Brussels, 11.6.2021

COM(2021) 312 final

2021/0145(NLE)

Proposal for a

COUNCIL DECISION

on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application of the Partnership Agreement between the European Union, of the one part, and the members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific (OACPS) States, of the other part


EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

1.CONTEXT OF THE PROPOSAL

Reasons for and objectives of the proposal

The present proposal concerns the signature and provisional application of a new Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States. Formerly known as the “ACP Group of States” (ACP), the group became the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), an international organisation, in April 2020.

Since 2000, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement has been the framework guiding the relations between the EU and the 79 ACP countries. It is based on political dialogue, and economic, trade and development cooperation. The Agreement, revised in 2005 and 2010, expired end of February 2020. However, as partners needed more time to negotiate the successor Partnership Agreement, the application of the Cotonou Agreement was transitionally extended twice. First, until 31 December 2020 and a second time until 30 November 2021 or until the provisional application of the new Partnership Agreement (hereafter referred to as “the Agreement”), whichever comes first.

A modernised agreement is greatly needed to upgrade the EU-ACP relationship to mirror the new ambitions stemming from emerging needs and challenges. More interconnected than ever before, the world has greatly changed since the Cotonou Agreement was adopted, and so have the EU, its partners and their joint aspirations.

Negotiations on a new Agreement began in September 2018, shortly after the Council authorised the Commission and the High Representative to open negotiations on, and to negotiate, on behalf of the European Union, the provisions that fall within the competence of the Union, of a Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the other part and adopted negotiation directives in June 2018. Throughout the negotiations, the Council was informed regularly. The special committee established by the Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations was consulted throughout the negotiations. The chief negotiators initialled the draft text of the agreement on 15th of April 2021, with the exception of the definition of the parties to the Agreement.

The general aim of the Agreement is to establish an ambitious and strengthened political partnership, ushering in new dynamics and going beyond traditional development cooperation. Within the Agreement, each region will be empowered. This will allow the EU and the members of the OACPS to achieve greater ambitions at local, national, regional and international level.

The specific objectives of the new Agreement are to:

1.promote, protect and fulfil human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance, paying particular attention to gender equality;

2.build peaceful and resilient states and societies, tackling ongoing and emerging threats to peace and security;

3.foster human and social development, and in particular to eradicate poverty and address inequalities, ensuring that everyone enjoys a life of dignity and that no one is left behind, with special attention paid to women and girls;

4.mobilise investment, support trade and foster private-sector development, with a view to achieving sustainable and inclusive growth and creating decent jobs for all;

5.combat climate change, protect the environment and ensure the sustainable management of natural resources; and

6.implement a comprehensive and balanced approach to migration, so as to reap the benefits of safe, orderly and regular migration and mobility, stem irregular migration while addressing its root causes, in full respect of international law and in accordance with the Parties’ respective competences.

The Commission considers that the objectives set out by the Council in its negotiating directives were attained and that the negotiated text is acceptable to the Union.

Consistency with existing policy provisions in the policy area

The Agreement was negotiated in line with the comprehensive negotiating directives adopted by the Council in June 2018 1 on the recommendation from the Commission for a Council decision authorising the opening of negotiations on a Partnership Agreement between the European Union and countries of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, which builds on a prior evaluation, an impact assessment and a communication. All these guiding documents took into account the relevant EU policies and strategies in the various areas concerned, as well as those of the partners including the African Union Agenda 2063, the 2007 Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES), the 2012 Joint Caribbean EU Partnership Strategy, and the 2006 Strategy for a Strengthened Partnership with the Pacific Islands.

The new partnership builds on several internationally agreed standards and targets. The United Nations 2030 Agenda (SDGs), and the Paris Agreement on climate change are at the heart of the Agreement and the partners’ future action.

More specifically at a thematic level, the Agreement is fully aligned with existing EU policies:

·In line with the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy 2 , the Agreement will contribute to building inclusive, peaceful and resilient societies. It fosters a comprehensive and integrated approach to conflict and crises and aims at addressing their root causes, along with new or expanding security threats, such as terrorism, its financing and violent extremism to name but a few. Political dialogue will be key in further deepening actions in these fields and, more broadly, in all areas covered by the partnership. Fostering more political cooperation, the Agreement reaffirms the importance of cooperating in international fora, but also of building alliances on the global scene to achieve an effective multilateral system. 

·In line with the European Consensus on Development 3 , the Agreement includes comprehensive commitments inspired by, and which will contribute to achieving, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The Agreement’s people-centered approach takes into account the various, interlinked aspects of sustainable development, whether economic, social, environmental or security-related. All these important dimensions, together with other cross-cuttings elements, such as youth, gender equality, good governance and human rights, complement each other and have been given particular importance. Together, partners will work to protect the planet, eradicate poverty in all its forms, tackle inequalities and promote social cohesion.

·In line with the European Green Deal 4 , and the EU environmental policies, the Agreement recognises the need to take urgent action at various level to ensure the planet’s sustainability and counter the serious threat posed by climate change, environmental degradation, and unsustainable use of natural resources. Partners aim to strengthen the global response to climate change, build resilience and play an important role in implementing the Paris Agreement, which will act as an overarching framework guiding the partnership.

·In line with the new Pact on Migration and Asylum 5 , and the EU migration policy, the Agreement adopts a comprehensive and balanced approach, addressing in a coherent manner the various inter-linked dimensions of both legal and irregular migration to foster well-managed migration and mobility.

The proposal is also fully consistent with other relevant Union policies related to the set priorities, such as energy, education, gender equality, employment, research and innovation and trade.

2.LEGAL BASIS, SUBSIDIARITY AND PROPORTIONALITY

Legal basis

The legal basis for conclusion of the Agreement is Article 217, in conjunction with Article218(5) and the second subparagraph of Article 218(8) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

In accordance with the Treaties, the Commission makes a proposal for the signature and provisional application of an agreement of the Union only. 6

Proportionality

This initiative pursues directly the Union's objective in external action and contributes to the political priority of 'EU as a stronger global actor’. It is in line with the EU Global Strategy’s orientations to engage with others and revamp its external partnerships in a responsible way, in order to attain the EU's external priorities. The proposal strengthens the cooperation with the respective regions, allowing for a more tailored approach and supporting the EU ‘One Africa Approach’. The proposed Agreement also facilitates interactions between the various levels of governance.

Choice of the instrument

This proposal is in accordance with Article 218(5) TFEU, which envisages the adoption by the Council of decisions on international agreements. There exists no other legal instrument that could be used in order to achieve the objective expressed in this proposal.

3.RESULTS OF EX-POST EVALUATIONS, STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATIONS AND IMPACT ASSESSMENTS

·    Ex-post evaluations/fitness checks of existing legislation

It was important for the EU and its partners to take into account the lessons learned from their longstanding cooperation. As part of the policy preparation for a new Partnership Agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, a number of specific evaluations and consultations were carried out ahead of, and during, the negotiations to both seek public, stakeholders and partners’ views and draw conclusions from the EU-ACP cooperation in the past decades. These can be grouped into two categories:

·Evaluation of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA)

·Public consultations

The related conclusions and results were taken into account and are reflected in the proposed Agreement.

Impact assessment

In 2016, an impact assessment (SWD (2016) 0380 final) was published together with a Communication about the EU's future relations with ACP countries (JOIN 2016 (52) final), which served as a basis for the subsequent recommendation and negotiating directives. It aimed at determining which type of format is required to best organise and govern relations with partners in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific. The impact assessment identified various options and a preferred way forward, which was in the end chosen, and can be summarised as follows: “The preferred option for the EU is that a new partnership between the EU and the ACP countries, in the form of an overarching agreement including a 'roof' listing common values, principles and interests and identifying general principles and avenues for cooperation in the international arena, and three partnerships setting region-specific priorities and actions to implement respectively in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

Regulatory fitness and simplification

Not applicable.

Fundamental rights

One of the objectives of the Agreement is that of promoting and upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as democracy, rule of law and good governance. This is an important aspect given the changing international scene with emerging powers which do not necessarily share these values and principles. In accordance with the EU’s Common approach on the use of political clauses, in cases of violation of the essential elements of the Agreement, the Parties shall hold structured and systematic consultations. Where they are unable to reach a mutually acceptable solution, the notifying Party may take appropiate measures.

4.BUDGETARY IMPLICATIONS

The Agreement contains no financial protocol. The EU commits to make available the appropriate level of financial resources in line with its internal regulations and procedures.

5.OTHER ELEMENTS

Implementation plans and monitoring, evaluation and reporting arrangements

The implementation of the Agreement will be monitored through regular partnership dialogue, ref. General Part, Part I, Art. 3(1). The Regional Protocols contain specific provisions on implementation and monitoring, ref. African Regional Protocol, Part I, Art.6; Caribbean Regional Protocol, Part I, Art. 8 and Pacific Regional Protocol, Part I, Art. 8.

The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers shall oversee the effective and consistent implementation of the Agreement and adopt policy guidelines and take decisions to give effect to specific aspects necessary for the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement, ref. General Part, Part V, Art. 88.

Detailed explanation of the outcome of the negotiations

The Agreement establishes an ambitious and strengthened political partnership between the EU and the members of the OACPS, with the objective of generating mutually beneficial outcomes on common interests. It will take the form of an association agreement and be concluded for a period of twenty years.

More strategically, the Agreement extends the scope and scale of partners’ cooperation, with the overarching aim of building stronger societies. This new partnership is a political achievement and marks a turning point. It shifts dynamics and upgrades partners’ relations to tackle the most pressing challenges faced in each region specifically. The Agreement is in tune with the regional and global contexts, but also the latest internationally agreed laws, standards, advances and, most importantly, with peoples’ needs.

This creates a coherent framework with partner countries at all political levels, be it national, (sub)-regional or at partnership level with a global dimension. The Agreement advocates effective multilateralism and sets the scene for more political and coordinated actions on the world stage where the group’s impact can be significant.

Innovative “1 + 3” structure

The EU’s relationship with the members of the OACPS has been deepened, but also overhauled to be fit for purpose, bringing the centre of gravity to the three regions. Accordingly, the Agreement now consists of:

1. A General Part (the Foundation) common to all countries and composed of:

Part I - General provisions, presenting the general objectives and principles.

Part II - Strategic priorities, divided into six key titles:

·Title I - Human rights, democracy, and governance in people-centred and rights-based societies

·Title II - Peace and security

·Title III - Human and social development

·Title IV - Inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development

·Title V - Environmental sustainability and climate change

Title VI - Migration and mobility

Part III - Global alliances and international cooperation, detailing the new political ambitions on the world stage.

Part IV - Means of cooperation and implementation, describing the diversified resources to achieve the objectives of the partnership.

Part V - Institutional framework, explaining the different settings and partners involved.

Part VI - Final provisions, providing details on the application of the Agreement.

Annex I: Return and readmission processes.

Annexe II: Operations of the European Investment Bank.

EU Declaration on means of cooperation and implementation.

The Agreement will be governed differently, at either partnership or regional level, according to the matters and format concerned. In particular, this General Part of the Agreement, which applies to all countries, will be managed by the OACPS-EU Council of ministers (expected to meet every 3 years) supported by a Committee of Ambassadors, possible OACPS-EU Summits (upon joint agreement) and a new OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA - meeting yearly and whose members are also members of the three regional joint parliamentary assemblies). 

2. Three Regional Protocols are provided for between the countries of each region and the EU respectively. Every protocol is tailor-made to the regions’ needs and dynamics and thus fit to address the particular challenges faced. Following this logic, each region will have its own institutional set-up to steer the protocol in question. It includes a Council of Ministers meeting at an interval agreed by the Parties, a Committee of Ambassadors, the possibility of meeting at Heads of State/Government level, and a Joint Parliamentary Assembly:

A.Africa Regional Protocol

With its tailored priorities, detailed specifically according to the region’s needs:

·Inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development

·Human and social development

·Environment, natural resources management and climate change

·Peace and security

·Human rights, democracy and governance

·Migration and mobility

And specific governance:

Africa-EU Council of Ministers, Africa-EU Joint Committee; Africa-EU Parliamentary Assembly.

This will foster a common approach towards Africa. The protocol will act as the legal basis (an association agreement, similar to the ones concluded between the EU and North African countries) and the political guidance will build on the outcome of African Union-European Union Summits.

B.Caribbean Regional Protocol

With its tailored priorities, detailed specifically according to the region’s needs:

·Inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development

·Environmental sustainability, climate change and sustainable management of natural resources

·Human rights, governance, peace and security

·Human development and social cohesion

And specific governance:

Caribbean-EU Council of Ministers, Caribbean-EU Joint Committee, Caribbean-EU Parliamentary Assembly.

C.Pacific Regional Protocol

With its tailored priorities, detailed specifically according to the region’s needs:

·Environmental sustainability and climate change

·Inclusive and sustainable economic development

·Ocean, seas and fisheries

·Security, human rights, democracy and governance

·Human and social development

And specific governance:

Pacific-EU Council of Ministers, Pacific-EU Joint Committee, Pacific-EU Parliamentary Assembly.

People-centred partnership

The Agreement goes beyond its predecessor in various fields and provides an opportunity to play an important role in many areas.

Partners will contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the fight against climate change, with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement as overarching frameworks guiding the partnership.

The Agreement seeks to create new economic opportunities for all. Special attention is paid to sustainable, inclusive growth and job creation. In particular, stimulating investment and private sector development will be crucial in accelerating sustainable development, to which science, technology, research, innovation and the digital transition will contribute significantly. Cooperation on economic and trade matters will also be improved, facilitating bilateral trade and investment flows, reducing technical barriers to trade, improving government procurement and protecting intellectual property. All existing trade agreements, such as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA), will remain in place. Cooperation among partners will contribute to upholding high environmental, social and labour standards.

This goes hand in hand with a renewed focus on climate change and environmental sustainability across a number of areas. Recognising the urgency to act and that climate change and natural degradation pose a serious threat to the attainment of sustainable development, partners have agreed to large-ranging commitments to preserve and protect the planet, its ecosystems and oceans. In line with the Paris Agreement targets, the response to climate change will be strengthened. Joint efforts will be made to address adaptation, mitigation and better tackle natural disasters. This is part of a global, environmentally-friendly approach promoting the sustainable development of a blue economy and support the transition towards greener (low-emission/resource efficient) economies.

The cooperation between the EU and members of the OACPS is also rooted in a common set of values and universal principles. Respect for human rights, international law, democratic principles and the ones set out in the Charter of the United Nations constitute the basis for cooperation under the Agreement. They are considered as key issues to ensure other mutual priorities flourish, just like commitments to the rule of law and good governance, which have been strengthened in the Agreement. The same goes for peace and security, where new or emerging threats will be addressed, such as piracy and trafficking in persons, drugs, arms and other illicit goods, as well as cybercrime and threats to cybersecurity, which are essential elements of an integrated approach towards conflict, crisis and their root causes.

The Agreement fosters strenghtened cooperation, both sectoral and political, including on foreign policy issues of common interest. These include peacekeeping, terrorism, situations of fragility, death penalty with unprecedented provisons, but also law enforcement and migration and mobility. On the latter, new commitments reflecting a comprehensive and balanced approach address the various inter-linked dimensions of legal and irregular migration in a coherent manner. To foster well-managed migration and mobility, the Agreement promotes strengthened cooperation between partners, relevant agencies and institutions, while also improving return and readmission, with major predictability and enforceability. Common challenges will be better tackled, including the root causes of irregular migration, trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

Human and social development is fostered strongly in the Partnership, with the objective of tackling poverty and inequalities, while leaving no-one behind. As recommended in the negotiating directives stronger commitments have been made within the Agreement to improve gender equality, social services, such as education and health, and social inclusiveness. Partners will cooperate to better address various challenges faced such as food security, rapid population growth and global health crises.

Partnership dialogue has been at the heart of EU-OACPS States relations for years and the new Agreement will further strengthen this important dimension. It concerns all subjects covered in the Agreement, but also broader topics of common interest.

In addition, the negotiated text fosters multi-stakeholder cooperation, recognising the importance of youth and various partners including local authorities, civil society organisations and the private sector in shaping a better future. Active engagement in partnership dialogue and cooperation processes, but also collaborative work towards an effective implementation of the Agreement will be key.

All the elements mentioned above are interlinked and will be key in taking our relations to the next level. This means that the Regional Protocols, their interpretation and implementation must respect at all times the provisions and principles contained under the General Part of the Agreement.

2021/0145 (NLE)

Proposal for a

COUNCIL DECISION

on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application of the Partnership Agreement between the European Union, of the one part, and the members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific (OACPS) States, of the other part

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and in particular Article 217, in conjunction with Article 218(5) and (8), second subparagraph thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the European Commission,

Whereas:

(1)On 21 June 2018, the Council authorised the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to open negotiations on, and to negotiate, on behalf of the Union, the provisions that fall within the competence of the Union, of a Partnership Agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the countries of the African, Carribean and Pacific Group of States, of the other part.

(2)The negotiations on a Partnership Agreement between the European Union, of the one part, and the members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, of the other part (‘the Agreement’) were successfully concluded on 15th April 2021 with the exception of the definition of the parties to the Agreement.

(3)The Agreement reflects both the historically close relationship and increasingly strong links developing between the European Union and the members of the Organisation of ACP states, and their desire to further strengthen and extend their relations in an ambitious and innovative way. The Agreement redefines the relationship between the EU and the members of the Organisation of African, Carribean and Pacific States, including the priorities and working methods in the different policy domains to which the Agreement extends.

(4)The Agreement should therefore be signed on behalf of the European Union in accordance with Article 98 of the Agreement, subject to its conclusion at a later date.

(5)The Cotonou Agreement will continue to transitionally apply until 30 November 2021 at the latest. If the Agreement does not enter into force from 1 December 2021, the cooperation between the Union and the members of the Organisation of African, Carribean and Pacific States will fall to a level that is neither desirable nor in the Union interest, causing disruptions in the relationship between the Union and the members of the Organisation of African, Carribean and Pacific States. To limit such disruption, the Agreement should be applied provisionally.

HAS ADOPTED THIS DECISION:

Article 1

The signing of the Partnership Agreement between the European Union, of the one part, and the members of the Organisation of African, Carribean and Pacific States, of the other part, is hereby approved on behalf of the Union, subject to the conclusion of the said Agreement.

The text of the Agreement to be signed is attached to this Decision.

Article 2

The EU Declaration on means of cooperation and implementation attached to this Decision shall be approved on behalf of the Union.

Article 3

The Council Secretariat General shall establish the instrument of full powers to sign the Agreement, subject to its conclusion, for the person(s) indicated by the negotiator of the Agreement.

Article 4

Pending its entry into force, the Agreement shall be applied provisionally in accordance with Article 98(4) of the Agreement as of the date provided for therein.

Article 5

This Decision shall enter into force on the day following that of its adoption.

Done at Brussels,

   For the Council

   The President

(1)    The negotiating directives build on prior evaluation, impact assessment, communication and a recommendation, with the following specific references:
(2)     Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy
(3)     European Consensus on Development  
(4)     European Green Deal  
(5)     New Pact on Migration and Asylum  
(6)    In accordance with Regulation 2015/2264 on the phasing out of the derogation of the Irish language, international agreements are only translated in Irish from 1 January 2022.

Brussels, 11.6.2021

COM(2021) 312 final

ANNEX

to the

Proposal for a

COUNCIL DECISION

on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application of the Partnership Agreement between the European Union, of the one part, and the members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific (OACPS) States, of the other part






PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN UNION, OF THE ONE PART,

AND MEMBERS OF THE ORGANISATION OF AFRICAN, CARIBBEAN

AND PACIFIC STATES, OF THE OTHER PART

PART I - GENERAL PROVISIONS

PART II - STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

TITLE I - HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY, AND GOVERNANCE IN PEOPLE‑CENTRED AND RIGHTS-BASED SOCIETIES

TITLE II - PEACE AND SECURITY

TITLE III - HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

TITLE IV - INCLUSIVE, SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

TITLE V - ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

TITLE VI - MIGRATION AND MOBILITY

PART III - GLOBAL ALLIANCES AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

PART IV - MEANS OF COOPERATION AND IMPLEMENTATION

PART V - INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK

PART VI - FINAL PROVISIONS


REGIONAL PROTOCOLS:

AFRICA REGIONAL PROTOCOL

PART I - FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

PART II - KEY AREAS OF COOPERATION

TITLE I - INCLUSIVE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

TITLE II - HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

TITLE III - ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

TITLE IV - PEACE AND SECURITY

TITLE V - HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE

TITLE VI - MIGRATION AND MOBILITY


CARRIBEAN REGIONAL PROTOCOL:

PART I - FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

PART II - KEY AREAS OF COOPERATION

TITLE I - INCLUSIVE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

TITLE II - ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

TITLE III - HUMAN RIGHTS, GOVERNANCE, PEACE AND SECURITY

TITLE IV- HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, SOCIAL COHESION AND MOBILITY

PACIFIC REGIONAL PROTOCOL:

PART I - FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

PART II - KEY AREAS OF COOPERATION

TITLE I - ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE


TITLE II - INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

TITLE III - OCEANS, SEAS AND FISHERIES

TITLE IV - SECURITY, HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE

TITLE V - HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

ANNEXES

ANNEX I: RETURN AND READMISSION PROCESSES

ANNEX II: OPERATIONS OF THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK


THE EUROPEAN UNION, hereinafter referred to also as "the EU", of the one part, and

THE REPUBLIC OF ANGOLA,

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA,

THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS,

BARBADOS,

BELIZE,

THE REPUBLIC OF BENIN,

THE REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA,

BURKINA FASO,

THE REPUBLIC OF BURUNDI,

THE REPUBLIC OF CAMEROON,

THE REPUBLIC OF CABO VERDE,

THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC,

THE REPUBLIC OF CHAD,


THE UNION OF THE COMOROS,

THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO,

THE COOK ISLANDS,

THE REPUBLIC OF CÔTE D'IVOIRE,

THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA,

THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO,

THE REPUBLIC OF DJIBOUTI,

THE COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA,

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC,

THE STATE OF ERITREA,

THE KINGDOM OF ESWATINI,

THE FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA,

THE REPUBLIC OF FIJI,

THE GABONESE REPUBLIC,

REPUBLIC OF THE GAMBIA,


THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA,

GRENADA,

THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA,

THE REPUBLIC OF GUINEA-BISSAU,

THE REPUBLIC OF EQUATORIAL GUINEA,

THE COOPERATIVE REPUBLIC OF GUYANA,

THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI,

JAMAICA,

THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA,

THE REPUBLIC OF KIRIBATI,

THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO,

THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA,

THE REPUBLIC OF MADAGASCAR,

THE REPUBLIC OF MALAWI,

THE REPUBLIC OF MALI,


THE REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS,

THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF MAURITANIA,

THE REPUBLIC OF MAURITIUS,

THE FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA,

THE REPUBLIC OF MOZAMBIQUE,

THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA,

THE REPUBLIC OF NAURU,

THE REPUBLIC OF NIGER,

THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA,

NIUE,

THE REPUBLIC OF PALAU,

THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA,

THE REPUBLIC OF RWANDA,

SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS,

SAINT LUCIA,


SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES,

THE INDEPENDENT STATE OF SAMOA,

THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE,

THE REPUBLIC OF SENEGAL,

THE REPUBLIC OF SEYCHELLES,

THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE,

SOLOMON ISLANDS,

THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF SOMALIA,

THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA,

THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN,

THE REPUBLIC OF THE SUDAN,

THE REPUBLIC OF SURINAME,

THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA,

THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF TIMOR-LESTE,

THE TOGOLESE REPUBLIC,


THE KINGDOM OF TONGA,

THE REPUBLIC OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO,

TUVALU,

THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA,

THE REPUBLIC OF VANUATU,

THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA,

THE REPUBLIC OF ZIMBABWE,

hereinafter referred to as members of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), of the other part,

HAVING REGARD to the Revised Georgetown Agreement establishing the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, on the one hand, and the Treaty on European Union and Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, on the other;

CONSIDERING their strong links and the close political, economic and cultural ties that unite them;

REAFFIRMING their attachment to the rules-based global order, with multilateralism as its key principle and the United Nations at its core;


CONFIRMING their commitment to sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development;

STRESSING the importance of regular dialogue on issues of mutual interest, at all relevant levels;

REAFFIRMING their commitment to consolidating their partnership by coordinating actions in international forums based on common interests, shared values and mutual respect, and cognisant of their ability to shape global outcomes when acting jointly;

CONFIRMING their commitment to democratic principles and human rights as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant international human rights instruments, as well as to the principles of the rule of law and good governance;

RECALLING their strong will to promote peace and security and their international obligations on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as well as their determination to prevent and prosecute the most serious crimes of concern to the international community;

REAFFIRMING their commitment to foster multi-stakeholder cooperation in support of the achievement of sustainable development, taking account of the different roles played by different stakeholders, while ensuring that all operate within the rule of law;

STRESSING the urgency to tackle global environmental challenges, the importance of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the urgent need to build stable and sustainable low-carbon economies and societies resilient to climate change, and to move forward to achieve common environmental, climate change and renewable energy goals;


RECOGNISING the importance of structural economic transformation in achieving inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development;

RECALLING their commitment to the principles and rules that govern international trade, in particular those agreed in the World Trade Organization;

RECALLING their commitment to respect labour rights, taking into account the principles laid down in conventions of the International Labour Organization;

RECOGNISING the important role of science, technology, research and innovation in accelerating the transition to knowledge-based societies, facilitated through the use of digital tools in pursuit of sustainable development;

RECALLING their commitment to fostering human and social development, eradicating poverty, and fighting discrimination and inequality, leaving no one behind;

ACKNOWLEDGING that changing demographic dynamics, combined with economic, social and environmental changes offer opportunities for, and pose challenges to, sustainable development;

REAFFIRMING that gender equality and empowerment of women and girls are essential to achieving inclusive and sustainable development;

RECOGNISING the importance of youth for shaping the future and contributing to sustainable development;


REAFFIRMING their commitment to promoting a people-centred partnership and to enhancing people-to-people contacts, including through cooperation and exchanges in the field of science, technology, innovation, education and culture;

REAFFIRMING their commitment to enhancing cooperation and dialogue on migration and mobility;

RECOGNISING the increasing risks caused by natural disasters, economic and other exogenous shocks including pandemics;

CONFIRMING their willingness to collaborate in support of regional and continental integration, particularly with a view to achieving the objectives set out in Agenda 2063 of the African Union and in the integration and cooperation frameworks of the Caribbean and Pacific;

RECALLING the principles of policy coherence for development and aid effectiveness, as well as the principles of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA);

HAVING REGARD to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000, as amended in Luxembourg on 25 June 2005 and in Ouagadougou on 22 June 2010,

HAVE AGREED AS FOLLOWS:


PART I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

ARTICLE 1

Objectives

1.    This Agreement establishes a strengthened political partnership between the Parties to generate mutually beneficial outcomes on common and intersecting interests and in accordance with their shared values.

2.    This Agreement shall contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change as overarching frameworks guiding the partnership.

3.    The objectives of this Agreement are to:

(a)    promote, protect and fulfil human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance, paying particular attention to gender equality;

(b)    build peaceful and resilient states and societies, tackling ongoing and emerging threats to peace and security;


(c)    foster human and social development, and in particular to eradicate poverty and address inequalities, ensuring that everyone enjoys a life of dignity and that no one is left behind, with special attention paid to women and girls;

(d)    mobilise investment, support trade and foster private-sector development, with a view to achieving sustainable and inclusive growth and creating decent jobs for all;

(e)    combat climate change, protect the environment and ensure the sustainable management of natural resources; and

(f)    implement a comprehensive and balanced approach to migration, so as to reap the benefits of safe, orderly and regular migration and mobility, stem irregular migration while addressing its root causes, in full respect of international law and in accordance with the Parties' respective competences.

4.    Partnership dialogue and action tailored to the specificities of the Parties shall constitute the main tools to achieve the objectives of this Agreement.

5.    This Agreement shall facilitate the Parties' adoption of common positions on the world stage, reinforcing partnerships to promote multilateralism and the rules-based international order, with a view to driving global action forward.


ARTICLE 2

Principles

1.    The Parties shall pursue the objectives of this Agreement in a spirit of shared responsibility, solidarity, reciprocity, mutual respect and accountability.

2.    The Parties reaffirm their commitment to developing friendly relations among nations, based on respect for the principle of sovereign equality among all states, and to refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations.

3.    The Parties agree to implement each Regional Protocol consistent with the broad principles agreed in the General Part, while taking account of the specificities of the regions. They also agree to tailor actions to the different needs of least developed countries, landlocked countries, small island developing states and low-lying coastal states, taking into consideration the diverse challenges they face.

4.    The Parties shall make decisions and undertake actions at the most appropriate domestic, regional or multi-country level.

5.    The Parties shall systematically promote a gender perspective and ensure that gender equality is mainstreamed across all policies.


6.    The Parties shall take an integrated approach to their cooperation that incorporates political, economic, social, environmental and cultural elements.

7.    The Parties shall intensify efforts to further regional integration and cooperation to best manage security concerns, reap the economic gains of globalisation and address transnational challenges and opportunities as appropriate.

8.    The Parties shall promote a multi-stakeholder approach, enabling the active engagement of a wide variety of actors in partnership dialogue and cooperation processes, including parliaments, local authorities, civil society and the private sector.

9.    Cooperation within formal and ad hoc regional formats may be pursued in order to meet the objectives of the Partnership more effectively and efficiently. The Parties may also agree on provisions and flexible procedures that enable interested Parties to deepen dialogue and cooperation on specific thematic and cross-regional issues.

ARTICLE 3

Partnership dialogue

1.    The Parties shall engage in regular, balanced, comprehensive and substantive partnership dialogue on all areas of this Agreement, leading to commitments and, where appropriate, actions on both sides, for the effective implementation of this Agreement.


2.    The Parties agree that the objective of partnership dialogue shall be to exchange information, foster mutual understanding and facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas at the national, regional and international levels. They shall cooperate and coordinate on issues of common interest and new challenges in international settings.

3.    The Parties agree that dialogue shall be conducted in a flexible and tailor-made manner, shall take place at regular intervals in the appropriate format and at the most appropriate domestic, regional or multi-country level, and shall take full advantage of all possible channels, including in regional and international settings. They agree to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of dialogue and adapt its scope, as appropriate.

4.    The Parties agree that parliaments, and, where appropriate, representatives of civil society organisations and the private sector, shall be duly informed, consulted and enabled to feed into the partnership dialogue. Regional and continental organisations shall be associated with the dialogue, as appropriate.

ARTICLE 4

Policy coherence

1.    The Parties shall work towards coherent policies at the national, regional and international levels with a view to attaining the objectives of this Agreement, through a targeted, strategic and partnership-oriented approach.


2.    The Parties shall individually and collectively foster synergies between policies with a view to avoiding or minimising negative impacts that their policies may have on the other Parties. They shall undertake to inform and, where appropriate, consult with the other Parties on initiatives and measures that may significantly affect them.

3.    The Parties reaffirm their commitment to policy coherence for development as a crucial element of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

ARTICLE 5

Actors

1.    The Parties acknowledge that governments play a central role in defining and implementing priorities and strategies for their countries. They recognise the crucial role of parliaments in shaping and adopting legislation, agreeing budgets and holding governments to account. They acknowledge the role and contribution of local authorities in enhancing democratic accountability and complementing governmental action.

2.    The Parties recognise the important role of sub-regional, regional, continental and intercontinental organisations in achieving the objectives of this Agreement, in particular those of the three Regional Protocols.


3.    The Parties acknowledge the important role and contribution of stakeholders, in all forms and national characteristics, namely civil society, economic and social partners, including trade union organisations, and the private sector, and agree to promote and strengthen their effective participation with a view to fostering more inclusive and multi-stakeholder policy processes. For these purposes, the Parties shall ensure that all these stakeholders, where appropriate, are informed and consulted on strategies and sectoral policies, provide input into the broad process of dialogue, receive capacity building in critical areas and participate in the implementation of cooperation programmes in the areas that concern them. Such participation in cooperation programmes shall be based on the extent to which they address the needs of the population and on their specific competencies, and have accountable and transparent governance structures.

ARTICLE 6

Structure

1.    This Agreement consists of the General Part (Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, annexes and declarations) and three Regional Protocols.

2.    The provisions of the General Part and its annexes shall be legally binding on all the Parties to this Agreement.


3.    The provisions of the Regional Protocols shall be legally binding on the EU and on the Parties that are in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, respectively. Nothing in the Regional Protocols and their interpretation and implementation can affect or deviate from the provisions under the General Part of the Agreement and the decisions of the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers.

ARTICLE 7

Cross-cutting themes

1.    The Parties agree that systematic account shall be taken of the following cross-cutting themes to inform action in all areas of cooperation: human rights, democracy, gender equality, peace and security, environmental protection, the fight against climate change, culture and youth.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to support capacity building to effectively address challenges and achieve the objectives set out in this Agreement. They shall aim to foster the strengthening of institutions, promote exchange of best practices and facilitate knowledge transfer and sharing.

3.    The Parties shall strengthen the resilience of countries, communities and individuals, and particularly that of vulnerable populations, in the face of environmental and climate change-related challenges, economic shocks, conflicts and political crises and epidemics and pandemics.


PART II

STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

TITLE I

HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY, AND GOVERNANCE IN PEOPLE-CENTRED AND RIGHTS-BASED SOCIETIES

ARTICLE 8

The Parties reaffirm their determination to protect, promote and fulfil human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratic principles, and to strengthen the rule of law and good governance, in compliance with the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law, in particular international human rights law and, where relevant, international humanitarian law. The Parties shall promote people-centred and rights-based policies, encompassing all human rights and ensuring equal access to opportunities for all members of society, directed towards sustainable development centred on the human being. The Parties recognise that respect for democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and good governance is an integral part of sustainable development.


ARTICLE 9

Human rights, democracy and rule of law

1.    The Parties, recognising that human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, shall promote, protect and fulfil all human rights, be they civil, political, economic, social or cultural. They shall protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of thought, religion and belief.

2.    The Parties shall commit to the promotion of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without discrimination based on any ground including sex, ethnic or social origin, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, disability, age, or other status. They commit to fighting all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and all forms of violence and discrimination, including all instances of advocacy of hatred. They commit to the recognition and advancement of the rights of indigenous peoples, as set out in the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

3.    The Parties shall have partnership dialogue at bilateral level on the death penalty. Where the death penalty is provided for in national legislation and is still applied, the Parties shall adhere to due process and internationally agreed minimum standards.


4.    The Parties reaffirm that the universally recognised democratic principles underpinning the organisation of the State, ensure the legitimacy of its authority, the legality of its actions reflected in its constitutional, legislative and regulatory system, and the existence of participatory mechanisms. They shall preserve and strengthen the application of those principles by ensuring inclusive, transparent and credible elections with due respect for sovereignty, as well as by allowing and supporting participatory decision-making processes. The Parties shall promote the upholding of electoral best practices and cooperation between them, including on electoral observation within the EU and OACPS Members, as appropriate.

5.    The Parties shall actively support the consolidation of the rule of law at national, regional and international levels, acknowledging its crucial importance for the protection of human rights and for the effective functioning of democratic institutions. That includes ensuring the existence of an independent, impartial and well-functioning judicial system, equality before the law, the right to a fair trial and due process and access to effective mechanisms of legal redress.

6.    The Parties recognise the right to development based on the indivisibility, interdependence, universality and inalienability of all human rights, by virtue of which every human being and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realised. They shall support measures for the enhancement of the right to development and shall ensure, inter alia, equality of opportunity for all to access to, and benefit from, basic resources and essential services such as education, health services, food, housing, employment and the fair distribution of income.


7.    The Parties agree that respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law shall underpin their domestic and international policies and constitute an essential element of this Agreement.

ARTICLE 10

Gender equality

1.    The Parties reaffirm their strong commitment to achieving gender equality, the full enjoyment of all human rights by all and everyone's empowerment as a driver for sustainable development. They shall embody the principle of gender equality in their national constitutions or other appropriate legislation.

2.    The Parties acknowledge that gender inequality deprives women of their basic human rights and opportunities. They shall adopt and strengthen enforceable legislation, legal frameworks and sound policies, programmes and mechanisms to ensure girls' and women's equal access to, equal opportunities in, equal control over, and full and equal participation in, all spheres of life, on an equal footing with boys and men.


3.    The Parties shall focus, in particular, on improving the access of women, and where appropriate girls, to all resources they need throughout life for the realisation of their full potential and the full exercise of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as in respect of quality education, health, employment opportunities, access to and control over economic resources, political decision-making, governance structures and private undertakings, with a special emphasis on women in vulnerable situations. They shall promote women's full and effective participation in, and equal opportunities for, leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

4.    The Parties undertake to prevent, combat and prosecute all forms of sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual exploitation and abuse. They shall take all necessary measures to tackle deeply rooted gender bias and eliminate all harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation and cutting.

ARTICLE 11

Inclusive and pluralistic societies

1.    The Parties undertake to ensure equal opportunities for all members of society in all spheres of life. They shall prevent, prohibit and eradicate discriminatory practices and shall adopt effective measures to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights.


