Cover page of a report titled 'INSIDER'S GUIDE TO THE POST-COTONOU AGREEMENT' with a world map highlighting countries in the agreement, logos for CONCORD and the Presidency Project below.

Insider’s Guide to the Post-Cotonou Agreement

Executive Summary

This guide, addressed to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in both the EU and in African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries, pinpoints the crucial sections in the negotiated text of the Post-Cotonou Agreement and shows what CSOs themselves can do in terms of advocacy to influence the implementation of the Agreement. Designed as a user-friendly tool to complement CONCORD Europe’s extended analysis and advocacy statement, which provides an in-depth, policy-oriented assessment of the current state of play, the guide explains why civil society must engage with the Agreement and how to go about it.

The guide begins with a summary of the Post-Cotonou Agreement, explaining why it is so important and is followed by an overview of the role of civil society envisaged in the Agreement. To give civil society actors further clarity on advocacy strategies and entry points, the guide then focuses on some key topics – and gaps. Here it also gives tips on getting involved, such as how to engage with the EU and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (EU-OACPS) Joint Parliamentary Assembly and how to keep the institutions accountable. It ends with a brief section pointing to the way forward.

What is the post-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.

The new Agreement begins with a “common foundation” which sets out key values and principles and indicates the strategic priority areas that both sides intend to work on. These are:

  1. Human Rights, Democracy, and Governance in People-Centred and Rights-Based Societies;
  2. Peace and Security;
  3. Human and Social Development;
  4. Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change;
  5. Inclusive Sustainable Economic Growth and Development;
  6. Migration and Mobility.

This foundation part is followed by three action-oriented Protocols for Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, respectively. Each protocol focuses on that region’s needs and sets out its governance systems for managing and steering relations both with the EU and with the other regions involved, including through regional parliamentary assemblies.