THE ORGANISATION OF AFRICAN,
CARIBBEAN
AND PACIFIC STATES

Principal Organs

The Organs of the OACPS are:

The Organs and functions of the OACPS are delineated in the revised Georgetown Agreement [ACP/27/005/18 Rev.13].

Summits

The Summit of OACPS Heads of State and Government is the supreme organ of the Group. It defines the Group´s general policy orientation.

Since 1997, Heads of State and Government of Members of the OACPS have been meeting regularly to lay down the broad guidelines for the general policy of the OACPS and give the Council of Ministers instructions related to its implementation.

The Summit is presided over by the Head of State or Government of the host-country and organized by a Bureau comprising the President-in-Office, the outgoing President and the incoming President (if already designated).

  • Summit Declarations

  • 1st ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, Libreville, Gabon, November 1997
    Changes on the world scene at the end of the 80s, which saw the end of ideological bipolarisation, the economic problems of that era, and other factors prompted ACP Heads of State and Government to meet, for the first time, in Libreville, Gabon, in November 1997. At that first Summit, they laid down the guidelines for strengthening the OACPS by assigning more specific roles to the ACP organs and reforming the General Secretariat by transforming it to an executive institution. The OACPS also extended consultations among its member-countries to various fora such as the United Nations Organisation.

    Libreville Declaration

  • 2nd ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, November 1999
    The 2nd ACP Summit, “On the road to the 3rd millennium” was the opportunity for the ACP Heads of State and Government to redefine the broad thrust of ACP cooperation for the new millennium. The Summit gave more precise directives for intra-ACP cooperation and broadened the scope of the Group which, while maintaining its privileged partnership with the European Union, needed to develop a dialogue with other blocs and make its voice heard in the new economic and geopolitical context. The affirmation of the ACP Group’s presence at the Ministerial Conferences of the World Trade Organisation, for example, (Doha, November 2001, and Cancun, September 2003) is the logical consequence of the Summit directives and their subsequent implementation.

    Santo Domingo Declaration

  • 3rd ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, Nadi, Fiji, July 2002
    The main theme of the 3rd Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government was “ACP Solidarity in a globalised world”. It established guidelines in view of the negotiation of future ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements, with a view to positioning the OACPS in the current economic and geopolitical context.

    Nadi Declaration

  • 4th ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, Maputo, Mozambique, June 2004
    “Together shaping our Future”

    Maputo Declaration

  • 5th ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, Khartoum, Sudan, December 2006
    At the 5th Summit, OACPS leaders committed to take all measures, including participatory development approach and especially within the Group, consistent with the theme of the Summit, “United for Peace, Solidarity and Sustainable Development”, to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development, peace and stability for their communities.

    Khartoum Declaration

  • 6th ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, Accra, Ghana, October 2008
    At the 6th ACP Summit, themed “Promoting human security and development”, leaders pledged to collaborate to promote human security and development in order to attain the ultimate goal of poverty eradication among their people and to foster sustainable development.

    Accra Declaration

  • 7th ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, Sipopo, Equatorial Guinea, December 2012
    At this Summit, themed, ‘The ACP Group in a Changing World: Challenges and Opportunities’, the OACPS committed to intensified South-South cooperation, while calling for more development-friendly relations with European partners. The Sipopo Declaration addressed broad areas of peace, security and good governance; development finance; international trade; energy, climate change and sustainable development; and the future outlook of the ACP Group as an international institution.

    Sipopo Declaration

  • 8th ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, May to June 2016
    Leaders, at the 8th Summit, themed, “Repositioning the ACP Group to respond to the challenges of sustainable development”, made pronouncements on the areas of peace and stability, culture, gender equity, sustainable economic development, trade, and climate change as well as issues of development finance and global governance.

    Port Moresby Declaration

  • 9th ACP Heads of State and Government Summit, Nairobi, Kenya, December 2019
    At the 9th ACP Summit, themed “A Transformed ACP Committed to Multilateralism”, the revised Georgetown Agreement was approved by the ACP Council and endorsed by the Heads of State. A key outcome of the revised Georgetown Agreement was the change of name from the ‘African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States’ to the ‘Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States’.

    Nairobi Nguvu Ya Pamoja Declaration

Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers is the OACPS’ main decision-making body. It is the supreme body responsible for implementing the guidelines laid down by the Summit. Ministerial sectoral meetings are held regularly, namely, Meeting of Trade Ministers, Meeting of Ministers of Culture. The Council is composed of a member of Government from each Member of the OACPS or a government-designated representative. It outlines the terms and conditions for implementing the OACPS’ objectives as set out in its general policy, and periodically checks to see whether these objectives have been attained.