2.    The Parties shall protect and promote freedom of expression, freedom of opinion, freedom of assembly, and media independence and pluralism as pillars of democracy, noting that these are not only human rights but also prerequisites for democracy, development and dialogue.

3.    The Parties shall foster inclusive and pluralistic societies, including multi-party democracy. They shall promote the key role of effective, transparent and accountable national and local assemblies and political parties. They shall also promote the active and genuine participation of all stakeholders and citizens, including women and the youth, in responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative political processes and decision-making at all levels.

4.    The Parties shall preserve and broaden an enabling space for an active, organised, transparent, civil society, acknowledging its role in promoting and monitoring democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms, social justice and inclusion, and as defender of rights holders and of the rule of law, thus strengthening domestic transparency and accountability.

5.    The Parties, acknowledging that the internet offers a platform to share knowledge and ideas, shall endeavour to make full use of the potential of digital solutions to promote equal public access to information at all levels and participatory decision-making, and enhance digital competence; while addressing the risks of abuse and promoting open attitudes towards and respect for diversity.


ARTICLE 12

Good governance

1.    The Parties reaffirm that good governance rests on transparent, responsible, accountable and participatory governments, and appropriate oversight mechanisms. The Parties agree that good governance is critical to the respect of all human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. They commit to universal access to public services without any discrimination. They further commit to transparency and accountability as integral elements of good governance and institution building.

2.    The Parties commit to the transparent and accountable management of human, natural, economic and financial resources for the purposes of equitable benefit sharing and sustainable development.

3.    The Parties commit to the creation of an enabling environment for transparency and accountability to thrive in public administration, including enhancing integrity and independence of governance institutions. The Parties shall develop and implement sound public finance management systems compatible with the fundamental principles of effectiveness, transparency and accountability, with a view to protecting public finances and improving the delivery of public services by eliminating administrative bottlenecks and tackling regulatory deficiencies.


4.    The Parties shall ensure transparency and accountability over public funding, including financial assistance, and in the delivery of public services. They shall improve revenue collection and tackle tax evasion and avoidance, and illicit financial flows. They agree to cooperate in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing and engage in timely partnership dialogue at bilateral and international levels on matters related to anti-money laundering and terrorism financing.

5.    The Parties shall combat corruption at all levels and in all its forms, developing and implementing or maintaining effective, coordinated anti-corruption policies that reflect the principles of the rule of law, proper management of public affairs and public property, integrity, transparency and accountability. They shall adopt legislative and other measures to prevent and prosecute bribery and embezzlement, misappropriation or other diversion of resources by public officials for their direct or indirect benefit, and to recover and return assets obtained through corruption.

6.    The Parties recognise and commit themselves to implement the principles of good governance in the tax area, including the global standards on transparency and exchange of information, fair taxation and the minimum standards against Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). They shall promote good governance in tax matters, improve international cooperation in the tax area and facilitate the collection of tax revenues. They shall cooperate to enhance capacity to comply with these principles and standards and reap the benefits of a thriving rules-based financial sector. They agree to engage in timely partnership dialogue at bilateral and international levels on tax matters.


7.    The Parties agree that good governance shall underpin their domestic and international policies and constitutes a fundamental element of this Agreement. They also agree that serious cases of corruption, including acts of bribery leading to such corruption, constitute a violation of that element.

ARTICLE 13

Public administration

The Parties, recognising the importance of well-resourced, efficient and effective civil service systems and processes with a strong human resource base, commit to fostering collaboration in this area. They also agree to cooperate with a view to modernising their public administrations and developing an accountable, efficient, transparent and professional civil service. In that regard, efforts shall aim at, inter alia, improving organisational efficiency, increasing institutions' effectiveness in service delivery, accelerating the deployment of e‑governance and digital services and the digitalisation of public registries, and reinforcing the processes of decentralisation, in accordance with their respective economic and social development strategies.


ARTICLE 14

Statistics

1.    The Parties, acknowledging that statistics are crucial for the achievement of sustainable development, shall develop and strengthen their statistical systems, including gathering, processing, quality control and dissemination of statistics, with a view to contributing to the long-term objective of quality, internationally comparable, accessible, timely and reliable disaggregated data, as those are key to inform decision-making in support of their respective social and economic development priorities, as well as to support and monitor progress.

2.    The Parties commit to increasing statistical literacy and to promoting the use of data for decision-making by engaging with users in and out of government, and through the use of new technologies and data sources. They shall collaborate in the use of technology for data collection and protection and promote the dissemination of comparable statistics at national and regional levels.

3.    The Parties shall ensure the professional independence of their statistical offices.


ARTICLE 15

Personal data

1.    The Parties recognise their common interest in protecting every individual's right to privacy with respect to the processing of personal data, as well as the importance of maintaining strong data protection regimes and ensuring their effective enforcement. They shall ensure, inter alia, that personal data are processed fairly and in a transparent manner and collected for explicit, specified and legitimate purposes and not processed in a way incompatible with those purposes.

For the purpose of this article, "processing" means any operation or set of operations which is performed on personal data or on sets of personal data, whether or not by automated means, such as collection, recording, organisation, structuring, storage, adaptation or alteration, retrieval, consultation, use, disclosure by transmission, dissemination or otherwise making available, alignment or combination, restriction, erasure or destruction.

2. The Parties shall ensure a high level of protection of every individual's personal data in accordance with existing multilateral standards and international legal instruments and practices. To that end, they shall establish appropriate legal and regulatory regimes and policies, as well as appropriate administrative capacity to implement them, including independent supervisory authorities.


TITLE II

PEACE AND SECURITY

ARTICLE 16

The Parties acknowledge that peace, stability and security, including human security and resilience, are critical for sustainable development and prosperity. There cannot be sustainable development without peace and security, and without inclusive development there cannot be sustainable peace and security. The Parties shall pursue a comprehensive and integrated approach to conflict and crises including situations of fragility, counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and address all serious crimes of concern to the international community. The Parties shall address new or increasing security threats, including terrorism and its financing, violent extremism, organised crime, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, piracy and trafficking in persons, drugs, arms and other illicit goods, and cybercrime and threats to cybersecurity.


ARTICLE 17

Conflicts and crises

1.    The Parties shall apply an integrated approach to conflict and crises, including prevention, mediation, resolution and reconciliation efforts as well as crisis management, peacekeeping and peace support. They shall support transitional justice through context-specific measures promoting truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. They shall contribute to institution- and state-building and human security, paying particular attention to situations of fragility.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to prevent and address the root causes of conflict and instability holistically. They shall pay special attention to the effective governance of natural resources, notably in relation to raw materials, so as to sustainably benefit society as a whole and ensure that illegal exploitation and trade do not contribute to causing and sustaining conflict.

3.    The Parties recognise the importance of mutually respectful dialogue and consultation as a means of conflict resolution, involving local authorities and communities, as well as civil society organisations. In that context, they shall act in close cooperation with continental and regional organisations.


4.    The Parties shall take all suitable action in a coordinated way to prevent an intensification of violence, to limit its territorial spread, and to facilitate the peaceful settlement of disputes. They shall pay particular attention to ensuring that financial resources are used in accordance with the principles and objectives of this Agreement, and to preventing the diversion of funds for belligerent purposes. The Parties shall also take measures to prevent mercenary activities and to address the problem of child soldiers and shall endeavour to set responsible limits on military expenditure.

5.    The Parties shall take all suitable action in post-conflict situations to stabilise the situation during the transition in order to facilitate the return to a nonviolent, stable and democratic situation. This may include supporting disarmament and demobilisation as well as the return and sustainable reintegration of former combatants into society. The Parties shall ensure the creation of the necessary links between emergency measures, rehabilitation and longer-term development goals.

6.    The Parties shall promote the effective participation of all citizens, including women and young people in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, mediation, resolution and humanitarian response, as well as in crisis management, peacekeeping and peace support. The Parties consider it important to address the situation of women and girls who are victims of gender-based violence in conflicts, and to address the distinct problem of crime and violence against vulnerable people and persons with disabilities.


ARTICLE 18

Non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

1.    The Parties acknowledge that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and their means of delivery, both to state and non-state actors, represents one of the most serious threats to international stability and security. The Parties therefore agree to cooperate in and contribute to countering the proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery, in full compliance with, and domestic implementation of, their existing obligations under international disarmament and non-proliferation treaties and agreements, as well as other relevant international obligations. The Parties agree that this provision constitutes an essential element of this Agreement.

2.    The Parties furthermore agree to cooperate in countering the proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery: first through taking steps to sign, ratify or accede to, as appropriate, and fully implement and comply with all relevant international instruments; second through establishing and maintaining an effective system of export controls, controlling the export as well as the transit of WMDs-related goods, including a WMDs end-use control on dual-use technologies and containing effective sanctions for breaches of export controls; and third through cooperating in multilateral fora and export control regimes.

3.    The Parties agree to establish regular partnership dialogue that will complement and consolidate their cooperation in countering the proliferation of WMDs and their means of delivery.


4.    The Parties, considering that chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear risks may have a highly disruptive effect on societies and recognising that they may stem from criminal activities, including illicit proliferation, trafficking, terrorism, accidents or natural hazards, such as pandemics, shall cooperate in order to reinforce institutional capacity to mitigate those risks.

ARTICLE 19

Serious crimes of concern to the international community

1.    The Parties agree to act together to prevent genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by making use of appropriate bilateral and multilateral frameworks, in line with the principle of responsibility to protect.

2.    The Parties, reaffirming that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished, shall ensure the fair and effective investigation and prosecution thereof by taking measures at national, regional and international level, as appropriate.

3.    The Parties consider that the establishment and effective functioning of the International Criminal Court constitutes an important development for international peace and justice. They reiterate their commitment to fully cooperate with national, regional and international criminal justice mechanisms, including the International Criminal Court, consistent with the principle of complementarity. They are encouraged to ratify and implement the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and related instruments, and to further enhance the effectiveness of the International Criminal Court. Efforts shall be made to strengthen criminal justice mechanisms at all levels.


ARTICLE 20

Terrorism and violent extremism

1.    The Parties, reiterating their firm condemnation of all acts of terrorism and violent extremism and radicalisation, undertake to combat those acts through international cooperation, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, relevant conventions and instruments. The Parties, recognising that the fight against terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations is a shared priority, shall work together at all levels to prevent and combat terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation. The Parties, recognising the importance of tackling all factors contributing to violent extremism in all its forms, including religious intolerance, hate speech, xenophobia, racism as well as other forms of intolerance, commit to opposing violent extremism and foster religious tolerance and inter-religious dialogue.

2.    The Parties agree that it is essential that the fight against terrorism be conducted with full respect for the rule of law and in full conformity with international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and statements and relevant international counter-terrorism-related instruments.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate in protecting critical infrastructure, addressing terrorism-related challenges affecting borders, as well as strengthening civil aviation security.


ARTICLE 21

Organised crime

1.    The Parties, acknowledging the negative political, economic, cultural and social implications of organised criminal activities, shall strengthen cooperation to prevent and combat those activities more effectively. They shall work together under an integrated approach to address root causes and provide alternatives to crime. In that regard, they shall address the links between organised crime and human trafficking and migrant smuggling, the illicit trafficking of weapons, hazardous materials, narcotics and their precursors, wildlife, timber and cultural goods, and other illegal economic and financial activities.

2.    The Parties commit to increase efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate trafficking in persons and to support in drafting and implementing appropriate legislative and institutional frameworks and strategies, with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations, including women, children and unaccompanied minors, and to their specific needs. The Parties continue to uphold the standards of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons.

3.    The Parties shall enhance efforts to recover and return stolen assets and combat all forms of organised crime. In that regard, they shall strengthen legal and administrative frameworks to fight money laundering and illicit financial flows, including fiscal fraud and public procurement fraud, and active and passive corruption in both the private and public sector, which can have a debilitating effect on domestic resource mobilisation.


4.    The Parties shall promote citizen security, with a particular focus on strengthening institutions and the rule of law, protecting human rights, and fostering justice and security sector reforms. They shall promote multi-disciplinary programmes aimed at addressing vulnerable groups and supporting victims of violence, including gun violence, as well as mediation and other community-based prevention and reconciliation solutions.

ARTICLE 22

Maritime security

1.    The Parties agree to the strengthening of maritime security, in particular addressing different forms of crime committed at sea and illegal trafficking, countering piracy and armed robbery at sea, protecting critical maritime infrastructures, and promoting freedom of navigation and the rule of law at sea, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

2.    The Parties agree to strengthen efforts in the area of maritime law enforcement to tackle maritime threats in countries most affected by crimes committed at sea. They agree to reinforce investigation and prosecution processes as a way of countering crimes committed at sea. They also agree to promote the implementation of piracy prosecution models within the national jurisdiction as a regional criminal justice response and deterrent mechanism against crimes committed at sea such as piracy, armed robbery, marine and water pollution, smuggling of migrants, drugs and arms trafficking and shipping of nuclear waste. The Parties agree to promote regional initiatives in the areas of maritime security, the fight against piracy and protection against marine pollution.


ARTICLE 23

Small arms and light weapons and other conventional weapons

1.    The Parties acknowledge that the proliferation of illicit small arms and light weapons poses a grave threat to international peace and security.

2.    The Parties agree to reinforce the fight against the illicit trade, excessive accumulation, and uncontrolled spread of small arms, light weapons and other conventional weapons and their ammunitions, including as a consequence of inadequately secured and improperly managed stocks and stockpiles in line with the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects. The Parties agree to promote intelligence-led tracking of trafficking networks to counter more effectively the risk that the large-scale outflows of state stocks continue to pose to regional stability. They shall work towards enhancing national capacities of competent law enforcement units and focal points to collect, seize, trace and analyse illicit firearms and related criminal justice data, to enhance understanding and monitor illicit trafficking flows, and to support information exchange and international cooperation.


3.    The Parties recognise the importance of putting in place controls on the international trade in conventional arms, including their import and export, in line with existing international standards, including the Arms Trade Treaty and relevant United Nations resolutions. They shall endeavour to apply those controls in a responsible manner, as a contribution to international and regional peace, security and stability and to the reduction of human suffering, as well as to preventing the diversion of conventional arms to unauthorised actors. The Parties also recognise the importance of domestic regulation of, and controls over, the legal acquisition and possession of firearms, with a view to reducing armed violence.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate with a view to clearing mines and explosive remnants of war, including improvised explosive devices.

ARTICLE 24

Illicit drugs

1.    The Parties shall endeavour to ensure a comprehensive, balanced, integrated and evidence-based approach towards preventing and addressing the illicit trade in drugs and new psychoactive substances, as well as promoting drug demand reduction. To that end, they shall address risk factors affecting individuals, communities and society, which may include a lack of services, infrastructure needs, drug-related violence, exclusion, marginalisation and social disintegration, in order to contribute to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies.


2.    The Parties agree that drug policies and actions, including through the involvement of civil society, the scientific community and academia, shall be aimed at reinforcing structures for preventing and effectively addressing illicit drugs, reducing measurably the supply of, trafficking in, and demand for illicit drugs.

3.    The Parties shall aim to reduce the adverse consequences of drug use for individuals and society as a whole, as well as effectively reduce the diversion of and illicit trafficking in scheduled and non-scheduled precursors, including designer precursors.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate closely with each other and with the relevant international organisations with a view to maintaining coordinated efforts and actions against the illicit drug trade.

ARTICLE 25

Cybersecurity and cybercrime

1.    The Parties recognise the importance of an open, secure and stable, accessible and peaceful information and communication technologies (ICT) environment based on the norms, rules and principles for responsible state behaviour and the application of existing international law. To this end, the Parties commit to strengthen cooperation to promote cyber security, to prevent and combat high-technology cyber and electronic crime and social media abuse and to improve network security through the exchange of best practices that increase cyber resilience, including as regards the protection of critical infrastructure.


2.    The Parties acknowledge the need to prevent and tackle cybercrime, including online child sexual exploitation and abuse, by cooperating and exchanging best practices to fight cybercrime offences, building on existing international norms and standards, including those of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection.

ARTICLE 26

Law enforcement cooperation

1.    The Parties shall facilitate cooperation among regional and international law enforcement authorities, agencies and services with a view to disrupting and dismantling transnational crime and terrorist threats common to them. Such cooperation shall contribute to crime prevention and shall comprise, inter alia, exchanges of views on legislative frameworks, as well as administrative and technical assistance aimed at strengthening the institutional and operational capabilities of law enforcement authorities and the exchange of information and measures related to investigations.

2.    The Parties, recognising the importance of secure borders, shall strive to manage existing and future challenges affecting borders, pursuing an integrated border management approach. They shall promote legitimate cross-sectoral responses aiming at preventing, detecting and, where appropriate, repressing cross-border crime and other risks.


TITLE III

HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 27

The Parties reaffirm their determination to work together towards sustainable development and poverty eradication in all its forms, to tackle inequalities and to promote social cohesion. They also agree to cooperate to ensure that everyone has the necessary means to enjoy a life of dignity with an adequate standard of living, including through appropriate social protection systems and social services. They shall pay special attention to women and girls, youth, children and the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people, in line with the principles of leaving no one behind, and of reaching the furthest behind first. They also agree to work together to address the challenges and opportunities presented by rapid population growth.


CHAPTER 1

ACCESS TO SOCIAL SERVICES

ARTICLE 28

Education

1.    The Parties shall support inclusive lifelong learning and equitable quality education at all levels. They shall work to ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education and have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education, with due regard to gender gaps. They shall work to ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university. Special attention shall be given to investing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to promoting digital and arts education for all.

2.    The Parties shall intensify efforts to ensure that everyone has the knowledge, skills and capabilities to enjoy improved quality of life, to be fully engaged in society, to contribute to the social and economic well-being of their communities, and to participate actively and equitably in democratic and cultural life.


3.    The Parties shall promote safe schools and well-functioning education systems, with adequate resources for planning, managing and ensuring the effectiveness of education and training provision, including through online and other non-conventional means. They shall cooperate to establish and strengthen quality assurance systems and the mutual recognition of qualifications. They shall facilitate the mobility of students, staff and academics between and among the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and the European Union.

ARTICLE 29

Health

1.    The Parties recognise that health is central to people's lives and a key indicator of sustainable development. They reaffirm their commitment to protecting and promoting the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for all.

2.    The Parties shall strengthen national health systems, with sustainable health financing mechanisms and resources, operational infrastructures, skilled health workforces, including as regards recruitment and retention, and appropriate technologies, such as digital tools, in support of mobile health development.

3.    The Parties shall promote universal health coverage, equitable and universal access to comprehensive and quality healthcare services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines.


4.    The Parties shall cooperate to prevent and address communicable diseases, and other major transboundary health threats such as anti-microbial resistance, and to reduce the burden of non‑communicable diseases through better prevention and control. They shall cooperate to address global health crises and prevent them from escalating, inter alia by supporting early warning systems for swift exchange of information, preparedness and early action in life-saving humanitarian assistance, and the development of coherent and multi-sectoral plans to enhance the capacity of health systems. They shall support research and development, and the deployment of vaccines, diagnostics and medicines.

5.    The Parties shall support universal access to sexual and reproductive health commodities and healthcare services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.

ARTICLE 30

Food security and improved nutrition

1.    The Parties recognise that achieving food security and improved nutrition constitutes a major global challenge in the fight against poverty and growing inequality and therefore they agree to address the structural causes thereof, which include conflicts, crises, natural resource degradation and climate change.


2.    The Parties shall promote resilient livelihoods, secure access to land, water and other resources, and promote inclusive and sustainable growth in agricultural production and productivity, and efficient value chains.

3.    The Parties shall promote actions on adaptation to climate change and variability throughout the food production value chains.

4.    The Parties shall aim to provide access for all to affordable, safe, sufficient and nutritious food, to increase the capacity for diversified food production, and to develop food security and nutrition policies and social protection mechanisms for food security and improved nutrition that enhance the resilience of the most vulnerable, particularly in countries facing recurrent crises.

5.    The Parties shall strengthen coordinated, accelerated and cross-sectoral efforts to end hunger, address all forms of malnutrition and ensure that famine be avoided in all circumstances.

ARTICLE 31

Water, sanitation services and housing

1.    The Parties shall promote universal access to adequate and safe drinking water, including through sustainable and integrated water resources and systems management, as well as through more efficient use of water and water recycling.


2.    The Parties shall aim to ensure adequate and equitable access to sanitation services, including waste management and hygiene promotion for all, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

3.    The Parties acknowledge that adequate, safe and affordable housing has a transformative impact on vulnerable and marginalised communities, and has significant impacts on people's health and their communities' socio-economic development. The Parties shall work towards ensuring access to adequate, safe and affordable housing for all through the development of policies, strategies, planning and building codes and towards upgrading slums.

4.    The Parties shall promote access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, and well-established energy systems that support, inter alia, the water, sanitation services and housing sectors.


CHAPTER 2

INEQUALITY AND SOCIAL COHESION

ARTICLE 32

Social cohesion and protection

1.    The Parties shall aim to enhance social cohesion by progressively achieving greater equality and social inclusiveness and by ensuring that human and social development advances in parallel with economic development, leaving no one behind. Special attention shall be paid to those who are in disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised situations, including the elderly and orphans, in line with the principles of solidarity and non-discrimination. In particular, they shall promote:

(a)    economic policies oriented to a more inclusive society, allowing for better distribution of income and value created;

(b)    equitable and sound fiscal and wage policies, allowing for better redistribution of wealth, ensuring adequate levels of social expenditure and reducing the informal economy;

(c)    effective social policies and equitable access to social services, social assistance and security, and justice; and


(d)    employment policies designed to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and to achieve equal pay for equal work.

2.    The Parties shall promote the development and implementation of policies and systems of social protection and security in order to eradicate poverty and enhance social cohesion. They acknowledge the transformative role in societies of social protection policies and systems, fostering equity, promoting social inclusion and dialogue with social partners, and strengthening inclusive and equitable economic growth. They commit to the building of progressively universal, nationally owned social protection systems, including the adoption of minimum social protection floors.

3.    The Parties shall promote the rights of persons with disabilities to ensure their full inclusion in society and their equal participation in the labour market, taking into account their specific needs. They shall take concrete steps to sign, ratify and fully implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

ARTICLE 33

Decent work

1.    The Parties reaffirm their commitment to achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities. They shall promote, to that end, the Decent Work Agenda as set out in the 2008 International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization.


2.    The Parties reaffirm their obligations as members of the ILO and their commitments under the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up. They reaffirm their commitment to social dialogue and to the promotion and effective implementation of the internationally recognised core labour standards, as defined by the relevant ILO Conventions and Protocols on the freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, the abolition of forced labour and ending of modern slavery and human trafficking, the elimination of child labour with priority given to the worst forms, minimum age at work, equal remuneration and non‑discrimination in respect of employment. They shall make sustained and continuous efforts to ratify or accede to, as appropriate, those Conventions and Protocols if they have not yet done so.

3.    The Parties shall promote safe and secure working environments for all workers. They shall adopt and implement measures and policies regarding occupational safety and health, both in the formal and informal economy, and shall work towards establishing and maintaining an effective labour inspection system, in line with international labour standards as defined by the ILO.


CHAPTER 3

POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 34

Demography

1.    The Parties acknowledge that demographic growth and demographic shifts can have a significant impact on development gains and economic progress, and shall work together towards an integrated approach that minimises the challenges and maximises the benefits of the demographic dividend. To that end, they shall aim to establish, support, maintain and sustain structural reforms and transformations in economic and social systems to create decent education, employment and livelihood opportunities for an emerging young population.

2.    The Parties shall support inclusive policy dialogue processes and incorporate demographic trends and projections into all policies in order to empower and promote the full and active participation of children and young people in society, and to empower and safeguard the needs of the elderly and enable their active engagement.


3.    The Parties shall enhance urbanisation that is inclusive and sustainable, through effective urban governance and planning, with a view to minimising any adverse impact on the environment and addressing any other negative social and economic consequences caused by rapid population growth in urban areas. They shall work to effectively address the challenges and opportunities presented by rapid urbanisation, including through national urban policies, participatory integrated urban planning, municipal service delivery including waste management, and financing of urban development and infrastructures, in order to create resilient and liveable cities and towns.

ARTICLE 35

Youth

1.    The Parties agree to promote the active participation of young people in society, including in the development, implementation, and follow-up of policies affecting them. This shall include:

(a)    support in acquiring knowledge, skills and capabilities to engage fully in society, including skills relevant to the labour market, through education, vocational and technical training, and access to digital technologies;

(b)    the creation of decent employment opportunities, including through support for youth entrepreneurship; and


(c)    the promotion of youth empowerment and responsible citizenship, by opening spaces for active youth participation in political and cultural life, and in building and sustaining peace, including with a view to countering radicalisation and violent extremism.

2.    The Parties agree that the provision of a safe and nurturing environment for children is a vital element in fostering a healthy young population, able to reach its full potential, including physical, psychological, social and economic dimensions. They shall work to ensure that girls' and boys' rights and needs are recognised and realised, from birth and early childhood to adolescence and their transition into adulthood. They shall work to improve the protection of children and their participation in decisions that concern them.

ARTICLE 36

Gender equality and women and girls' empowerment

1.    The Parties acknowledge that gender equality and women's economic empowerment are essential to achieving equitable sustainable development and inclusive growth. They shall undertake reforms, including through the creation and consolidation of legal frameworks, to give women equal rights to economic and financial resources, as well as access to, ownership of and control over land and natural resources, inheritance, and other forms of property. They shall undertake actions to increase the full and effective participation of women in political life.


The Parties shall, in addition to equal access to employment and decent work conditions, promote the recognition of unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies, and the promotion of shared responsibilities within the household and the family at large.

2.    The Parties commit to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes of their review conferences and commit to sexual and reproductive health and rights, in this context.

3.    The Parties acknowledge that menstrual health management is important for women and girls' health, as well as for their dignity, mobility and well-being, and they therefore agree to promote adequate and appropriate supporting measures.


CHAPTER 4

CULTURE

ARTICLE 37

Culture and sustainable development

1.    The Parties reaffirm that culture is a key element of sustainable development and an integral component of its social, economic and environmental dimensions. They commit to the integration of a cultural perspective in their development policies and strategies, by taking into consideration cultural specificities, and local and indigenous knowledge systems.

2.     The Parties shall strengthen the contribution of cultural actors to sustainable development through their participation in enhanced dialogue, professional networks and multi-stakeholder partnerships.

ARTICLE 38

Cultural diversity and mutual understanding

1.    The Parties recognise that all human beings have the right to participate freely in the cultural life of the community, in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and commit to protect and conserve cultural rights and freedom of artistic expression.


2.    The Parties agree to promote a vision of human and social development that incorporates dialogue among cultures and the recognition of cultural diversity as common heritage of humanity. They commit to strengthening mutual understanding and knowledge of their respective cultures, with due respect for diversity, universal values and human rights, by fostering the cultural dimension in education, as well as cultural exchanges and joint initiatives geared towards encouraging intercultural dialogue.

3.    The Parties recognise the role that culture plays in the preservation of peace and national cohesion. They affirm that respect for the diversity of cultures, tolerance, dialogue and cooperation, in a climate of mutual trust and understanding, are key to establishing and maintaining peace and security and in reconciliation processes, as well as restoring the collective memory and the social linkages among communities. They shall strengthen the role of culture in building resilience, as well as achieving sustainable post-crisis recovery and reconstruction, particularly in urban development.

ARTICLE 39

Cultural heritage and creative sectors

1.    The Parties shall promote the recognition of heritage as a unifying factor, which may reflect diverse identities and legacies, while nurturing the creation of shared values. They shall work to safeguard, preserve, conserve and develop both tangible and intangible cultural heritage, in accordance with international standards and conventions as a vehicle for social cohesion, creativity and innovation.


2.    The Parties agree that the cultural and creative sectors, including contemporary arts, are central to inclusive economic growth, diversification and the creation of job opportunities. To that end, they shall support cultural entrepreneurship and the long-term development of the cultural and creative sectors.

3.    The Parties, in accordance with existing international law, shall take measures to prevent and combat the illicit import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property. They shall promote conservation, capacity building and collaboration among cultural heritage professionals, source communities, and cultural institutions, and shall pursue international cooperation and continuous dialogue to promote access to cultural heritage.

TITLE IV

INCLUSIVE, SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 40

1.    The Parties recognise the importance of strengthening their economic relations in their mutual interest and for mutual benefit, with a view to achieving structural economic transformation through inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, taking into account their respective levels of development. They shall pursue integrated strategies that incorporate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. They shall take appropriate measures to generate decent jobs for all and support the transition to low-emission, resource-efficient economies. They shall support the socio-economic empowerment of marginalised groups, women and youth.


2.    The Parties shall support private sector development, and shall attract and retain domestic and foreign investment, including investments from their diaspora. They shall bolster trade and cooperate on science, technology, innovation and research, with a view to establishing strong, competitive and diversified economies, deepening regional integration, and to fostering the integration of OACPS Members' economies into regional and global value chains. They shall work towards improved macroeconomic and financial stability to generate increased investment and strengthen sustainable economic growth. They agree to enhance productive and regulatory capacities, strengthen entrepreneurship, and promote manufacturing and industrialisation, focusing on innovation and value addition in the productive and services sectors. The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen capacities to facilitate structural economic transformation and to enhance sustainable trade.

3.    The Parties shall promote public-private dialogue focusing on issues that positively impact their efforts on economic transformation and sustainable economic growth, and shall engage with all relevant stakeholders and ensure respect for, and protection of, human rights and core labour standards.


CHAPTER 1

INVESTMENT

ARTICLE 41

Mobilisation of sustainable and responsible investment

1.    The Parties undertake to mobilise sustainable and responsible investment with a view to enhancing inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development. To that end, they shall establish a conducive investment climate, which attracts domestic and foreign investment, including investment from their diaspora, and maintains the right to regulate through transparent, predictable and efficient regulatory, administrative and policy frameworks.

2.    The Parties agree to support the necessary economic and institutional reforms and policies that are grounded in a country's overall development strategy and that are coherent and synergistic at the national, regional and international levels, with a view to creating a conducive environment for sustainable investment and facilitating the development of a dynamic, viable and competitive private sector.


3.    The Parties shall cooperate to establish sound financial systems to mobilise investment for sustainable projects. They shall take measures to support investment by increasing access to financing through technical assistance, grants, guarantees and innovative financial instruments to mitigate risk, boost investor confidence and leverage private and public sources of finance. In doing so, they shall also take account of the need to address market failures or sub-optimal investment situations while ensuring additionality of investment that would not have taken place without those support measures. They shall pay special attention to the priority sectors laid out in Article 44(6).

4.    The Parties agree to improve the regulatory environment as well as the quality, availability and accessibility of financial and non-financial services, to support the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the context of domestic investment mobilisation.

5.    The Parties understand and recognise the importance of responsible investment by the relevant actors as a means to achieving long-term sustainable economic, social and environmental value. In support of this objective, they shall therefore promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and responsible business conduct (RBC), including internationally recognised implementation guidelines, standards and applicable instruments that provide guidance to investors, governments and other actors on implementation of CSR and RBC as a complement to national laws and other applicable legislation.


ARTICLE 42

Investment facilitation and protection

1.    The Parties agree to facilitate investment through legislation, regulations and policies aimed at reducing regulatory and administrative barriers, enhancing transparency and avoiding harmful competition for investment. They agree that such measures shall be developed in a transparent manner, and made publicly available to encourage public-private dialogue and provide the opportunity for all stakeholders to participate.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to promote the effective utilisation of digital tools to facilitate investment.

3.    The Parties, in line with their respective strategies, agree on the importance of providing legal certainty and adequate protection to established investments the treatment of which shall be non‑discriminatory in nature and shall include effective dispute prevention and resolution mechanisms. In that regard, they reaffirm the importance of concluding international investment agreements that fully preserve their sovereign right to regulate investment for legitimate public policy purposes.

4.    The Parties shall strengthen the capacity of relevant public and private institutions to effectively promote and facilitate investment, and to prevent and handle investment-related disputes.


CHAPTER 2

ECONOMIC GROWTH, DIVERSIFICATION AND INDUSTRIALISATION

ARTICLE 43

Inclusive and sustainable growth

1.    The Parties agree on the importance of economic transformation, private sector development and industrial advancement for inclusive and sustainable growth. They shall promote full and productive employment and decent work for all through enhanced competitiveness, diversification, digitalisation, innovation, access to finance, value addition in the manufacturing and services sectors, and linkages among sectors and industries. They shall pay particular attention to local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and to the formalisation of informal economic activities.

2.    The Parties shall promote the transition to a low-emission and resource-efficient economy. They shall support sustainable consumption and production approaches, environmentally sound waste and chemicals management and measures reducing all forms of pollution. The Parties agree that well-managed urbanisation is a critical element in advancing sustainable economic development. They shall therefore cooperate on effectively addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by rapid urbanisation, and shall support urban development and infrastructures and effective rural-urban linkages.


3.    The Parties agree to cooperate in the area of employment and social affairs, in particular, to support the economic and social inclusion and empowerment of women, youth and the poorest and most vulnerable. They further agree to ensure respect for labour and social standards enshrined in the conventions and protocols of the International Labour Organization and to ensure access to justice under due process, including appropriate and effective remedies.

ARTICLE 44

Economic transformation and industrialisation

1.    The Parties shall strengthen cooperation in the area of economic transformation, including industrialisation. They shall promote the transition from commodity dependence to diversified economies, and promote natural resources beneficiation, value addition and integration into regional and global value chains. They agree on the important role that the services sector plays in economic transformation and industrialisation.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to support the development of productive capacities, improved productivity, diversification and competitiveness. They shall endeavour to overcome supply-side constraints through, inter-alia, promoting technological innovation and enhancement and its dissemination, improved business and investment climates, strengthened regulatory capacities, macroeconomic stability as well as the development of efficient capital markets and sound financial systems for improved access to finance, particularly for the private sector. To that end, they affirm the importance of the digitalisation of the economy in accelerating productive capacity development. The focus shall be on sectors and industries with high value addition and high potential for decent job creation.


3.    The Parties commit to improving macroeconomic and financial stability by pursuing sound and transparent fiscal and monetary policies and to promote economic and structural reforms so as to create a conducive environment for increased investments and to foster private sector development. The Parties further recognise the importance of the independence of central banks in the setting of their policy objectives and in the conduct of monetary policies. They further agree to maintain dialogue and exchange information between their authorities, as appropriate, to improve the understanding of the fundamentals of the Parties' respective economies.

4.    The Parties shall intensify efforts in technical and vocational education and training as well as in research and innovation, and link such measures more effectively to the opportunities and skills needs of the labour market. They shall cooperate to leverage each other's experiences, including in the development of productive capacities through skills development and promotion of technology transfer, fostering linkages between firms of OACPS Members and the EU, with an emphasis on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

5.    The Parties reaffirm the significant role of infrastructure in addressing supply-side constraints and in the development of competitive regional and sub-regional value chains through the facilitation of the efficient movement of goods, services and capital. They shall cooperate to develop efficient and sustainable infrastructure, including air, land and sea transport, energy, water, and digital connectivity with due regard to the diverse needs of the Least Developed, Landlocked and Island Economies. Accordingly, they shall cooperate to mobilise public and private resources including through investment for infrastructure development.


6.    The Parties, with a commitment to pursue shared economic growth, agree to cooperate, inter alia, on the following areas, which shall be regarded as priority sectors: agriculture and agribusiness, livestock and leather, the blue economy, fisheries, mining and extractive industries, cultural and creative industries, sustainable tourism, sustainable energy, information and communication technologies and transport. The Parties underscore the significant role of these sectors in value addition, decent job creation, enhancing productive capacities and to the overall efforts on economic transformation. They shall accordingly cooperate to identify the drivers of growth for each sector, to mobilise investment and to address the constraints that undermine the establishment of backward and forward linkages.

7.    The Parties shall promote dialogue, stimulate transfer of skills and technology, work to improve value chains, and strengthen cooperation for cross-fertilisation of experiences and dissemination of best practices in the agriculture sector. They shall also cooperate to support mechanisms and frameworks to increase sustainable and quality agricultural production.


ARTICLE 45

Private sector development

1.    The Parties, recognising the importance of private sector development for economic transformation and job creation, shall aim to promote entrepreneurship and to develop and improve the competitiveness of enterprises. A particular focus shall be given to MSMEs, including start-ups, particularly through the promotion of enabling legal, administrative and institutional frameworks, with a view to their successful integration into sustainable supply and value chains. Attention shall also be paid to the informal sector and to upgrading informal economic activities into formal ones and to encouraging the integration of sustainability-related objectives in business models. The Parties further agree to support the development of entrepreneurship among women and youth in the context of their economic empowerment and the promotion of inclusive development. They affirm the importance of building regional and national capacities in order to improve competitiveness in medium and high-tech manufacturing.

2.    The Parties shall promote public-private sector dialogue and cooperation, including through private-sector business forums. They shall strengthen cooperation for cross-fertilisation of experiences and dissemination of best practices that foster entrepreneurship, promote business-to-business dialogue and contacts, and stimulate transfers of skills and technology.

3.    The Parties agree on the need to set up strategies and to develop better financial inclusion policies and appropriate legislation, and to improve access to finance and to financial and non-financial services, including through innovative financing mechanisms, with particular attention to the provision of affordable credit for family farmers, smallholders, MSMEs, women and youth entrepreneurs.


