Completion of the top-level consultation concerning the renewal of the ACP-EU partnership agreement

We are excited to announce that the consultancy awarded to EPRD by the European Commission in January this year is nearing its successful completion, having just entered the reporting phase after a truly work-intensive series of high-level roundtables. Throughout the assignment, EPRD team of 8 experts, served as the Cluster Leaders in 7 thematic issues identified as focal and most relevant to the new ACP-EU Agreement. 

The project commenced with an inception phase, which consisted of a series of meetings and conference calls intended to clarify the scope and methodology of the assignment. A first kick-off meeting between EU Officials from DEVCO, EEAS and EPRD was held on 9 January 2015 to launch the assignment. Shortly thereafter, a day’s meeting was held with the entire team and in the presence of EU Officials, the purpose of which was to brainstorm on the key issues and scope for the study. These meetings led to the drafting by the Team Leader of an inception report which clarified both the methodology for the organisation of the round tables and the recruitment of its participants as well as further refine the thematic scope of the study, clarify a number of issues and agree on next steps.

Subsequently, the Cluster Leaders and the Team Leader identified and selected the participants for the thematic round tables. Cluster leaders took the initiative of identifying potential participants through their own networks – the EU has on its part contacted EU Member States (EU MSs) to request them to nominate potential participants. In total, one hundred and four (104) experts, 75 of which were EU Officials were consulted through a process of Round Table discussions aiming to stimulate a wider discussion on post-Cotonou issues and defining issues at stake for the time horizon 2020-2030. The roundtables organsied by EPRD were held in the following EU Member States:

  • Cluster 1 “What kind of partnership do we want?” – Brussels, 3rd of March
  • Cluster 2 “Future framework for international cooperation and development policy” – Paris, 13th of March
  • Cluster 3 “Means of implementation” – Bonn, 10th of March
  • Cluster 4 “Stakeholders and Institutions” – The Hague, 6th of March
  • Cluster 5 “Regional integration and trade” – Luxembourg, 24th of March
  • Cluster 6 “Global challenges” – London, 27th of March
  • Cluster 7 “Demographic developments” – Riga, 31st of March
  • Concluding Round table – Brussels, 4th of May

The seven Cluster Leaders were tasked with coordinating thematic Round Tables under the guidance and coordination of EPRD and the Team Leader. To help participants prepare for the discussion, each cluster leader developed a “Scoping Paper” highlighting the state of the art in a sector and identifying potential areas for reform. Eight Round Tables were held across Europe, each hosted by the Ministries of Foreign affairs of an EU member state.  Finally, a concluding round table was organised with the participation of the team leader, cluster leaders and European Union representatives (Commission and EEAS) in order to summarize the findings of the seven thematic round tables and highlight cross-cutting issues, joint learnings and key questions to raise in the preparation of the Green Paper and public consultation which will be held later in 2015.

We at EPRD are honoured with the opportunity to support the European Commission and EEAS in the initial phase of this process. The experience gathered during implementation of the project allows us to eagerly look forward towards further steps taken by the EC/EEAS in establishing a new ACP-EU Agreement.

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