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 will start by mid-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.


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), is 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 is the joint ACP-EU civil society statement

 Blogpost with the main outcomes of the post-Cotonou event


EC 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:

CONCORD is currently evaluating the EC proposal and will come back soon with an analysis. This communication is one of several key documents on which we will base our discussions during our upcoming event.

Read 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

Read 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.

Full document hereFrench 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 about the 2010 revision

More info about 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.

Full 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.

Read The Treaty of Rome