4.    The Parties acknowledge that both public and private sources of finance play a key role in supporting private sector development, particularly through tools and mechanisms such as public-private partnerships (PPP) and blended finance, and in stimulating investment across relevant sectors, including infrastructure development. Accordingly, they shall cooperate to develop transparent and predictable frameworks and strategies for the use of PPPs including strengthening institutional capabilities to negotiate, implement and monitor projects under a PPP arrangement.

CHAPTER 3

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION AND RESEARCH

ARTICLE 46

Science, technology and innovation

1.    The Parties recognise the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in expanding the frontiers of knowledge, in accelerating transition and leapfrogging towards sustainable development through economic transformation, value-chain addition and inter-firm linkages, in fostering knowledge development and human empowerment, particularly of women and youth, and in supporting decision and policy makers in the pursuit of sustainable development.


2.    The Parties shall work towards developing knowledge societies. They agree to invest in human capital, promote the adoption of coherent and comprehensive policy and regulatory frameworks, and develop infrastructure connectivity and digital tools.

3.    The Parties shall enhance cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, building on existing mechanisms while exploring new paths in funding STI, subject to appropriate and effective protection of intellectual property rights. They shall promote indigenous, traditional and local knowledge as a tool for bridging knowledge and technology gaps in relevant sectors.

4.    The Parties shall encourage investment in the creation, diffusion and transfer of new technologies, with particular attention to clean and innovative technologies that protect the environment. They shall promote renewable energy and cooperate in the development of productive and regulatory capacity.

5.    The Parties shall address the potential impact of technologies on society, tackle issues related to cybersecurity and assure protection of personal data, and consider the effects of disruptive technology, including artificial intelligence and robotics.

6.    The Parties recognise the role of space as an enabler for social and economic benefits, including in the areas of environment, climate change, ocean governance, transport, energy, agriculture, mining, and forestry. They shall cooperate on matters of common interest in civil space activities such as space research, Global Navigation Satellite Systems applications and services, development of satellite augmentation systems, use of Earth Observation application and services and Earth Science.


ARTICLE 47

Research and development

1.    The Parties agree that research and development is critical to create economic prosperity and opportunities for decent work, and can make a pivotal contribution to achieving the objectives of this Agreement.

2.    The Parties shall encourage the generation and dissemination of new knowledge, taking account of its potential impacts, including harmful effects, on the environment and society. They shall support skills enhancement to keep pace with technological advances and innovation, and shall support mobility and training of researchers. They shall promote partnerships between industry, academia and the public sector as well as activities of the private sector aimed at gathering knowledge and testing ideas in order to generate new products with real commercial potential, paying special attention to women and youth as innovators.

3.    The Parties shall promote investments in research and development especially in high added-value segments of value chains, and shall endeavour to address societal challenges especially in the areas of environment, climate change, energy, food safety and security, and health.


ARTICLE 48

ICT and the digital economy

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to reduce the digital divide by promoting cooperation with regard to the development of the digital society to benefit citizens and businesses through accessibility to digital technologies, including information and communication technologies (ICT) adapted to local circumstances. The Parties shall support measures that enable easy access to ICT through, among others, the use of affordable and renewable energy sources and the development and redeployment of low-cost wireless networks. They shall also work towards greater complementarity and harmonisation of communication systems and their adaptation to new technologies.

2.    The Parties agree on the central role of the digital economy as an amplifier and accelerator for change that can drive significant economic diversification, create jobs and enable leapfrog growth. They agree to advance digitalisation with a view to reducing transaction costs and lessening information asymmetries, with the overarching aims of improving productivity and sustainability.

3.    The Parties shall promote and support digital entrepreneurship, particularly by women and youth, and the digital transformation of MSMEs. They shall encourage the development of e‑commerce to revamp supply chains and expand markets, and encourage the expansion of e‑banking, including to reduce costs of remittances, and the deployment of e-governance solutions.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate on developing and managing privacy and data protection policies, promote measures to facilitate data flows, and support the regulatory framework to promote the production, sale and delivery of digital products and services.


CHAPTER 4

TRADE COOPERATION

ARTICLE 49

Trade and sustainable development

1.    The Parties recognise that social and economic development and environmental protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. They reaffirm their commitment, with due regard to their respective levels of development, to enhancing the integration of sustainable development, which consists of economic development, social development and environmental protection, in every aspect of their trade relations in order to promote sustainable growth. To that end, the Parties shall encourage in their trade relationships a high level of environmental, social and labour protection in particular those commitments specified in Article 54 and Chapters 1 to 3 of Title V, and in Chapter 2 of Title III under this Part II, to achieve the objectives of the agreed Sustainable Development Goals under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Parties further agree that environmental and social measures should not be used for protectionist purposes.

2.    The Parties agree that it is inappropriate to encourage trade and investment by lowering or offering to lower the level of domestic protection afforded in environmental or labour laws, or their enforcement.


3.    The Parties recognise their respective rights to determine sustainable development policy objectives and priorities and establish their own levels of domestic protection in the social, labour and environmental areas, including climate change, as they deem appropriate, provided that the adopted laws and policies are not inconsistent with their commitments to internationally recognised protection standards and relevant agreements.

4.    The Parties shall promote trade in products obtained through the sustainable management, conservation and efficient use of natural resources. The Parties shall also cooperate to promote trade and investment in goods and services of particular relevance for climate change mitigation, including in low-carbon manufactured and remanufactured products, renewable energy, and energy-efficient products and services, in accordance with their international commitments.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate to promote coherence and mutual supportiveness between trade, labour and environmental policies, and shall strengthen dialogue, and exchange of information and best practices on trade-related aspects of sustainable development, including with the involvement of relevant stakeholders. In that context, they further agree to cooperate to promote corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices and responsible business conduct (RBC) including internationally recognised guidelines, standards and applicable instruments, by incorporating these practices into trade and business activities. In addition, cooperation shall aim to address the challenges and opportunities posed by the trade-related aspects of private and public voluntary sustainable assurance schemes linked, inter alia, to labour, the environment, conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use and management of forest resources and sustainable fishing practices and trade in sustainably managed fishery products.


6.    The Parties agree to maintain or establish, where appropriate, systems to support and monitor the effective implementation of the internationally recognised social, labour and environmental standards and relevant agreements, in the context of their trade relations, including by strengthening institutional capacities to adopt and enforce relevant legislation.

ARTICLE 50

Trade arrangements

1.    The Parties recognise the importance of building on the achievements of the Cotonou Agreement in the context of their trade relations. They underline the significance of trade in their overall relations and undertake to promote the intensification and diversification of trade flows to their mutual benefit, in particular with a view to the integration of OACPS Members' economies into the regional and global value chains.

2.    The Parties agree that trade cooperation shall be conducted in accordance with the rules-based multilateral trading system with a view to enhancing free, fair, and open trade for achieving sustainable growth and development, especially in OACPS Members. To that end, cooperation shall be in compliance with the obligations assumed by both Parties within the World Trade Organization (WTO) framework, including provisions for special and differential treatment (SDT).


3.    The Parties acknowledge the importance of concluding trade arrangements, to achieve greater trade opportunities and foster their effective integration into the global economy. The Parties recognise their respective right to enter into regional or multilateral arrangements for reduction or elimination of non-tariff measures affecting trade in goods and services. The Parties further endeavour to limit possible negative impacts of their respective trade arrangements with third Parties on the competitive positions each Party enjoys in the others' home markets.

4.    The Parties, bearing in mind the need for building on their existing preferential trade arrangements and Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) as instruments of their trade cooperation, recognise that cooperation shall primarily be strengthened to support concrete implementation of those existing instruments.

5.    The Parties further agree that the EPA framework shall be inclusive and take into account the heterogeneity of situations in OACPS Members and regions, at various stages of the EPA process and the level of development of the OACPS Members. The signatories to the EPAs reaffirm their commitments to take all necessary measures to ensure their full implementation, which should be conducive to their economic growth and development while contributing to the deepening of the regional integration processes within Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). The Parties recognise the importance of broadening the scope of EPAs and encouraging the accession of new Member States. The Parties agree to maintain or establish, at the appropriate levels, ACP-EU arrangements to monitor implementation of EPAs and assess their impact on the development of OACPS Members' economies across ACP regions and on their regional integration processes.


6.    The Parties to the respective Economic Partnership Agreements agree that the references contained therein to the provisions on appropriate measures in the Cotonou Agreement are understood as references to the corresponding provision in this Agreement.

7.    The Parties further agree that their cooperation shall contribute to intensifying regional integration efforts and processes within Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific and to further encouraging intra-ACP regional trade.

8.    The Parties underline the importance of their active participation in the WTO as well as in other relevant international organisations by becoming members of those organisations and closely following their agenda and activities. They agree to cooperate closely in identifying and furthering their common interests in international economic and trade cooperation in particular in the WTO. In this context, particular attention shall be paid to improve access to the European Union and other markets for goods and services originating in the OACPS Members.

9.    The Parties agree on the importance of flexibility in WTO rules to take account of the different levels of development of the ACP countries and regions as well of the difficulties faced in meeting their obligations. They therefore further agree to cooperate to develop the necessary and appropriate capacity to effectively implement their WTO commitments. The Parties also recognise the innovative approach to special and differential treatment inherent in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that enables least developed countries (LDCs) and developing countries to fully implement their commitments contingent on the delivery of the requisite trade support in conformity with their implementation notifications under the TFA.


10.    The Parties recognise the importance of enhancing dialogue to address trade and trade-related issues of common interest. They agree to promote the involvement of civil society and the private sector in these dialogues.

ARTICLE 51

Trade in services

1.    The Parties agree that trade in services is a powerful engine for the growth and development of their economies and further reaffirm their respective rights and obligations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

2.    The Parties commit to cooperating and enhancing trade in services, especially in modes of supply of export interest to them, including the movement of natural persons for business purposes, and in sectors that they consider as priorities, including the information and communication technologies sector (ICT), tourism, transport, environmental services, financial services, and sporting services and other priority sectors as appropriate.

3.    The Parties, taking into consideration Article 39(2), shall cooperate to strengthen capacity in the supply of services related to cultural and creative industries.


4.    The Parties shall cooperate to address barriers to trade in services with a view to facilitate access to markets and enhance trade. They further agree to strengthen their cooperation to support the development of domestic regulatory frameworks and capacities, improve the ability of service providers to comply with the EU and OACPS Members' regulations and standards at continental, regional, national, and sub-national levels, and encourage the establishment of mutual recognition agreements where appropriate in the identified service sectors of mutual interest in paragraph 2.

5.    The Parties acknowledge the importance of cost-effective and efficient maritime transport services as the main mode of transportation facilitating trade. The Parties shall improve competitiveness of maritime transport services by strengthening connectivity to improve the safe flow of goods and people in the maritime transport sector. To this end, they shall cooperate in the appropriate forums to liberalise maritime transport as the main mode of transportation to facilitate trade. They shall enable access to the international maritime transport markets and to ports and services at the ports, on a non-discriminatory and commercial basis. The Parties shall cooperate in efforts to develop and promote cost effective and efficient maritime transport services in the OACPS Members with a view to increasing the participation of OACPS Members' operators in international shipping services.


ARTICLE 52

Trade-related areas

1.    The Parties acknowledge the growing importance of non-tariff measures (NTMs) in trade as tariff barriers fall. They therefore recognise the need for cooperating with a view to monitoring and removing unnecessary obstacles to trade, thereby increasing and facilitating trade between EU and OACPS Members and among OACPS Members. In this respect, the Parties agree to maintain or establish, where appropriate, arrangements to address NTMs that may negatively affect exports to the other side's market.

2.    The Parties agree to enhance their cooperation in the field of standardisation and certification of goods to prevent, identify and eliminate unnecessary technical barriers to trade within the scope of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (the "TBT Agreement") and shall endeavour to build on it by increasing and strengthening transparency. The Parties further agree to cooperate to establish and enhance technical capabilities and institutional infrastructure on matters concerning technical barriers to trade.


3.    The Parties reaffirm the rights of each Party to adopt or to enforce sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures to protect human, animal or plant life or health in its territory, while ensuring that such SPS measures adopted by each Party do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade, pursuant to the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (the "SPS Agreement"). To this end, the Parties agree to enhance their collaboration for the effective implementation of the principles and disciplines of the SPS Agreement while taking account of their respective levels of development. In that context, the Parties shall cooperate to address sanitary and phytosanitary issues, including management of anti-microbial resistance, and animal welfare matters, in order to strengthen the Parties' capacities and improve access to the other Party's markets while safeguarding the appropriate level of protection of humans, animals and plants.


4.    The Parties acknowledge that the intellectual property system is intended to promote economic, social and cultural progress by stimulating creative work and technological innovation, especially between the EU and the ACP regions, while contributing to a more sustainable and inclusive economy. In that context, the Parties reaffirm the importance of intellectual property protection and enforcement, as stated in Article 7 of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), that should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge and in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, and to a balance of rights and obligations. The Parties recognise the need to protect intellectual property rights, including copyright and related rights, trademarks, geographical indications, industrial designs, topographies of integrated circuits, plant variety rights and patents. This protection shall also include protection against unfair competition and protection of undisclosed information. The Parties underline the importance, in this context, of adherence to the TRIPS Agreement of the WTO, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and conventions referred to in Part I of the TRIPS Agreement, in line with their level of development. The Parties further underline the importance of cooperation and technical assistance in the field of intellectual property for measures, procedures and remedies necessary to ensure the enforcement of these intellectual property rights with a view to achieving an effective level of protection, especially in the OACPS Members.


5.    The Parties reaffirm that the introduction and implementation of effective and sound competition policies and rules are of crucial importance in order to improve and secure an investment-friendly climate, a sustainable industrialisation process and transparency in the access to markets. They therefore undertake to implement national or regional rules and policies to effectively tackle anti-competitive business practices, including subsidies related to economic activities granted by the Parties, which have the potential to distort the proper functioning of markets and to negatively affect the other Parties' trade interests. The Parties undertake to ensure a level playing field between public and private market participants. They also agree to reinforce cooperation in this area with a view to formulating and supporting effective competition policies with the appropriate national and regional authorities that progressively ensure the efficient enforcement of competition rules. In that context, the Parties agree to cooperate to develop the adequate capacities with a view to establishing the appropriate legal framework for competition protection and its enforcement through appropriate competition agencies, in particular in the territory of OACPS Members.

6.    The Parties agree to increase cooperation to ensure better operation of international commodity markets and market transparency.

7.    The Parties recognise the importance of transparent public procurement to promote economic development and industrialisation. The Parties agree on the importance of cooperation to enhance the mutual understanding of their respective public procurement systems. The Parties commit to the principles of, and shall cooperate on, the transparency, competitiveness and predictability of procurement systems.


ARTICLE 53

Trade facilitation

The Parties recognise the importance of reducing trade costs to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth in their economies. They shall therefore cooperate to simplify import, export, transit and other customs procedures, including digitalisation of customs and clearance procedures, as well as to increase the transparency of customs and trade regulations and facilitate legitimate trade, building on their respective commitments under the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). In line with the TFA provisions, the OACPS Members require adequate and predictable technical assistance to build their capacities to implement this Agreement fully. The Parties further commit to provide this assistance based on the implementation needs of the OACPS Members, as notified under the TFA.


TITLE V

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

ARTICLE 54

1.    The Parties agree that environmental degradation, unsustainable use of natural resources and climate change pose a serious threat to the attainment of sustainable development and place at risk the lives, quality of life and livelihoods of current and future generations. In this regard, the Parties reaffirm the need for a high level of environmental protection and effective conservation and sustainable management of natural resources, including biological diversity. They also reaffirm the need to agree on ambitious action to manage and reduce the negative effects of climate change and to set their economies on sustainable, resilient low-carbon growth paths, while contributing to the creation of decent jobs for all.

2.    The Parties shall mainstream environmental sustainability, the fight against climate change and the pursuit of environmentally sustainable growth into all policies, plans and investments. They shall endeavour to build effective alliances in international settings on relevant issues with a view to driving global action forward, and ensuring constructive engagement with local authorities, civil society and the private sector. The Parties shall effectively implement the multilateral environmental agreements to which they are parties.

3.    The Parties shall seek to build and strengthen resilience, particularly of vulnerable populations, in the face of environmental and climate change-related challenges, and of natural and man-made disasters.


4.    The Parties, in promoting environmental sustainability, tackling climate change and natural disasters, shall take into account: (i) the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and coastal populations including their efforts to adapt, especially to the threat posed by climate change and depletion of natural resources; (ii) the exposure and vulnerability of countries to worsening droughts, floods, coastal erosion, water scarcity, land and forest degradation, biodiversity loss, deforestation and desertification problems; (iii) the need to minimise, avert and address loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including slow onset events such as sea-level rise; (iv) the links between climate change strategies and disaster risk reduction, resilience and food security; (v) the crucial role of natural ecosystems for ensuring food security and nutrition, and fighting climate change; (vi) the nexus between environmental degradation and climate change with displacement and migration; and (vii) the negative impact of climate change and environmental degradation on peace and security.


CHAPTER 1

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

ARTICLE 55

Environment and natural resources

1.    The Parties shall work towards preserving, protecting, improving and rehabilitating the environment. To that end, they shall promote measures at national, regional and global level, including in the areas of high biodiversity value and protection of natural ecosystems, air quality, water quality, water scarcity and droughts, waste management, industrial pollution and industrial hazards and chemicals management.

2.    The Parties shall support the conservation and sustainable management and use of natural resources, including land, water, forest, biodiversity and ecosystems. They shall promote action to end trafficking of protected species of flora and fauna, and address both demand for, and supply of, illegal wildlife products. They shall promote the sustainable governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests.


3.    The Parties shall promote legal instruments, integrated environment and development strategies, and good governance for the integration of biodiversity considerations in all relevant sectors in order to halt biodiversity loss and maintain the delivery of ecosystem services. The Parties shall promote ecosystem-based approaches and nature-based solutions to achieve environmental objectives. They recognise the importance of ecosystems and biodiversity for addressing climate change and for the conservation and restoration of all ecosystems, including aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They shall also establish, manage and improve the governance of protected areas.

4.    The Parties recognise that natural ecosystems, in particular forests, offer habitats for animals and plants, and play a major role in mitigating and adapting to climate change, in biodiversity conservation and in preventing and combating desertification and land degradation. The Parties also recognise that forests, wetlands and savannahs provide water and soil protection and protection from natural hazards, and deliver other environmental services. Taking into account the above, the Parties shall promote the conservation and restoration of all ecosystems, including forests.

5.    The Parties shall pursue the fight against desertification, land degradation and drought, and shall strive to restore and rehabilitate degraded land and soil to bring about sustainable land management and achieve a land degradation-neutral environment. They shall reduce biodiversity loss, create employment opportunities and help enhance the provision of ecosystem services and functions, including by enhancing drought risk preparedness and resilience, as well as further reducing risks and the impact of sand and dust storms.

6.    The Parties shall promote fair and equitable access and benefit sharing arising from the utilisation of genetic resources and appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed.


7.    The Parties shall support the promotion of circular economy approaches and sustainable consumption and production practices, and endeavour to make use of the investment opportunities offered by the best available clean technologies.

CHAPTER 2

OCEANS, SEAS AND MARINE RESOURCES

ARTICLE 56

Ocean governance

1.    The Parties recognise the increasing human pressures and their cumulative impacts on seas and oceans, and acknowledge their nature as an interconnected common good whose conservation, protection and governance is a shared responsibility that requires the collective and coordinated actions of stakeholders. The Parties reaffirm the universal and unified character of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as the basis for national, regional and global action and cooperation in the marine and maritime sectors.

2.    The Parties shall strengthen ocean governance and effectively address the increasing pressures on seas and oceans, which threaten marine ecosystems' resilience and their contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation.


3.    The Parties shall promote and improve the protection and restoration of marine ecosystems and the conservation and sustainable management of marine resources, including in areas beyond their respective jurisdiction, with a view to achieving healthy and productive oceans. They shall promote sustainable fisheries management at national, regional and global levels, by cooperating with relevant regional fisheries management organisations and by combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The Parties shall promote the conservation of endangered aquatic species and actions to control pollution and marine litter as well as address the impacts of climate change, including ocean acidification.

4.    The Parties shall promote the sustainable development of a blue economy with the aim of securing the oceans' contribution to food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, creating job opportunities, and ensuring social equity and cultural well-being for current and future generations.

5.    The Parties shall support the implementation of blue growth policies and strategies to promote an integrated ocean management that restores, protects and maintains the diversity, productivity, resilience, core functions and intrinsic value of marine ecosystems.

6.    The Parties shall promote dialogue and cooperation on all aspects of ocean governance, including on matters related to climate change, sea-level rise and its possible effects and implications, seabed mining, fisheries, marine pollution and research and development.


CHAPTER 3

CLIMATE CHANGE

ARTICLE 57

Climate commitments

1.    The Parties acknowledge that the adverse impacts of climate change and climate variability pose a threat to the lives and livelihoods of people. They confirm their commitment to take urgent action to prevent climate change, to address its impacts and to cooperate in an urgent and coordinated manner at the international, regional, inter-regional and national levels in order to strengthen the global response to climate change.

2.    The Parties shall effectively implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement adopted under the Convention.

3.    The Parties are committed to meeting the overall goal of holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, enhancing the ability to adapt, reducing vulnerabilities and strengthening resilience, making all investments and financial flows consistent with the Paris Agreement.


ARTICLE 58

Climate action

1.    The Parties agree to undertake climate action to address adaptation, mitigation, as well as means of implementation and be focused on the most vulnerable countries, including Small Island Developing States, Low-lying Coastal States, Least Developed Countries and Land Locked Developing Countries.

2.    The Parties agree to implement and track progress towards their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and to strive to formulate and communicate mid-century, long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies in order to achieve the temperature goal agreed in the Paris Agreement, while taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. They commit to enhance the linkages between NDCs, the 2030 Agenda and their national strategies.

3.    The Parties agree to engage in adaptation planning, implementation and monitor progress in the implementation of National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and other strategies. They commit to set up and strengthen effective governance structures for this purpose. They recognise the need to further strengthen the integration of NAPs and other adaptation strategies into national strategies and processes in order to achieve climate-resilient sustainable development.


ARTICLE 59

Climate change and security

The Parties shall address the security threat that climate change and environmental degradation pose, particularly in situations of fragility and on the most vulnerable countries. The Parties shall develop resilience strategies taking into account the security threat.

CHAPTER 4

NATURAL DISASTERS

ARTICLE 60

Disaster risk reduction and management

1.    The Parties recognise the negative impacts on sustainable development of natural disasters, including tsunamis, earthquake and volcanic eruptions, as well as the increasing frequency and intensity of climate-related phenomena such as cyclones and hurricanes, flooding and droughts.


2.    The Parties shall promote coherent policies and strategies at all levels to identify vulnerabilities and other drivers of risk. They shall cooperate to enhance disaster resilience to the short and long-term impacts of disasters and pay particular attention to coordination, complementarity and synergies between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation strategies. The Parties shall undertake early warning and preventive action and improve risk reduction and preparedness, by strengthening grassroots-level communication and risk governance and by effectively integrating disaster risk reduction into development strategies.

3.    The Parties shall systematically integrate comprehensive risk assessment, management and resilience into their action, ensuring that individuals, communities, institutions and countries can better prepare for, withstand, adapt to and quickly recover from shocks and aftershocks, including when impacts exceed best efforts to adapt, without compromising long-term development prospects.

4.    The Parties shall address disaster risks taking an integrated multi-hazard approach, covering the understanding of disaster risk, the strengthening of its governance, and building institutional capacities for effective implementation of risk-informed investments. They shall ensure inclusive and equitable outcomes to build the resilience of the most vulnerable.

5.    The Parties shall develop strategies to strengthen urban and rural resilience with a view to improving disaster risk management, with particular attention to unplanned settlements.


ARTICLE 61

Disaster response and recovery

1.    The Parties agree that early and coordinated response to natural disasters is critical for rehabilitation and post-disaster recovery. The Parties agree on the importance of coordinated needs assessments, enhanced disaster preparedness and capacity for local, early and effective responses that meet the needs of crisis-affected people, including through effective communication strategies.

2.    The Parties agree that disaster response and recovery efforts shall prioritise, in the short term, emergency assistance and rehabilitation, including support for early recovery. They agree that post-emergency assistance shall aim at linking the short-term relief with longer-term development through a sustainable recovery process, building back better, including reconstruction efforts and the rehabilitation of the social-economic and cultural fabric. This entails enhanced coordination between humanitarian and development stakeholders from the crisis onset to properly build resilience of affected populations.


TITLE VI

MIGRATION AND MOBILITY

ARTICLE 62

The Parties reaffirm their commitment to enhancing cooperation on migration and mobility, guided by the principles of solidarity, partnership and shared responsibility. They shall adopt a comprehensive, coherent, pragmatic and balanced approach, in full respect of international law, including international human rights law and, when applicable, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, and the principle of sovereignty taking into account their respective competences. They recognise that migration and mobility can have positive impacts on sustainable development when well managed and acknowledge the need to address the negative impacts irregular migration can have on countries of origin, transit and destination. The Parties agree to work on enhancing capacities with the aim of efficient and effective management of migration in all its aspects. They reiterate their commitment to ensuring respect for the dignity of all refugees and migrants and protection of their human rights. The Parties shall address all relevant aspects of migration and mobility referred to under this title in their regular partnership dialogue.


CHAPTER 1

LEGAL MIGRATION AND MOBILITY

ARTICLE 63

Legal migration and mobility

1.    The Parties shall seek to reap the dividends of safe, orderly and regular migration and mobility, in full respect of international law and in accordance with their respective competences. In that regard, they shall work to develop and use legal pathways for migration, including labour migration and other mobility schemes, taking into account national priorities and labour market needs.

2.    The Parties shall work to implement transparent and effective requirements for admission and residence for the purpose of work, research, studies, training and voluntary service, with a view to facilitate circular migration and mobility. The Parties shall strengthen transparency of information available to third-country nationals regarding applicable migration rules.

3.    The Parties shall consider circular migration as a means to foster growth and development in countries of origin and destination. To that end, they shall consider schemes for circular migration, and shall implement and improve, as appropriate, the legal frameworks for facilitating the re-entry procedures of legally residing third country nationals and consider aspects of their reintegration in the countries of origin to ensure that their gained experience or qualifications can benefit the local labour market and community.


4.    The Parties shall dialogue on procedures guiding legal migration, including family reunification and, as appropriate, portability of pension rights. The Parties shall further pursue an open exchange on visa issues and on facilitating mobility and people-to-people contacts, including in areas such as tourism, culture, sports, education, research, and business, with a view to fostering mutual understanding and promoting shared values.

5.    The Parties shall promote cooperation between relevant agencies and institutions, local authorities, civil society and social partners, with a view to encouraging joint research projects, identification of skills gaps as well as investment and job opportunities and the evaluation of labour migration policies and strategies.

6.    The Parties shall cooperate to improve transparency and comparability of all qualifications, with the aim of facilitating their recognition for access to further learning as well as their acceptance in the labour market.

7. The Parties shall cooperate to improve and modernise civil status registry systems, in view of enhancing the security and issuance of identity cards and passports.


ARTICLE 64

Integration and non-discrimination

1.    The Parties shall pursue efforts to adopt effective integration policies for those who reside legally in their territories which are aimed at granting rights and imposing obligations comparable to those of their citizens and to promote social cohesion. In that respect, the Parties shall support the development and implementation of strategies to integrate legally residing third-country nationals into labour markets and host societies, supporting and strengthening cooperation and coordination of various actors working on integration at national, regional and local levels, including local government and civil society.

2.    The Parties agree to ensure fair treatment of third-country nationals who reside legally in the territories of the Member States of the European Union or the OACPS Members, enhancement of non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural life, as well as the development of measures against racism and xenophobia.

3.    The Parties agree that the treatment accorded to legally residing third-country nationals shall be free from any discrimination based on nationality as regards working conditions, remuneration and dismissal, relative to own nationals of each Member State of the European Union and each OACPS Member. To that end, the Parties shall cooperate to ensure that migration rules and recruitment mechanisms are guided by fair and ethical principles that ensure that all legally residing third-country nationals are treated fairly and with dignity in the host countries and are protected against exploitation.


CHAPTER 2

MIGRATION AND DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 65

Migration and development

The Parties agree that well-managed migration can be a source of prosperity, innovation and sustainable development and further agree to cooperate and support countries of origin, inter alia by boosting growth and employment opportunities, promoting investment, private sector development, trade and innovation, education and vocational training, health, social protection and security, especially for youth and women. The Parties shall cooperate to create conditions that would limit the negative impact of the loss of skills on the development of the countries of origin.

ARTICLE 66

Diaspora and development

The Parties acknowledge the meaningful role of diasporas and the different forms of contributions that diaspora members make to the development of their countries of origin, including through finance, investment, transfer of knowledge, expertise and technology, cultural linkages, networks and mechanisms, as well as in national reconciliation processes.


ARTICLE 67

Remittances

1.    The Parties shall seek to promote cheaper, more secure, faster and legally compliant transfer of remittances, so as to facilitate productive domestic investments, including through the use of new technologies and innovative instruments.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to reduce the transaction costs of remittances to less than 3 % and to eliminate remittances corridors with costs higher than 5 %, in accordance with internationally agreed targets, and improve regulatory frameworks for enhanced involvement of non-traditional players.

ARTICLE 68

South-south migration

1.    The Parties acknowledge the relevance of south-south migration in terms of both challenges and opportunities, including the potential benefits of well-managed south-south migration for the sustainable development of origin, transit and destination countries. To this end, the Parties shall support policies and actions to promote economic and social development in origin, transit and destination countries.


2.    The Parties shall exchange experience and best practices on mitigating the social and economic impact of south-south migration flows on countries of origin, transit and destination, and shall enhance cooperation at national and regional levels.

ARTICLE 69

Natural disasters, climate change and environmental degradation

1.    The Parties shall take into account the nexus between migration, including displacement, and natural disasters, climate change and environmental degradation.

2.    The Parties shall take action to address the needs of displaced persons by adopting strategies towards mitigation, adaptation and resilience to natural disasters, the adverse effects of climate change and environmental degradation, at all relevant levels, including inter-regional levels.


CHAPTER 3

IRREGULAR MIGRATION

ARTICLE 70

Root causes of irregular migration

1.    The Parties confirm the shared political commitment to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement and to develop adequate responses.

2.    The Parties reaffirm their determination to stem the flows of irregular migration, in full respect of international law and human rights. In this regard, they acknowledge the negative impacts of irregular migration on countries of origin, transit and destination, including related humanitarian and security challenges. The Parties acknowledge the increased risk of migrants to experience human rights violations and to become victims of trafficking and abuse and agree to implement measures to protect those migrants from all forms of exploitation and abuse.


ARTICLE 71

Smuggling of migrants

1.    The Parties shall increase joint efforts to prevent cross-border crime of migrant smuggling, and jointly enhance efforts to end the impunity of criminal organisations through effective investigation and prosecution.

2.    The Parties shall ensure that appropriate legislative and institutional frameworks are in place, in line with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, in particular its Protocol on the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air. They also commit to improve information sharing and to foster operational, police and judicial cooperation.

ARTICLE 72

Trafficking in persons

The Parties shall combat trafficking in persons in line with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons especially Women and Children. The Parties shall also enhance prevention, including by countering the impunity of all perpetrators and ensure that all victims have access to the rights they are entitled to, taking into account in particular the vulnerability of women and children.


ARTICLE 73

Integrated border management

The Parties shall promote and support integrated border management, including border control, information and intelligence gathering and sharing, impeding the production and use of fraudulent documentation and operational, police and judicial cooperation on investigations and criminal prosecutions.

CHAPTER 4

RETURN, READMISSION AND REINTEGRATION

ARTICLE 74

Return and readmission

1.    The Parties reaffirm their right to return illegally staying third-country nationals and reaffirm the legal obligation of each Member State of the European Union and each OACPS Member to readmit their own nationals illegally present in the territory of another Member State of the European Union or OACPS Member without conditionality and without further formalities other than the verification provided for in paragraph 3. To this end, the Parties shall cooperate on return and readmission and shall ensure that the rights and dignity of individuals are fully protected and respected, including in any procedure initiated to return illegally staying migrants to their countries of origin.


2.    Each Member State of the European Union shall accept the return of and readmission of any of its nationals who are illegally present in the territory of an OACPS Member, at that State's request without further formalities than the verification provided for in paragraph 3 for those persons who do not hold a valid travel document.

Each Member of the OACPS shall accept the return of and readmission of any of its nationals who are illegally present in the territory of a Member State of the European Union, at that Member State's request without further formalities than the verification provided for in paragraph 3 for those persons who do not hold a valid travel document.

In respect of the Member States of the European Union, the obligations in this paragraph apply only in respect of those persons who hold the nationality, as defined for Union purposes, of a Member State. In respect of OACPS Members, the obligations in this paragraph apply only in respect of those persons who are considered as their nationals in accordance with their respective legal system.

3.    The Member States of the European Union and OACPS Members shall respond swiftly to readmission requests of each other by carrying out verification processes using the most appropriate and most efficient identification procedures, with a view to ascertaining the nationality of the concerned person and to issue appropriate travel documents for return purposes, as set out in Annex I. Nothing in that annex shall prevent the return of a person under formal or informal arrangements between the requested and the requesting State.


4.    Notwithstanding the procedures provided for in Article 101 (5) of the General Part of this Agreement, if a Party considers that another Party fails to respect the time limit referred to in Annex I in line with Annex 9 Chapter 5.26 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it shall notify the other Party accordingly. If the other Party continues to fail to comply with these obligations, starting from 30 days from notification, the notifying Party may take proportionate measures.

5.    The Parties agree to monitor the implementation of these commitments in the framework of the regular partnership dialogue between the Parties.

ARTICLE 75

Reintegration

The Parties shall explore ways to cooperate in order to promote voluntary return and to facilitate sustainable reintegration of returned persons including, where relevant, through sustainable reintegration programmes. Particular attention shall be paid to the needs of returning persons in vulnerable situations, such as children, older persons, persons with disabilities and victims of trafficking.


CHAPTER 5

PROTECTION AND ASYLUM

ARTICLE 76

Refugees and other displaced persons

1.    The Parties are committed to reinforcing the protection and dignity of refugees and other displaced persons in accordance with international law and international human rights law, including the principle of non-refoulement, and, when applicable, international refugee law and international humanitarian law.

2.    The Parties shall support the integration of refugees and other displaced persons in host countries as appropriate and strengthen the capacities of first asylum, transit and destination countries. The Parties shall cooperate to provide refugees and displaced persons in transit and host countries with security in refugee camps, and access to justice, legal assistance, witness protection, medical and socio-psychological support.

3.    The Parties shall pay particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations and to their specific needs, including women, children and unaccompanied minors, taking into account the principle of the best interest of the child.


PART III

GLOBAL ALLIANCES AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

ARTICLE 77

The Parties reaffirm the importance of cooperating at international levels with a view to promoting and defending their common interests and preserving and strengthening multilateralism. They commit to joining forces for a more peaceful, cooperative and just world which rests solidly on the common values of peace, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, gender equality, sustainable development, preservation of the environment and the fight against climate change. They agree on the importance of building and reinforcing global alliances to achieve an effective multilateral system that delivers results in tackling global challenges for a safer and better world for all.

ARTICLE 78

Multilateralism and global governance

1.    The Parties are committed to the rules-based international order with multilateralism as its key principle and the United Nations at its core. They shall promote international dialogue and seek multilateral solutions to drive global action forward.


2.    The Parties shall take the necessary steps for the ratification of or accession to, as appropriate, the implementation and the domestication of relevant international treaties and conventions.

3.    The Parties shall endeavour to strengthen global governance and to support necessary reforms and the modernisation of multilateral institutions to make them more representative, responsive, effective, efficient, inclusive, transparent, democratic and accountable.

4.    The Parties shall deepen their multi-stakeholder approach to multilateralism by more effectively engaging civil society, the private sector and social partners in developing responses to global challenges.

ARTICLE 79

Cooperation in international organisations and forums

1.    The Parties shall strive to adopt joint resolutions, declarations and statements, to coordinate positions and, where appropriate, voting, and to take joint actions based on a commonality of interests, mutual respect and equality, so as to ensure enhanced presence and a stronger voice in international and regional organisations and forums.


2.    The Parties shall establish appropriate operational modalities for effective cooperation and coordination at international level, including through convening of ministerial meetings at OACPS Members-EU level. They shall endeavour to identify on a regular basis, at both political and operational levels, common ground on a series of strategic themes and to join forces on issues of mutual and global interest to drive global action forward.

3.    The Parties may actively seek to closely cooperate and establish strategic partnerships with third countries and groupings that share their values and interests, with a view to maximising cooperative solutions to common challenges wherever possible.

ARTICLE 80

Areas of international action

1.    The Parties agree to cooperate and undertake joint actions on issues related to the strategic priorities identified in Part II of this Agreement, as well as in other areas of concern as they deem necessary.


