On 28 September, the European Union and 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries began negotiations on the future of their cooperation after 2020. The ambition is to transform today’s partnership into a modern political framework aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The countries of the European Union (EU), together with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, represent more than half of the UN member countries and bring together more than 1.5 billion people. The current partnership, governed by the Cotonou Agreement, which ends in 2020, is one of the longest lasting and most comprehensive cooperation frameworks between the EU and developing countries.
In order to mark the opening of the first round of political negotiations in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, the EU’s chief negotiator, the Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said that “the partnership between the EU and the countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific is an advantage for the EU and for multilateralism in general. The revision of the existing agreement is a great opportunity to deepen the partnership further and to modernise it, in response to global developments such as the UN’s Agenda 2030 or the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”
The Togo Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the head of the ACP Group of States negotiators, Professor Robert Dussey, recalled that “the link between the ACP Group and the EU was established in 1975, in the first article of the Georgetown Agreement – the Constitutive Act of the ACP Group”. He added that: “the ACP-EU partnership is a valuable and unique achievement that has strengthened ties between the EU and the ACP over the last 45 years of its existence.”
This partnership aims at political cooperation closer to the world stage, capable of meeting major global challenges, and thus becoming an enriching example of multilateralism as the cornerstone of a rules-based world order. This agreement means that the EU and the ACP will work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, on matters such as climate change, migration, peace and security. In order to achieve the desired impact, the future partnership aims to adapt to the new realities of the European Union, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, taking into account the geographical specifics of each.
Future cooperation will facilitate strong alliances forged in global forums and address key issues from which current and future generations can benefit.