1975–2000 and aiming to support the ACP States’ efforts to move towards self-sustained development.

The Treaty of Rome