2.    The Parties shall strengthen cooperation and dialogue to secure international peace and security. They shall adopt an inclusive and integrated approach to prevent and address conflicts and crises, rooted in broad, deep and durable regional and international partnerships. They shall work at the national, regional and international levels to enhance the effectiveness of multilateral engagement for sustainable peace and security through strengthened partnerships with the United Nations and regional and sub-regional actors. They shall address serious crimes of concern to the international community and international security threats such as organised crime, terrorism and violent extremism, and shall cooperate to promote and strengthen the international arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament architecture, as well as enhance cyber security and combat cyber-crimes.

3.    The Parties shall engage in international forums to uphold international norms and agreements to promote and protect human rights for all, to achieve gender equality, and to enhance democracy and the rule of law. They shall cooperate with the UN's human rights bodies and mechanisms and fully support the work of the Human Rights Council. They shall establish cross‑regional alliances to serve common values and interests, as appropriate.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to advance the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally agreed roadmaps for the promotion of human and social development. They shall cooperate closely at the international level to: (i) end extreme poverty and hunger; (ii) address and respond to food insecurity; (iii) promote universal access to quality and affordable social services such as education, health, water, sanitation and housing; (iv) empower women and youth; and (v) protect the most vulnerable in society and facilitate their inclusion and contribution to economic, social and political life, leaving no one behind. They shall cooperate to strengthen the coherence and consistency of the international financial and monetary system to secure enhanced access to development financing in support of sustainable development.


5.    The Parties shall work together at the international level to achieve inclusive, sustainable economic growth and development through measures aimed at structural economic transformation, the creation of decent jobs for all, and the integration of the OACPS Members into the global economy, including through regional and continental integration. The Parties shall preserve and reinforce the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the WTO at its core, in all its functions, to ensure that it can effectively address global trade challenges and harness the development potential of trade.

6.    The Parties shall intensify cooperation to promote strong and decisive collective action on environmental sustainability and on climate change, raising global ambition and leading the way to reach the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement. They shall uphold international norms and agreements that provide global public goods and protect future generations, including efforts to strengthen international ocean governance.

7.    The Parties shall work with partners around the world to pursue a comprehensive and holistic approach on all aspects related to migration and mobility, based on the principles of solidarity, shared responsibility, and partnership.


PART IV

MEANS OF COOPERATION AND IMPLEMENTATION

ARTICLE 81

Effective and diversified means of cooperation

1.    The Parties agree to mobilise both financial and non-financial resources in order to achieve the objectives set out in this Agreement on the basis of mutual interests, in the spirit of genuine partnership, and in line with the principle of "leaving no one behind". They underscore the importance of financing for development as being key to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.

2.    The Parties agree that means of cooperation shall be diversified, encompassing a range of policies and instruments, from all available sources and actors. They also agree that means of cooperation shall be tailored to reflect, and be implemented on the basis of, the objectives, strategies and priorities of different countries and regions established at national, regional, continental and inter-regional levels.

3.    The Parties reaffirm their commitment to the development effectiveness principles, namely ownership of development priorities by partner countries, inclusive partnerships, focus on results, transparency and mutual accountability.


ARTICLE 82

International development cooperation

1.    The EU reaffirms their political commitment to enhance development cooperation resources with a view to achieving sustainable development, particularly by eradicating poverty and combating environmental degradation and climate change. The EU commits to making available the appropriate level of financial resources in line with its internal regulations and procedures.

2.    The Parties agree that, in the allocation of resources, priority shall be given to countries most in need, where such resources can have most impact, in particular least developed countries, low-income countries, countries in crisis and conflict, post-crisis and/or post-conflict fragile and vulnerable situations, including small island developing states, and landlocked developing countries. Due attention shall also be paid to the specific challenges faced by middle-income countries, particularly in relation to inequality, social exclusion and their access to resources.

3.    The EU shall mobilise resources to support programmes in African, Caribbean and Pacific States and shall contribute to regional, inter-regional and intercontinental cooperation and initiatives aimed at strengthening cooperation between the Parties on issues of mutual interest and common concern.


4.    The Parties agree that cooperation may take different forms, such as sector policy support programmes, administrative and technical cooperation measures, capacity building, triangular arrangements, and may be provided through different types of financing and procedures, including budget support, budgetary guarantees and blending operations.

5.    The EU and more advanced OACPS Members shall undertake to develop new forms of engagement, including innovative financial instruments and co-financing.

6.    The Parties shall cooperate and promote the use of financial resources to foster domestic resource mobilisation, to provide humanitarian and emergency assistance, to address unforeseen circumstances, new needs or emerging challenges, to facilitate trade, and to promote international initiatives or priorities.

7.    The Parties agree that any decision to provide budget support shall be based on a clear set of eligibility criteria and a careful assessment of the risks and benefits; shall be based on country ownership, mutual accountability and shared commitment to universal values and principles; shall include reinforced policy dialogue, improved governance, complementing efforts to collect more and spend better; and shall be differentiated in such a way as to respond better to the political, economic and social context of the beneficiary country.

8.    The Parties agree to promote predictability and security of resource flows and step up efforts to further improve the way in which they manage and implement development cooperation, notably through greater coordination and coherence and by taking into account their respective comparative advantages, including transition experiences.


9.    The Parties agree that programming shall be based on an early, continuous and inclusive dialogue between the EU and the OACPS Members, including national and local authorities, regional, continental and international organisations and involving parliaments, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders, in order to enhance democratic ownership of the process and to encourage support for national and regional strategies. They agree that, where appropriate, programming shall be synchronised with the strategy cycles of beneficiaries and commit to the use of their institutions, systems, and procedures. They also agree that programming shall provide a specific, tailor-made multi-annual framework for cooperation, including diversified means of cooperation.

10.    The Parties agree that cooperation with third countries and other actors, including south‑south and triangular cooperation, shall be encouraged in case of a clear added value and proven comparative advantage.

11.    The Parties may decide to conduct a review of the management and impact of financial resources, at a mutually agreeable time, with a view to improving the effectiveness of aid programming and allocations.

12.    The Parties shall strengthen dialogue and cooperation in the sound use of financial resources, including through cooperation with the European Anti-Fraud Office, where appropriate.


ARTICLE 83

Domestic public resources

1.    The OACPS Members that are parties to this Agreement reaffirm their commitment to enhancing domestic resources mobilisation. They shall promote environments that increase domestic private flows and boost trade as an engine for development.

2.    The OACPS Members that are parties to this Agreement shall endeavour to enhance revenue collection through modernised tax systems, improved tax policy, more efficient tax collection, and strengthened and reformed tax administration. They shall work towards improving the fairness, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness of their tax systems, including by broadening the tax base and continuing efforts to integrate the informal sector into the formal economy in line with country circumstances. They shall strengthen fiscal legitimacy by enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of their public expenditure.

3.    The Parties agree to increase efforts to combat illicit financial flows with a view to eradicating them, to cooperate in the recovery of lost assets and capital, and to strengthen good practices on assets return in order to foster sustainable development. They shall promote anti-corruption, anti-fraud, and anti-money laundering measures and undertake measures to tackle tax avoidance, tax evasion and other harmful tax practices, through increased international cooperation, improved domestic regulation as well as strengthened capacities and exchange of information.


4.    The Parties shall enhance and cooperate to strengthen good financial and tax governance, transparency, and accountability. They commit to scaling up international tax cooperation in an inclusive, fair and transparent manner and in this regard agree to cooperate in international forums on international tax matters.

ARTICLE 84

Domestic and international private resources

1.    The Parties acknowledge that private capital flows are vital complements of national development efforts. They shall develop policies and, where appropriate, strengthen regulatory frameworks and instruments to better align private sector incentives with public goals. They shall cooperate to mobilise sustainable and responsible investment, to encourage the private sector to engage as a partner in the development process, and to invest in areas critical to sustainable development.

2.    The Parties shall endeavour to use blending of grants and loans as well as guarantees as levers to attract private finance and address market failures, while limiting market distortions.


3.    The Parties acknowledge that remittances are a key private source of financing for sustainable development. They shall put in place relevant legislation and regulatory frameworks to create a competitive and transparent market for cheaper, faster and safer transfers of money through legal and official channels in both source and recipient countries, and to establish innovative and affordable transfer solutions. They shall encourage the generation of innovative financial products and create incentives to strengthen their diaspora's contribution to development. They shall promote dialogue among all relevant public and private stakeholders to facilitate remittance flows with a view to enhancing their impact on development.

ARTICLE 85

Debt and debt sustainability

1.    The Parties commit to making debt sustainable in the long term through coordinated policies geared towards financing, mitigating, restructuring or managing debt as appropriate. They agree to assist countries in building debt management capacities and developing medium- and long-term debt strategies.

2.    The Parties underscore the importance of debtors and creditors working together to prevent and resolve debt crises. They agree on the need to strengthen dialogue, information sharing and transparency, so that debt sustainability assessments and analyses are based on comprehensive, objective and reliable data.


3.    The Parties, considering the links between debt and economic growth, commit to engaging in dialogue and cooperation in the context of international discussions on the general problem of debt, without prejudice to specific discussions taking place in relevant forums.

4.    The Parties agree to contribute, as appropriate, to internationally approved debt relief initiatives in order to alleviate the debt-servicing burden of OACPS Members.

PART V

INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK

ARTICLE 86

Joint institutions

1.    The Parties hereby establish the following joint institutions at the level of the members of the OACPS and the EU: the OACPS – EU Council of Ministers, the OACPS – EU Ambassadorial Level Senior Officials Committee (ALSOC) and the OACPS – EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. The Parties hereby establish as joint institutions for each of the three Regional Protocols a Council of Ministers, a Joint Committee and a Parliamentary Assembly.


2.    The Parties shall endeavour to ensure coordination and complementarity between the joint institutions of this Agreement and the joint institutions of other frameworks or agreements to which they are party, including the Economic Partnership Agreements, without prejudice to relevant provisions therein.

ARTICLE 87

Summit of Heads of State or Government

The Parties may meet at the level of Heads of State or Government, upon joint agreement, in an appropriate format, on the basis of a mutually agreed timetable and agenda.

ARTICLE 88

OACPS-EU Council of Ministers

1.    The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers shall comprise, on the one hand, a representative of each OACPS Member at ministerial level and, on the other hand, representatives of the EU at ministerial level. It shall be co-chaired by the Chair nominated by the OACPS Members on the one hand and by the Chair nominated by the EU on the other hand.


2.    The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers shall meet in principle every 3 years and whenever it is deemed necessary on the initiative of the Co-Chairs, in a form and composition appropriate to the issues to be addressed. Observers may take part in meetings as appropriate.

3.    The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers may set up committees and working groups to deal with specific issues more effectively and efficiently, such as on trade and development finance issues. It may also delegate powers to the OACPS-EU ALSOC.

4.    The functions of the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers shall be to:

(a)    provide strategic political guidance;

(b)    oversee the effective and consistent implementation of this Agreement;

(c)    adopt policy guidelines and take decisions to give effect to specific aspects necessary for the implementation of the provisions of this Agreement; and

(d)    adopt joint positions and agree on joint actions on international cooperation and facilitate coordination in international organisations and forums.


5.    The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers shall adopt decisions that are binding on all Parties unless otherwise specified, or make recommendations concerning any of its functions listed in paragraph 4 by common agreement of the Parties. Its proceedings shall be valid only if the representatives of the EU and two thirds of the members representing the governments of the OACPS Members are present. Any member of the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers unable to attend may be represented. The representative shall exercise all the rights of that member. The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers shall submit a report to the Joint Parliamentary Assembly on the implementation of this Agreement. It shall examine and take into consideration resolutions and recommendations adopted by the Joint Parliamentary Assembly.

6.    The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers may take decisions or make recommendations by written procedure. The use of a written procedure may be proposed by any of the Parties and may be initiated following the agreement of the Co-Chairs. The rules laid down in paragraph 5 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the written procedure.

7.    The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers shall adopt its rules of procedure at its first meeting, but no later than 6 months after the entry into force of this Agreement.


ARTICLE 89

OACPS-EU Ambassadorial Level Senior Officials Committee (ALSOC)

1.    The OACPS-EU Ambassadorial Level Senior Officials Committee (ALSOC) shall comprise, on the one hand, a representative of each OACPS Member at ambassadorial or senior official level and the Secretary General of the OACPS in an ex officio capacity and, on the other hand, representatives of the EU at ambassadorial or senior official level. The OACPS-EU ALSOC shall meet annually and in special sessions at the request of the Co-Chairs, and in particular, to prepare for the joint Council sessions. It shall be co-chaired by the same Parties that hold the office of Co-Chairs of the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers. It shall take its decisions and make recommendations by common agreement of the Parties. Observers may take part in meetings as appropriate.

2.    The OACPS-EU ALSOC shall prepare the sessions of, and assist, the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers in the fulfilment of its tasks and carry out any mandate entrusted to it by the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers.

3.    The OACPS-EU ALSOC shall adopt its rules of procedure at its first meeting, but no later than 6 months after the entry into force of this Agreement.


ARTICLE 90

OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

1.    Each Member of the three Regional Parliamentary Assemblies shall be member of the OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. The OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly shall meet once every year, as further set out in its rules of procedure as referred to in paragraph 3. It shall be co-chaired by a member of the European Parliament and a member of parliament of the OACPS Members, nominated according to their respective procedures.

2.    The functions of the OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, as a consultative body, shall be as follows:

(i)    adopt resolutions and make recommendations with a view to achieving the objectives of this Agreement; and

(ii)    promote democratic processes, foster cooperation between parliaments, and facilitate greater understanding between the peoples of the OACPS States and those of the European Union.

3.    The Joint Parliamentary Assembly shall adopt its rules of procedure within 6 months of the entry into force of this Agreement.


ARTICLE 91

Regional Summit

The Parties to each Regional Protocol may decide to meet at the level of Heads of State or Government at intervals to be agreed upon by the respective Parties on the basis of a mutually agreed timetable and agenda.

ARTICLE 92

Regional Council of Ministers

1.    The Parties hereby establish a Council of Ministers for each of the three Regional Protocols:

(a)    the Africa-EU Council of Ministers shall comprise, on the one hand, a representative of each State Party in Africa at ministerial level and, on the other hand, representatives of the EU at ministerial level;

(b)    the Caribbean-EU Council of Ministers shall comprise, on the one hand, a representative of each State Party in the Caribbean at ministerial level and, on the other hand, representatives of the EU at ministerial level; and


(c)    the Pacific-EU Council of Ministers shall comprise, on the one hand, a representative of each State Party in the Pacific at ministerial level and, on the other hand, representatives of the EU at ministerial level.

Each Council of Ministers shall be co-chaired by the Chair nominated respectively by the African, Caribbean or Pacific States Parties, on the one hand, and by the Chair nominated by the EU on the other hand, according to their own procedures.

Each Council of Ministers shall meet at intervals to be agreed upon by the respective Parties, in a composition appropriate to the issues to be addressed and on the initiative of the Co-Chairs, and shall take decisions by common agreement of the respective Parties.

2.    The functions of each Regional Council of Ministers shall be to:

(a)    set priorities and, as appropriate, establish plans of action in relation to the objectives of their respective Regional Protocol;

(b)    adopt decisions and make recommendations to give effect to specific aspects of their respective Regional Protocol, including decisions concerning the revision or amendment thereof, in accordance with Article 99(5). The decisions shall be binding on all the Parties to the respective Regional Protocol, unless otherwise specified; and

(c)    conduct dialogue and exchange views on any issues of common interest.


3.    Each Regional Council of Ministers shall adopt decisions or make recommendations by common agreement of the respective Parties. Its proceedings shall be valid only if the representatives of the EU and at least two thirds of the members representing the respective African, Caribbean and Pacific region are present. Any member of any Regional Council of Ministers unable to attend may be represented. The representative shall exercise all the rights of that member.

4.    Each Regional Council of Ministers:

(i)    may adopt decisions or make recommendations by written procedure. The rules laid down in Article 88 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the written procedure of the Regional Council of Ministers;

(ii)    may set up subcommittees and working groups to deal with specific issues more effectively and efficiently, and may delegate powers to the respective Regional Joint Committee;

(iii)    shall submit a report to the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers on the implementation of their respective Protocols; and

(iv)    shall adopt its rules of procedure within 6 months after the entry into force of this Agreement.


ARTICLE 93

Regional Joint Committees

1.    The Parties hereby establish a Joint Committee for each of the three Regional Protocols. Each Joint Committee shall comprise, on the one hand, a representative of each State Party in Africa for the Africa-EU Protocol, each State Party in the Caribbean for the Caribbean-EU Protocol, and each State Party in the Pacific for the Pacific-EU Protocol, at ambassadorial or senior official level, and, on the other hand, representatives of the EU at ambassadorial or senior official level.

2.    Each Regional Joint Committee shall be co-chaired by the same Parties that hold the office of Co-Chairs of the respective Council of Ministers. When appropriate, it may decide to invite observers on the proposal of any Party following the agreement of the Co-Chairs.

3.    Each Regional Joint Committee shall prepare the sessions and assist its respective Council of Ministers in the fulfilment of its tasks and carry out any mandate entrusted to it by the respective Council of Ministers.

4.    Each Regional Joint Committee shall adopt its rules of procedure at its first meeting, but not later than 6 months after the entry into force of this Agreement.


ARTICLE 94

Regional Parliamentary Assembly

1.    The Parties hereby establish a Regional Parliamentary Assembly for each of the three Regional Protocols that shall be co-chaired by a Member of the European Parliament, on the one hand, and a Member of the Parliament from the respective African, Caribbean or, Pacific Parties, nominated as Chair, on the other hand, in accordance with their own procedures:

(a)    The Africa-EU Parliamentary Assembly shall comprise, on the one hand, Members of the European Parliament and, on the other hand, Members of Parliament of each State Party in Africa, in equal number.

(b)    The Caribbean-EU Parliamentary Assembly shall comprise, on the one hand, Members of the European Parliament and, on the other hand, Members of Parliament of each State Party in the Caribbean, in equal number.

(c)    The Pacific-EU Parliamentary Assembly shall comprise, on the one hand, Members of the European Parliament and, on the other hand, Members of Parliament of each State Party in the Pacific, in equal number.


2.    As a consultative body, each Parliamentary Assembly shall meet in particular in advance of meetings of the relevant Council of Ministers. In that regard, each Parliamentary Assembly shall be supplied in a timely manner with the agenda of the relevant Council of Ministers, on the basis of which it may make recommendations to the relevant Council of Ministers, and shall be informed of the decisions and recommendations of the relevant Council of Ministers.

3.    Each Parliamentary Assembly:

(i)    may adopt resolutions and discuss any issues pertaining to their respective Regional Protocol;

(ii)    may promote democratic processes through dialogue and consultation and facilitate greater understanding between the peoples of the European Union and those of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific;

(iii)    shall liaise with the OACPS-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on issues pertaining to this Agreement, in order to ensure coordination and coherence; and

(iv)    shall adopt its rules of procedure within 6 months of the entry into force of this Agreement.


ARTICLE 95

Engagement with stakeholders

1.    The Parties agree that engagement with stakeholders, notably local authorities, civil society, and private sector representatives, is integral to well-informed decision-making and to furthering the objectives of this Partnership.

2.    Stakeholders shall be informed in a timely manner and be able to provide inputs into the broad process of dialogue, particularly in view of the meetings of the respective Councils of Ministers.

3.    In order to promote such engagement, open and transparent mechanisms for structured consultation with stakeholders shall be set up as appropriate.

4.    The results of the consultations with stakeholders shall be communicated to the relevant Council of Ministers, Joint Committee or Parliamentary Assembly, as appropriate.


PART VI

FINAL PROVISIONS

ARTICLE 96

Territorial application

This Agreement shall apply, on the one hand, to the territories in which the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union apply and under the conditions laid down in those Treaties, and, on the other hand, to the territories of the OACPS Members.

ARTICLE 97

Other agreements or arrangements

No treaty, convention, agreement or arrangement of any kind between one or more Member States of the European Union and one or more OACPS Members shall impede the implementation of this Agreement.


ARTICLE 98

Consent to be bound, entry into force and provisional application

1.    The Parties shall express their consent to be bound by this Agreement in accordance with their respective internal rules and procedures.

2.    This Agreement shall enter into force on the first day of the second month following the date on which the EU and at least two thirds of the OACPS Members have completed their respective internal procedures for that purpose and deposited their instruments expressing their consent to be bound with the EU depositary, which shall send a certified copy to the OACPS Secretariat.

3.    An OACPS Member that has not completed the procedures set out in paragraph 2 by the date on which this Agreement enters into force in accordance with paragraph 2 may do so only within 12 months following that date. For such states, this Agreement shall become applicable on the first day of the second month following the deposit of their instruments expressing their consent to be bound with EU depositary, which shall send a certified copy to the OACPS Secretariat. Such States shall recognise the validity of any measure taken to implement this Agreement after the date of its entry into force in accordance with paragraph 2 above.


4.    Notwithstanding paragraphs 2 and 3, the EU and the OACPS Members may apply this Agreement provisionally in whole or in part, pending its entry into force and in accordance with their respective internal procedures. Provisional application shall commence on the first day of the second month after the date on which the EU and the OACPS Members have notified the EU depositary of the completion of their respective internal procedures necessary for such provisional application. The EU shall indicate in its notification the parts of the Agreement that shall be provisionally applied.

ARTICLE 99

Duration and revision

1.    This Agreement is concluded for an initial period of 20 years, [commencing on …2021]. Three years prior to the end of that initial period, the Parties shall enter into a dialogue with a view to re-examining the provisions that shall subsequently govern their relations. This Agreement shall be tacitly extended for a single period of 5 years unless a decision terminating or extending it is agreed upon by all Parties before the end of the initial period of 20 years.

2.    The Parties may submit proposals for amendments to this Agreement to the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers no later than 6 months prior to the meeting of the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers. Any amendments shall be approved by the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers and be subject to the procedures laid down for the entry into force and provisional application of this Agreement.


3.    Within 6 months of the expiry of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Parties shall enter into negotiations with a view to reviewing and revising the strategic priorities of this Agreement, including the Africa Protocol, the Caribbean Protocol and the Pacific Protocol, and to introducing any other necessary amendments. The amended Agreement shall enter into force in accordance with the procedures laid down for the entry into force and provisional application of this Agreement.

4.    The Parties may submit proposals for amendments to the annexes to this Agreement to the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers no later than 6 months prior to the meeting of the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers. Any amendments shall be approved by the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers.

5.    Any proposal for amendment to the Regional Protocols shall be submitted by the respective Parties to the respective Regional Council of Ministers and to the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers no later than 120 days prior to the meeting of their respective Regional Council of Ministers. Any amendments shall be adopted by the respective Regional Council of Ministers and immediately notified to the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers, which may give its consent within 120 days of the notification date, including through written procedure or delegation of power to the ALSOC. The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers may refuse to give its consent for an amendment deemed not consistent with this Agreement, and shall notify the relevant Regional Council of Ministers of the reasons for its refusal. The absence of a refusal of consent within 120 days from the date of notification is deemed to constitute consent. The amended Regional Protocol shall enter into force on the first day of the second month following the date of consent.


6.    The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers may adopt any transitional measures required if a new Agreement is envisaged between the Parties and until such Agreement comes into force or is provisionally applied.

ARTICLE 100

Termination

This Agreement may be terminated by the EU in respect of each OACPS Member and by each OACPS Member in respect of the EU. The termination shall take effect 6 months after receipt by the EU depositary of the written notification thereof, which shall send a certified copy to the OACPS Secretariat.

ARTICLE 101

Dispute settlement and fulfilment of obligations

1.    The Parties shall take any general or specific measures required to fulfil their obligations under this Agreement. They shall address divergences and disputes over the application of the agreement between them and address questions of interpretation related to this Agreement in accordance with this Article.


2.    Without prejudice to the procedures referred to in paragraphs 3 to 9 of this Article and Article 74(4), any question related to the interpretation of this Agreement may be resolved through consultations within the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers or, upon the Parties' agreement, a special subcommittee or any other appropriate mechanism reporting to the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers. The Parties shall present the relevant information required for a thorough examination of the matter, with a view to addressing it in a timely and amicable manner.

3.    For the purposes of paragraphs 4 to 9, the term "Party" refers to the EU, on the one part, and each OACPS Member, on the other part.

4.    The Parties shall address divergences between them within the partnership dialogue, with a view to preventing situations arising in which one party might deem it necessary to have recourse to the consultations provided for under this article in paragraphs 5 and 6.

5.    If either Party considers that the other Party has failed to fulfil any of the obligations under this Agreement, it shall notify the other Party, presenting all relevant information required for a thorough examination of the situation, with a view to reaching a mutually acceptable solution within 90 days of the date of notification. Should this be deemed not sufficient, the Parties shall hold structured and systematic consultations. Where they are unable to reach a mutually acceptable solution within 120 days from the commencement of consultations, the notifying Party may take measures proportionate to the failure to fulfil the specific obligation.


6.    Notwithstanding paragraph 5, if either Party considers that the other Party is in violation of any of the essential elements as set out in Article 9 and Article 18, except in case of special urgency, or in serious cases of corruption as set out in Article 12, it shall notify the other Party, presenting all relevant information required for a thorough examination of the situation, with a view to seeking a mutually acceptable solution within 60 days of the date of notification. Should this be deemed not sufficient, the Parties shall hold structured and systematic consultations. While preserving the bilateral character of the consultations, a special joint committee shall be involved upon agreement of the Parties concerned during the structured and systematic consultations phase. The Special Joint Committee, consisting of an equal number of representatives of the EU and OACPS Members abiding by the principles of genuine partnership and mutual accountability, shall provide advice on the fulfilment of obligations and assist as appropriate so that the Party concerned takes the necessary actions to comply with the obligations arising from this Agreement. The Party concerned remains solely responsible for complying with its obligations under this Agreement. Where they are unable to reach a mutually acceptable solution within 90 days from the commencement of consultations, the notifying Party may take appropriate measures.

7.    If either Party considers that a violation of any of the essential elements constitutes a case of special urgency, it may take appropriate measures with immediate effect, without prior consultations. Cases of special urgency shall refer to exceptional cases of particularly serious and flagrant violation of one of the essential elements referred to in Articles 9 and 18.


8.    "Appropriate measures" referred to in paragraphs 6 and 7 shall be taken in full respect of international law and shall be proportionate to the failure to implement obligations under this Agreement. Priority shall be given to those which least disturb the functioning of this Agreement. Appropriate measures may include the suspension, in part or in full, of this Agreement. After taking the appropriate measures, at the request of either Party, consultations may be called in order to examine the situation thoroughly and find solutions allowing the withdrawal of appropriate measures.

9.    The Parties agree that consultations shall be conducted at the level, and in the form, considered most conducive to reaching a mutually acceptable solution. They agree that, while preserving the bilateral character of the consultations, relevant regional and international actors may be involved in the consultation process upon agreement of the Parties concerned.

ARTICLE 102

Accession

1.    Any request for accession to this Agreement made by an independent state that is a member of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States or any other independent state whose structural characteristics and economic and social situation are comparable to those of the members of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States, shall be presented to the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers. If the request is approved by the OACPS-EU Council of Ministers, the state concerned shall accede to this Agreement by depositing an act of accession with the EU depositary, which shall send a certified copy to the OACPS Secretariat.


2.    The Parties shall review the effects of the accession of new states on this Agreement.

3.    The OACPS-EU Council of Ministers may decide on any transitional or amending measures that might be necessary.

ARTICLE 103

Observer status

In pursuit of the objectives of this Agreement, third actors, including regional and continental organisations, may be granted the status of observer in the institutions established by Part V of this Agreement by decision of the relevant joint institution.

ARTICLE 104

Authentic texts

This Agreement is drawn up in duplicate in the Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish languages, each text being equally authentic.


REGIONAL PROTOCOLS

AFRICA REGIONAL PROTOCOL

PART I

FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

CHAPTER 1

NATURE AND SCOPE

ARTICLE 1

Genuine partnership

1.    For the purposes of this Protocol, "Parties" means the relevant parties bound by this Protocol pursuant to Article 6 of the General Part of the Agreement.

2.    Relations between the Parties shall be governed by the provisions in the General Part of this Agreement and the strategic priorities under this Protocol, which shall be complementary and mutually reinforcing, in accordance with Article 88(5) of the General Part of the Agreement.


3.    The Parties shall implement this Protocol in a spirit of shared ownership, reciprocity, mutual accountability and transparency, with complementary responsibilities at national, regional and international levels.

ARTICLE 2

Strategic priorities

1.    The Parties shall take specific measures in the following key areas of engagement set out in Part II of this Protocol:

(a)    inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development;

(b)    human and social development;

(c)    environment, natural resources management and climate change;

(d)    peace and security;

(e)    human rights, democracy and governance;

(f)    migration and mobility.

2.    The Parties may agree on other areas of engagement and cooperation by mutual consent.


ARTICLE 3

Regional and continental integration and cooperation

1.    The Parties shall foster interconnections and strategic linkages between Africa and the European Union (EU).

2.    The Parties shall support regional and continental integration in Africa as effective ways to achieve peace and prosperity, and to deliver on the priorities of this Protocol, taking into consideration the objectives of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU) and other relevant regional frameworks.

3.    The Parties shall support regional economic integration in Africa through, inter alia, the build-up of larger markets, greater interconnectivity and the free movement of persons, goods, services, capital, labour and technology, in the context of the implementation of the Treaties establishing the African Economic Community and the African Continental Free Trade Area.

4.    The Parties shall support the AU and regional organisations in promoting peace, security, democracy and governance in the context of regional and continental mechanisms such as the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Governance Architecture.


5.    The Parties agree to ensure coherence and complementarity between this Protocol and the continent-to-continent partnership as defined in successive AU-EU Summits and related outcome documents. In their aspiration to achieve the continental priorities as articulated in Agenda 2063, the Parties recognise the role of the AU as well as of regional economic communities on continental and cross-regional issues. In this context, they may engage in dialogue and cooperation on cross-regional and continental issues with those African countries not party to the Agreement.

6.    The Parties agree to engage and strengthen cooperation with the regional economic communities (RECs), acknowledging their role as building blocks under the African integration agenda. They also agree to cooperate with other relevant regional and continental actors that are willing and able to promote common goals.

7.    The Parties shall encourage regional cooperation with the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) associated with the EU and the Outermost Regions (ORs) of the EU in areas of common interest.


CHAPTER 2

ACTORS AND PROCESSES

ARTICLE 4

Institutional provisions

1.    The institutions of this Protocol, the composition and function of which are defined in the General Part of this Agreement, are as follows:

(a)    the Africa-EU Council of Ministers;

(b)    the Africa-EU Joint Committee;

(c)    the Africa-EU Parliamentary Assembly.

2.    The Parties shall take account of the strategic and political guidance of the AU-EU summits in their cooperation and in the implementation of this Protocol.


ARTICLE 5

Consultation with stakeholders

The Parties shall set up mechanisms for open and transparent consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including local authorities, representatives of civil society and the private sector, in order to keep them informed and gather their input for the political processes and implementation of this Protocol, in accordance with Article 5(3) of the General Part of this Agreement.

ARTICLE 6

Implementation and monitoring

1.    The Parties, for each area of engagement, shall promote effective cooperation arrangements and shall carry out the related activities at the most appropriate domestic, regional, multi‑country and continental level. To that end, they recognise the role of regional and continental organisations in implementing this Protocol and shall seek to reinforce the involvement of relevant stakeholders.

2.    The Parties shall monitor the implementation of this Protocol, including through a multi‑stakeholder approach. They may review it on a regular basis and, as appropriate, may revise and expand its scope in existing and new areas of engagement, in accordance with the procedure in Article 99(5) of the General Part of this Agreement.


PART II

KEY AREAS OF COOPERATION

TITLE I

INCLUSIVE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 7

The Parties shall promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development for mutual interest and benefit by fostering structural economic transformation and diversification, creating quality jobs with decent work conditions, and advancing regional economic integration. They shall invest in human capital and skills, promote a sound macro‑economic framework and create a business environment that is conducive to greater flows of investment and private sector development. They shall take measures and cooperate to strengthen capacities in order to mitigate climate change and minimise other environmental risks, supporting a paradigm shift in production and consumption, and promoting climate‑resilient infrastructures, renewable energy and clean technologies, sound management of waste and chemicals, and integrated water management, with a view to decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation and to enabling a gradual transition to circular economies. They shall harness key sectors with high growth and high potential for decent job creation, leading to integration into regional and global high-value chains. They shall endeavour to ensure that everyone benefits from unlocked business opportunities, paying special attention to women and youth, and that core labour standards are promoted and implemented, including through effective social dialogue.


CHAPTER 1

ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

ARTICLE 8

Economic governance

1.    The Parties shall improve macro‑economic stability and promote structural reforms and appropriate economic, fiscal and monetary policies that create the much‑needed space for investment expansion, job creation and private sector development, and strengthen resilience to economic shocks. They shall facilitate the process of economic reform by improving shared understanding and exchange of information on the fundamentals of their economies and the formulation and implementation of economic policies.

2.    The Parties agree to support the principles of good economic governance, adopt measures to improve public finance management, work towards public debt sustainability, strengthen national and regional statistical systems and regional, multilateral surveillance mechanisms, and promote transparent budget execution with public access to documents, effective control systems and a competitive, transparent and accountable public procurement system.


ARTICLE 9

Human capital and skills

1.    The Parties shall strengthen human capital by investing in the areas of education, skills enhancement and capacity building with a view to matching the demands of the labour market and enhancing labour productivity, paying particular attention to the principles of gender equality and non‑discrimination. They shall ensure that national education systems and curricula are geared towards future employment requirements and deliver on national capacity needs.

2.    The Parties shall promote demand-driven technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems, including by partnering with the private sector, which are adapted to the needs and opportunities of local and regional labour markets, in particular, in rural and remote areas.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to develop and implement policies that improve digital skills and literacy and integrate them into the education system.


ARTICLE 10

Business environment and investment climate

1.    The Parties shall improve national and regional regulatory frameworks and simplify business regulations and processes, reduce and streamline administrative formalities, reinforce cooperation and build capacities to implement effective competition policies. They shall adopt open, transparent and clear regulatory frameworks for business and investment, with protection for property rights, land rights and intellectual property rights. They shall ensure effective, transparent and predictable tax systems and improve the role of customs authorities in facilitating trade, while enforcing the rules in place to combat fraud and other infringements. They shall promote policies that enhance the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of labour market institutions, striking the right balance between flexibility and worker protection.

2.    The Parties shall support financial sector reforms through measures that promote the improvement of access to finance and financial services, especially for micro, small and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs), the development and interconnectivity of financial markets, and the integration of capital markets so as to ensure the efficient allocation of savings to productive investment and the private sector. They shall aim to foster competition between financial service providers, to develop viable banking and non-banking financial sectors and to strengthen mobile and digital financial services in view of increasing access to finance, especially for MSMEs. They shall also aim to enhance their collaboration in the implementation of international standards and to ensure open markets, protection of consumers and other users and increased access to mobile services.


3.    The Parties shall endeavour to provide business and investors with relevant and easily accessible information on business opportunities and on how to set up new businesses in Africa and the EU. They shall support structured public-private dialogue, networking between economic operators and the development of business partnerships, to ensure that private sector perspectives are taken into account in efforts to reduce investment risks and in addressing obstacles to sustainable investment while prioritising investment‑climate reform agendas.

4.    The Parties shall support capacity building of public authorities to pursue policy improvements and regulatory reforms to the business environment and investment climate, including through training and expertise and knowledge transfers.

5.    The Parties agree that business environment and investment climate related issues shall be appropriately reflected upon in their dialogue.

ARTICLE 11

Infrastructure

1.    The Parties shall support sustainable and resilient development in key infrastructures such as energy, transport, information and communications technology (ICT) and digital connectivity to facilitate the transformation of their economies, taking into consideration the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.


2.    The Parties shall cooperate in identifying, promoting and jointly financing projects expected to facilitate the transformation of their economies. They shall cooperate to build and maintain well-targeted infrastructure, including industrial parks and export-processing zones, in order to support competitive industries and sectors linked to global markets.

3.    The Parties shall improve the governance of the infrastructure sector. They shall mobilise investment, enhance domestic resource mobilisation, encourage public-private partnerships and harness private sector skills and innovation in the provision of infrastructure and related services.

4.    The Parties agree to facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development and maintenance through enhanced financial, technological and technical support, with particular attention to least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states.

ARTICLE 12

Intellectual property

1.    The Parties shall strengthen cooperation on intellectual property rights, including in the formulation of the regulatory framework for their promotion, protection and enforcement, taking into account the underlying policy objectives.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen capacities to promote, protect and enforce intellectual property rights at domestic, regional and continental levels.


3.    The Parties shall ensure that enforcement procedures are available under their law so as to enable right holders to take effective action against any act of infringement of intellectual property rights.

4.    The Parties shall build capacities to promote the registration and protection of geographical indications (GIs) for both African and European agricultural and food products. They shall undertake actions to support the implementation of the African Union's Continental Strategy for Geographical Indications in Africa, as well as support local communities to take full advantage of geographical indications to move up regional and global value chains.

ARTICLE 13

Investment

1.    The Parties undertake to work jointly to unlock sustainable and responsible investment from domestic and foreign, public and private sources. They shall pay particular attention to sectors that are essential for economic development, have high potential for sustainable job creation particularly in value-adding sectors and foster environmental sustainability.