The Council meets twice annually in ordinary sessions. It may also meet, when necessary, in special session, on the advice of the President, after consultation with all the members of the Bureau.

Council Presidency

The Council of Ministers elects its Bureau – headed by a President – at the end of each of its ordinary sessions. A system of rotation has been established to ensure that representatives from the six ACP regions have the opportunity to preside over the Council.

The Bureau is composed of nine members:

  • Six regional representatives (one per region)
  • A President
  • The outgoing and incoming Presidents as full members.

The acts of the Council of Ministers may take the form of decisions, resolutions or recommendations.

Other ACP ministerial meetings

The Council of Ministers convenes meetings of Ministers responsible for different areas included among the Group´s objectives.

Ministerial Trade Committee (MTC)

The Ministerial Trade Committee is a task force of Trade Ministers (a total of 18, three per region) responsible for conducting, coordinating and monitoring certain trade negotiations.

Meeting of Ministers of Culture

The first meeting of ACP Ministers of Culture took place in Dakar (Senegal) in May 2003. At the end of the meeting, a declaration and plan of action were adopted with the primary aim of implementing a development strategy based on culture and cultural industries, as expressed by the (then), Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government. The process of setting up an ACP Cultural Foundation was also begun and Haiti selected as the venue for the 1st ACP Cultural Festival scheduled for summer 2004.

Dakar Plan of Action for the promotion of ACP cultures and cultural industries

Meeting of National and Regional Authorising Officers

These meetings are attended mainly by Ministers in charge of cooperation with the European Union.

Other meetings: Ministers of the Environment, Education, Science, etc.

Committee of Ambassadors

The Committee of Ambassadors is the second decision-making body of the OACPS. It acts on behalf of the Council of Ministers between ministerial sessions. It is composed of the Ambassadors or one representative from every Member of the OACPS. The role of the Committee of Ambassadors consists of:

  • Assisting the Council of Ministers in its functions and carrying out any mandate assigned; and
  • Monitoring the implementation of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement with a view to achieving its stated objectives.

The Committee presents its activity report at every session of the Council of Ministers.

There is a Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors that coordinates the work of the Committee of Ambassadors. It is composed of nine members:

  • Four African representatives (one per region)
  • One representative from the Caribbean
  • One representative from the Pacific.
  • A Chairperson selected on the basis of a rotation among the four African regions, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, to ensure that the six regions have an equal opportunity to chair the Committee of Ambassadors.
  • The outgoing Chair and incoming Chair as full members.

The acts of the Committee of Ambassadors can take the form of decisions, resolutions or recommendations which are adopted on the basis of consensus among its members.

The Committee has six technical Subcommittees which cover the following areas:

  • Political, social, humanitarian and cultural affairs
  • Trade and Commodity Protocols
  • Investment and the private sector
  • Sustainable development
  • Financing and development
  • Establishment and Finance

Contact details for Diplomatic Representations of the Member States of the OACPS
Members of the Bureau of the Committee of Ambassadors
Members of the Subcommittees of the Committee of Ambassadors
Rules of procedure of the Committee of Ambassadors

Parliamentary Assembly

  • The Parliamentary Assembly is to be regularly informed by the Council of Ministers and the OACPS Secretariat, of the decisions and recommendations adopted and their implementation status.
  • The Parliamentary Assembly shall be comprised of one member of each Parliamentary House of each Member State of the OACPS.
  • It shall meet at least once per year.
  • It shall submit an annual report on its activities to the Council of Ministers.
  • The work of the OACPS Parliamentary Assembly shall be linked to and feed into the work of all the other Organs of the OACPS.
  • The Parliamentary Assembly shall adopt its rules of procedures.
  • The decisions of the Parliamentary Assembly shall be made in accordance with the Charter that it has freely adopted.

ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) is a unique and permanent democratic institution which brings together an equal number of elected Members of Parliament from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and Members of the European Parliament.

Most of the work of the JPA is directed towards promoting human rights, democracy and greater understanding and cooperation between the European Union and the ACP states. The JPA aims to monitor the progress of the partnership and its contribution to the social and economic development of ACP states, as well as trade relations. To this ends, the JPA discusses and adopts resolutions on a variety of issues covered by the partnership, makes recommendations and contributes to parliamentary oversight.

