The EU and its Member States signed Wednesday a new Partnership Agreement with the Members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) that will serve as an overarching legal framework for their relations for the next twenty years.

This agreement succeeds the Cotonou Agreement and will be known as the “Samoa Agreement”. The agreement covers subjects such as sustainable development and growth, human rights and peace and security.

The denomination of the Agreement was agreed at the 46th session of the ACP-EU Council of Ministers, which took place right before the signature ceremony, also in Samoa.

The new Partnership Agreement lays down common principles and covers the following priority areas:

*human rights, democracy and governance
*peace and security
*human and social development
*inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development
*environmental sustainability and climate change
*migration and mobility

The agreement includes a common foundation, which applies to all Parties, combined with three regional protocols for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific with a focus on the specific needs of each region.

The 27 EU member states and the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries together represent around 2 billion people and more than half of the seats at the United Nations. With this new Agreement, the Parties will be better equipped to address emerging needs and global challenges, such as climate change, ocean governance, migration, health, peace and security.

The provisional application of the Agreement will start on 1 January 2024.

The Agreement will enter into force upon consent by the European Parliament and ratification by the Parties, i.e. all EU Member States and at least two thirds of the OACPS Members.

The ACP-EU partnership is one of the oldest and most comprehensive frameworks for cooperation between the EU and third countries.

The previous legal framework for the partnership, the Cotonou Agreement, was signed in 2000.

The post-Cotonou negotiations started in September 2018, under the leadership of Commissioner Neven Mimica, in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The chief negotiators initialled the new Agreement in April 2021.

The Council adopted a decision on the signature and provisional application of the Agreement on 20 July 2023.