2.    The Parties agree to facilitate investment through legislation, regulation and policies, which they shall develop in a transparent manner, encouraging public-private dialogue and providing all stakeholders with the opportunity to participate.


3.    The Parties shall boost efforts towards improving the investment climate and business environment. They shall support measures that bridge gaps in foreign investors' knowledge of local investment conditions. They shall promote business contacts and information networks, and facilitate joint investments and joint ventures.

4.    The Parties shall promote effective and more strategic use of public investment to crowd in private sector investment through blending, guarantees and other innovative financial instruments, in order to leverage additional resources from capital markets, de-risk investment and facilitate access to finance. The Parties shall take into account other initiatives that contribute to the financing and promotion of private sector investment in Africa in order to ensure coherence.

5.    The Parties shall promote corporate social responsibility and responsible business conduct throughout the entire value chain, by providing supportive policy frameworks that encourage businesses' uptake of relevant practices and supporting adherence to, and the implementation, follow-up and dissemination of, relevant international standards, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprise and Social Policy of the International Labour Organization. They shall recognise the contribution to sustainability and corporate social responsibility of other voluntary initiatives, including industry self-regulation.


ARTICLE 14

Industrialisation

1.    The Parties shall promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation in Africa through innovation and technological development, with a focus on high added‑value and labour‑intensive sectors.

2.    The Parties shall promote the transformation of African economies and their transition from commodity dependence to diversified economies through the local treatment and processing of raw materials, added ‑value manufacturing and integration into regional and global value chains, including by taking into consideration the Strategy for Accelerated Industrial Development in Africa.

3.    The Parties shall work towards unlocking bottlenecks that hamper industrial development. They shall address supply-side constraints, promote improved productivity, encourage the use of advanced ICT and artificial intelligence, and support digital transformation, taking into account social, mobility, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies. They shall foster climate‑smart and environment‑friendly practices and the use of clean, affordable energy.

4.    The Parties shall seek to create industrial linkages through greater value addition for, inter alia, agriculture and resource-rich countries. They shall foster relations between smaller and larger industries in Africa. They shall develop the services sector to ensure that it contributes efficiently to industrialisation.


5.    The Parties shall facilitate the development of MSMEs in Africa, including by developing linkages within Africa and synergies with EU companies. They shall support policies for the development of entrepreneurship among youth and women in the context of their economic empowerment and the promotion of inclusive development.

ARTICLE 15

Private sector development

1.    The Parties shall promote and strengthen the role of the private sector as an effective driver of sustainable development based on corporate social responsibility and responsible business conduct. They shall provide an enabling environment to unlock the potential of opportunity-driven entrepreneurship and to better harness Africa's entrepreneurial base, combining a mix of tools such as financing, services and training, business culture and regulatory frameworks, innovation and the application of modern technologies. They shall pay particular attention to the informal sector and the formalisation of informal economic activities.

2.    The Parties shall establish the right business framework and support MSMEs and start-ups to seize growth opportunities, including by promoting initiatives for their internationalisation. They shall strengthen MSME support services by focusing on accompanying measures, market access, capacity building and business upgrading. They shall promote and support innovation and entrepreneurship, especially among youth and women.


3.    The Parties shall support structured dialogue between African and EU private sectors and cooperation between African and EU SMEs to help create an improved business environment enabling growth in all economic sectors.

4.    The Parties shall promote private sector commitment and action on green business development and the circular economy, including through the development of social entrepreneurship and the facilitation of access to sustainable finance.

5.    The Parties shall encourage and facilitate wider use of their respective currencies in their international transactions.

ARTICLE 16

Trade cooperation

1.    The Parties, acknowledging the importance of trade as a major contributor to economic growth and development, shall bolster trade opportunities for their mutual benefit. They shall cooperate to build trade capacity and to put in place the framework conditions and policies to facilitate increased trade flows between them.

2.    The Parties agree that Trade cooperation shall be implemented in full conformity with the provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO), including special and differential treatment.


3.    The Parties agree that trade cooperation shall primarily build on existing preferential trade arrangements and the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

4.    Signatories to the EPAs shall support their implementation, including the possibility of broadening their scope and the accession of new members where appropriate.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate to support, with their respective means, the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

6.    The Parties agree that the implementation of the EPAs, the African Continental Free Trade Area and other applicable trading arrangements, are complementary and mutually supportive as well as contributing to the deepening of the regional and continental integration process under the AU trade and structural transformation agenda.

7.    The Parties agree to maintain or establish, at the appropriate levels, joint arrangements to monitor implementation of the EPAs and discuss other applicable trading arrangements, and assess their impact on the development of African economies and on their regional and continental integration processes.

8.    The Parties shall support regional economic integration processes, including through trade facilitation and regulatory harmonisation and shall promote intra-African trade and the integration of African countries into regional and global value chains. They also agree to facilitate and stimulate the creation and consolidation of regional markets for goods and services.


9.    The Parties shall support initiatives that reduce and eliminate unnecessary technical barriers to trade within the scope of the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). They shall cooperate to strengthen sanitary and phyto-sanitary regulations and practices pursuant to the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures. In particular, the Parties shall cooperate to develop international standards that support the relevant policy frameworks of the Parties. They shall cooperate to enhance transparency in the development of regulatory measures and the implementation of standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures (testing, certification, calibration). They shall address among others, issues of metrology and accreditation of laboratories and other Conformity Assessment Bodies combined with adequate market surveillance infrastructure.

10.    The Parties shall cooperate in the area of trade facilitation, building on their respective commitments under the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TF). They shall adopt measures, including technical assistance, to implement the WTO TBT SPS and TF Agreements, and shall support compliance with international standards through appropriate capacity building.

11.    The Parties shall stimulate market development through infrastructure linkages and prioritise the removal of unnecessary barriers and constraints facing exports between Africa and the European Union.

12.    The Parties, according to their level of development and priorities, commit to enhancing market access for goods to African and EU markets, in order to maximise the benefits of existing trade agreements.


CHAPTER 2

KEY SECTORS

ARTICLE 17

Agriculture

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to increase sustainable and quality agricultural production, productivity and processing, with a view to enhancing food and nutrition security, improving livelihoods, creating decent jobs, improving value chains and increasing incomes. They shall strengthen climate‑resilient practices, promote the sustainable management and use of natural resources and ecosystem services, eliminate incentives that generate unsustainable production patterns, and utilise the most sustainable, energy‑efficient and low‑carbon technologies. They shall ensure the transition to sustainable food systems by paying attention to all dimensions of sustainability and shall strengthen the resilience of their agri-food systems to climate and environmental risks and exogenous shocks.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to boost public and private investment, better link African and EU businesses in the agri-food sector, exchange best practices and bring together EU and African expertise for agricultural development. They shall support the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).


3.    The Parties shall bolster investment, putting in place investor-friendly rules and regulations to promote responsible private investment and allow it to thrive in the agri‑food sector. They shall support the development of sustainable agri-food value chains, inter alia through improved rural infrastructures, enhanced vocational training and education, agricultural research and technologies, and facilitated access to finance and markets.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to improve opportunities for agricultural producers, processors and exporters to access national, regional and international markets. They shall promote capacity building in the area of SPS standards, fair‑trade schemes for agro-processing, access to services, agricultural advice and appropriate technologies, with a particular focus on the capacity of young farmers, women, smallholders and family farmers. They shall build the capacities of family farming organisations and MSMEs, in production and processing techniques through empowerment policies, particularly for young people and women.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate on agriculture sector governance, notably through support measures for information and early warning systems to prevent crises, through inclusive policy‑making and by building the capacities of professional organisations at national, regional and continental levels. They shall facilitate access to agricultural land and inheritance rights, including for family farmers, young people and women.


ARTICLE 18

Livestock and leather

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to improve sustainable livestock production, pastoralism and cross-border transhumance, to develop livestock value chains, including by enhancing the capacity of professional organisations, and to support the processing, conservation, trade and development of animal products such as leather, milk and meat taking account of environmental sustainability climate resilience, socio-economic development and inclusive growth. They shall also cooperate to modernise infrastructure for processing and marketing livestock and livestock products with a view to facilitating access to markets and strengthening inter-regional markets in Africa.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to develop and modernise the livestock sector in keeping with the objectives of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), taking into consideration the Livestock Development Strategy for Africa.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to improve animal health, enhance veterinary services and ensure the sustainable management of agro-pastoral resources. They shall encourage the establishment of appropriate national and regional regulatory frameworks and the strengthening of veterinary research capabilities. They shall cooperate to address the risks emerging from Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs) by strengthening monitoring mechanisms and cross-border epidemiological cooperation.


ARTICLE 19

"Blue economy" and fisheries

1.    The Parties shall support the "blue economy", reconciling sustainable economic growth with improved livelihoods, social equity, the conservation of marine and inland ecosystems and their biodiversity, and resilience to climate change, and strengthening food security and transparent, reliable and secure food systems.

2.    The Parties agree to promote sustainable and responsible investment in the blue economy and support targeted intervention to stimulate greater private sector investment. They shall promote integrated watershed management and marine spatial planning to reconcile multiple‑use demands and environmental protection. They shall further promote technology development and transfer and the sharing of knowledge, innovations, best practices and lessons learned on a sustainable blue economy.

3.    The Parties shall promote sustainable marine and inland fisheries for job creation, income generation, the fight against poverty, and enhanced food security and improved nutrition. They shall facilitate joint ventures, promote value-addition and address post-harvest losses through appropriate measures and foster improved access to markets. They shall enhance the social and economic benefits of small-scale fisheries including artisanal fisheries by building sustainable fisheries value chains and strengthening investments and local capacities while paying attention to the participation of vulnerable and marginalised persons.


4.    The Parties shall ensure the conservation and sustainable management and use of marine and inland fisheries resources, in order to maintain fish stocks at sustainable levels, prevent overfishing, support the implementation of climate-smart policies and minimise the negative impacts of fishing on the natural environment. They shall promote regional cooperation and foster best practices in fisheries management, including the promotion of collecting and reporting of fisheries data and statistics.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate to develop sustainable marine and inland aquaculture through effective spatial planning, an ecosystem-based approach, better access to finance and an enhanced level playing field for investors, while ensuring that it meets the concerns of local communities.

6.    The Parties shall promote the sustainable development of coastal and maritime tourism that generates revenue and creates jobs, with due consideration to the environmental and social dimensions.

7.    The Parties shall explore the potential of innovative, new and emerging sustainable maritime activities, including tidal energy. They shall establish the necessary regulatory and policy frameworks for the future development, supporting research and reducing technical bottlenecks to facilitate access for investors while avoiding risks to the marine environment.

8.    The Parties shall support the implementation of blue economy strategies and action plans. They shall facilitate the engagement of the private sector and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of a sustainable blue economy. They shall pay due attention to the development of small island developing states, recognising their dependence on the ocean.


ARTICLE 20

Extractive industries and processing

1.    The Parties shall promote the extractive industries sector to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth and development and the transformation of African economies. The Parties shall encourage investment in extractive industries and processing, taking into account the principle of countries' sovereignty over natural resources. They shall promote greater integration between African and EU value chains.

2.    The Parties shall promote fair, responsible and undistorted access to extractive resources, fully respecting countries' sovereignty over their natural resources, and shall foster sustainable trade between African and EU operators, upholding the rights of affected communities. They shall support the development, harmonisation and implementation of coherent policies and robust regulatory and legal frameworks for the exploration, exploitation, handling, licensing, contracting, taxation, processing and exporting of extractive resources. They shall encourage local MSMEs' participation in the extractive industries sector by facilitating the transfer of skills and technology so as to contribute to their competitiveness, with a view to them becoming full actors in the value chains.


3.    The Parties shall promote good governance in the extractive sector for socioeconomic development. They shall strengthen domestic legislation to ensure compliance with internationally recognised principles and guidelines, taking into consideration regional strategies as appropriate. They shall combat tax fraud and tax evasion, and ensure that all operators pay the taxes, fees and royalties due to host countries. They shall use national, regional and international legal means to fight illegal exploitation and trade in mineral resources.

4.    The Parties shall support national, regional and international initiatives to improve transparency and accountability in the use and management of extractive resources, including by promoting the Kimberley Process and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and other relevant initiatives on the responsible and sustainable extraction and sourcing of minerals, such as the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict‑Affected and High-Risk Areas.

5.    The Parties shall support the development of appropriate legislation and mechanisms, taking into account the needs of artisanal and small-scale miners, local communities and civil society, and fostering their engagement, to ensure the inclusive and sustainable exploitation of extractive resources. They shall promote environmental sustainability, climate-smart practices, decent work conditions, the health and safety of local communities and respect for human rights, in line with international obligations and commitments. They shall cooperate to build the productive capacities of local entrepreneurs in the extractive value chains and artisanal and small-scale miners, and shall encourage social partnerships between mining companies, local communities and other relevant stakeholders. They shall promote national and regional mapping and exploration activities to improve the quality of geological information and geo-data management systems in Africa.


ARTICLE 21

Manufacturing

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to foster sustainable manufacturing in Africa, developing tailor‑made strategies designed to reduce dependency on low-end primary production and to create value addition at local and regional levels.

2.    The Parties shall develop policies to attract more domestic and foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector. They shall cooperate to support the capacity of MSMEs. They shall promote innovation and advanced manufacturing clusters, networks and partnerships.

3.    The Parties shall endeavour to increase the proportion of labour-intensive manufacturing. They shall cooperate to assimilate new and emerging technologies with a view to transforming supply chains and modernising production.

4.    The Parties shall support efforts to increase trade in manufactured goods through linkages to markets, trade facilitation, including for enhanced quality standards and infrastructure. They shall strengthen regional integration to unlock Africa's manufacturing potential and improve its competitiveness in global markets.


ARTICLE 22

Services

1.    The Parties shall take measures that support the development of a vibrant and robust services sector, to pave the way for increased trade in services, exports and investments, and strengthened regional integration and inter-regional cooperation.

2.    The Parties shall develop sector-specific policies and measures to address regulatory hurdles, improve institutional and regulatory frameworks and strengthen capacity in the supply of services. They shall support the implementation of the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), deepen regional cooperation, reduce the fragmentation of services markets in Africa, strengthen the generation and analysis of data on trade in services, and support the monitoring of services integration and the impact of reforms in lowering trade costs.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to enhance trade in services, including the movement of natural persons for business purposes between Africa and the EU, with a particular focus on key sectors for their economic growth and development, such as ICT, health, financial services, distribution, tourism, construction and related engineering services, in line with existing international agreements.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen capacity in the supply of services relating to cultural and creative industries.


ARTICLE 23

Transport

1.    The Parties shall cooperate towards achieving modern, safe, secure and sustainable transport systems, enhancing interconnectivity within Africa and between Africa and the EU.

2.    The Parties shall improve the overall governance of the transport sector, developing and implementing efficient regulations that allow fair competition within and between transport modes. They shall aim to reduce the environmental impact of transport modes by promoting clean energy through improved fuel standards and energy‑efficient technologies.

3.    The Parties shall bolster investment to support the further development of transport infrastructures and networks (i.e. road, air, water, rail), paying particular attention to missing-link infrastructures and their maintenance, taking into account the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). They shall improve access to basic infrastructures for rural and remote communities in order to enhance their socio-economic development. They shall work towards strengthening sustainable port infrastructure and facilities and shall explore the possibility of creating green ports.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate in the aviation sector, including by supporting the establishment and strengthening of the Single African Air Transport Market. They shall bolster investment, broaden and deepen regulatory cooperation and enhance safety and security and airspace surveillance, including their capability to respond to related threats and risks.


ARTICLE 24

Sustainable energy

1.    The Parties shall endeavour to accelerate access to sustainable and affordable energy, to develop resilient energy infrastructures, particularly in rural areas, and to promote the development of renewable energy and efficient energy use. They shall promote the use of the most efficient energy and low-carbon technologies in all sectors particularly in agriculture, manufacturing, extractive industries and tourism.

2.    The Parties shall promote energy security, and establish and reinforce effective energy interconnections within Africa and between Africa and the EU, so as to ensure reliable and affordable energy supply. They shall address regulatory, economic, societal and other challenges related to the development of strategic sustainable energy corridors.

3.    The Parties shall facilitate open, transparent, competitive and functioning energy markets by adopting legal and regulatory frameworks that drive investment in sustainable energy, energy storage and energy efficiency. They shall phase out environmentally harmful fossil fuel subsidies. They undertake to strengthen the partnership between African and EU private sectors, and the engagement of their public and private sectors, in order to boost investment in sustainable energy generation, energy efficiency and energy access. They shall mobilise investment in a diversified and clean energy mix for electricity, favouring renewable resources. They shall support the implementation of relevant national and regional energy initiatives in Africa, including by contributing to the objectives of the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI).


4.    The Parties shall promote energy efficiency and energy savings at all stages of the energy chain, from generation to consumption. They agree to work towards increasing sustainable energy generation and storage capacity, and to improve transmission and distribution infrastructure by promoting solutions that are safe, sustainable, resource‑efficient and climate-smart, and that contribute more effectively to eradicating poverty.

5.    The Parties shall support the development and uptake of clean, diverse, cost-effective and sustainable energy technologies, with a focus on renewable and low‑emission energy technologies and on energy efficiency and energy saving measures, by strengthening capacities and promoting Africa-EU partnerships, linkages and joint ventures between economic operators. They shall promote joint networks for research and innovation (R&I) on renewable energy and energy efficiency.

6.    The Parties shall support sector reforms and the development of appropriate regulatory and policy frameworks to ensure regional interconnectivity and cooperation in the area of energy. They shall strengthen regional power pools as a vehicle for integrated cross-border energy markets and trading.


ARTICLE 25

Information and communication technologies and digital economy

1.    The Parties shall increase access to open, affordable and secure information and communication technologies (ICT), including by supporting private and public investments. They shall endeavour to establish the necessary regulatory institutions to license service providers, promote competitive behaviour and ensure the fair treatment of consumers, and data and consumer protection.

2.    The Parties shall improve access to digital technologies and services, and establish affordable digital connectivity, including through a conducive policy and regulatory framework. They shall improve the business environment and facilitate access to finance and business support services to foster digitally enabled entrepreneurship and mainstream digitalisation, so as to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of interventions in all economic sectors with the objective of achieving inclusive economic growth and transformation.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to create an enabling environment, specifically through the establishment and adaptation of appropriate, legal and institutional frameworks, to unlock the potential of the digital economy, including e-commerce, in job creation and economic development, with a particular focus on women and youth.

4.    The Parties shall support the transition towards knowledge-based economies.


ARTICLE 26

Tourism

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to create an enabling environment for a balanced and sustainable development of tourism, which fosters economic development, generates employment and promotes the integration of environmental, cultural and social considerations, including by addressing challenges particular to the tourism industry.

2.    The Parties shall bolster investment in the promotion and development of tourism products, with due regard to the competitive position of MSMEs. They shall strengthen linkages between tourism and other relevant economic sectors, such as agriculture, forestry, transport, the blue economy, cultural industries and heritage, with a view to optimising the socio-economic benefits of tourism.

3.    The Parties shall enhance the protection and promotion of cultural heritage and natural resources, paying particular attention to environmental and wildlife protection. They shall respect the integrity and interests of local communities and maximise their involvement in the process of tourism development, in particular rural and community tourism and ecotourism.

4.    The Parties shall develop initiatives that promote sustainable tourism and improve service standards. They shall promote training and exchanges of experiences and share information and statistics of mutual interest in the tourism sector.


CHAPTER 3

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT, RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

ARTICLE 27

Science and technology development

The Parties shall strengthen cooperation in the areas of science and technology for mutual benefit, with the aim of promoting social and economic development, tackling global societal challenges and improving regional competitiveness.

ARTICLE 28

Research and innovation

1.    The Parties agree to mobilise resources to foster research and innovation activities aimed at supporting inclusive economic growth and development, and the transition towards knowledge-based societies and economies.


2.    The Parties shall encourage the development of research infrastructures and facilities. They shall foster basic and applied research, including in the areas of engineering and artificial intelligence, and encourage open data in pursuit of mutually beneficial scientific excellence. They shall promote research undertaken in African universities, institutes and research centres, paying special attention to capacity building and the transfer of technology and know-how. They shall enhance participation in global research, technology development and transfer, innovation and knowledge production.

3.    The Parties shall promote and support innovative mobility and training schemes for students, academics and researchers, and build the capacity of higher education institutions to network effectively in research and innovation. They shall encourage dialogue, knowledge exchange and collaboration between the academic community, researchers and innovators, and the private sector, with a view to enhancing productivity and competitiveness, and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems.

ARTICLE 29

Space and geospatial technology

1.    The Parties shall harness the potential benefits of space science, technology, innovation and applications on matters of common interest in the area of civil space activities, such as space research, global navigation satellite systems applications and services, the development of satellite augmentation systems, earth observation and earth science, particularly the use of early warning and surveillance. They shall cooperate to develop a responsible and sustainable space market and industry that promotes and responds to their respective needs.


2.    The Parties shall cooperate to conduct activities that exploit space technologies and applications for sustainable development and for the improvement of people's welfare and that address Africa's socio-economic opportunities and challenges taking into consideration the African Space Policy Strategy. They shall improve access to space-derived data, information, services and products.

TITLE II

HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 30

The Parties shall work towards eradicating poverty in all its forms by 2030, combating inequality, achieving gender equality, and creating the conditions to enable everyone to enjoy a life of dignity, participate in democratic life and make an active contribution to sustainable economic growth. They shall foster social protection, with a view to eradicating poverty and fighting inequalities, and as a means of creating a self-strengthening cycle towards inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. They shall invest in human capital as an integral part of human and social development, and a way to increase the employability of young people for enhanced productivity and entrepreneurship.


CHAPTER 1

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 31

Education

1.    The Parties shall aim to achieve universal, inclusive and equitable access to quality education at all levels, from pre-school to higher education, including improved enrolment and retention rates. They shall enhance the quality of formal education and non-formal learning, cooperate in curriculum development and improve infrastructure and equipment in education centres. They shall pay particular attention to the specific needs of women and girls, as well as to the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, including persons with disabilities, and those in situations of emergency and fragility.

2.    The Parties shall promote the expanded delivery and application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and arts, for all. They shall promote the use of accessible and affordable digital technologies and the development of digital skills and literacy for all.

3.    The Parties shall endeavour to boost enrolment and quality in tertiary education, technical and vocational training, and work-based and adult learning, to build a critical mass of skilled innovation workers and highly educated people, and to respond effectively to specific economic needs.


4.    The Parties shall work together to encourage the recognition and transparency of qualifications, and improved quality assurance and relevance. They shall increase support for specific initiatives to facilitate the mobility of students, staff, academics and researchers between Africa and the EU. They shall foster partnerships between institutions and promote the development and transfer of knowledge.

ARTICLE 32

Health

1.    The Parties shall aim at achieving universal health coverage and equitable access to quality essential healthcare services, including through strengthened national health systems and functioning modern healthcare facilities.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to eliminate preventable maternal, child and neo-natal mortality and morbidity. They shall aim to deliver universal access to sexual and reproductive health services. They shall cooperate to address the growing incidence and burden of non‑communicable diseases.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to tackle communicable and vector-borne diseases, including neglected tropical diseases. They shall cooperate to address pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and to reduce substantially the rate of resultant deaths. They shall support access to safe and affordable essential medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, including universal access to anti-retroviral treatment for people with HIV/AIDS.


4.    The Parties shall strengthen capacity for emergency preparedness and response, to detect, prevent and respond to disease outbreaks and other health threats, such as antimicrobial resistance, taking a "one health" approach. They agree to scale up support for national and regional health prevention, surveillance and monitoring systems.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate in the promotion of local knowledge and regulation of traditional medicine in public health activities.

ARTICLE 33

Water, sanitation and housing

1.    The Parties shall work towards ensuring that everyone has access to modern and liveable habitats with quality basic services.

2.    The Parties shall promote access to affordable and decent housing for all in sustainable human settlements, taking account of effective territorial planning and land tenure, and use and management systems when enacting housing policies. They shall work towards reducing the proportion of people living in slums and shall cooperate to upgrade slums and informal settlements.

3.    The Parties shall foster universal access to sufficient, safe, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use, including through sustainable and integrated water resources and systems management, and more efficient water use and recycling.


4.    The Parties shall boost physical, affordable and acceptable access to sanitation for all, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, and socially and culturally acceptable, and that provides privacy and ensures dignity.

5.    The Parties shall increase access to sustainable energy services for all and support efficiency in households' energy usage.

ARTICLE 34

Food security and improved nutrition

1.    The Parties shall enhance access to safe and nutritious food with a view to achieving the zero hunger target and eradicating famines and other types of food crises. They shall support the establishment of adequate systems of food supply and storage.

2.    The Parties shall fight all forms of malnutrition, including through improved food production and distribution, and better sanitation and environmental conditions. They shall support sustainable agricultural production and productivity, including at the level of small-scale fisheries to unleash their full potential as critical sources for food and nutrition security, by inter alia improved access to finance for small producers and developed irrigation, storage and transport infrastructure to facilitate market access and ensure food product safety and quality.


3.    The Parties shall build resilience of the most vulnerable populations to food-related shocks through strengthened social safety nets. They shall enhance coordination between development and humanitarian action, so as to better anticipate, prevent and prepare for famines and other types of food crisis, and ensure timely action to make food locally available.

CHAPTER 2

INEQUALITY AND SOCIAL COHESION

ARTICLE 35

Inequality and social protection

1.    The Parties shall promote the development and implementation of policies and systems of social protection and security, in order to eradicate poverty, fight inequalities and enhance social cohesion.

2.    The Parties shall support the transformative role of social protection policies and systems, which foster equity, promote social inclusion and dialogue with social partners, and strengthen inclusive, equitable and sustainable economic growth. They shall aim at building progressively universal, nationally owned social protection systems, including through the adoption of minimum social protection floors, with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations.


3.    The Parties shall cooperate in support of attaining and sustaining income growth of the bottom 40 % of the population at a rate higher than the national average.

4.    The Parties shall endeavour to ensure that all persons working in the formal sector are provided with social security. They shall also endeavour to boost the number of people in the informal sector and rural economy that have access to social security, with the goal of progressively reaching universality.

5.    The Parties shall develop initiatives to support the transition from the informal to the formal economy, including access to credit and micro-finance, and strengthened social protection measures.

6.    The Parties shall promote and facilitate dialogue between employers' and workers' organisations in the formal and informal economy, and civil society organisations, including through capacity building.

ARTICLE 36

Decent work

1.    The Parties shall support the development and implementation of macroeconomic, employment and social policies that focus on the creation of full and productive employment and decent work for all, particularly for youth, women, as well as for vulnerable persons and groups.


2.    The Parties shall develop and maintain inclusive and well-functioning labour markets and shall adopt measures that address the informal economy and prevent unfair labour practices.

3.    The Parties shall support measures that ensure equal employment opportunities and equal remuneration for work of equal value and guarantee adequate paid parental leave in both the public and private sectors. They shall adopt prevention and protection measures against all forms of discrimination in the workplace, ensure respect for fundamental rights at work and enhance healthy and safe conditions for workers.

4.    The Parties shall work towards the elimination of child labour, prioritising the worst forms of it.

ARTICLE 37

Persons with disabilities

1.    The Parties shall promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by all persons with disabilities, in view of the effective implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


2.    The Parties shall take measures to ensure the full inclusion in society of persons with disabilities and their participation in all spheres of public and private life, including in democratic and political affairs and decision-making processes. They shall prevent, combat and eliminate any harmful practices and all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse or discrimination against persons with disabilities and shall protect relatives, caregivers or intermediaries from discrimination on the basis of their association with persons with disabilities.

3.    The Parties shall promote equal and barrier-free access to social services, transportation and other physical infrastructure as well as to recreational and cultural activities for persons with disabilities, and shall support alternative methods of communication, where appropriate, to enable their full inclusion in society.

4.    The Parties shall promote equal access to labour markets, prohibiting any discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all forms and conditions of employment. They shall support the employment of persons with disabilities in the public and private sectors through targeted policies and incentive measures, including for self-employment and entrepreneurship.


ARTICLE 38

Culture, sport and people-to-people contacts

1.    The Parties shall support culture as an engine for sustainable and economic development. They shall create an enabling environment for cultural innovation, diversity and development, as well as for the creation, protection, production and distribution of cultural works. They shall encourage the use of new information and communication technologies to promote their culture.

2.    The Parties shall enhance the protection and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, and the diversity of cultural expression, with a view to enhancing mutual understanding and fostering balanced cultural exchanges.

3.    The Parties shall endeavour to promote the mobility of culture professionals and the circulation of works of art, and to carry out joint initiatives in various cultural and creative sectors. They shall encourage intercultural exchanges and dialogue among youth organisations and civil society from Africa and the EU.

4.    The Parties shall support the development of creative industries. They shall work towards putting in place support measures with a view to stimulating artistic creation and facilitating exchange of artistic expression.


5.    The Parties shall promote sport as a driver for sustainable development, social inclusion, non-discrimination and the advancement of human rights. They shall endeavour to develop adequate facilities and to encourage people's participation in sporting and other physical education activities. They shall also support sport as a means for intercultural dialogue and cooperation between nations, prevention of conflict and violence, and post-conflict reconciliation.

CHAPTER 3

POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 39

Demography

1.    The Parties acknowledge the need to manage the opportunities and challenges of demographic change, in order to better meet the aspirations and hopes of future generations in Africa and the EU.

2.    The Parties shall ensure the systematic collection, analysis, storage and dissemination of statistics and data on all the population in accordance with ethical, confidentiality and privacy standards and shall take data and trends into account in their development plans.


3.    The Parties shall empower and invest in youth and women, acknowledging their critical role in demographic processes. They shall promote the human rights of women and youth and shall provide them with the education and skills they need. They shall mobilise investment and unlock economic opportunities, so as to harness the potential of large youth populations.

ARTICLE 40

Gender equality and empowerment of women

1.    The Parties shall strengthen cooperation aimed at improving and expanding equal participation and opportunities for all, in all sectors of political, economic, social and cultural life. They shall ensure that the gender perspective is systematically mainstreamed across all policies and programmes.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to promote the human and social development of women and girls. They shall endeavour to remove all barriers in health and education in order to eliminate gender disparities. They shall work towards universal and equal access to formal education and vocational training in order to reach the full potential of women and girls and help realise their aspirations. They shall ensure that learning materials and teaching methods are gender‑responsive and shall encourage women and girls to undertake studies in the STEM disciplines.


3.    The Parties shall facilitate equal access by women to economic opportunities, employment, credit and financial services, and control over and use of land and other productive assets. They shall support women entrepreneurs, eliminate the gender pay gap and remove discriminatory regulations and practices. They shall take effective measures to identify and take action against acts of sexism and to address root causes of gender discrimination such as negative social norms and gender stereotypes including in mass media.

4.    The Parties shall strengthen the voices of women and girls and their participation in political life through measures to achieve gender parity in electoral, policy and governance processes and in senior government positions, including constitutional bodies and state-owned businesses, and shall promote their active role in peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts.

5.    The Parties shall enact and enforce legislation that protects women and girls from all forms of violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse, and trafficking.


6.    The Parties shall commit to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes of their review conferences. They shall further stress the need for universal access to quality and affordable comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and education, taking into consideration the UNESCO International technical guidance on sexuality education, as well as the need for the delivery of relevant health-care services. They shall promote and encourage the ratification and the effective implementation of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and support the effective implementation of the Maputo Plan of Action 2016-2030, as appropriate.

ARTICLE 41

Youth

1.    The Parties shall support youth entrepreneurship and shall undertake to secure decent employment for young people, including by supporting them in acquiring labour market‑relevant skills through education, vocational and technical training, enhanced access to digital technologies, and facilitate access to land and credit. They shall establish youth‑friendly employment services to connect young people to employment opportunities.


2.    The Parties shall cooperate to empower young people and shall work to open space for their active inclusion in decision-making processes and their participation in democratic and political life as well as in peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts. They shall promote policies and programmes for marginalised youth, including youth advocacy programmes, to offer them the opportunity and motivation to reintegrate into society.

3.    The Parties shall support initiatives aimed at ensuring access to quality basic services for all children, preventing the recruitment and use of children in conflict situations and ending all forms of violence and harmful practices against children, including child, early, and forced marriage, child labour, child abuse and corporal punishment, with a special focus on children in situations of vulnerability.

ARTICLE 42

Sustainable urbanisation and rural development

1.    The Parties shall boost the potential of cities as hubs for sustainable and inclusive growth and for innovation.


2.    The Parties shall promote sustainable land-use planning and equitable management of land markets, paying particular attention to transparent and regulated land acquisitions and property rights. They shall also promote sustainable urban mobility and smart, safe cities that make use of opportunities from digitalisation and technologies. They shall integrate sustainable energy production and energy‑efficiency solutions, encourage productive use of energy, improve the management of waste and address all forms of pollution. They shall enhance urban mobility solutions and ensure that services and infrastructure provisions are designed to be climate- and environment‑friendly and that resources are used efficiently. They shall build cities' resilience to shocks and harness opportunities for a low-emission and climate-resilient economy.

3.    The Parties shall promote a balanced territorial development of rural economies and communities, with a special focus on employment and income generation. They shall accelerate rural diversification through adding value to local products and exploiting natural and cultural resources. They shall promote inclusive, balanced, integrated territorial and urban policies, and multi-level governmental coordination actively engaging local authorities and communities, and forging stronger links between rural and urban areas.


TITLE III

ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE

ARTICLE 43

The Parties shall take ambitious action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, protect and improve the quality of the environment, and manage natural resources sustainably, with a view to stopping and reversing climate change and environmental degradation, and attaining sustainable development. They shall adopt specific measures to reduce and prevent loss of biodiversity, maintain and restore ecosystems, protect and fight illegal trade in wildlife, promote the sustainable management of water, land and other natural resources, strengthen ocean governance, combat all forms of pollution, promote sound waste management, and build resilience to natural disasters. They shall work together to prevent climate change impacts and environmental degradation from continuing to act as a threat multiplier with serious implications for peace and security. They shall accelerate the transition to greener pathways for development in key economic sectors, promote circular economies and resource efficiency, and support clean and sustainable energy and low-carbon technologies, ensuring that economic growth goes hand in hand with the transition to low emissions and environmental sustainability. They shall endeavour to build effective alliances in international settings, with a view to driving global action forward. They shall build capacity to implement multilateral environmental agreements to which they are party and shall mainstream environmental sustainability, climate change objectives and the pursuit of environmentally sustainable growth in national and local policies, plans and investments. They shall promote the constructive engagement of local authorities, civil society and the private sector, and respect for the rights of all, including indigenous peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and local communities.


CHAPTER 1

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

ARTICLE 44

Biodiversity and ecosystems

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to ensure that biodiversity and ecosystems are preserved, protected and restored, so that the significant economic, social and cultural services they provide continue to support human well-being and economic growth. They shall develop and implement national biodiversity strategies and action plans in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols.

2.    The Parties shall enact legislation and adopt integrated strategies for the incorporation of biodiversity considerations in all relevant sectors. They shall support innovative options, such as nature-based solutions or agro-ecology, as well as valuing ecosystems services, in maximising mainstreaming of biodiversity.


3.    The Parties shall take an inclusive approach to address key drivers of habitat loss such as land use change, the expansion of subsistence agriculture, and the development of commercial agriculture, urban areas and energy infrastructures. They shall take measures to control forest exploitation, land clearing for cultivation, fires, grazing by animals and invasive species. They shall protect, conserve and promote the sustainable use and rehabilitation of forests, woodlands, rangelands, wetlands and other areas with vegetation cover. They shall maintain and enhance species and genetic diversity of plants and animals whether terrestrial, fresh-water or marine.

4.    The Parties shall step up their efforts to establish, effectively manage and improve the governance of protected areas for biodiversity conservation.

5.    The Parties shall strengthen the involvement of local communities and indigenous peoples, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), in the conservation of ecosystems, including through the promotion of environment-friendly and sustainable tourism and the creation of jobs and other economic opportunities.


ARTICLE 45

Circular economy

1.    The Parties shall prevent or minimise the generation of waste at source. They shall improve product reusability, recyclability and resource efficiency in order to adapt production and consumption to the achievement of a circular economy, including through adequate waste collection and sorting services and environmentally sound recycling initiatives and facilities. They undertake to adopt policies on the circular economy in order to protect the environment and human health, make products more energy- and resource‑efficient, broaden consumer choice and improve waste management.

2.    The Parties shall establish the necessary domestic regulatory frameworks and enforcement mechanisms for the environmentally sound management of chemicals and waste and for the implementation of the relevant multilateral agreements. They shall take the necessary measures to combat dumping and illegal trade in hazardous waste, including radioactive materials, chemical and organic waste, in conformity with the provisions of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal and taking into consideration the provisions of the Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa. They shall prevent or minimise hazardous substances in material cycles and manage chemicals in products throughout their lifecycle. They shall support informed decision-making on appropriate measures to protect the environment and human health, including against pollution resulting from inappropriately managed waste, and to remediate associated environmental damage.


