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 will expire in 2020 and the formal negotiations between the governments started in September 2018. These EU-ACP relations are currently being reviewed in the “post-Cotonou” process and the coming months offer plenty of opportunities for Civil Society to join the discussions.


Start of the negotiations

September 2018

The European Commission officially launched the negotiations with the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) on a new partnership agreement which will succeed the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.


CONCORD’s reaction


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