Brussels, 10 May 2017/ ACP: The ACP-EU Joint Council of Ministers agreed at its 42nd session to amend the partnership agreement between the two blocs to allow for more effective support to ACP member states that suffer unexpected external shocks.

With ACP countries, which include 39 Least Developed Countries, 37 Small island Developing States and 15 Landlocked Countries are especially vulnerable to large and recurrent shocks that have both short-term losses and prolonged slowdown in growth. The recurrence of such shocks, together with the lack of fiscal space for the needed policy response can lead to increased poverty and long-lasting development effects.

During its annual meeting on 5th May, the Joint Council granted a delegation of powers to the ACP-EU Committee of Ambassadors to amend Chapter 3 of Annex II to the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement as soon as possible by 31 December 2017.

The change will mean that ACP countries that cannot absorb being hit by an exogenous shock – including macroeconomic shocks, natural disaster traumas or food security shocks – are eligible to receive support from the European Development Fund.

“The current context of falling raw material prices, food insecurity and recurrent natural disasters makes it absolutely critical for us to quickly establish the implementation modalities,” said the Co-President of the ACP-EU Council, Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation of Ethiopia Dr. Abraham Tekeste.

He added that the Council approved the proposed revisions “so that support in the event of exogenous shocks can be covered under unforeseen needs (B-envelope), which is a part of the EDF’s global reserve; legally formalise the proposal by a decision of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers.”

In addition to the issue of support for exogenous shocks, EU and ACP ministers discussed the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Climate Change, in the lead up to upcoming global events such as the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York in July, and the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn, in November.

Ministers also exchanged views on migration and on the progress made on the joint Valletta Action Plan and the EU trust Fund for Africa. They discussed ways to enhance cooperation in supporting private sector development in ACP countries.

Finally, ministers took stock of the ongoing reflection processes on each side on the future of the EU-ACP relations after 2020, given the expiry of the Cotonou partnership agreement on 29 February 2020.

The ACP-EU Joint Council was co-chaired by Hon. Tekeste on the ACP side, along with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta, Mr. George Vella for the European Union (pictured above). The next Joint Council meeting (43rd session) will be held by an ACP country, yet to be decided.

– ACP Press