3.    The Parties shall effectively address all forms of pollution. They shall take measures aimed at the detection, prevention and reporting of pollution. They shall increase efforts to prevent plastic pollution and to remove plastics and micro-plastics from the environment. They shall explore opportunities for strengthened cooperation on combating air pollution. They shall raise awareness of the public health and environmental risks of pollution and the multiple benefits of improved air quality, including through public outreach campaigns.

ARTICLE 46

Ocean governance

1.    The Parties shall strengthen ocean governance in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea to ensure safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans, reducing the pressures on oceans and seas and promoting the sustainable development of the blue economy and strengthening ocean knowledge.

2.    The Parties shall ensure the conservation and sustainable management and use of living marine resources at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, particularly in the context of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs).


3.    The Parties shall maintain or adopt initiatives to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including, where appropriate, the implementation of policies and measures to exclude IUU products from trade flows. They shall promote and effectively implement and enforce monitoring, control and surveillance measures, such as observer schemes, vessel-monitoring systems, fishing licences and authorisations, catch recording and reporting, transhipment control, inspections and port state control as well as associated measures to ensure compliance, including sanctions according to domestic regulations, aimed at the conservation of fish stocks and the prevention of overfishing.

4.    The Parties agree to take the necessary steps to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, to eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and to refrain from introducing such new subsidies, recognising that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for African developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation.

5.    The Parties shall reduce the pressures on the oceans by protecting, preserving and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems, valorising marine and coastal natural capital and fighting marine pollution, including oil spills, the destruction of the seabed, noise pollution and marine litter, including plastics and micro-plastics from land- and sea‑based sources. They shall support and strive for the regulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions from ships and shall actively support the urgent implementation of the Initial International Maritime Organization Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships. They shall scale-up ocean and coastal clean-up operations, paying particular attention to accumulation zones in ocean gyres.


6.    The Parties shall take actions related to oceans that contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

7.    The Parties shall develop measures related to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity on the basis of the best available scientific information.

8.    The Parties recognise the general concerns raised about the impact of seabed mining on the marine environment and its biodiversity. They shall use the best available science, apply the precautionary principle and ecosystem approach, promote research and share best practices in fields of mutual interest related to seabed mineral resources, in order to ensure sound environmental management of activities for the protection and preservation of the marine environment and its biodiversity.

ARTICLE 47

Land management and land degradation

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to prevent land degradation and to develop long-term integrated strategies for the conservation and sustainable management of land.


2.    The Parties shall promote integrated approaches and adopt measures for the conservation and improvement of soil. They shall combat soil erosion and degradation, and the deterioration of its physical, chemical and biological properties. They shall address pollution caused specifically by agricultural activities, including aquaculture and animal husbandry. They shall ensure sustainable and equitable land rights and tenure and sustainable land, water and forest resource management, and shall create sustainable economic opportunities for people living in rural areas. They shall ensure that non-agricultural forms of land use, including but not limited to public works, mining and the disposal of waste, do not result in erosion, pollution or any other form of land degradation.

3.    The Parties shall take measures for effective land-use planning and infrastructure that strengthen resilience in hazard-prone countries, while enhancing disaster‑response capabilities. They shall plan and implement mitigation and rehabilitation measures based on best practices, best scientific knowledge and local knowledge and experience in areas affected by land degradation.

ARTICLE 48

Forests

1.    The Parties shall promote sustainable forest management and use of forest resources. They shall halt deforestation and forest degradation, and combat illegal logging and associated trade.


2.    The Parties shall support forest landscape restoration initiatives to reverse deforestation, establish forest reserves, restore degraded forest landscapes, carry out afforestation programmes where necessary and limit forest grazing to seasons and intensities that will allow forest regeneration.

3.    The Parties shall promote sustainable value chains of agriculture and forest commodities, prioritising the creation of jobs and other economic opportunities in the conservation of ecosystems.

4.    The Parties shall support the implementation of the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, including by concluding and implementing Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs). They shall strengthen coherence and positive interactions at country level between FLEGT and the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

5.    The Parties shall strengthen the involvement of local authorities and communities in forest protection. They shall raise public awareness of deforestation at all levels and encourage the consumption of resource- and energy-efficient products from sustainably managed forests. They shall promote and support the use of alternative and sustainable cooking fuel for local populations.


ARTICLE 49

Wildlife

1.    The Parties shall support in situ conservation of Africa's key landscapes for biodiversity conservation, particularly trans-border protected areas that are habitats for key wildlife species, and enable adequate connectivity to allow for wildlife migration and species‑range adaptation to climate change. They shall also strengthen agencies responsible for protected areas and promote the involvement of rural communities in the sustainable management of wildlife and woodlands.

2.    The Parties shall combat wildlife trafficking by supporting the formulation and enforcement of policies and laws to make it a serious crime, strengthening anti-poaching measures and law enforcement monitoring, and promoting international coordination in the context of the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and other relevant international frameworks. They shall raise public awareness, educating and influencing consumers, destroying stockpiles and promoting high‑profile diplomacy and advocacy.

3.    The Parties shall support efforts to promote sustainable consumption of bush-meat, while developing affordable alternative sources of protein and developing sustainable livelihoods.


ARTICLE 50

Water and freshwater management

1.    The Parties shall manage their water resources in a sustainable manner, with a view to maintaining high levels in terms of quantity and quality. They shall promote integrated water resources management and implement policies for the planning, conservation, management, use and development of underground and surface water, and for the harvesting and use of rainwater. They shall protect and restore water sources and ecosystems, prevent water pollution, collect and treat wastewater, and enable environmentally sound urban development. They shall optimise the contribution of the water sector in order to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

2.    The Parties shall promote cooperation for transboundary water‑resource management, with a view to achieving freshwater sustainability, preventing land degradation and desertification, building resilience to water-related hazards, for example floods, droughts and pollution, including through water collection and storage systems, and preventing the risks of conflicts.

3.    The Parties shall support sustainable water management and good water governance at all levels. They shall strengthen dialogue and encourage partnerships between public authorities, the private sector and civil society.


4.    The Parties shall promote the sustainable exploitation and management of freshwater fisheries with a view to maintaining healthy fish stocks and minimising any negative impacts on the natural environment. They shall combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in violation of domestic laws. They shall strengthen capacities, promote regional cooperation, and adopt measures to improve the management and governance of freshwater fisheries at national and regional levels. They shall mainstream climate change mitigation and adaptation in freshwater fisheries and aquaculture, promote the restoration and conservation of aquatic ecosystems and their biodiversity, and combat all forms of pollution affecting lakes and rivers.

CHAPTER 2

CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL DISASTERS

ARTICLE 51

Climate action

1.    The Parties shall pursue the objectives and be guided by the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They shall enact comprehensive and inclusive domestic climate policies and programmes to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement.


2.    The Parties shall formulate, communicate and maintain successive and ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), develop and implement ambitious National Adaptations Plans (NAPs), as appropriate, develop long-term visions towards low emissions and climate-resilient development and invest in climate change mitigation and adaptation capacities. They shall develop Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) as well as evaluation systems to track progress on climate action.

3.    The Parties shall design long term strategies to reduce emissions arising from the transport sector (road, aviation and maritime). They shall promote smart urban mobility and foster the implementation of policy approaches and positive incentives for reducing emissions from unsustainable land management, deforestation and forest degradation. They shall engage in promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency and encourage countries to engage in energy transition. They shall phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and minimise the possible adverse impacts on their development, in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities. They shall strengthen international cooperation to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, greenhouse gas (GHG) sinks and reservoirs.

4.    The Parties shall promote an ambitious phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer by cooperating to support the ratification of the Kigali Amendment thereof and shall work towards ensuring its swift implementation to achieve an ambitious global phase-down of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons.


5.    The Parties shall recognise and act on the threat that climate change and environmental degradation pose to peace and security, particularly in situations of fragility and on the most vulnerable countries. They shall take measures for and work together in strengthening adaptation and resilience measures to ensure conflict prevention through early-warning systems, taking into account the security challenges linked to adverse effects of climate change and environmental risk factors and strengthen the link between early warning and early action across policy areas, including through risk and impact assessments.

6.    The Parties shall aim at averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, in their domestic and international efforts, and in that context, shall recognise the important role of sustainable development in reducing the risk of loss and damage.

7.    The Parties shall take action to align financial flows with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

8.    The Parties shall aim at enhancing knowledge and capacity on policy options and instruments and best practices to improve resource efficiency along the entire life-cycle of natural resources and products. They shall work together towards strengthening scientific and technical, human and institutional capacity for climate action and environmental management and monitoring at all relevant levels, with particular attention to the most vulnerable countries. They shall promote the use of space technologies and information systems.


9.    The Parties shall strengthen coordination across all levels of governance to encourage and enable local authorities to make and implement ambitious climate and energy commitments. They shall promote synergies between public administration, civil society organisations and private businesses and foster participation of the private sector towards a low greenhouse gas emission and climate-resilient economy, including through joint research. They shall promote existing initiatives such as the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and shall support the implementation of their action plans.

ARTICLE 52

Drought and desertification

1.    The Parties shall combat desertification through improvement in land governance, land degradation and the sustainable management of land and water. They shall accelerate progress towards the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)'s National Action Plans, its Land Degradation Neutrality targets and other relevant international and regional initiatives, including the Great Green Wall initiative.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to prepare for and respond to emergencies caused by drought and shall work to increase resilience to environmental degradation, desertification, related health threats and humanitarian crises by addressing factors that cause vulnerability.


ARTICLE 53

Resilience to natural disasters

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to build the resilience of people, societies and infrastructure to natural disasters, taking into account the impact of climate change. They shall promote the exchange of information and good practices on the implementation and monitoring of the 2015‑2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction through national and local integrated strategies.

2.    The Parties shall promote disaster risk management, including the comprehensive assessment of risks, the implementation of risk reduction plans at all levels, strengthening the link between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and the collection and use of disaster statistics and loss data. They shall promote the development of a culture of risk prevention and financial protection, including through appropriate and innovative tools such as risk transfer mechanisms.

3.    The Parties shall prepare for and respond to emergencies caused by extreme weather events and natural disasters such as floods and rising sea levels, coastal erosion and silting. They shall cooperate to assess and alleviate the impact of extreme weather events and natural disasters.

4.    The Parties shall strengthen capacity for regional disaster and emergency response, including civil protection mechanisms, and the capacity of local communities and institutions, focusing on the most vulnerable and marginalised households and groups.


5.    The Parties shall support the use of space technologies and information systems to improve prevention, preparedness, response and recovery measures.

TITLE IV

PEACE AND SECURITY

ARTICLE 54

The Parties shall foster cooperation and coordination at regional, inter-regional, continental and global levels in the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in Africa and Europe. They shall buttress joint efforts and mechanisms to secure peace, prevent and combat terrorism and violent extremism, address all forms of organised crime and security threats, and enhance maritime security, taking account of the complexity of all those challenges and the need to address their root causes. They shall cooperate to ensure sustainable financing for all peace and security activities.


ARTICLE 55

Regional and multilateral cooperation

1.    The Parties shall strengthen dialogue and institutional cooperation to address peace and security challenges. They shall strengthen support for a more efficient operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), as envisioned in the AU's Agenda 2063. They shall encourage synergies between the APSA and the African Governance Architecture in line with the AU's reform agenda.

2.    The Parties shall support efforts of the AU and the regional economic communities and regional mechanisms and other regional security cooperation arrangements in achieving peaceful, inclusive and resilient societies. They shall strengthen cooperation between the AU, the EU and the UN, and multilateral cooperation with other relevant international and organisations and third countries, as appropriate.

3.    The Parties shall promote local ownership, inclusiveness, resilience and sustainability of all actions, engaging with national and local authorities, communities and civil society.


ARTICLE 56

Conflicts and crises

1.    The Parties shall work towards ensuring the peaceful resolution of all inter- and intra-state conflicts in Africa. They shall implement an integrated approach to conflicts and crises compliant with international human rights law and international humanitarian law, deepening their strategic cooperation and enhancing joint action in all phases of the conflict cycle, from prevention and early-warning to lasting peacebuilding, through mediation, crisis management, stabilisation, as well as security sector reform.

2.    The Parties shall support initiatives and mechanisms to prevent conflicts and avoid endangering peace and security. They shall take coordinated action to address the root causes of conflicts and crises, tackle the risks of emerging and escalating violent conflicts, and reinforce support for diplomatic initiatives, mediation efforts and multi‑party dialogue to resolve disputes and conflicts by peaceful means. To that end, they shall support the full operationalisation of the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS).

3.    The Parties shall cooperate in the areas of crisis management and peaceful conflict resolution, including through cooperation between African-led peace support operations, EU crisis management operations and UN peacekeeping operations, where such operations are deployed in the same zone.


4.    The Parties shall cooperate in relation to post-conflict stabilisation, consolidate and support the implementation of crisis settlement processes, accompany constitutional and electoral processes, and promote transitional justice, reconciliation processes and reintegration measures for victims of armed conflicts and wars. They shall support the rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas devastated by war.

5.    The Parties shall promote the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agendas and shall strengthen the active role of women and youth in peace and security, from early warning, mediation, resolution of conflicts, peace-building and peacekeeping, in line with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR), notably UNSCR 1325 (2000) and 2250 (2015), as well as AU and EU policies and decisions.

ARTICLE 57

Terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation

1.    The Parties shall prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms, addressing those factors that may create an environment conducive to violent extremism and radicalisation, including through fostered religious tolerance and inter-religious dialogue, and responding to the challenges posed by the links between terrorism and transnational organised crime, in full respect of the rule of law and international law, including human rights law, refugee law and international humanitarian law.


2.    The Parties shall enhance cooperation to enable individuals and communities to prevent and increase resilience against acts of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation. They shall endeavour to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including youth, religious leaders and civil society, to promote mutual understanding, diversity and inter-faith dialogue, to identify tailor‑made interventions, and to counter online and offline recruitment, radicalisation and incitement to commit terrorist acts. They shall cooperate on enhanced support for the victims of terrorism.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate towards the implementation of all relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, including UNSCR 2396 (2017) and UNSCR 2462 (2019), and the UN General Assembly, international conventions and instruments, including the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy and the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.

4.    The Parties shall intensify efforts in exchanging information and expertise on terrorist groups and their support networks, fully respecting the rule of law and international human rights law. They shall support initiatives for law enforcement cooperation and strengthen capacity to fight terrorism in a human rights compliant manner, including through training and professionalisation of security forces. They shall cooperate to suppress the financing of terrorism by identifying, detecting, confiscating and freezing or seizing any funds and any other assets used or allocated for the purpose of committing a terrorist act.

5.    The Parties shall prevent perpetrators of terrorist acts, violent extremism and radicalisation from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.


ARTICLE 58

Organised crime

1.    The Parties shall tackle all forms of organised crime, in particular, trafficking in persons, small arms and light weapons, illicit drugs, hazardous materials, cultural goods and wildlife, as well as environmental crime, through enhanced border control management, information and data gathering and sharing, and the exchange of expertise and technical assistance. They shall adopt legislative and other measures in compliance with the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its supplementing Protocols.

2.    The Parties shall appropriately address trafficking in persons, in line with the standards of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. They shall prevent trafficking in persons by strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation, to counter impunity for all perpetrators involved in the trafficking chain, and by discouraging the demand behind all forms of exploitation. They shall ensure appropriate protection of victims, taking into account the gender specificity of the crime, with women and girls disproportionately targeted and mainly for sexual exploitation.

3.    The Parties shall adopt legislative and other measures to prevent and combat migrant smuggling by strengthening law enforcement and judicial cooperation to investigate and prosecute the smuggling of migrants and related crimes in compliance with the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementing Protocols, including the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.


4.    The Parties shall strengthen cooperation with a view to preventing and combating the use of their financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions to finance terrorism and launder the proceeds of criminal activities, including corruption. They shall exchange information and enforce the proper measures to fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Financial Action Task Force recommendations. They shall support the establishment of national asset recovery legislation and bodies, as well as the confiscation of criminal assets and their mobilisation for public benefit purposes extending criminal liability of crime perpetrators and facilitators and ensuring the disruption of illicit financial flows, depriving criminals from profits.

5.    The Parties shall enact legislation and develop initiatives to tackle crime, including urban crime and violence. They shall promote firearms control with a view to preventing and reducing the negative effects of armed violence on society and people and creating a safe environment for sustainable development. They shall combat all forms of violence and shall support victims of violence.


ARTICLE 59

Small arms and light weapons

1.    The Parties shall promote the effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition. They shall support the Action Plan for the Implementation of the African Union Strategy on the Control of Illicit Proliferation, Circulation and Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons, and the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate against the illicit proliferation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons that sustains armed conflict and terrorism, and fuels armed crime such as cattle rustling and poaching, including through improved stockpile management, destruction of surplus weapons and ammunition, marking, record-keeping and tracing, and export and import controls.


ARTICLE 60

Cybersecurity and cybercrime

1.    The Parties shall endeavour to develop and implement legislation and measures to uphold an open, free, secure, stable, accessible and peaceful information and communications technology environment. They shall work to promote the development and implementation, within the framework of the UN, of internationally accepted norms of responsible behaviour in cyberspace, in full compliance with international human rights obligations.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to prevent and combat cybercrime and the distribution of illegal content online. They shall exchange information on the education and training of cybercrime investigators, the investigation of cybercrime and digital forensic science, while ensuring a high level of data protection. They shall promote a culture of cybersecurity and shall cooperate to prevent and fight cybercrime, building on existing international norms and standards, including those of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime and the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection.


ARTICLE 61

Illicit drugs

1.    The Parties shall strengthen the balanced, integrated and evidence-based approach of their drugs policies. They shall endeavour to prevent and counter the cultivation, production and trafficking of illicit drugs and psychoactive substances, including by adopting more effective drug-related crime prevention and law enforcement measures, in conformity with applicable international human rights obligations.

2.    The Parties shall intensify and accelerate efforts on the demand side, engage in prevention and education programmes, and take the necessary measures to address the health and social impacts of drugs. They shall foster dialogue with relevant stakeholders, including civil society, the scientific community and academia, in order to effectively address illicit drug use.

ARTICLE 62

Maritime security

1.    The Parties shall take initiatives at national, regional and continental levels that contribute to the advancement of maritime security, notably in the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea. They shall foster cooperation between the AU, the EU and the UN, and with regional and sub-regional organisations, and encourage complementarity of efforts.


2.    The Parties shall cooperate to combat all kinds of transnational organised crime at sea, including trafficking in persons, small arms and light weapons, illicit drugs and wildlife, and the smuggling of migrants. They shall deter, prevent and repress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, including thefts of oil and gas, with a view to ensuring secure and open trade routes.

3.    The Parties shall increase multilateral efforts to respond effectively to crimes committed on the high seas. They shall develop measures to enhance coastal states' and regional organisations' law enforcement capacity and ownership, and shall promote regional coordination and information exchange to tackle maritime threats and counter different forms of crime committed at sea.

4.    The Parties shall develop and enhance inter-regional information‑sharing mechanisms and shall encourage maritime surveillance and domain awareness and cooperation between coast guards and navies of coastal states.

5.    The Parties shall promote and respect the freedom of the high seas, the freedom of navigation and other principles, rights and obligations laid down in international law, while promoting the universal application of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as other relevant international legal instruments.


ARTICLE 63

Law enforcement cooperation

1.    The Parties shall strengthen dialogue and cooperation on law enforcement, including through strategic cooperation between AU bodies such as AFRIPOL and EU bodies such as EUROPOL, to facilitate the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of activities of transnational organised criminal and terrorist networks in the Africa region and the EU.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate in the area of search and rescue, and in other emergency situations, and shall encourage states to conclude bilateral agreements in that context.

3.    The Parties shall enhance cooperation on integrated border management and improve information and data gathering and sharing.

4.    The Parties agree to work to enhance police capacities, including through targeted police training programmes at strategic, operational and tactical levels, adapted to the realities of the African context.


TITLE V

HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE

ARTICLE 64

The Parties shall promote resilient sustainable and inclusive societies rooted in accountable, effective and transparent institutions and decision-making processes at all levels, where human rights, fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and democratic principles are respected, promoted and fulfilled. They shall work to accelerate progress towards gender equality. They shall ensure an open and enabling space for individuals and civil society to voice their aspirations and concerns, express their opinions or make contributions to all political, economic, social and cultural matters, contributing to increasing confidence in public institutions.

ARTICLE 65

Human rights

1.    The Parties shall enact and implement legislation that contributes to the protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights, whether they are civil, political, economic, social or cultural. They shall support the ratification, domestication and implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, as well as the African Governance Architecture (AGA) instruments.


2.    The Parties shall apply in full the principle of non-discrimination based on any ground including sex, ethnic or social origin, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, disability, age, or other status, prioritising the adoption of comprehensive equality and anti-discrimination law. They shall take steps to achieve full enjoyment of all human rights by women and girls and their empowerment, including by encouraging the signing and ratifying, where still needed, and implementing the of Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. They shall make every effort to promote and protect the rights of the child, including by encouraging the signing and ratifying, where still needed, and implementing the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. They shall adopt measures to promote the full enjoyment of human rights by persons belonging to minorities, persons with disabilities and persons with albinism, as well as indigenous peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

3.    The Parties shall effectively fight against impunity, ensuring the rule of law and the independent, impartial and effective functioning of the justice system. They shall guarantee the rights of victims and survivors to adequate, effective and prompt reparation.

4.    The Parties shall support the African human rights system, notably the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, in guiding African states to comply with international human rights law obligations. They shall observe and preserve the integrity and independence of these bodies and shall ensure that all African states respect the judgements of the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights.


5.    The Parties shall strengthen the capacity of civil society and protect human rights defenders acting at national, regional and continental level. They shall cooperate to raise awareness on human rights, including through cooperation with national human rights institutions, education systems and the media.

ARTICLE 66

Gender equality

1.    The Parties shall ensure equality before the law and equal access to justice, protection and benefit of the law for all. They shall take measures aimed at ensuring, improving and expanding equal participation and opportunities in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life. They shall ensure that the gender perspective is systematically mainstreamed across all policies and programmes.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to prevent and eliminate all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, discrimination and harassment, as well as domestic violence, and shall combat trafficking in persons. They shall undertake all necessary measures to mobilise a concerted drive to end child, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation and cutting and other harmful practices that discriminate against women and girls. They shall provide support to victims and survivors of all forms of violence. The Parties commit to the full, effective and non-discriminatory implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), as well as its optional Protocol.


3.    The Parties shall ensure that girls' and women's social rights are respected and promoted, notably by removing all barriers in the area of quality education and health and eliminating gender disparities. They shall reinforce the economic rights of women and girls.

4.    The Parties shall ensure that the legislation in place recognises girls' and women's right to fully participate in all domains of public life and create conditions and opportunities for women to take up equal positions, including in political leadership and decision-making. They shall strengthen the role of women and advance their participation at all levels in the field of peace and security, as well as prevention and resolution of conflicts, violence and extremism.

ARTICLE 67

Democracy

1.    The Parties shall promote and strengthen the universal values and principles of democracy. They shall protect the separation of powers, promote political pluralism and strengthen transparency, participation and confidence in democratic processes as well as trust between political leaders and the people, including by supporting the ratification and implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.


2.    The Parties shall ensure the integrity of electoral processes by guaranteeing inclusive, transparent and credible elections respecting electoral cycles and constitutional provisions, in due respect for sovereignty. They shall promote international and regional standards and best practices in the management of elections as well as strengthen independent and impartial election commissions, ensuring a level playing field between all political parties and candidates. They shall enhance cooperation on electoral observation, including follow-up on electoral observation recommendations, as appropriate, and shall strengthen cooperation with the AU and the Regional Economic Communities. They shall strengthen national mechanisms that redress election-related disputes in a timely manner.

3.    The Parties shall strengthen the capacity of elected parliaments to perform their legislative, budgetary and oversight roles, respecting the prerogatives of all their members.

4.    The Parties shall enact domestic laws and regulations recognising different levels of government that have the mandate to exercise their competencies in accordance with delegated powers. They shall strengthen local administration and decentralise power to democratically elected local authorities as provided for in national laws.

5.    The Parties shall promote inclusive and pluralistic societies. They shall remove any restrictions to freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. They shall preserve and broaden an enabling space for civil society in advocacy and policy shaping, as well as ensuring free and independent media, to hold governments to the highest levels of transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs. The Parties shall foster constructive state-citizen relations and shall raise awareness of democratic principles and human rights, including through education systems and the media.


ARTICLE 68

Rule of law and justice

1.    The Parties shall cooperate in consolidating the rule of law and strengthening institutions at all levels in the administration of justice. They shall uphold the independence of the judiciary and aim to ensure the independent, impartial and effective functioning of the justice system and to enhance citizens' effective and equitable access to justice and legal aid.

2.    The Parties shall prevent, condemn and eradicate all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment by state and non-state actors in all contexts, including in the contexts of terrorism, crisis management and migration, supporting the ratification and effective implementation of the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol.

3.    The Parties shall ensure that violations and abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, as well as the recruitment of child soldiers and sexual and gender and identity‑based violence, are properly investigated and prosecuted. They shall strengthen domestic legislation and domestic judicial systems, including through effective inter-state cooperation and mutual legal assistance for States wishing to conduct domestic prosecutions of the most serious international crimes.


4.    The Parties shall facilitate justice reforms, ensuring modernised, transparent and efficient court systems and procedures, providing adequate training and improving access to legislation, case-law and other legal information, modernising penitentiary systems and maximising their rehabilitative role, and tackling human rights violations by security forces.

ARTICLE 69

Good governance

1.    The Parties shall support efforts to consolidate good governance by promoting democratic culture and practices, building and strengthening accountable, transparent and responsive governance institutions at all levels, and inculcating political pluralism, transparency and tolerance. They shall support the full implementation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) instruments and encourage effective coordination and harmonisation of governance policies among African states.

2.    The Parties shall enhance the ability of governments at all levels to deliver quality public services, to ensure effective, transparent, accountable and inclusive public administration, to promote the impartiality and effectiveness of law enforcement bodies and to foster citizens' participation and access to public information.


3.    The Parties shall support the use of digital technologies and accelerate the deployment of user-friendly and simplified e-governance solutions as a means to enhance access to and the availability of public information and services, and to improve transparency and accountability, while preventing abuse and promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

ARTICLE 70

Public administration, statistics and personal data

1.    The Parties shall build capacities for policy design and implementation, develop a professional and efficient civil service, improve legislative and governance mechanisms and strengthen the ability of governments to deliver quality public services.

2.    The Parties shall ensure impartiality, fairness, due process, and continuity in the delivery of public services, and support institutions that are accountable, inclusive and transparent with respect to the delivery of effective and efficient public services, including by promoting the African Charter on Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration.

3.    The Parties shall support the production, storage, management and dissemination of statistical data and information at national, regional and continental levels, including by promoting the African Charter on Statistics as the policy framework for statistics development in Africa. They shall develop robust, secure and inclusive identification systems to ensure the provision of a legal identity for every citizen, including by strengthening the system of civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS).


4.    The Parties shall ensure a high level of protection of every individual's right to privacy with respect to the processing of personal data, in accordance with existing multilateral standards and international legal instruments and practices. They shall endeavour to maintain strong data protection regimes and to ensure their effective enforcement through independent supervisory authorities.

ARTICLE 71

Corruption

1.    The Parties shall establish and strengthen legislation, institutions and other measures to prevent and combat corruption in all its forms, fraud, financial corporate crimes and related offences in the public and private sectors, including by implementing and promoting relevant international standards and instruments, notably the United Nations Convention against Corruption. They shall adopt legislative and other measures that are required to prevent corruption and to ensure that corruption legislation is effectively enforced, that impartial investigations and prosecutions are conducted and that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for corruption and corruption-related crimes are applied. They shall adopt legislative and other measures to provide effective protection from potential retaliation, including in the work-related context, and from intimidation of whistle-blowers who report on corruption and related offences and of witnesses who give testimony about such offences, including protection of their identities.


2.
   The Parties shall adopt legislative measures to enable the freezing and confiscation of proceeds and instrumentalities, or of other property the value of which corresponds to that of such proceeds and instrumentalities, derived from acts of corruption and related offences. They shall cooperate to recover such proceeds and instrumentalities and to return them to their prior legitimate owners in the country of origin, in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Corruption. They shall adopt legislative and other measures to combat the laundering of the proceeds of corruption.

3.    The Parties shall ensure transparency and accountability in the management of public resources, including recovered and returned assets. They shall encourage actions that support the values of a culture of transparency, integrity and legality and a change in people's attitudes to corrupt practices. They shall strengthen the capacity and expertise of public administration in fighting corruption. They shall promote the establishment of specialised bodies in the field of anticorruption.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate in the investigations of acts of corruption and related offences, including when committed in international business transactions.


ARTICLE 72

Financial governance

1.    The Parties shall promote sound public financial management, including effective and transparent domestic revenue mobilisation, budget management and the use of public revenues in line with the principles of the Addis Tax Initiative. They shall promote sustainable public debt management, sustainable procurement systems and support for national oversight bodies.

2.    The Parties shall improve the governance and revenue management of natural resources, enabling communities and societies to thrive from their use, including through compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Kimberley Process.

3.    The Parties shall combat tax fraud, tax evasion, tax avoidance and illicit financial flows and shall strengthen asset recovery. They shall work towards ensuring the efficiency, effectiveness, certainty, transparency and fairness of tax systems.

4.    The Parties shall take concrete measures, including by enacting legislation, and shall strengthen relevant institutions and mechanisms to implement the principles of good governance in the tax area.


TITLE VI

MIGRATION AND MOBILITY

ARTICLE 73

The Parties shall adopt a comprehensive and balanced approach to address migration. They reaffirm their commitment to protect the human rights of all refugees and migrants and shall address migration in a spirit of solidarity, genuine partnership, shared responsibility, and in accordance with their respective competences, and in full respect of international law, including international human rights law. They acknowledge that African and European interests on migration are intertwined and that, when well-managed, migration and mobility can be a source of prosperity, innovation and sustainable development. They shall engage in dialogue and cooperate on all aspects linked to legal and irregular migration, including by taking concrete measures on legal migration, stemming irregular migration and tackling its root causes, preventing and combatting the smuggling of migrants, addressing trafficking in persons, saving lives and ensuring protection, strengthening diaspora engagement and investment for sustainable development, maximising the impact of remittances, enhancing cooperation on return, readmission and sustainable reintegration of returnees, as well as paying particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations, such as women, children and unaccompanied minors, and to their specific needs. The Parties agree to cooperate in pursuing an integrated border management approach to facilitate the legitimate movement of people across the borders and stem irregular migration. They shall deepen cooperation and dialogue building on existing initiatives, notably the follow-up to the Joint Valletta Action Plan, the Rabat and Khartoum Processes, and the AU‑EU Continent-to-Continent Migration and Mobility Dialogue. The Parties shall encourage triangular cooperation between sub-Saharan, Mediterranean and European countries on migration-related issues. The Parties shall foster dialogue in addressing all migration issues and shall cooperate to foster appropriate and relevant response strategies.


ARTICLE 74

Legal migration and mobility

1.    The Parties shall endeavour to increase knowledge transfer and sharing and enhance mobility schemes that facilitate academic exchanges for students, researchers, academic professionals and institutions.

2.    The Parties shall endeavour to facilitate visits for business and investment purposes.

3.    The Parties shall aim to develop pathways in accordance with their respective competences, towards the effective management of labour migration and mobility, including appropriate social protection measures and the fight against all forms of exploitation.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to improve transparency and comparability of qualifications, with the aim of facilitating their recognition as well as their acceptance in the labour market.

5.    The Parties shall dialogue, as appropriate, on procedures guiding portability of pension rights for legally residing migrants.

6.    The Parties shall cooperate on awareness raising campaigns related to legal migration in order to inform the decisions of migrants and inform them on the possibilities regarding safe and legal migration pathways. They shall also make available information about possibilities of change of status in their respective legal orders.


7.    The Parties shall work to implement transparent and effective requirements for admission and residence for the purpose of work research, studies, training and voluntary service with a view to facilitating circular migration and mobility.

8.    The Parties shall facilitate access to procedures for family reunification for migrants taking into account the best interest of the child.

9.    The Parties shall cooperate to improve and modernise civil registration systems and to issue biometric travel documents based on the specifications of the International Civil Aviation Organization, including by making efforts to combat identity frauds and document forgery.

ARTICLE 75

Intra-African mobility

1.    The Parties acknowledge the relevance of intra-African mobility and its potential significant benefits as regards regional integration and the sustainable development of host countries and countries of origin.

2.    The Parties commit to further supporting intra-African cooperation to manage migration, taking into consideration the AU Migration Policy Framework for Africa.


ARTICLE 76

Diaspora, remittances and sustainable development

1.    The Parties shall encourage and support diaspora engagement in the sustainable development of their countries of origin. They shall cooperate to promote and facilitate diaspora investment, and business creation as a means of boosting local development and entrepreneurship in countries of origin as well as of transferring knowledge, experience and technology.

2.    The Parties shall aim to significantly reduce the transaction costs of remittances to less than 3 %, especially for low and middle income countries, and eliminate remittances corridors with costs higher than 5 % in accordance with internationally agreed targets, cooperate to increase access points for remittances services, particularly in rural areas, promote financial inclusion, including via innovative financial instruments and new technologies, and improve regulatory frameworks for enhanced involvement of non-traditional players.

3.    The Parties shall support the work of institutions that assist in the implementation of strategies and instruments for use of diaspora remittances and investment for sustainable development.


ARTICLE 77

Irregular migration, smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to address and develop adequate responses to the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement. They shall cooperate to support countries of origin with appropriate strategies, including with the aim of promoting economic growth and sustainable development.

2.    The Parties undertake to stem irregular migration through enhanced cooperation on integrated border management, on improved information and data gathering and sharing and on the fostering of police and judicial cooperation, with particular reference to countries of origin and transit of migratory flows. They shall cooperate to develop and maintain, where appropriate, communication networks to support maritime surveillance and save lives at sea.

3.    The Parties shall establish and implement legislation, strengthen institutions and shall increase collaborative efforts to address trafficking in persons, including protecting and assisting victims of trafficking, and prevent and combat smuggling of migrants in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementing Protocols, notably the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.


4.    The Parties shall cooperate to monitor irregular migration routes, step up national, regional and cross-regional actions, and enhance joint efforts to dismantle the criminal networks that smuggle migrants and traffic persons. They shall cooperate to share relevant information and criminal intelligence on trafficking and smuggling routes and criminal networks, including as regards modus operandi and financial transactions, to improve data collection and to strengthen analysis and dissemination strategies. They shall ensure effective implementation of relevant legislation and measures against those who exploit irregular migrants. They shall intensify efforts on investigations and criminal prosecutions of perpetrators.

5.    The Parties shall support awareness campaigns on the risks related to irregular migration, using all available means at regional, national and local level in line with relevant strategies and programmes.

ARTICLE 78

Return, readmission and reintegration

1.    The Parties reaffirm their right to return illegally staying third-country nationals and reaffirm the legal obligation of each Member State of the European Union and each OACPS Member to readmit their own nationals illegally present on the territory of another Member State of the European Union and OACPS Member without conditionality and without further formalities other than the verification provided for in para 3. To this end, the Parties shall cooperate on return and readmission and shall ensure that the rights and dignity of individuals are fully protected and respected, including in any procedure initiated to return illegally staying migrants to their countries of origin.


2.    Each Member State of the European Union shall accept the return of and readmission of any of its nationals who are illegally present on the territory of an OACPS Member, at that State's request without further formalities than the verification provided for in paragraph 3 for those persons who do not hold a valid travel document.

Each of the OACPS Members shall accept the return of and readmission of any of its nationals who are illegally present on the territory of a Member State of the European Union, at that Member State's request without further formalities than the verification provided for in paragraph 3 for those persons who do not hold a valid travel document.

In respect of the Member States of the European Union, the obligations in this paragraph apply only in respect of those persons who hold the nationality, as defined for Union purposes, of a Member State. In respect of OACPS Members, the obligations in this paragraph apply only in respect of those persons who are considered as their nationals in accordance with their respective legal system.

3.    The Member States of the European Union and OACPS Members shall respond swiftly to readmission requests of each other by carrying out verification processes using the most appropriate and most efficient identification procedures, with a view to ascertaining the nationality of the concerned person and to issue appropriate travel documents for return purposes, as set out in Annex I. Nothing in that annex shall prevent the return of a person under formal or informal arrangements between the requested and the requesting State.


4.    Notwithstanding the procedures provided for in Article 101 (5) of the General Part of this Agreement, if a Party considers that another Party fails to respect the time limit referred to in Annex I in line with Annex 9 Chapter 5.26 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it shall notify the other Party accordingly. If the other Party continues to fail to comply with these obligations, starting from 30 days from notification, the notifying Party may take proportionate measures.

5.    The Parties further agree to monitor the implementation of these commitments in the framework of the regular partnership dialogue between the Parties.

ARTICLE 79

Protection and asylum

1.    The Parties undertake to secure a high level of protection and assistance to forcibly displaced persons, including refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons, in full compliance with international law, international human rights law and, where applicable, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, including the fundamental principle of non-refoulement.

2.    The Parties recognise that refugee camps should be the exception and, to the extent possible, a temporary measure in response to an emergency and that sustainable integration of refugees should be preferred. They shall strengthen cooperation to facilitate sustainable integration of refugees in host communities and their countries of asylum. They shall support the implementation of the comprehensive refugee response framework.


