Cotonou Partnership Agreement
 ACP-EU Relations in a Changing World


Monday, December 18, 2006

An innovative partnership

Maastricht, 18 November. Speaking on behalf of the ACP Group at the opening of the ECDPM Seminar on "The Cotonou Partnership Agreement: What role in a changing world?", Veniece Pottinger–Scott, Assistant Secretary-General of the ACP Group in Brussels suggested that the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the ACP and EU countries is both highly innovative and very relevant in a changing development environment.

Arguing that the CPA is one of the "largest north-south partnership" in existence, she particularly emphasized the value of its long term nature and commitments, its focus on achieving the Millennium Development Goals, its multi-stakeholder involvement that promotes greater ownership, and the provisions for political dialogue that are unique in most development relationships.

Commenting on the delivery of EU development aid, in the past three years, she has observed a "tremendous improvement...after a long period of poor performance."

Nevertheless, Pottinger-Smith said that the ACP Group has been concerned at the coherence and re-definition of the EU's development cooperation, especially the development of separate strategies for Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific, and South Africa. There seems to be a lack of coherence across the strategies, and a need to cross-reference them with existing ACP-EU relations and especially the CPA's three pillars (political dialogue, aid, trade). It's important that these regional approaches strengthen and not undermine ACP regional integration efforts; any regional agreements should not be at expense of the larger and so far effective North-South Cotonou Partnership.

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