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All-ACP development cooperation policy examined

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Brussels, 21 September, 2014/ ACP: Results of an intensive study carried out on the outlooks of a cohesive development cooperation policy for the 79 member countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group were presented to ACP delegations at a joint meeting of the ACP Sub-committee on Development Finance Cooperation and the ambassadorial Working Group on the Future Perspectives of the ACP Group on Friday 19 September.
The authors of the EU-funded study, Ruth Kaeppler and Alexei Jones confirmed that while the timing for an all-ACP policy was right, major decisions and steps had to be taken immediately to seize this “window of opportunity”.
“It is crucial for the ACP Group to define its own policy framework and development cooperation framework. The… lack of definition of the post-Cotonou period and the emerging of a big number of new development partners makes it necessary to reconsider the traditional relations of north-south cooperation,” stated their report.
Countries from Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific have traditionally benefited from a privileged relationship with the European Union under the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, known as the Cotonou Accord. The framework allows for up to EUR 31.5 billion of development support for the period 2014-2020, mostly allocated to national and regional programmes. EUR 3.5 billion goes to more comprehensive Intra-ACP programmes, which are co-managed by the European Commission and the ACP Secretariat in Brussels. 
However, with the Cotonou Agreement ending in the year 2020, it is unclear whether afterwards the EU will continue to cooperate with ACP countries as a Group or as separate regions (Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific).
Financing activities
The study explored the possibilities of the ACP Group forming cooperation partners in addition to the EU. On top of Intra-ACP funds from the EU, it was suggested that additional voluntary contributions be sought from ACP states, and eventually from the international  donor community, and that innovative financing models be introduced such as levies on airline tickets, visas and tourism activities.
The issue of low visibility of the ACP Group was underlined, especially in comparison to other international bodies such as the African Union and Regional Economic Communities which are already active in the field of development cooperation.
 “Important promotion activities will have to be undertaken in order to divulgate the ACP concept with potential cooperation partners,” stated the report.
The experts suggested two core niche areas to focus upon, including private sector development and sustainable resource management. They said the ACP Secretariat also needed to be strengthened to handle any new responsibilities of an all-ACP development cooperation policy.
Amongst other things, the study recommended that the EU introduce South-South cooperation systematically in Intra-ACP programmes; that involvement of the ACP Secretariat vis-à-vis to UN organisations in the implementation of Intra-ACP programmes should be increased; and that programmes funded under the Intra-ACP envelope should answer both to the EC and ACP.
In concluding the meeting, the Chair of the Sub-Committee of Development Finance Cooperation, Ambassador Margaret King Rousseau, acknowledged the usefulness of the report and said it warrants further discussion by the ACP organs.
- ACP Press

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