A new framework for parliamentary cooperation beyond 2021

A new Agreement between the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), which was negotiated from September 2018 to December 2020 will soon replace the Cotonou Agreement. The new agreement also provides for a concrete institutional parliamentary dimension based on annual meetings of the JPA and, in addition, the setting up of three Regional Parliamentary Assemblies (RPAs) for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific respectively. These RPAs will bring together Members of the European Parliament and parliamentarians from the ACP countries, who will at the same time be Members of the JPA, thus ensuring links between the different pillars and levels of the partnership.

Current composition and working methods

Under the Cotonou Agreement, which was concluded in 2000 for 20 years, the representatives of the 78 Members of the OACPS meet their 78 European Parliament counterparts in plenary session for one week twice a year. The representatives of the OACPS must under normal circumstances be Members of Parliament. The JPA meets alternately in an OACPS or an EU Member State. The Assembly adopted its own Rules of Procedure to establish its way of functioning and ensure sound democratic practices.

The Assembly elects 2 Co-Presidents to direct its work, and also elects 24 Vice-Presidents (12 European and 12 ACP). The two Co-Presidents and the 24 Vice-Presidents constitute the JPA Bureau. The Bureau meets at least four times a year in order to ensure the continuity of the JPA’s work and to prepare new initiatives aiming in particular to boost and improve cooperation. It also considers topical political questions and adopts positions on all human rights cases.

Three standing committees were created in 2003 to draw up substantive proposals which are then put to the vote in the JPA plenary. These Committees are:

  • Committee on Political Affairs
  • Committee on Economic Development, Finance and Trade
  • Committee on Social Affairs and the Environment

The Assembly regularly organises exploratory or fact-finding missions. JPA Members are thus in direct contact with the situation on the ground in the various developing countries which are signatories of the Cotonou Agreement. The impact of the JPA’s work thus goes well beyond economic considerations, and embraces the fundamental objectives of the Cotonou Agreement to ‘promote and expedite the economic, cultural and social development of the ACP States, with a view to contributing to peace and security and to promoting a stable and democratic political environment (Article 1)’.

The ACP-EU JPA is a democratic, parliamentary body that aims to promote and defend democratic processes in order to guarantee the right of each people to choose its own development objectives and how to attain them.

MORE INFORMATION

Secretariat

The Secretariat of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) is an organ of the OACPS, which was created by the Georgetown Agreement in 1975. The Secretariat of the OACPS is located in Brussels, Belgium and it functions as the Headquarters of the OACPS. The Secretariat of the OACPS is charged with:

  • implementing the decisions of all Organs of the OACPS;
  • implementing, as appropriate, agreements concluded with development partners;
  • providing services to the Organs of the OACPS and, as appropriate, the joint institutions established with all external parties.

Secretary-General

H.E. Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti was elected as the new Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), formerly the ACP Group of States at the 110th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, on 7 December 2019. Secretary-General Chikoti has devoted the majority of his professional career to diplomacy and international relations.

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Chief of Staff

Andrew Bradley was appointed Chief of Staff in the Office of the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) on 1 March 2020.

During 2019, he advised Governments and International Organisations on governance, development and democracy. Mr. Bradley headed the Office of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) to the European Union (EU) in Brussels, Belgium from 2012 to 2018. He was stationed at the Headquarters of International IDEA in Stockholm, Sweden, from 2010 to 2011, where he led the Global Programmes Division of the Institute.

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A South African native, Mr. Bradley served as the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Human Development of the OACPS (formerly the ACP Group of States) from 2005 to 2010. Prior to that, he served as a diplomat in South African Embassies and Missions in Canada, Switzerland and Belgium, respectively. In this capacity, he contributed to the negotiations for South Africa’s accession to the ACP Group and the Lomé Convention (now Cotonou Agreement), and was a member of the South African Negotiating Team for the South Africa-EU Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). In service to the ACP Group, Mr. Bradley participated in the first phase (all ACP) of negotiations for ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), contributed to the successful 2005 revision of the Cotonou Agreement, and coordinated the 2010 revision of the Agreement for the OACPS Secretariat.

In 2019, Mr. Bradley joined the Institut d’études européennes of the Université libre de Bruxelles (IEE-ULB) as a Scientific Collaborator, and the United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) as a Research Fellow. Previous professional affiliations include membership of the Results Management Council (RMC) and Consultative Group (GC) of the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), Scientific Committee Member of the 2008 International Conference on Migration and Vulnerability of the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) from 2006 to 2008, and a Member of the Friends of the Forum of the United Nations Global Forum on Migration and Development (2008-2010).

The new Chief of Staff has authored and contributed to numerous articles and publications. His academic qualifications include graduate and post-graduate degrees and diplomas in Political Sciences, Strategic Studies, International Marketing and International Politics.