Cotonou Agreement

Cotonou Agreement

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The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 between the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States ('ACP countries'). It was signed in June 2000 in Cotonou
Cotonou
-Demographics:*1979: 320,348 *1992: 536,827 *2002: 665,100 *2005: 690,584 The main languages spoken in Cotonou include the Fon language, Aja language, Yoruba language and French.-Transport:...

, the largest city in Benin
Benin
Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

, by 78 ACP countries (Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 did not sign) 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
ACP-EU Development Cooperation
Development cooperation between the European Union and the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007. Although bilateral relations have always been and still remain one of the main features of modern development cooperation, it was the...

.

Aims


The Cotonou Agreement is aimed at the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

 while contributing to sustainable development
Sustainable development
Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

 and to the gradual integration of ACP countries into the world economy
World economy
The world economy, or global economy, generally refers to the economy, which is based on economies of all of the world's countries, national economies. Also global economy can be seen as the economy of global society and national economies – as economies of local societies, making the global one....

. The revised Cotonou Agreement is also concerned with the fight against impunity and promotion of criminal justice through the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

.

Main principles


The Cotonou Agreement replaced the Lomé Convention
Lomé Convention
The Lomé Convention is a trade and aid agreement between the European Community and 71 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, first signed in February 1975 in Lomé, Togo.- History :...

 which had been the basis for ACP-EU development cooperation since 1975. The Cotonou Agreement, however, is much broader in scope than any previous arrangement has ever been. It is designed to last for a period of 20 years and is based on four main principles:
  • Equality of partners and ownership of development strategies. In principle, it is up to ACP states to determine how their societies and their economies should develop.
  • Participation. In addition to the central government
    Central government
    A central government also known as a national government, union government and in federal states, the federal government, is the government at the level of the nation-state. The structure of central governments varies from institution to institution...

     as the main actor, partnership under the Cotonou Agreement is open to other actors (e.g. civil society
    Civil society
    Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

    , the private sector
    Private sector
    In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...

    , and local government
    Local government
    Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

    s).
  • Dialogue and mutual obligations. The Cotonou Agreement is not merely a pot of money. The signatories have assumed mutual obligations (e.g. respect for human rights
    Human rights
    Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

    ) which will be monitored through continuing dialogue and evaluation.
  • Differentiation and regionalisation. Cooperation agreements will vary according to each partner's level of development, needs, performance and long-term development strategy. Special treatment will be given to countries that are considered least developed
    Least Developed Countries
    Least developed country is the name given to a country which, according to the United Nations, exhibits the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development, with the lowest Human Development Index ratings of all countries in the world...

    or vulnerable (landlocked
    Landlocked developing countries
    Landlocked developing countries are developing countries that are landlocked. The economic and other disadvantages experienced by such countries tends to place some of them amongst the Least Developed Countries in the world...

     or island states
    Small Island Developing States
    Small Island Developing States are low-lying coastal countries that tend to share similar sustainable development challenges, including small but growing populations, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, excessive dependence on...

    ).

Political dimension


The Cotonou Agreement wishes to give a stronger political foundation to ACP-EU development cooperation. Therefore, political dialogue is one of the key aspects of the arrangements and addresses new issues which have previously been outside the scope of development cooperation, such as peace and security, arms trade and migration.

Furthermore, the element of good governance has been included as an 'essential element' of the Cotonou Agreement, the violation of which may lead to the partial or complete suspension of development cooperation between the EU and the country in violation. It was furthermore agreed that serious cases of corruption, including acts of bribery, could trigger a consultation process and possibly lead to a suspension of aid.

New actors


A second new feature of the Cotonou Agreement relates to the participation of non-state actor
Non-state actor
Non-state actors are categorized as entities participating or acting in the sphere of international relations; organisations with sufficient power to influence and cause change in politics which are...

s and local government
Local government
Local government refers collectively to administrative authorities over areas that are smaller than a state.The term is used to contrast with offices at nation-state level, which are referred to as the central government, national government, or federal government...

s in development cooperation. They are now considered complementary actors to central government
Central government
A central government also known as a national government, union government and in federal states, the federal government, is the government at the level of the nation-state. The structure of central governments varies from institution to institution...

s who traditionally have been the key actors of cooperation between the EU and the ACP countries.

Although ACP governments continue to be responsible for determining their own development strategy, non-state actor
Non-state actor
Non-state actors are categorized as entities participating or acting in the sphere of international relations; organisations with sufficient power to influence and cause change in politics which are...

s and local authorities are now involved being consulted with regard to its formulation. They are furthermore provided with access to financial resources and involved in implementation
Implementation
Implementation is the realization of an application, or execution of a plan, idea, model, design, specification, standard, algorithm, or policy.-Computer Science:...

. They also receive capacity
Capacity Development
The commitment, sealed in the in September 2000 in New York, of 190 countries to achieving the by 2015, and the urgent need for countries, particularly developing countries, to effectively and speedily respond to the current global economic recession, climate change and other crises that are...

 building support. The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)
Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)
The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU was established in 1983 under the Lomé Convention between the ACP countries and EU member states...

 operates within the framework of the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement with a mission to "strengthen policy and institutional capacity development and information and communication management capacities of ACP agricultural and rural development organisations".

The Cotonou Agreement focuses especially on the private sector
Private sector
In economics, the private sector is that part of the economy, sometimes referred to as the citizen sector, which is run by private individuals or groups, usually as a means of enterprise for profit, and is not controlled by the state...

 as an instrument for sustainable economic development. A new comprehensive programme has been introduced in Cotonou in order to support the private sectors of the ACP countries with new tools such as access to funding via the European Investment Bank
European Investment Bank
The European Investment Bank is the European Union's long-term lending institution established in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome. A policy-driven bank, the EIB supports the EU’s priority objectives, especially European integration and the development of economically weak regions...

