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The revised Cotonou agreement

Towards a more flexible and effective EU support!

The revised Agreement significantly improves the principles of aid programming. The programming and management of development strategies will put in practice the principles of aid effectiveness which will require substantial efforts for the EU and its Member States to improve their coordination and harmonise their support to ACP States' development strategies. At the same time, in light of the unexpected crisis of the last decade, the revision of the Cotonou Agreement brings more flexible tools to progress towards achieving solid results in the fight against poverty, which remains the primary objective of the Partnership Agreement.

1    Aid Programming   

  • Principles of Aid Effectiveness: The revised Cotonou Agreement sets the principles of aid effectiveness at the heart of the programming exercise. Ownership, alignment, harmonisation, results oriented management and mutual accountability are now guiding ACP-EC development cooperation. The principles of aid effectiveness become fundamental principles (Art.2) of the Cotonou Agreement.
  • Three distinct levels of programming are harmonised under the revised Cotonou. Country, regional and intra-ACP levels of programming are subject to the aid effectiveness principles. Therefore, programming shall be based strategy papers that take into account joint programming and division of labour. As regards the implementation of the strategy, an indicative multiannual programme which will integrate the commitments of other donors, in particular from the EU Member States.
  • Participatory approaches are developed. Non-State actors, national parliaments and local authorities will participate to the preparation of the national and regional development strategies and on the occasion of the annual, mid-term and end-of-term reviews.

2    Increased flexibility to address unforeseen needs

  • The allocation for unforeseen needs is reinforced and its use is made more flexible through the creation of a B-envelope at regional level (Annex IV Art.9.2b)). Natural disasters and emergency situations are increasingly taking place across borders. Reacting and mobilising means at regional level will be quicker and more efficient in case of humanitarian, emergency and post emergency situations. 
  • The revised Cotonou also paves the way for the reform of the FLEX mechanism (Art.60, 68). To this end, Articles 60 and 68 have been amended. For more flexibility, vulnerability to exogenous shocks replaces fluctuations of export earnings and dependence on agriculture and mining. The concept of exogenous shocks encompasses a large number of situations, such as an international economic crisis.
  • Crisis and post-crisis situations (Art. 72-73) are redefined to make humanitarian, emergency and post-emergency interventions quicker and more efficient. The definition of crisis is extended to cover situations of fragility. In line with the European consensus on humanitarian aid, climate change, environmental degradation, access to energy and natural resources are also anticipated to provoke crisis situations justifying humanitarian, emergency and post-emergency interventions. Importantly, post emergency assistance aiming at rehabilitation and linking short-term relief with longer term development programmes.
  • In view of the numerous natural disasters and economic shocks faced by ACP States, it was necessary to ensure adequate flexibility to the ACP development strategies. Therefore, the grounds justifying ad hoc reviews (Annex IV Art.3.4, 9.4, 14.2) have been further defined, to cover crisis situations, exogenous shocks and debt relief initiatives.


Last update: 17/02/2012 | Top