The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group with its principal development partner, the European Union, today signed the second five-yearly review of the Cotonou Agreement in a historic event in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
After more than a year of negotiations with the EU, both parties signed the revised agreement in a colourful event - witnessed by ministers, ambassadors and officials from the ACP and the EU countries at the close of the 35th Session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers.
At the 91st Session of the ACP Council of Ministers that took place a few days earlier in Ouagadougou, ACP ministers gave their approval on the revised agreement and commended the ACP Committee of Ambassadors for successfully negotiating with the Europeans.
The President of the ACP Council of Ministers, His Excellency Mr. Paul Bunduku-Latha, the Gabonese Deputy Minister to the Ministry of Economic Planning, Trade, Industry and Tourism said the signing of the Second Revised Cotonou Agreement in Ouagadougou signified a rewarding relationship that has grown from strength to strength and spans over 30 years.
Mr Bunduku-Latha and H.E Ms. Soraya Rodriguez, Secretary of State for International Cooperation of Spain (EU Presidency), presided over the signing ceremony. Ministers and government representatives from the ACP and the European Community signed the revised agreement.
Mr Bunduku-Latha said that for the past year - both sides had looked and scrutinized in fine detail, the Cotonou Agreement in the revision process to meet the difficult challenges and cope with shifting trends in a fast challenging world.
The revised Agreement, amongst other things, addressed a number of important issues between the two parties. One of them is the need to expedite progress towards the attainment of MDGs as well as aid effectiveness and global challenges such financial market shocks. It also emphasizes the link between peace and security and poverty reduction and peace and security. The provisions on humanitarian assistance have been improved to emphasis not only responses to emergency situations, but also support for ACP States' efforts in disaster risk reduction and post conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation.
"Our believe is that the revised agreement will help to fight against poverty and assist in our efforts to achieve sustainable development and help to mobilize the international community to attain the MDGs," the ACP President, Mr. Bunduku-Latha said.
The Secretary-General of the ACP Group, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, said that the signing marked an important development of the ACP-EU relationship - reiterating that the revision was not simply about changing words in a document. Rather, it was about improving an agreement whose implementation would grant better opportunities and positive outcomes in the lives of the ACP people.
The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the European Union and the ACP states. It was signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin, by 79 ACP countries and the then fifteen Member States of the European Union. It entered into force in 2003 and is the most recent agreement in the history of ACP-EU Development Cooperation. It is reviewed every five years.
Meanwhile, the birth of the ACP Group was signified by the signature of the Georgetown Agreement on the 6th of June 1975 in Georgetown, Guyana. The ACP cooperation with the EU has been anchored around the First Lomé Convention in 1975 - and was followed by Lomé II, III and then Lomé IV which was signed in 1990. It was succeeded by the Cotonou Agreement in 2000, and was revised in 2005 and earlier this year for the second time, which has just been signed in Ouagadougou.
Also present at the Ouagadougou signing were representatives from the African Union (AU), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) and Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC).
Note: The Cotonou Agreement provides for a review every five years as stipulated under Article 95 (3). The ACP States on the one hand, and the European Community and its Member States on the other, shall notify the other Party not later than 12 months before the expiry of each five year period of any review of the provisions they desire to make with a view to possible amendments.
Regarding the current revision process, notification to the EU took place before 28 February 2009. After notification, the Parties had a period of two months up to 30 April 2009 in which to request the extension of the review to other provisions related to those which were the subject of the initial request. On the 1 May 2009, ten months before the expiry of the current five year period, the ACP + EU entered into negotiations and was concluded and initialed on the 19 March 2010.
La deuxieme Revision de l'accord de Cotonou: [View] [Download]
2nd Revision of the Cotonou Agreement: [Download]