3.    The Parties shall ensure that refugees and asylum seekers can exercise their human rights through safe access to basic services, in line with international obligations.

4.    The Parties shall uphold the best interests of the child at all times, and shall grant full access to the education system in safe learning environments for all refugee children. They shall apply a gender-responsive approach in addressing the vulnerabilities of children and ensure that children are not criminalised or subject to punitive measures because of their refugee status or that of their parents.

________________


CARIBBEAN
REGIONAL PROTOCOL

PART I

FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

CHAPTER 1

NATURE AND SCOPE

ARTICLE 1

Genuine partnership

1.    For the purposes of this Protocol, "Parties" means the relevant parties bound by this Protocol pursuant to Article 6 of the General Part of this Agreement.

2.    The Parties' relations shall be governed by the provisions of the General Part of this Agreement and this Protocol, which are complementary and mutually reinforcing, in accordance with Article 6 of the General part of this Agreement.


3.    The Parties agree that this Protocol shall be implemented, with complementary responsibilities at national, regional and international levels, based on the principles of mutual respect and accountability, equality and shared ownership, and by engaging all relevant stakeholders. They shall implement this Protocol in a manner that builds on and advances the deep political, economic and cultural ties among all Parties to this Agreement.

4.    The Parties shall support regional integration and cooperation processes, intensify efforts in support of multilateralism and the rules-based global order, and develop and implement multi-dimensional and coherent policies and measures in pursuit of all dimensions of sustainable development, taking into consideration their respective policy frameworks and relevant international agreements.

ARTICLE 2

Strategic priorities

1.    The Parties reaffirm the broad and comprehensive nature of the Caribbean Regional Partnership and agree that the strategic priorities of this Protocol are, inter alia, to:

(a)    strengthen their political partnership, which shall be underpinned by regular and effective dialogue and the promotion of common interests;


(b)    deepen economic relations, promote transformation and diversification, support inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development through trade, investment, private sector development and sustainable industrialisation;

(c)    improve environmental sustainability and climate resilience, pursue the sustainable management of natural resources and strengthen disaster management;

(d)    build inclusive, peaceful and secure societies, with a special focus on advancing human rights, gender equality, justice and governance, including financial governance, and citizen security;

(e)    invest in human and social development, addressing poverty and growing inequalities, harnessing migration, leveraging the diaspora's knowledge, entrepreneurial skills and investment, and ensuring that nobody is left behind.

2.    The Parties shall accord special attention to Haiti as the only least developed country in the Caribbean, with a view to addressing its structural weaknesses while supporting the consolidation of its institutions, improving governance and reducing poverty and social inequalities.


ARTICLE 3

Multilateralism and alliance‑building

1.    The Parties reaffirm their strong commitment to multilateralism. They shall enhance cooperation and, where appropriate, establish common positions in the framework of the United Nations and other international and regional organisations and forums.

2.    The Parties shall strengthen dialogue and consultations to build strategic alliances on global issues of common concern, including climate change, ocean governance, sustainable development, human and social development, human rights and issues related to peace and security, conflict prevention and resolution. They shall cooperate to address the vulnerabilities of small island developing states (SIDS) within relevant global policy frameworks.

3.    The Parties undertake to sign, ratify or accede to, as appropriate, and implement key relevant and applicable international treaties and conventions.


ARTICLE 4

Regional integration and cooperation

1.    The Parties shall promote regional integration and cooperation in the Caribbean region as an important means of achieving peace and prosperity, building sustainable and resilient economies and societies, and increasing competitiveness in international markets. They shall support the establishment and strengthening of complementary domestic policies and capacity, thereby contributing to the fostering of regional stability, cohesion and prosperity in the Caribbean.

2.    The Parties agree to advance the universal recognition of the Caribbean as a zone of peace. They shall also promote the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea in light of its role as enabler of regional integration and cooperation in the region.

3.    The Parties shall enhance cooperation with regional integration organisations, and countries and territories that share the same values and are willing and able to promote common goals, and contribute to the economic, social and political development of the Caribbean region as a whole. They shall support, where appropriate, the development of regional approaches to issues of common concern, including with the wider Caribbean and Latin America.


CHAPTER 2

ACTORS AND PROCESSES

ARTICLE 5

Institutional provisions

1.    The institutions of this Protocol, the composition and functions of which are defined in the General Part of this Agreement, are as follows:

(a)    the Caribbean-EU Council of Ministers;

(b)    the Caribbean-EU Joint Committee;

(c)    the Caribbean-EU Parliamentary Assembly.

2.    The Parties may decide to meet at the level of Heads of State or Government to provide strategic political steering to, and oversight of, the Caribbean-EU partnership.


ARTICLE 6

Overseas Countries and Territories and Outermost Regions in the Caribbean region

1.    The Parties shall strengthen the close and historic economic, cultural and people-based ties between Caribbean States and the Overseas Countries and Territories associated with the EU (OCTs) and the European Union Outermost Regions (ORs). They shall facilitate the participation of these entities in regional integration and cooperation processes, as well as regional organisations, where appropriate, especially in the areas of: trade, investment and economic cooperation; private sector development; energy; connectivity and digitalisation; human and social development; climate change, environmental sustainability, sustainable management of natural resources and tourism.

2.    The Parties agree that the OCTs in the Caribbean region shall be granted the role of observers in the institutions of the Caribbean-EU Protocol.

ARTICLE 7

Consultation with stakeholders

The Parties shall establish and develop consultation and dialogue mechanisms with all relevant stakeholders, including local authorities, representatives of civil society and the private sector, to inform, advise and consult them, and to secure their input to political processes and for the implementation of this Protocol. Consultation and dialogue shall take place with a view to providing inputs to the meetings of the Caribbean-EU Council of Ministers.


ARTICLE 8

Implementation and monitoring

1.    The Parties shall implement their commitments at the most appropriate level, in accordance with their respective policy frameworks. They shall develop and apply measures to maximise the impact of the implementation of this Protocol and reinforce the involvement of all interested stakeholders.

2.    The Parties shall monitor and review this Protocol to ensure that implementation adheres fully to the principle of genuine partnership and accords with its strategic priorities. They may review it on a regular basis and, as mutually agreed, expand its scope, notably to new areas of engagement, in line with the procedure in Article 99 of the General Part of this Agreement.


PART II

KEY AREAS OF COOPERATION

TITLE I

INCLUSIVE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 9

The Parties shall promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development through economic transformation and diversification, reinforced economic resilience, advanced regional integration and cooperation, strengthened economic and trade relations, and improved transition towards full employment and decent work for all. They shall cooperate to facilitate greater flows of trade and investment, by improving macroeconomic and financial stability and the business environment, to promote digital transformation, to advance private sector development and industrialisation, and to promote low-emission and climate-resilient economies, ensuring that all people benefit from unlocked business opportunities. They shall respect and protect human rights and core labour standards, including through social dialogue, promote environmental sustainability and foster shared prosperity. They agree to concentrate efforts on key and emerging economic sectors, with a multiplier effect on sustainable growth, value addition, job creation and poverty eradication.


CHAPTER 1

OVERALL ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK

ARTICLE 10

Enablers of economic development

1.    The Parties shall improve macro‑economic and financial stability, strengthen public finance management and work towards public debt sustainability. They shall support Caribbean regional economic integration and cooperation to enable countries to benefit from deeper integration into regional and global value chains. They shall harmonise and simplify business regulations and processes, adopt sound competition policies, including transparency on public subsidies, and ensure effective and predictable tax systems, including at intra-regional level.

2.    The Parties shall create an enabling legal environment, strengthen the efficiency of public administrations and judicial systems, improve the business climate through reform of regulatory requirements, enhance access to finance and ensure the protection of land and property rights and intellectual property rights.


3.    The Parties shall promote policies that enhance the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of labour markets and support labour mobility, including the intra-regional dimension thereof. They shall promote quality education and skills development, and shall develop appropriate technical and vocational education and training (TVET). They shall ensure that progress in human capital is adapted to the needs and opportunities of labour markets and is enhanced by private sector involvement.

4.    The Parties shall support the development of key infrastructures such as energy, transport, water and sanitation and digital connectivity. They shall cooperate to exploit opportunities arising from technological advancement and the digital economy, including in the area of artificial intelligence.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate to improve access to finance, especially for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including through regulated banking and non-banking services. They shall develop and strengthen digital financial services, including through enhanced cooperation on the implementation of agreed international standards and ensuring efficient and reliable markets, consumer protection and increased access to mobile-based financial services.

6.    The Parties shall address all forms of pollution resulting from economic activities, including through a clear definition and attribution of responsibilities to industry and business operators throughout the supply chain on the basis of the extended producer responsibility and "polluter pays" principles. They shall support green growth initiatives, increased resource-use efficiency and the adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.


7.    The Parties shall develop the circular economy by promoting the sustainable consumption and production of resources, including through strengthened scientific and technological capacity, standards, exchange of best practices and the rationalisation of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

8.    The Parties shall promote the registration and protection of geographical indications (GIs) and undertake action to support the increased use of technology and innovations to create greater value in regional and global value chains.

ARTICLE 11

Investment

1.    The Parties undertake to bolster public and private investment, especially in added‑value sectors with a high potential for sustainable job creation and high economic growth.

2.    The Parties shall harmonise and streamline rules, procedures and requirements relating to investment. To that end, they shall prioritise the specific needs of MSMEs. They shall support the development of regional investment policies, strategies and tools.

3.    The Parties shall encourage and facilitate investment in the Caribbean, including by strengthening business facilitation measures. They shall further support investment by enhancing transparency, information and investors' awareness of business opportunities and investment conditions and procedures. They shall facilitate the strengthening of technical analysis and skills on economic trends and risk management for investment.


4.    The Parties shall make strategic use of public finance to strengthen investment mechanisms and instruments and to leverage additional public and private investment, including through blended finances, guarantees and other innovative financial instruments, while taking due account of debt sustainability.

ARTICLE 12

Private sector development and industrialisation

1.    The Parties shall support private sector development and sustainable industrialisation, and shall design policies to enhance entrepreneurship, diversification and productivity. They shall further support the competitiveness of enterprises, through inter alia strengthened compliance capacity to apply relevant international standards, enhanced innovation measures and improved access to innovative financing. They shall promote institutional capacity to contribute to trade and economic policy‑making.

2.    The Parties shall prioritise the development of women's and youth entrepreneurship, in particular by developing targeted business support and training, and access to affordable and reliable technology and finance.

3.    The Parties shall support the growth and competitiveness of micro, small and medium-size enterprises(MSMEs), promote regional business development and facilitate business-to-business contacts between economic operators in the Caribbean and the EU.


4.    The Parties shall pay special attention to the informal sector and to upgrading informal economic activities into formal ones, including through targeted business development support.

5.    The Parties shall encourage and facilitate the establishment and strengthening of regional private sector trade and professional bodies through, inter alia, enhanced technical, research, policy advocacy and institutional capacity.

6.    The Parties shall boost digitalisation and shall promote research, development and innovation initiatives in key economic sectors, including by bolstering linkages between industry, research and academic institutions, in order to improve the volume of high-value products, enhance competitiveness and develop new markets.

7.    The Parties shall promote increased public-private partnerships as a means of mobilising domestic and foreign capital.

8.    The Parties shall support increased resource-use efficiency and the adoption of cleaner and more environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes.


9.    The Parties shall promote industrial development with a view to achieving sustainable economic growth. They shall adopt targeted policies designed to facilitate industrial growth and opportunities, notably through the creation of linkages and value-adding activities. They shall develop and implement sustainable national and regional industrial policies to enhance private sector competitiveness, particularly in medium- and high-tech manufacturing and exports. They shall encourage and facilitate the development of appropriate technologies to advance the diversification of their economies into the production of high-value industrial products.

10.    The Parties shall encourage wider use of their respective currencies in international transactions.

ARTICLE 13

Trade cooperation

1.    The Parties shall advance regional integration and cooperation processes in the Caribbean, including through strengthened trade facilitation and regulatory harmonisation to enable countries and economic operators to take advantage of trading with their neighbours and foster their integration into key regional and global value chains. They shall take concrete steps to support the development of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Economic Union.


2.    The Parties shall support the implementation of the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), to reinforce its effectiveness as a tool for promoting sustainable development and to ensure its commercial relevance. To that end, they shall cooperate to strengthen mechanisms, procedures and institutions to enhance national and regional productive and regulatory capacities. They shall also cooperate to institute appropriate support policies to facilitate greater trade flows, including through strengthened production and entrepreneurship, quality infrastructure, enhanced digital support frameworks, increased investment in value-adding sectors and the development of effective e‑commerce.

3.    The Parties shall foster trade within the wider Caribbean region, including the OCTs associated with the EU and other territories, as a means of promoting inclusive and sustainable development.

4.    The Parties shall support the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and facilitate trade through, inter alia, adopting support measures to reduce both trade costs and financial and regulatory burden of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

5.    The Parties shall pursue innovative special and differential treatment for new multilateral or bilateral trade agreements where applicable, for instance by ensuring that flexibilities in trade commitments reflect demonstrated implementation capacity needs.


CHAPTER 2

PRIORITISED ECONOMIC SECTORS

ARTICLE 14

Services

1.    The Parties shall enhance the regulatory and productive capacity of key services subsectors through, inter alia, the development of sectoral policies, legislative frameworks and national and regional regulation capacity to enable service suppliers to seize market opportunities under the CARIFORUM-EU EPA, the CSME, the OECS and other intra-Caribbean regional arrangements. They shall pay particular attention to professional, convention, data‑processing, recreational, cultural and creative industries, sporting, educational, financial, communication, audio-visual, transport, environmental and tourism services.

2.    The Parties shall develop strategies and appropriate policies to improve access to trade finance and financial services. They shall also enhance capacity to collect, store, disseminate and analyse services trade data and statistics.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to promote and strengthen the role of services in trade competitiveness and deepen value chains through, inter alia, fostering innovation in services‑related manufacturing and enhancing the role of services as inputs into the production of goods.


4.    The Parties shall support enhancing the capacity of regional professional bodies to contribute to the negotiation and effective promotion of Mutual Recognition Agreements.

ARTICLE 15

"Blue economy"

1.    The Parties shall promote the development of sustainable and innovative "blue economies". In doing so, they shall seek to balance economic growth and the creation of decent jobs with enhanced food and nutrition security, improved livelihoods, social equity and strengthened ocean ecosystems, while reducing environmental risks and negative ecological impacts. They shall support the application of precautionary and science-based approaches to the conservation and protection of marine ecosystems and biodiversity, and the sustainable use of natural resources. They shall promote domestic and foreign investment, and develop the necessary regulatory framework and infrastructure to promote blue economy activities. They shall also promote bilateral and multilateral collaboration to support the development of sustainable and innovative blue economies.

2.    The Parties shall enhance sustainable fisheries development by promoting sustainable fisheries value chains and building local capacities to process fisheries products and meet the regulatory requirements of international markets, taking into consideration the needs of artisanal fisheries and ensuring safe, healthy and decent working conditions for fishers and workers.


3.    The Parties shall cooperate to develop sustainable aquaculture, including mariculture, through effective spatial planning, adherence to an ecosystem-based approach and an enhanced level playing field for investors, while ensuring that the concerns of local communities are addressed.

4.    The Parties shall seize opportunities in marine biotechnology, through inter alia, supporting research, fostering collaboration among academics, economic operators and policy‑makers, promoting technological transfer and reducing technical bottlenecks to facilitate access for investors, while avoiding risks to the marine environment.

ARTICLE 16

Agriculture

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to increase and diversify sustainable agricultural production and productivity, with a view to enhancing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, creating decent jobs and expanding incomes by accessing regional and international markets. They shall strengthen climate-resilient farming practices, especially in smallholdings, promote the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and ecosystem services, and eliminate incentives that generate unsustainable production.

2.    The Parties shall strengthen national and regional research, training, science and innovation in smart agriculture.


3.    The Parties shall bolster investment in and develop the agri-food sector and shall institute rules and regulations that are supportive of increased investment in the sector. They shall cooperate to improve opportunities for producers, processors and exporters to access markets and capture greater value in local, regional and global value chains, including by promoting greater use of technology and innovation, bolstering their capacity to comply with non-tariff barriers, notably technical barriers to trade and sanitary and phytosanitary standards, and promoting fair‑trade and organic schemes to create added value in agro‑processing.

4.    The Parties shall ensure equal land and inheritance rights for women, enhance their access to finance and markets, as well as to support services and agricultural advice. They shall also support youth entrepreneurship, including through the provision of targeted extension services, technology and financing.

ARTICLE 17

Extractive industries

1.    The Parties shall promote fair and non-discriminatory access to the sustainable extraction of and trade in minerals and raw materials, fully respecting the sovereignty of countries over their natural resources and upholding the rights of affected communities. They shall promote the equitable sharing of resources and combat the illegal exploitation of mineral resources through national, regional and international legal means.


2.    The Parties shall promote the transparency, accountability and responsible management of extractive industries, consistent with the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) and other relevant regional and international commitments.

3.    The Parties shall strengthen corporate social responsibility and responsible business conduct throughout the entire value chain, including through the development and implementation of relevant legislation, where appropriate, taking into account relevant international standards.

ARTICLE 18

Sustainable energy

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen energy security, to secure access to sustainable energy for all, including for the most vulnerable consumers and key economic sectors, and to build the resilience of energy infrastructure in order to improve the accessibility, durability and affordability of clean energy.

2.    The Parties shall facilitate open, transparent and functioning energy markets that drive inclusive and sustainable investment, especially in renewable energy generation and co‑generation, transmission and distribution, and energy efficiency. They shall cooperate in enhancing entrepreneurship in the sector.


3.    The Parties shall cooperate to increase public and private investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency, paying attention to the development and implementation of relevant national and regional energy initiatives and supportive quality infrastructure systems.

4.    The Parties shall promote energy efficiency and energy savings at all stages of the energy chain, from generation to consumption.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate to establish and reinforce effective energy interconnections and to promote the energy transition of the Caribbean region through the development and use of clean, diverse, cost-effective and sustainable energy technologies, including renewable and low-emission energy technologies, to promote the transfer of technology and to develop human and technical capacity and research and innovation (R&I).

ARTICLE 19

Connectivity

1.    The Parties shall strengthen sustainable, comprehensive and rules-based intra-regional connectivity. They shall cooperate to improve transport links, and information, communication technologies (ICT) and digital infrastructure in a resilient and sustainable manner. They shall pursue economic opportunities, through inter alia, strengthening the technical and human capacity of key actors.


2.    The Parties shall cooperate towards the development of quality and sustainable transport and related infrastructure systems, thereby facilitating and improving the movement of people, including those with reduced mobility, and of goods. They shall aim to provide improved access to rural, urban, air, maritime, inland-waterway, rail and road-transport facilities, including through the development and promotion of intra-regional cooperation throughout the Caribbean region.

3.    The Parties shall bolster investment in and improve the overall governance of the transport sector, including by eliminating capacity constraints and by developing and implementing efficient regulations enabling fair competition within and between transport modes.

4.    The Parties shall increase access to open, affordable and secure information and communication technologies (ICT) for all, including by supporting targeted investment. They shall develop the necessary legislative frameworks and regulatory institutions to license service providers, promote competitive behaviour, ensure the fair treatment of consumers and support data and consumer protection.

5.    The Parties shall enhance access to open, affordable, secure and reliable broadband connectivity for all and develop digital infrastructure, including through improved undersea cables and other modern transmission technologies. They shall develop policy and regulatory frameworks to facilitate the effective licensing of service providers, promote competitive behaviour and fair treatment and protection of consumers, and ensure the confidentiality of communications and the rights of persons with regard to the processing of personal data.


6.    The Parties shall promote the establishment of a regional digital economy to generate decent jobs and economic development, through the creation of a supportive regulatory framework to promote digital entrepreneurship, mobilise investment, and facilitate private sector boosting of digitalisation. They shall cooperate to eliminate unnecessary barriers, to develop e‑trust and e‑signature platforms to promote increased trade, to foster the emergence of new products, to promote the development and use of relevant international standards, open data and advance the protection of consumers and personal data.

ARTICLE 20

Tourism

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to promote the balanced and sustainable development of tourism in order to foster inclusive economic development. They shall ensure the integration of environmental, cultural and social considerations, and the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and other natural resources in tourism policy planning and development.

2.    The Parties shall bolster investment to promote and develop tourism products and services and thereby generate decent jobs, by forging innovative partnerships with key economic operators, investing in human capital development, marketing and facilitating business‑to‑business contacts to boost competitiveness and improve service standards. In this regard, they agree to pay special attention to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.


3.    The Parties shall strengthen linkages between the tourism sector and other relevant economic sectors, in particular agriculture, manufacturing, the blue economy and transport. They shall mobilise investment in sustainable energy, basic infrastructure and services, digital technologies, statistics and human development, in order to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the tourism industry.

4.    The Parties shall take steps to generate the strongest socio-economic benefits from tourism. They shall enhance the preservation and promotion of cultural patrimony and of natural resources and promote all innovative forms of tourism, while respecting the integrity and interests of indigenous peoples, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and of local communities and maximising the involvement of these stakeholders in the process of tourism development.

ARTICLE 21

Research, innovation and technology

1.    The Parties shall cooperate on science, research, innovation and technological development, with a view to supporting economic diversification, promoting social and economic development, improving regional competitiveness and facilitating the emergence of an inclusive digital economy. They shall develop the interconnection and interoperability of research networks, computing and scientific data infrastructure and services, and shall promote such development in their regional context.


2.    The Parties shall promote the development of research capacity, infrastructure and facilities, publications and scientific data. They shall promote and support innovative training and mobility schemes for academics and researchers. They shall enhance the capacity of higher education institutions to collaborate effectively in research, scientific and technological innovation, including through access to academic exchange schemes. They shall facilitate collaboration among public administrations, academic institutions and enterprises. They shall promote open data and innovation in order to advance economic progress and to pursue mutually beneficial scientific excellence.

3.    The Parties shall support the development of knowledge-based economies and inclusive digital societies. They shall promote the preservation and use of traditional knowledge, biodiversity and the sustainable management of other natural resources, and the transfer of technology and expertise.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate on matters of common interest in the area of civil space activities, such as space research, Global Navigation Satellite Systems application and services, development of satellite augmentation systems and Earth Observation and Earth Science, particularly as regards the use of early warning and surveillance mechanisms.


ARTICLE 22

Culture and creative industries

1.    The Parties shall promote culture and the creative industries as drivers of sustainable social and economic development and decent jobs. They shall adopt measures, inter alia in support of creative development and the digitalisation of artistic performances and productions. They shall exchange best practices in the promotion of cultural development and entrepreneurship.

2.    The Parties shall promote sustainable development through strengthened cultural exchanges, the promotion of co-productions, joint cultural and creative initiatives, and enhanced mobility of cultural and creative professionals and allied educational practitioners. They shall support the circulation of works of art in full observance of established international conventions.

3.    The Parties shall support intercultural dialogue between youth, civil society organisations and individuals from the EU and the Caribbean region.

ARTICLE 23

Manufacturing

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to foster sustainable manufacturing with a view to deepening value addition, especially in the export of high‑technology products, to facilitate increased diversification and to maximise its potential for backward linkages with key economic sectors such as agriculture, the blue economy and extractive industries and services.


2.    The Parties shall develop policies to attract domestic and foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector. They shall promote business facilitation to advance peer‑to‑peer collaboration, deepen commercial partnerships and develop industrial hubs, ecosystems and networks.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to develop measures to increase the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector by improving production capacity and addressing constraints such as skilled labour shortages, logistics and infrastructure deficits, and limited access to finance and market analysis. They shall support research and innovation, promote the development and application of key enabling technologies and strengthen linkages between industries and research and academic institutions.

4.    The Parties shall support the enhancement of trade in manufactured goods through, inter alia, improved linkages to export markets, enhanced trade regulatory capacity, trade facilitation, and strengthened compliance capacity to apply relevant international labour and environmental standards.


ARTICLE 24

International business and financial services

The Parties shall work towards the development of a rules-based international business and financial services sector in the Caribbean through, inter alia, supporting targeted cooperation to strengthen the Caribbean regulatory frameworks to comply with internationally agreed standards, develop appropriate sectoral policies, improve skills development, and enhance the use of technologies and digitalisation. The Parties shall make best endeavours to ensure that internationally agreed standards for regulation and supervision in the international business and financial services sector are implemented and enforced in their territories.


TITLE II

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

ARTICLE 25

The Parties recognise the existential threat to affected countries and impact on livelihoods posed by the long-term nature of challenges related to climate and environmental sustainability. They shall take ambitious action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, protect and improve the quality of the environment, and pursue sustainable use and management of natural resources, so as to build resilience to climate change and reverse environmental degradation. They shall adopt concrete measures to address the loss of biodiversity, maintain and restore ecosystems, promote ocean governance, reverse deforestation, and prevent and respond to natural disasters and anthropogenic hazards, including through climate finance, the promotion of technology transfer and capacity building, as appropriate. They shall invest in green growth, promote circular economies and support the transition towards climate-resilient and low‑emission development, ensuring that economic growth fully complements environmental sustainability. They shall cooperate at the level of the wider Caribbean region and pursue south‑south and triangular cooperation.


ARTICLE 26

Climate action

1.    The Parties shall develop comprehensive and inclusive domestic climate policies and programmes, implement concrete action to accelerate the full implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Paris Agreement, and to sustain multilateral action on climate change.

2.    The Parties shall promote the integration of climate change policies and measures for mitigation and adaptation into national and regional strategies and plans and policy dialogues. They shall cooperate to promote adaptation action, including averting, minimising and addressing the loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change. They shall develop monitoring, reporting and verification, and evaluation systems to track progress on climate action.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to prepare, communicate and update progressively ambitious nationally determined contributions (NDCs), pursue the national and regional mitigation measures needed to achieve the objectives of such contributions and develop long-term strategies for low-carbon and climate-resilient development.

4.    The Parties shall develop and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs) and national and regional strategies. They shall integrate adaptation measures across all key vulnerable sectors, including infrastructures, and shall develop an effective governance system to implement adaptation actions and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and good practices on climate change at national and regional levels.


5.    The Parties shall act to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including from aviation and shipping activities, in line with their international commitments and obligations, including under the Paris Agreement.

6.    The Parties, considering the threats that climate change poses to peace and security and the well‑being of people and communities, shall cooperate to strengthen adaptation and mitigation capacities and promote resilience ‑building measures to address their vulnerability.

7.    The Parties shall promote the phase-out of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, by cooperating to support the ratification of the Kigali Amendment of the Montreal Protocol and ensuring its swift implementation.

8.    The Parties shall rationalise and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, and minimise the possible adverse impacts in a manner that protects poor and vulnerable communities. They shall promote the switch to renewable and cleaner energy sources in line with actions under the NDCs.

9.    The Parties shall cooperate to advance low-carbon economies and climate resilience by strengthening green growth in key and emerging economic sectors, including through the adoption of eco-innovation, the promotion of technology transfer, the development of standards and the exchange of best practices.


10.    The Parties shall develop innovative financing tools and align financial flows with a pathway to low-carbon and climate-resilient development, with a focus on inclusive climate finance that seeks to protect the poorest and most vulnerable from the adverse effects of climate change. They shall promote economic policy instruments that support climate change action, such as carbon pricing, market-based instruments and carbon taxes, as appropriate.

11.    The Parties shall promote strengthened coordination across all levels of government to implement ambitious climate and energy commitments. They shall encourage and empower local authorities and support initiatives such as the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and the Accelerating Renewable Energy Transition in small island developing states (SIDS).

12.    The Parties shall work together to strengthen their scientific and technical human and institutional capacity for climate action and environmental management and monitoring, including through the use of space technologies and information systems and for the provision of comprehensive climate services, in particular to vulnerable stakeholders.


ARTICLE 27

Biodiversity, ecosystems and natural resources

1.    The Parties shall support the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of eco-systems, including with a view to improving the livelihoods of indigenous peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, enhancing the delivery of ecosystem services and enabling the sustainable development of their countries. They shall protect, restore and enhance biodiversity and shall take measures to accelerate the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol. They shall collaborate in multilateral negotiations on preserving natural resources, ecosystems and biodiversity. They recognize that the Caribbean Sea includes fragile ecosystems and unique biodiversity and shall therefore cooperate to support their protection. They shall take measures to avoid or reduce the impact of invasive alien species on local species and ecosystems on people's livelihoods.

2.    The Parties shall promote sustainable integrated water management systems, preserve and protect water sources and ecosystems, collect and treat wastewater, address land degradation and the pollution of water and groundwater resources, and tackle uncertainty about water availability through collection and storage systems.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to sustainably manage and protect soils with a view to preserving their critical role in inter alia, agriculture, housing and infrastructure, as well as in mitigating climate change and adapting to its impacts and in serving as natural reservoirs of rainwater.


4.    The Parties shall protect wildlife and shall combat wildlife trafficking by supporting the adoption and enforcement of policies and laws to make it a serious crime. They shall strengthen anti‑poaching measures and law enforcement monitoring, and promote international coordination, including in the context of the International Consortium to Combat Wildlife Crime, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and other relevant international frameworks. They shall take steps to raise public awareness, educate and influence consumers, destroy stockpiles of illegally trafficked wildlife and wildlife products, enhance the role of local communities and promote high‑profile diplomacy and advocacy on the need to protect wildlife.

5.    The Parties shall work towards establishing and updating the necessary regulatory frameworks and enforcement mechanisms to improve management of all waste and hazardous substances. They shall collaborate to prevent or minimise the generation of waste at source and to improve product reusability, recyclability and resource efficiency, including through efficient collection systems and effective recycling, in order to adapt production and consumption towards the achievement of a circular economy. They shall take measures to prevent or minimise hazardous substances in material cycles and to manage chemicals in products throughout their lifecycle. They shall cooperate to enhance the proper management of hazardous substances and nuclear contaminants, and to end the illicit transboundary movement of such substances and contaminants across the Caribbean Sea.

6.    The Parties shall address all forms of pollution and shall raise awareness of the public health and environmental risks of air pollution and the multiple benefits of improved air quality, including through public outreach campaigns.


7.    The Parties shall work to develop frameworks to protect fragile ecosystems and biodiversity, including by supporting measures to combat environmental crimes. They shall cooperate to research, conserve and sustainably use biodiversity, including by establishing knowledge hubs and research partnerships. They shall promote the use of internationally recognised environmental management systems as a means to minimise any negative impact on the environment. They shall strengthen the involvement of indigenous peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and local communities in the conservation of ecosystems, prioritising the creation of jobs and other economic opportunities.

ARTICLE 28

Forests

1.    The Parties shall promote the sustainable management and use of forestry resources. They shall cooperate to reverse deforestation, support reforestation, halt forest degradation and restore the ability of forests to provide ecosystem services.

2.    The Parties shall promote sustainable value chains of forest products, prioritising job creation and the harnessing of economic opportunities in the conservation of ecosystems. They shall combat illegal logging and associated trade, and shall promote responsible mining operations.


3.    The Parties shall support the implementation of sustainability mechanisms, such as the EU's Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, including by concluding and/or implementing Voluntary Partnership Agreements. They shall strengthen coherence and positive interactions at country level between sustainability mechanisms and the Warsaw Framework on Reducing Emissions for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

4.    The Parties shall strengthen the involvement of local authorities and communities in the sustainable management of forests. They shall raise public awareness on deforestation at all levels and encourage the production and consumption of resource- and energy‑efficient products from sustainably managed forests.

ARTICLE 29

Ocean governance

1.    The Parties shall strengthen ocean governance, in accordance with United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to ensure safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans, reduce the pressures on oceans and seas, and promote the sustainable development of the blue economy. They shall cooperate to strengthen national and regional capacities to manage ocean and coastal resources responsibly and accountably, develop measures for the sustainable use, management and conservation of marine biological diversity of areas within and beyond national jurisdiction, promote knowledge and research, and facilitate technology transfer on ocean governance. They shall take action related to oceans that contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation.


2.    The Parties shall cooperate to ensure the conservation and sustainable management and use of living marine resources at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels, and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs).

3.    The Parties shall promote the sustainable development and management of fisheries resources through, inter alia, the adoption of necessary regulatory frameworks, enhanced management, compliance and enforcement capacities, improved access to finance, the promotion of best practices and the transfer of technology. They shall maintain or adopt initiatives to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including where appropriate the implementation of traceability systems and measures to exclude IUU products from trade flows. They shall promote and effectively implement monitoring, control and surveillance, and related enforcement measures to ensure compliance, in order to conserve fish stocks and prevent overfishing, in accordance with UNCLOS.

4.    The Parties agree to take necessary steps to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing and refrain from introducing such new subsidies, recognising that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiations and any subsequent agreement that might arise.


5.    The Parties shall cooperate to preserve and restore coastal and marine ecosystems and their biodiversity, and promote the valorisation of marine and coastal natural capital. They shall develop measures to prevent and mitigate the impact of ocean acidification on marine biodiversity ecosystems, including coral reefs, on the sustainability of fisheries and on the livelihood of coastal communities that depend on marine resources.

6.    The Parties shall tackle marine pollution, including noise pollution, and reduce marine debris, especially plastics and micro-plastics. They shall target the root causes of marine litter, including through waste prevention and management policies and measures. They shall scale up ocean and coastal clean-up operations, paying particular attention to accumulation zones in ocean gyres.

7.    The Parties shall support the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions reductions related to the maritime industry, and actively support the urgent implementation of the initial International Maritime Organization (IMO) strategy on reduction of emissions.

8.    The Parties shall develop area-based conservation measures and management tools to protect and restore coastal and marine areas and resources, including marine protected areas, in line with national and international law, and based on the best available scientific information and knowledge of local communities.

9.    The Parties shall promote dialogue and cooperation on all aspects of ocean governance, including on matters related to sea‑level rise and its possible effects and implications.


10.    The Parties recognise the general concerns raised about the impact of seabed mining on the marine environment and its biodiversity. They shall use the best available science, apply the precautionary principle and an ecosystem approach, promote research and share best practices in fields of mutual interest relating to seabed mineral resources, in order to ensure sound environmental management of activities for the protection and preservation of the marine environment and its biodiversity.

ARTICLE 30

Resilience to natural disasters and comprehensive disaster management

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to build the resilience of people, societies and infrastructure to natural disasters, and to increase monitoring, early warning and risk assessment capacities to improve prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery measures in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

2.    The Parties shall strengthen resilience by investing in disaster risk prevention and preparedness, integrating risk reduction efforts in recovery actions and promoting financial risk insurance and affordable risk transfer solutions. They shall promote the collection and use of disaster statistics and loss data, the comprehensive assessment of risk and the implementation of risk reduction plans at all levels.


3.    The Parties shall adopt measures to strengthen the link between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and promote the exchange of information and best practices on the implementation and monitoring of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. They shall prioritise climate and natural hazard resilience at the core of all reconstruction and recovery efforts, including by implementing a "building back better" approach.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to address the impact of natural disasters and anthropogenic hazards through the timely and efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance and relief.

5.    The Parties shall strengthen inclusive risk governance at all levels. They shall also increase monitoring, early warning and risk assessment capacities, and improve domestic and regional prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery measures, including civil protection mechanisms to strengthen capacity for national and regional disaster risk reduction and climate innovation centres of excellence. They shall promote the involvement of affected communities, civil society and local authorities in devising and implementing policy responses, focusing on the most vulnerable and marginalised households and groups.

6.    The Parties shall enhance environmental resilience through, inter alia, supporting the use of ICT and space technologies to accelerate disaster prevention, preparedness, and response and recovery processes. They shall foster opportunities to bolster research and disseminate best practices on disaster risk management.


TITLE III

HUMAN RIGHTS, GOVERNANCE, PEACE AND SECURITY

ARTICLE 31

The Parties shall foster dialogue and cooperation with the aim of strengthening security in all its dimensions and achieving peaceful and resilient societies. They shall promote and fully protect human rights, human dignity, fundamental freedoms and democratic principles, build accountable and transparent institutions, strengthen governance and justice systems and guarantee adequate and appropriate enabling space to individuals and groups to express their aspirations and contribute to the shaping of policies. For that purpose, the Parties shall pay special attention to promoting the rights of the young, women and girls, indigenous peoples, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, older persons and persons with disabilities. They shall intensify efforts to promote citizen security and prevent and combat organised crime, in particular in relation to illicit drugs, maritime security, cybersecurity, money laundering, border management, corruption, all forms of trafficking, and illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition.


CHAPTER 1

HUMAN RIGHTS, JUSTICE AND GOVERNANCE

ARTICLE 32

Human rights

1.    The Parties shall contribute to the protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights in compliance with international law. They shall promote and contribute to the universal ratification and implementation of international human rights instruments, implement those instruments which they subscribe to, and consider accession to those to which they are not yet party. They shall apply in full the non-discrimination principle as set out in Article 9 of the General Part of the Agreement placing a priority on adopting and implementing comprehensive equality and anti-discrimination laws.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen legal protection to ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses and fostering access to justice, and provide appropriate and effective remedies for victims and survivors of such violations and abuses.