 (EIB).

Trade cooperation


Probably the most radical change introduced by the Cotonou Agreement concerns trade cooperation. Since the First Lomé Convention
Lomé Convention
The Lomé Convention is a trade and aid agreement between the European Community and 71 African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries, first signed in February 1975 in Lomé, Togo.- History :...

 in 1975, the EU has granted non-reciprocal trade preference
Trade Preference
A Trade Preference is when one country prefers buying goods from some other country more than it would from other countries. It grants special support to one country over another. It is the opposite of a Trade Prohibition.-See also:*Trade Mandate...

s to their ACP partners. Under the Cotonou Agreement, however, this system will be replaced by a new scheme which is to take effect in 2008: the Economic Partnership Agreements
Economic Partnership Agreements
Economic Partnership Agreements are a scheme to create a free trade area between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States . They are a response to continuing criticism that the non-reciprocal and discriminating preferential trade agreements offered by the EU are...

 (EPAs). These new arrangement provide for reciprocal trade agreements, meaning that not only the EU provides duty-free access to its markets for ACP exports, but ACP countries also provide duty-free access to their own markets for EU exports.

True to the Cotonou principle of differentiation, however, not all ACP countries have to open their markets to EU products after 2008. The group of least developed countries
Least Developed Countries
Least developed country is the name given to a country which, according to the United Nations, exhibits the lowest indicators of socioeconomic development, with the lowest Human Development Index ratings of all countries in the world...

 is able to either continue cooperation under the arrangements made in Lomé or the "Everything But Arms
Everything but Arms
Everything but Arms is an initiative of the European Union under which all imports to the EU from the Least Developed Countries are duty free and quota free, with the exception of armaments. EBA entered into force on 5 March 2001. There are transitional arrangements for bananas, sugar and rice...

" regulation.

Non-LDCs, on the other hand, who decide they are not in a position to enter into EPAs can for example be transferred into the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences
Generalized System of Preferences
The Generalized System of Preferences, or GSP, is a formal system of exemption from the more general rules of the World Trade Organization ,...

 (GSP), or the Special Incentive arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance (GSP+).

Programming


The Cotonou Agreement introduces the idea of performance-based partnerships and abandons the old element of "aid entitlements" (i.e. fixed allocations regardless of performance).

Under the new agreement, the EU can be more selective and flexible in the way it allocated and uses its development resources. Aid allocations will be based on an assessment of each country’s needs and performance and will include the possibility to regularly adjust financial resources in the light of this assessment. In practice, it means that more money can be channelled to "good performers" and that the share of "bad performers" can be reduced.

Aid is allocated to ACP countries in five yearly cycles under the Financial Protocol of the Cotonou Agreement. Under the ninth European Development Fund (EDF)
European Development Fund
The European Development Fund is the main instrument for European Union aid for development cooperation in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific countries and the Overseas Countries and Territories...

 (2002-2007) €13.5 billion was allocated to the ACP region.

The 10th EDF (2008-2013) has a significantly increased budget of €22.7 billion, with €5.6 billion earmarked to support regional programmes, especially investments in regional African infrastructure projects through the EU-Africa Partnership on Infrastructure - an initiative launched in October 2007 in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia...

 by the African Union
African Union
The African Union is a union consisting of 54 African states. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established on 9 July 2002, the AU was formed as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity...

 Commission (AUC) and the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

.

Through the flexibility provided by the Cotonou Agreement, the 10th EDF enables the EU to funnel more aid money (called incentive amounts) to countries that improve their governance, especially financial, tax and legal systems. While some funds of the 10th EDF have been set aside for unforeseen needs (e.g. related to humanitarian and emergency assistance or to FLEX compensations), most are being programmed in the multi-annual framework for 2008-2013.

Fight against impunity


In recognising that impunity is one of the factors that contribute to cycles of violence and insecurity, the preamble and article 11.6 of the revised Cotonou Agreement include a clear commitment of ACP and EU states to combat impunity and promote justice through the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

. Since the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

 is based on the principle of complementarity, the 2005 revised Cotonou Agreement innovates with obligations to ensure prosecution of the most serious crimes at the national level and through global cooperation. Additionally, article 11.6 of the Agreement includes a clearcut provision that obliges States parties to:
"(a) Share experience on the adoption of legal adjustments required to allow for the ratification and implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and (b) Fight against international crime in accordance with international law, giving due regard to the Rome Statute. The parties shall seek to take steps towards ratifying and implementing the Rome Statute and related instruments."

Revision


In accordance with the revision clause, the Cotonou Agreement was twice subject to a revision to enhance the effectiveness and quality of the ACP-EU partnership. The first revision was concluded in February 2005 and the revised Agreement entered into force on 01 July 2008.

The second revision of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement was signed during the 35th meeting of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers held in Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou
Ouagadougou is the capital of Burkina Faso and the administrative, communications, cultural and economic center of the nation. It is also the country's largest city, with a population of 1,475,223 . The city's name is often shortened to Ouaga. The inhabitants are called ouagalais...

 (Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

) in June 2010 and entered provisionally into force on 01 November 2010.

Criticism


It has been argued that while the main pillar of the Cotonou Agreement is Poverty Reduction, aid allocated to Africa under the 9th EDF
European Development Fund
The European Development Fund is the main instrument for European Union aid for development cooperation in Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific countries and the Overseas Countries and Territories...

has had limited impact on the majority of the poor.

External links