Caribbean welcomes new deal to replace Cotonou Agreement

Caribbean welcomes new deal to replace Cotonou Agreement

Saturday, December 05, 2020

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (CMC) — The Caribbean has welcomed the political deal reached between chief negotiators for the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), for a new partnership accord to replace the Cotonou Agreement

“Once the post-Cotonou Agreement has been initialled and subsequently signed in Samoa, let us ensure that this landmark agreement is effectively implemented in a manner that takes the OACPS-EU relationship to a higher level, that enables the Caribbean-EU partnership to realise its full potential and advances sustainable development in all our regions, and further sustains intra-OACPS cooperation,” said Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith.

Johnson Smith, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean group at the 10th Meeting of Chief Negotiators of the OACPS/EU post-Cotonou Agreement, on Thursday, where the political deal was announced, said that it had been a “long journey of over two years, during which we have engaged in the task of negotiating a successor agreement to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement”.

She added: “Speaking on behalf of the Caribbean group, I am pleased to advise the Ministerial Central Negotiating Group that negotiations with the EU have concluded with the emergence of an agreed text of a Caribbean Regional Protocol.

“Since we last met, Caribbean ambassadors and EU senior officials have continued their engagement to bring conclusion to the outstanding issues in relation to the protocol,” Johnson Smith said, adding that the last weeks have allowed for technical negotiations on two outstanding issues, namely, seabed mineral resources and migration and mobility.

“Prior to that, our ambassadorial negotiators and their EU counterparts had reached agreement on three challenging issues, namely sexual and reproductive health and rights; threat of sea level rising; and development of Caribbean international business and financial services.”

Johnson Smith said that the completed text sees the incorporation of migration and mobility as a chapter under the title on Human Development and Social Cohesion.

“Our region has consistently declared its clear and distinct preference for the legal weight and political visibility of migration and mobility to be treated as a full title,” she said, adding “nevertheless, in keeping with the spirit in which we have approached these negotiations, we have now settled for the provisions to be captured a chapter, in recognition of both our commitment to conclude an agreement supportive of our sustainable development pursuits and appreciation that the substantive text accords with Caribbean expectations.

“Similarly, we note the emergence of compromise language on seabed mineral resources in spite of the previous ministerial-level agreement.”

The Cotonou Agreement is a treaty between the European Union and the ACP that was signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin's largest city. It entered into force in 2003 and was subsequently revised in 2005 and 2010.

It is regarded as the most comprehensive partnership agreement between developing countries and the EU and in 2010, ACP-EU cooperation has been adapted to new challenges such as climate change, food security, regional integration, state fragility and aid effectiveness.

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