Post-Cotonou Negotiations

An overview

The Cotonou Partnership Agreement is a comprehensive, legally binding framework outlining relations between the ACP countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and the EU.  It was signed in 2000 for a period of 20 years, between 79 ACP countries and 28 EU Member States (to be 27 after BREXIT).  It is based on three complementary pillars: development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation, and the political dimension.
The main aim of the Agreement is to reduce and eradicate poverty and promote the integration of ACP States into the global economy. It is mainly financed by the European Development Fund (EDF), a financial instrument outside the general budget of the European Union that has contributed significantly to the Pacific region both nationally and regionally with non-refundable financial assistance in the form of grants.
The Cotonou Partnership Agreement expires in February 2020 and formal negotiations on a new partnership agreement between governments started in October 2018.

Who is involved?

The Negotiations are between 79 ACP countries and 28 EU Member States.  Together, the two groups represent more than half of all UN member countries and unite over 1.5 billion people.  The Pacific ACP States (PACP) within the ACP consists of 14 of the 18 Forum Member countries in the Pacific region: Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Timor Leste joined the PACP group in 2003.

The ACP and EU negotiators

The ACP Central Negotiating Group (CNG) is composed of representatives from the three regions of Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific – led by the Hon. Robert Dussey, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration of Togo. The Pacific is represented by Papua New Guinea and Samoa at the Ministerial level in the Central Negotiating Group.
Pacific representation at Ambassadorial level in the Technical Negotiating Teams:


  • PILLAR 3: POLITICAL DIALOGUE AND ADVOCACY – Solomon Islands and Timor Leste; and alternatives are Tonga and Tuvalu.

The Pacific Islands Representative to the ACP and the European Union, based in Brussels also provides support to the PACPS during the negotiations.
The EU Chief Negotiator is Commissioner Mimica on behalf of the European Council.

Key objectives for our negotiations

The principal objective of a Post-Cotonou Agreement is to contribute to the attainment of sustainable development in all ACP countries, in line with the provisions of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, through a strengthened and deepened political and economic partnership, with the ACP Group as a more effective global player.
The ACP mandate for negotiations includes specific objectives that should underpin a post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement with the EU:

  1. Alignment to Agenda 2030 and the SDGs as the overarching development framework
  2. Commitment to democracy, peace and security, post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation, in recognition of the pre-eminence of these issues to sustainable development and vice-versa;
  3. Promotion of regional integration, and respect for the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity, and proportionality in relation to regional and continental groupings;
  4. Unequivocal support for multilateralism, and a fair and equitable rules-based world order
  5. Promotion of preferential trading arrangements
  6. An increase the role of the private sector in the social and economic transformation of ACP Member States
  7. Provision of a dedicated multiannual financial mechanism available to all ACP States

Priorities for the Pacific region

The High-Level Dialogue between Pacific States of the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Group and the EU Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, Mr Neven Mimica, was held in Apia, Samoa, on 26 February 2019.  At this meeting Pacific ACP leaders articulated the following Pacific Priorities:

  • Genuine Partnerships
  • Ocean Governance through the Blue Pacific Identity
  • Safeguarding the region’s resources and security
  • The economic potential and sustainability of the region’s fisheries resource
  • Commitment to addressing climate change and disaster resilience
  • Sustainable Development
  • Health and Education

In terms of trade and development cooperation:

  • Aid-for-trade
  • Fisheries
  • Trade in services
  • Investment
  • Industrialisation (through value addition and supply chains)
  • E-commerce
  • Digital economy
  • Cultural industries
  • Gender
  • Youth
  • Labour mobility, and
  • Rural development, including the informal sector.

The timeline

23 June 2000:      
The Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2000 for a 20-year period. The Agreement entered into force in April 2003 and will expire on 29 February 2020.
Oct – Dec 2015
Joint Public Consultation on a new partnership after 2020
21 March 2016       
Report on the Joint Consultation
Both sides get their mandate and directives
October 2018
Formal negotiations start and are expected to conclude before the Cotonou agreement expires on 29 February 2020.


Pacific Island countries have achieved real progress in the economic and social areas, but still face unique and shared development challenges shaped by their small size, remoteness and vulnerability to natural shocks.
The 2018 PACP Leaders meeting in Nauru supported the Pacific priorities for negotiations:

  • Ocean governance through the Blue Pacific identity;
  • Safeguarding the regions’ resources and security;
  • Elevating the Blue and Green Economy; commitment to addressing climate change and disaster resilience;
  • Developing micro-small-medium enterprises; and
  • Supporting youth and vulnerable groups.

FACT SHEET Cotonou Agreement after 2020 and its importance to the Pacific
ACP Negotiating Mandate 30 May 2018
Report on the Joint Consultation
Eminent Persons Report
Mulifanua Declaration
Cotonou Partnership Agreement
Chief Negotiators Conclusions Dec 2018
ACP Private Sector Position Paper on Post Cotonou Negotiations – 23 November 2018
State of Play of Negotiations for new ACP_EU Partnership Agreement April 2019
Pacific ACP Regional Workshop Summary 13-14 June 2019

Press releases/news

Share your view

Anyone with an interest in the agreement is welcome to submit feedback or questions at any time by email or post.
For more information:
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Ratu Sukuna Road,