Fiji’s cabinet has agreed that Fiji ratify the 2nd Revised Cotonou Agreement (CA) that was jointly endorsed by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and the European Union (EU) on 22 June 2010, according to a government statement released today.
Fiji has signed the second revision of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement on 22 June 2010 in Burkina Faso.
Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.
The Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and the European Union (EU) was signed in Cotonou, Benin on 23 June 2000 and will expire in 2020.
The Agreement provides the legal framework governing the political, commercial and developmental relations between the two parties.
These relations include the facilitation of a co-ordinated EU action in ACP countries on issues such as human rights, good governance, rule of law and migration, as well as the provisioning of the European Development Fund (EDF), which provides significant development assistance to ACP states.
As stipulated in the Agreement, a review of the CA is required every 5 years. The reviewing process entails negotiations on various texts initially proposed by both sides.
The first revision was undertaken in 2005.
The negotiations on the second review started on 29 May 2009.
These negotiations took ten months, and were concluded at an extraordinary Joint Ministerial meeting in Brussels on 19 March 2010 where the EU and ACP initialed the second revised text of the Cotonou Agreement.
The second revised Agreement was approved at the 91st Session of the ACP Council of Ministers in Burkina Faso. It was subsequently endorsed on June 2010, at the 35th Session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, an event which witnessed the signing of the Agreement by Ministers and Ambassadors from the ACP and the EU countries.
The revised Agreement has been in effect on a provisional basis from 1 September 2010.
Minister Kubuabola said that without the ratification of the Second Revised Cotonou Partnership Agreement 2010, ACP countries cannot benefit from the Multi-Annual Financial Framework, the EU funding mechanism under the European Development Funding (EDF).
The Minister said that Fiji has benefited immensely under ACP-EU Cooperation from Lome I-IV and under the Cotonou Agreement.
He said that under the National Indicative Programme (NIP), each European Development Fund finances the respective ACP country’s NIP which constitutes the main focus of that country’s programmed aid.
The major projects funded under the EDF in Fiji include the new Nausori, Ba and Sigatoka bridges, the Naboro landfill, and the upgrading of rural schools around the country.
In addition, benefits were derived from non-programmable aid such as civil society allocations, around 15 percent of the NIP allocations, and funding of participation to meetings.