3.    The Parties shall advance efforts to attain gender equality and the full enjoyment of all human rights by women and girls and their empowerment.


4.    The Parties shall promote and protect the rights of the child, fight against child labour and child abuse and combat all forms of child exploitation.

5.    The Parties shall promote the rights of persons with disabilities and take stronger measures to ensure their full inclusion in society.

6.    The Parties shall continue to develop and support human rights monitoring mechanisms, including their reporting obligations. They shall recognise and observe the independence of national human rights institutions, and foster a safe and enabling environment where human rights defenders can operate freely and have access to regional and international mechanisms, as appropriate. They shall promote the participation of national human rights institutions and human rights defenders in consultative structures and processes. They shall ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in all matters that concern them, as set out in in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They shall ensure that consultative processes also take account of the role of traditional knowledge and the concerns of local communities.

7.    The Parties shall cooperate to raise awareness of human rights and democracy, including through education systems and the media.


ARTICLE 33

Rule of law and justice

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to enhance effective and equitable access to justice by all and shall cooperate in the consolidation of the rule of law and in the strengthening of institutions at all levels in the areas of law enforcement and administration of justice. For that purpose, the Parties shall enhance access to legal services by persons in vulnerable situations.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to ensure the independence, accountability and impartiality of the judiciary. They shall pursue modernised and efficient court systems and procedures, including through the sharing of best practices, improve the capacity to deliver justice in an expeditious and fair manner, develop the use of legal alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, reduce backlogs and excessive pre-trial detention, provide adequate training and improve access by legal practitioners and the public to legislation, case-law and other legal information.

3.    The Parties shall oppose and condemn all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. They shall prevent and address violations by security forces and enhance respect for the rule of law along the security and judiciary chains, including through ethics training. They shall strengthen the fight against impunity and the denial of victims' right to justice and redress, with a particular emphasis on bringing perpetrators of human rights violations to justice.


4.    The Parties shall cooperate to modernise penitentiary systems and maximise their rehabilitative role, including by improving respect for prisoners' rights, implementing rehabilitation and education programmes, increasing the rate of social reintegration of inmates, supporting the care for prisoners, working towards the eradication of overcrowding, improving prison management, administration and conditions in line with international best practices and standards, and providing alternatives to imprisonment for lesser crimes.

ARTICLE 34

Governance

1.    The Parties shall take concrete measures to build inclusive, accountable and transparent public institutions. They shall strengthen the capacity for policy design and implementation, develop an accountable, efficient, transparent and professional civil service, strengthen the delivery of quality public services, improve legislative and governance mechanisms, and promote the impartiality and effectiveness of law enforcement bodies.

2.    The Parties shall strengthen the capacities of parliaments and local, municipal, national and regional institutions to ensure and enhance respect for democratic principles and practices.

3.    The Parties shall promote respect for freedom of expression and media independence and pluralism, and preserve and broaden an enabling space for civil society, with a view to improving democratic accountability.


4.    The Parties shall accelerate wider use of e-governance and digital services infrastructure as a means to enhance access to, and the availability of, public services, thereby supporting the development of accountable and transparent public institutions.

5.    The Parties shall develop and strengthen institutions, legislation and mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption, bribery, fraud and corporate crimes, including on the confiscation and return of recovered assets. They shall ensure that anti-corruption legislation is effectively enforced and that impartial investigations and prosecutions are conducted, and that effective, proportionate sanctions and penalties for corruption and corruption-related crimes are applied. They shall promote and implement relevant international standards and instruments, notably the United Nations Convention against Corruption, acknowledging that corruption is a transnational issue which is linked to other forms of transnational and economic crime and which requires joint and multi-disciplinary efforts also at international levels.

ARTICLE 35

Public finance and financial governance

1.    The Parties shall promote sound public financial management, including strengthened and effective use of public revenues, sustainable public debt management, sustainable procurement systems and support for national oversight bodies. They shall promote greater accountability, transparency, fairness, legality and integrity in the management of public resources. They shall support measures to build effective, equitable and transparent public expenditure systems. They shall cooperate to strengthen the mobilisation of domestic resources in Caribbean small island developing states, in support of their sustainable development and enhanced economic resilience.


2.    The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen public finances, through, inter alia, enhancing capacity to comply with international standards, developing policy frameworks and measures to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and fairness of tax systems, and collaborating in the framework of the United Nations and other relevant global public finance bodies.

3.    The Parties shall take measures to combat illicit financial flows, tax fraud and tax evasion, and reduce opportunities for tax avoidance, including through bilateral and multilateral consultations. The Parties shall apply the principles of good governance in the tax area in, inter alia, enacting legislation, developing comprehensive policies, adopting concrete measures and strengthening relevant institutions and mechanisms.

CHAPTER 2

CRIME AND SECURITY

ARTICLE 36

Human and citizen security

1.    The Parties shall pursue an integrated approach aimed at preventing and reducing risks of crime and promoting reconciliation, rehabilitation and reintegration initiatives.


2.    The Parties shall prosecute, combat and seek to prevent all forms of violence, including sexual, gender-based and domestic violence. They shall aim at supporting, assisting and empowering victims and survivors and at adopting measures to counter marginalisation, victimisation and stigmatisation.

3.    The Parties shall address gang violence through comprehensive risk-reduction, prevention and education measures, provision of adequate social services, community-based actions for breaking the cycle of violence, and generation of alternative livelihood opportunities for youth and vulnerable people. They shall address access to and the use of small arms and light weapons and their ammunition, with a view to preventing and reducing the negative effects of armed violence on society and people.

4.    The Parties shall tackle the social and security problems created by the deportation of foreign criminals and individuals who have served their sentences, and shall strive to cooperate to facilitate their rehabilitation and reintegration into society, and to minimise the rate of recidivism. They shall ensure the timely exchange of relevant information on deportation through the appropriate channels, in accordance with applicable administrative or judicial cooperation agreements, and shall promote cooperation among law enforcement agencies, as set out in this Protocol.


ARTICLE 37

Organised crime

1.    The Parties shall tackle all forms of organised crime, including through collaboration at national, regional and international levels, and by adopting legislative and other measures in compliance with the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its supplementary protocols. They shall cooperate to increase their ability to comply with international reporting requirements. The Parties shall fight migrant smuggling and trafficking in persons, illicit drugs, endangered wild animals and plants, hazardous substances and waste. The Parties shall also address environmental crimes including illegal logging and its associated trade. The Parties shall also cooperate to combat trafficking in small arms and light weapons and their ammunition and other conventional weapons and dual-use items. In doing so, they shall cooperate, inter alia, to strengthen the detection of illegal small arms and light weapons and their ammunition, trace their origin, support their destruction, enhance capacity to investigate and prosecute gun-related crimes effectively, and share best practices.

2.    The Parties shall enhance the protection of victims of trafficking in persons, advance the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators, collaborate to prevent and identify cases of trafficking in persons and develop effective measures for reintegration of victims into their societies. The Parties shall ensure that all victims have access to their rights, taking into account the particular vulnerability of women and children. The Parties shall promote exchange of information, including criminal intelligence, and shall strengthen capacities to develop policies and implement actions to address trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling.


3.    The Parties shall cooperate to prevent and combat the use of their financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions to finance terrorism and launder the proceeds of criminal activities. They shall promote information exchange and cooperation, including on capacity building and other forms of technical assistance. They shall enforce measures to fight money laundering and terrorism financing, to disrupt illicit financial flows, thereby depriving criminals of profits, and to ensure the effective and full implementation of Financial Action Task Force recommendations. They shall support the establishment and strengthening of national asset recovery legislation and bodies, the confiscation of criminal assets, their return and mobilisation for public benefit purposes, and extending the criminal liability of the perpetrators and facilitators of crime.

4.    The Parties shall strengthen cooperation to prevent and combat high-technology, cyber‑ and electronic crimes and the distribution of illegal content online. They shall strengthen capacity to address cybercrime through, inter alia, pooling and training human resources and fostering collaboration among policy‑makers, economic operators and researchers. They shall exchange information on the education and training of cybercrime investigators, the investigation of cybercrime and digital forensic science. They acknowledge that the Convention on Cybercrime ("Budapest Convention") and other applicable international standards provide a basis for promoting international cooperation and contribute to the development of domestic policies on cybercrime.


5.    The Parties shall take measures to enhance individuals' and communities' resilience to terrorism and violent extremism. They shall intensify efforts to exchange information and expertise on terrorist groups and their support networks, fully respecting the rule of law, human rights and the right to privacy. They shall cooperate to bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice and shall adopt measures to facilitate the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of nationals of each Member State of the European Union and each Caribbean State party respectively who have been radicalised.

ARTICLE 38

Illicit drugs

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to mitigate the challenges, including as regards security and health, posed by the cultivation, production and consumption of illicit drugs and psychoactive substances, and the trafficking and transit of these substances through their territories. Such cooperation shall be on a bilateral, regional, multilateral or triangular level as appropriate.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to reduce the supply of and demand for drugs, on the basis of the principle of common and shared responsibility and on an integrated, balanced and evidence-based approach.


3.    The Parties shall cooperate to improve judicial and law enforcement capacities, including their reporting capabilities. They shall identify, disrupt and dismantle transnational organised criminal groups through strengthened mechanisms for the exchange of information and drug-related criminal intelligence, while promoting joint investigations and operations, including with neighbouring countries.

4.    The Parties shall address risk factors related to drug abuse affecting individuals, communities and societies. They shall strengthen the rule of law and build accountable, effective and inclusive institutions and public services to combat drug-related violence.

5.    The Parties shall adopt measures to support alternative developmental activities to replace illegal drug cultivation and production in rural and urban areas, and to enhance the economic welfare of affected vulnerable populations, while simultaneously fostering social inclusion at community level and in the wider society.

6.    The Parties shall intensify and accelerate efforts to reduce demand and shall take the necessary measures to address the health and social impacts of drugs. They shall take age- and gender‑appropriate measures tailored to the specific needs of vulnerable groups through, inter alia, prevention, treatment, care, rehabilitation and social reintegration programmes.

7.    The Parties shall address new and emerging threats related to the illegal production, use and abuse of synthetic substances including opioids and shall develop and enhance programmes and improve reporting mechanisms to address the illicit use of precursor chemicals.


ARTICLE 39

Law enforcement cooperation and integrated border management

1.    The Parties shall foster dialogue and cooperation on law enforcement, and strategic judicial cooperation. They shall promote cooperation between law enforcement agencies to exchange information and criminal intelligence in a timely manner, encourage the sharing of best practices and develop capacities.

2.    The Parties shall support regional security cooperation by strengthening integrated border management, information and intelligence sharing, and data gathering and analysis, while respecting relevant legal frameworks on the protection of personal data. They shall promote the peaceful resolution of border disputes and controversies in line with international law. They shall support confidence‑building measures and specific development strategies, where appropriate, to increase trust and reduce possible border tensions.

ARTICLE 40

Maritime and aviation safety and security

1.    The Parties shall develop cooperation on maritime and aviation matters, with a view to improving safety and security, and shall enhance, inter alia, the targeting and management of high-risk cargo, in accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions.


2.    The Parties shall enhance maritime security, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), by responding to threats to ships and critical maritime installations and assets, improving monitoring and enforcing relevant laws and regulations. They shall take action against piracy, armed robbery and all forms of organised crime at sea, including through the use of space technologies.


TITLE IV

HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, SOCIAL COHESION AND MOBILITY

ARTICLE 41

The Parties are determined to eradicate poverty in all its forms by 2030, effectively tackle inequality, achieve gender equality and empower women and youth to ensure that everyone has the necessary means to enjoy a life in dignity. They are also determined to promote social cohesion, and create the conditions for the effective participation of people in democratic life and their active contribution to sustainable economic growth. They shall pay special attention to persons in vulnerable situations including women, children, elderly, indigenous peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and persons with disabilities. They shall take concrete measures to promote social protection as a fundamental investment for poverty eradication and fighting inequality, and as an important means to create a self-strengthening cycle towards inclusive and sustainable economic development, by reinvesting economic gains more broadly into society and people and increasing social resilience. The Parties shall adopt a comprehensive and balanced approach to migration. They shall address migration in a spirit of solidarity, partnership and shared responsibility, and in accordance with their respective competences. The Parties shall harness the benefits of migration, promote the integration of migrants, leverage the diaspora's knowledge, entrepreneurial skills and investment and maximise the use of remittances as a source of funding for inclusive and sustainable development. They shall also pursue an open dialogue on mobility between the two regions and they shall cooperate to reduce the negative impact of loss of skills on the development of countries.


CHAPTER 1

SOCIAL SERVICES

ARTICLE 42

Education

1.    The Parties shall consolidate and promote inclusive, affordable and equitable access to, and enhance the quality of, education at all levels, including through strengthened and inclusive national education systems and improved infrastructure and equipment, with particular attention to persons with disabilities. They shall support the advancement of gender equality, to develop an enabling environment in which boys and girls have equal educational opportunities and comparable educational attainment.

2.    The Parties shall support the expanded delivery and application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and arts at all levels of the education system.

3.    The Parties shall promote the use of accessible and affordable innovative technologies for educational purposes and the development of digital skills and literacy for all.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to reinforce enrolment and quality in tertiary education, technical and vocational training, and non-formal, work-based and lifelong learning, with a view to increasing the number of highly educated people and skilled workers.


5.    The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen academic development, promote the mutual recognition of qualifications and facilitate the mobility of students, staff and academics between the Caribbean and the European Union.

6.    The Parties shall cooperate to promote academic research, development and innovation, through inter alia, enhancing collaboration among key institutions and advancing the use of scientific research and analysis in pursuit of mutually beneficial academic excellence.

ARTICLE 43

Health

1.    The Parties shall promote universal and affordable health coverage and equitable access to health services, including through strengthened national health systems, the development of sustainable quality infrastructure and access to safe and affordable essential medicines, vaccines and diagnostics.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to address the growing incidence and burden of non‑communicable diseases, taking steps towards prevention and control, including through the promotion of healthy diets and lifestyles, the use of digital tools and health education.

3.    The Parties shall strengthen national and regional capacities to detect and respond rapidly and effectively to outbreaks of communicable diseases and other health emergencies of national and international concern, following a "one health" approach that encompasses human health, animal health, plants and ecosystems.


4.    The Parties shall cooperate to address public health emergencies through inter alia, the use of early warning systems for the swift exchange of information, the development of coherent and multi-sectoral plans to enhance the capacity of health systems, the provision of essential and affordable medicines, vaccines and health equipment, including diagnostics, and the delivery of humanitarian assistance and relief. They shall strengthen international cooperation to mitigate the impact of global public health emergencies.

5.    The Parties shall promote research and the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices in the health sector.

ARTICLE 44

Housing, water and sanitation

1.    The Parties shall support universal access to decent, safe and affordable housing, with particular emphasis on vulnerable and marginalised people, including indigenous peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, in order to generate a positive impact on people's health, advance communities' socio‑economic development and address the inequalities between urban and rural households. They shall promote climate-smart housing and infrastructure, through, inter alia, the design and enforcement of building codes.


2.    The Parties shall enhance access to safe, affordable and sustainable water supply, including through the development of sustainable and integrated water resources management, solid waste management and the promotion of water recycling measures.

3.    The Parties shall promote adequate, equitable and affordable access to sanitation and hygiene services for all, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.

4.    The Parties shall promote universal and improved access to affordable electricity and increase efficient and sustainable energy usage for all.

ARTICLE 45

Sustainable urbanisation and rural development

1.    The Parties shall promote an enabling environment for sustainable rural and urban development. They shall foster sustainable land‑use planning, paying particular attention to transparent and regulated land acquisitions and property rights, sustainable urban mobility and smart and safe cities.

2.    The Parties shall promote a balanced development of rural economies and communities, with a particular focus on employment and income generation. They shall accelerate rural diversification by adding value to local production and shall harness natural and cultural resources.


3.    The Parties shall promote inclusive, balanced and integrated urban and rural policies, and multi-level governmental coordination, by actively engaging local authorities and communities and by forging stronger links between rural and urban areas.

ARTICLE 46

Food security and improved nutrition

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to ensure that all have access to sufficient, affordable, safe and nutritious food, with a view to ending all forms of malnutrition and averting food crises. For that purpose, they shall pay special attention to the most vulnerable countries, including those affected by disasters and persons in vulnerable situations.

2.    The Parties, acknowledging the negative impact of reduced agricultural output, high reliance on imported food items and overexploitation of fish stock on food security and nutrition, shall support the sustainable development of local agriculture, fisheries and food production.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to address the impact of food crises and ensure timely action to make food available locally by developing policy interventions and infrastructure, including investing in climate-resilient transport and storage systems. In that context, they shall address the needs of the most vulnerable populations.


CHAPTER 2

SOCIAL COHESION

ARTICLE 47

Equality, social protection and decent work

1.    The Parties shall promote equality by adopting policies in support of progressively attaining and sustaining income growth of the poorest members of the population at a rate higher than the national average.

2.    The Parties shall promote equitable and sound fiscal, economic and social policies oriented to more inclusive societies, with improved income distribution to reduce inequality and inequity.

3.    The Parties shall work towards the extension of social protection coverage, especially for persons in vulnerable situations, with the aim of progressively reaching universality, through social safety nets, basic income security and adequate and shock-responsive social protection systems. They shall promote research and sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices on social protection.


4.    The Parties shall promote the creation of inclusive and well-functioning labour markets and employment policies directed towards achieving international standards for decent work for all, and fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living, including enhancing health and safety conditions for workers. They shall combat all forms of exploitation, including sexual and work exploitation, in both formal and informal sectors.

5.    The Parties shall address issues related to the informal economy, including innovative access to financial services, credit and micro-finance, and strengthened social protection measures, with a view to facilitating a smooth transition to the formal economy.

6.    The Parties shall take concrete measures to promote the rights of persons with disabilities with a view to advancing the effective implementation of relevant international agreements, promoting their full inclusion in society without discrimination of any kind and their equal access to social services and labour markets.

7.    The Parties shall promote social cohesion through, inter alia protecting and enhancing tangible and intangible cultural heritage and the diversity of cultural expressions.


ARTICLE 48

Gender equality and empowerment of girls and women

1.    The Parties shall strengthen policies, programmes and mechanisms aimed at promoting gender equality and ensuring and improving equal opportunities for participation in all sectors of political, economic, social and cultural life. They shall ensure that the gender perspective is systematically mainstreamed across all policies, including through the creation and consolidation of legal frameworks.

2.    The Parties shall ensure women's and girls' physical and psychological integrity by adopting legislative and policy measures to end child, early and forced marriages, and by eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence against women and men, trafficking in persons, all forms of sexual and work exploitation, and all forms of harassment in the public and private spheres. They shall facilitate access to justice and shall promote prevention and awareness raising campaigns to advance behavioural change, in order to secure gender equality and women's and girls' empowerment.

3.    The Parties shall support the effective implementation of all relevant international agreements, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and encouraging the ratification of its Optional Protocol.


4.    The Parties shall ensure that the rights of women and girls are respected and promoted. They shall strengthen their social rights, notably in the areas of health and education, including access to family planning services. They shall reinforce women's economic rights, including by facilitating their access to economic opportunities, financial services, enabling technology, employment and the control and use of land and other productive assets. They shall support women entrepreneurs, reduce the gender pay gap, and remove other discriminatory regulations and practices.

5.    The Parties shall strengthen the participation and voice of women and girls in political life, including through enhanced access to electoral, policy and governance processes and positions, and in community-building efforts.

6.    The Parties shall empower women's and girls' organisations and strengthen national and regional institutions' capacity to address issues relating to violence against women and girls, including prevention and protection from all forms of sexual and gender-based violence. They shall develop harassment investigation and accountability mechanisms, provide victims with care and support, and promote conditions of safety and security for women and girls.

7.    The Parties shall commit to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes of their review conferences. They shall further stress the need for universal access to quality and affordable comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and education, taking into consideration the UNESCO international technical guidance on sexuality education, as well as the need for the delivery of sexual and reproductive health-care services. They shall pursue the effective implementation of the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development, as appropriate.


ARTICLE 49

Youth

1.    The Parties shall develop targeted policies to promote youth empowerment and facilitate their engagement in political, social, civic and economic life.

2.    The Parties shall support youth entrepreneurship and promote the creation of sustainable jobs in all sectors with decent working conditions for young people, including by supporting them in acquiring labour market-relevant skills through education, technical and vocational training and enhanced access to technologies, and by supporting employment services to connect young people to employment opportunities and access to financial services and partnerships for start-ups.

3.    The Parties shall establish governance structures to promote responsible youth citizenship, increase the influence of young people in decision-making processes and foster their active participation in political life and in community-building efforts. They shall promote increased participation of youth in environmental action, particularly climate change monitoring and adaptation programmes.

4.    The Parties shall undertake measures to improve access for youth to justice and strengthen child protection systems. They shall take all appropriate measures to protect children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury, abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment and exploitation, including sexual abuse.


5.    The Parties shall promote social and justice programmes for the prevention of juvenile delinquency and for the integration of youth into economic and social life. They shall support institutions, such as schools, social and faith-based organisations and youth groups, that contribute to building resilience in at-risk youth and vulnerable communities.

ARTICLE 50

Sports

The Parties shall promote sport and physical education as a driver for sustainable development, health and wellbeing, social inclusion, non-discrimination and human rights advancement. They shall collaborate to harness the economic, cultural and social power of sports by, inter alia, developing adequate facilities, promoting participation in sport and other physical activities, and exchanging best practices. They shall promote the mobility of sports people and associated professionals as a means to strengthen intercultural dialogue and cooperation.


CHAPTER 3

MIGRATION, MOBILITY AND DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 51

Migration, mobility and development

1.    The Parties acknowledge the contribution of legally residing third country nationals and diaspora to the economic, social, political and cultural life of their host countries. They shall support the integration of legally residing third country nationals, by promoting, inter alia, entrepreneurship, business support and skills development in accordance with their respective competences. They reaffirm their commitment to respect the human rights of all migrants and forcibly displaced persons, including refugees and asylum seekers, in full respect of international law, with a special emphasis on people in vulnerable situations, particularly women and children.

2.    The Parties shall pursue an open dialogue to promote mobility and short-term stays in order to enhance exchange in areas such as tourism and business, as well as to foster mutual understanding and promote shared values. That exchange shall also take into account the specific situation of the Overseas Countries and Territories associated with the EU (OCTs) and the EU Outermost Regions (ORs), in recognition of their physical proximity and economic and cultural ties and other areas of cooperation.


3.    The Parties shall consider the development of schemes for circular migration, and shall implement and improve, as appropriate, the legal frameworks for facilitating the re-entry procedures of legally residing third country nationals. They shall consider aspects of reintegration of legally residing third country nationals in the countries of origin to ensure that their gained experience or qualifications can benefit the local labour market and community.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to reduce the negative impact of loss of skills on the development of countries. They shall further adopt a coherent approach to advance the training of select professionals in the Caribbean that includes expanding training schemes and promoting the enrolment of EU citizens.

5.    The Parties, recognising the importance of remittances as a source for inclusive and sustainable development if properly managed, shall aim to reduce the transaction costs of remittances to less than 3 percent and eliminate remittances corridors with costs higher than 5 percent by 2030, promote financial inclusion via innovative financial instruments and new technologies, and improve regulatory frameworks for enhanced involvement of non-traditional economic actors. The Parties shall enhance the contribution of diaspora to the sustainable development of their countries of origin, by promoting and facilitating diaspora investment, and business creation as a means to boost local development and entrepreneurship in countries of origin as well as to transfer knowledge, experience and technology.


6.    The Parties shall develop measures to harness the benefits of south-south migration and mitigate any negative impact on the basis of the principles of solidarity, shared prosperity and responsibility.

7.    The Parties shall promote the exchange of best practices of Caribbean-EU and intra‑regional mobility schemes, including free movement of persons in regional integration processes.

________________


PACIFIC REGIONAL PROTOCOL

PART I

FRAMEWORK FOR COOPERATION

CHAPTER 1

NATURE AND SCOPE

ARTICLE 1

Genuine partnership

1.    For the purposes of this Protocol, "Parties" means the relevant parties bound by this Protocol pursuant to Article 6 of the General Part of this Agreement.

2.    Relations between the Parties shall be governed by the provisions of the General Part of this Agreement and the specific aims set out in this Protocol, which are complementary and mutually reinforcing, in accordance with Article 6 of the General Part of the Agreement.


3.    The Parties agree to strengthen their relations and intensify cooperation with a view to promoting shared values, common interests, responsibilities and obligations. This genuine partnership shall be implemented in the spirit of mutual respect and accountability, equality and shared ownership.

ARTICLE 2

Multilateralism

1.    The Parties shall strengthen dialogue and cooperation and intensify efforts in support of multilateralism and the rules-based global order.

2.    The Parties shall endeavour, through appropriate partnership dialogue, to build strategic coalitions on a number of global issues, in particular as regards climate change, ocean governance, biodiversity, inclusive and sustainable economic development, human rights and issues related to peace and security. Where appropriate, they shall coordinate their positions in the frameworks of the United Nations (UN) and other international and regional organisations and forums. They shall take concrete measures to sign, ratify or accede to, as appropriate, and implement key international treaties and conventions.


ARTICLE 3

Aims

The Parties reaffirm the broad and comprehensive nature of this Protocol and agree that its aims are, inter alia, to:

(a)    strengthen their political partnership, underpinned by regular dialogue and the promotion of common interests;

(b)    improve environmental and climate resilience, and pursue the sustainable management of natural resources;

(c)    build democratic, peaceful and rights-based societies, based on the rule of law and good governance, and make progress on gender equality and financial governance;

(d)    support inclusive and sustainable economic growth through bolstered investment and private sector development, with special attention to the "blue economy" and enhanced connectivity;

(e)    support concrete measures aimed at strengthening ocean governance and the conservation and sustainable management of living marine resources including fisheries; and

(f)    invest in human and social development, addressing inequalities and ensuring that nobody is left behind, with special attention to the promotion of the youth and to economic, social and political empowerment of women and girls.


ARTICLE 4

Regional integration and cooperation

1.    The Parties shall support the process of regional integration and cooperation in the Pacific as a way of managing cross-country challenges and facilitating the implementation of this Protocol in order to reap full benefits from it, taking into consideration their relevant policy frameworks, including the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.

2.    The Parties agree to step up cooperation with regional organisations, countries and territories that share the same values and are willing and able to promote and address common goals, contributing to the political, economic and social development of the Pacific region as a whole.

3.    The Parties shall promote and support south-south and triangular cooperation as a means of strengthening regional cooperation.


CHAPTER 2

ACTORS AND PROCESSES

ARTICLE 5

Institutional provisions

1.    The joint institutions of this Protocol, as defined in the General Part of this Agreement, including their composition and functions, are the following:

(a)    the Pacific-EU Council of Ministers;

(b)    the Pacific-EU Joint Committee;

(c)    the Pacific-EU Parliamentary Assembly.

2.    The Parties may decide to meet at the level of Heads of State or Government, as deemed necessary, on the basis of a mutually agreed timetable and agenda.


ARTICLE 6

Overseas Countries and Territories associated with the European Union in the Pacific region

1.    The Parties agree to strengthen the links between the Overseas Countries and Territories associated with the European Union (OCTs) in the Pacific region and the Pacific OACPS Members.

2.    The Parties shall endeavour to involve the OCTs in regional integration, cooperation and organisations, as appropriate, especially in the areas of climate change, environmental sustainability, sustainable management of natural resources, connectivity, and trade and investment.

3.    The Parties agree that the OCTs in the Pacific region shall be granted the role of observers in this Protocol.

ARTICLE 7

Mechanisms for consultation and engagement with stakeholders

The Parties shall foresee consultation and dialogue mechanisms with all relevant stakeholders, including local authorities, representatives of civil society, and the private sector, in order to keep them informed of, and gather inputs for, the effective implementation of this Protocol, including in view of the Pacific-EU Council of Ministers.


ARTICLE 8

Implementation, monitoring and evaluation

1.    The Parties, when implementing actions for each area of cooperation, shall, in accordance with the legal framework set up by this Agreement, take into consideration their respective strategic and policy frameworks, including regional strategies adopted by Pacific OACPS Members, as appropriate.

2.    The Parties shall take action and implement measures at the most appropriate domestic, regional and multi-country level. They shall seek to maximise the impact on, and reinforce the involvement of, interested stakeholders, including through capacity building.

3.    The Parties shall monitor this Protocol to ensure that actions and measures are implemented effectively and efficiently, including through a multi-stakeholder approach. They may adapt it to evolving circumstances and expand its scope to enhance cooperation in existing and new areas, in accordance with the procedure in Article 99(5) of the General Part of this Agreement.

4.    The Parties shall conduct regular independent monitoring and evaluation assessments of the activities envisaged in the key areas of cooperation under this Protocol.


PART II

KEY AREAS OF COOPERATION

TITLE I

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

ARTICLE 9

The Parties, acknowledging the serious threat posed by climate change, sea-level rise and environmental degradation to the achievement of sustainable development and the lives of people, and recognising the significant risks for Small Island Developing States, shall build resilience to climate change and shall reverse environmental degradation. They shall take ambitious action to mitigate and adapt to climate change, to avert, minimise and address the risks of loss and damage, to protect and improve the quality of the environment, and to support the sustainable management of natural resources. They shall adopt measures to tackle biodiversity loss, maintain and restore ecosystems, promote ocean governance, and prevent and respond to disasters. They shall invest in green growth, circular economies and renewable energy, ensuring that economic growth goes hand in hand with environmental sustainability.


ARTICLE 10

Climate action

1.    The Parties, recalling the objectives, principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, adopted under the Convention, and stressing the need to step up the global efforts to tackle climate change in light of the findings of the Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, agree to contribute to global emission reduction, in line with keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit global warming to a 1.5 degree Celsius pathway. They recognise the importance of reaching net zero global anthropogenic emissions as soon as possible. They commit, to this end, to successive Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that will represent a progression beyond their current NDCs and reflect their highest possible ambition, in light of different national circumstances, and reaffirm their objective of each achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

2.    The Parties shall develop comprehensive and inclusive domestic climate policies and programmes, including through legislative and governance frameworks, and shall carry out concrete actions to scale up the implementation of the Paris Agreement. They shall develop monitoring, reporting and verification, and evaluation systems to track progress on climate action.


3.    The Parties shall accelerate and intensify efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change, including by developing and implementing ambitious National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). They shall develop and implement policies, strategies and legislative frameworks with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental sectors.

4.    The Parties, recognising that fossil fuel energy and transport sector contribute significantly to carbon emissions, undertake to develop energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions and to further reduce carbon emissions from the land-, aviation- and maritime-transport sectors. They shall strengthen cooperative action on technology development and transfer. They shall aim to rationalise and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and to minimise the possible adverse impacts, in a manner that protects the poor and affected communities.

5.    The Parties shall apply integrated, holistic and balanced non-market approaches to addressing climate change and its impacts, taking into account the vulnerability of small island developing states and taking into consideration their relevant policy frameworks, including the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific (FRDP) and the Pacific Resilience Partnership (PRP).

6.    The Parties shall support action to align finance flows with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. They shall cooperate to mobilise climate finance from a wide variety of sources, instruments and channels to support the development and implementation of national adaptation plans and nationally determined contributions beyond current levels, in line with the Paris Agreement.


7.    The Parties shall promote an ambitious phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Kigali Amendment thereof. They shall encourage all the Parties to the Protocol to ratify and ensure the swift implementation of the Amendment.

8.    The Parties shall strengthen coordination across all levels of governance and shall take action based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, indigenous and local knowledge systems. They shall encourage and enable local authorities to make and implement ambitious climate and energy commitments. They shall promote existing initiatives such as the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy and should support the implementation of their action plans.

9.    The Parties shall work together towards developing knowledge networks for climate adaptation and response and strengthening scientific, technical, human and institutional capacity for climate action and environmental management and monitoring, including through space technologies and information systems.


ARTICLE 11

Environment and sustainable management of natural resources

1.    The Parties shall support the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of ecosystems and the services they provide, linking biodiversity to livelihoods. They shall protect, restore and enhance biodiversity, in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Post‑2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. They shall support the development of long‑term strategies focused on mainstreaming biodiversity in national and regional frameworks in the Pacific region, ensuring coordination and coherence across institutions, and generating evidence to inform decision-making.

2.    The Parties shall promote an integrated approach to, and strengthen enforcement mechanisms for, the sustainable management and use of natural resources and the environment at all levels, including the development of a circular and green economy, taking into account the needs of current and future generations and, where appropriate, indigenous, traditional and customary practices.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to ensure the sustainable management of their forest resources and other tree resources, reduce and reverse deforestation, combat illegal logging and trade in illegal wood and wood-based products, restore the functions of natural forests, including the provision of ecosystem services, and promote responsible mining, taking into account demands for sustainable development, including the economic, social and environmental needs of their growing populations.


4.    The Parties shall promote sustainable integrated water management systems, preserving and protecting water sources and ecosystems, collecting and treating wastewater, addressing land degradation, the pollution of water and groundwater resources, and the uncertainties of water availability through water collection and storage systems.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate to combat the threat of invasive alien species in terms of local species' extinction, biodiversity, ecosystem functions and services, people's livelihoods and resilience, and trade and economic development.

6.    The Parties shall effectively address all forms of pollution. They shall work towards establishing the necessary regulatory frameworks and enforcement mechanisms for the sound management of chemicals and waste. They shall aim to prevent or minimise the generation of waste at source, and to improve product reusability, recyclability and resource efficiency in order to adapt production and consumption to the achievement of a circular economy. They shall take measures to prevent or minimise hazardous substances in material cycles and to manage chemicals in products throughout their lifecycle.


ARTICLE 12

Disaster resilience

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to build the resilience of people, societies, institutions and infrastructure to disaster events. They shall take into account the strong links between disasters and climate change and the impacts of disasters on human and social development, the livelihoods of people, especially of vulnerable groups and individuals, cultural heritage, environmental integrity, economic development and human security. They shall endeavour to implement and monitor the 2015-2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, including through the exchange of information and best practices, taking into consideration their relevant policy frameworks, including the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific.

2.    The Parties shall promote a holistic approach to disaster risk reduction, including taking into consideration the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific, investing in risk prevention and preparedness, integration of risk reduction efforts in recovery actions and the promotion of financial risk insurance. They shall support the resilience of public services, infrastructure, food security and water security, ensuring that investments consider and respond to a realistic understanding of future risks. They shall put climate resilience at the core of all reconstruction and recovery efforts, including by taking a "building back better" approach.


3.    The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen access to, and the transfer and systematic use of, relevant technologies for resilience building. They shall invest in the collection and use of disaster statistics and loss data, comprehensive risk assessment, the implementation of risk reduction plans at all levels, and stronger links between disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. They shall support the use of space technologies and information to improve prevention, preparedness, response and recovery measures.

4.    The Parties shall work towards strengthening inclusive risk governance at all levels, including capacity development for national and regional disaster risk reduction and climate innovation centres of excellence. They shall work towards increasing monitoring, early warning and risk assessment capacities, improving domestic and regional capacity and capability for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery measures, including civil protection mechanisms, as well as capacity of local communities and institutions, focusing on the most vulnerable and marginalised households and groups.

5.    The Parties shall monitor and evaluate disaster risk and climate risk-management priorities and objectives against international best practices.


TITLE II

INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 13

1.    The Parties shall pursue integrated strategies and implement reforms to build resilient and diversified economies, promote economic growth and transformation, strengthen business and trade relations, and support the transition towards full, quality employment. They undertake to create a business environment that is conducive to greater flows of investment and to private sector development. They shall strengthen and deepen intra-regional economic cooperation, including the mobility of goods and services. They shall encourage and facilitate wider use of their respective currencies in international transactions.

2.    The Parties shall promote measures in support of the transformative nature of science, technology, innovation and research. They shall work towards achieving circular, low-emission and climate-resilient economies and ensuring that all people benefit from unlocked business opportunities, that core labour standards are respected and upheld, including through social dialogue, and that the socio-economic empowerment and inclusion of vulnerable people, women and youth is promoted, including through appropriate social protection measures. They agree to concentrate efforts on key sectors with a multiplier effect on sustainable growth, job creation and poverty eradication, including the possibility of cooperating on new economic areas.


CHAPTER 1

ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DIVERSIFICATION

ARTICLE 14

Enablers of economic development

1.    The Parties shall pursue measures that support the attainment of higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, as a priority, and that improve macro‑economic and financial sector stability, simplify and harmonise business regulations and processes, strengthen effective and predictable tax systems, and improve the efficiency of public administration and judicial systems. They shall adopt sound competition policies and ensure the protection of land rights, property rights and intellectual property rights.

2.    The Parties agree to promote sound business facilitation legislation, regulations and policies aimed at reducing regulatory and administrative barriers and enhancing transparency while developing entrepreneurial skills and a business culture aimed at increasing investment and private sector development. They shall also promote corporate social responsibility and responsible business conduct, including as regards environmental considerations.


3.    The Parties agree to address and enhance human capital development, in particular through investment in, and support for, the creation of a highly educated, trained, skilled, qualified and efficient workforce sufficiently trained to access decent employment, including in new dynamic growth sectors, matching the demands of labour markets and enhancing private sector involvement. They shall place particular emphasis on enhancing digital literacy, technical and vocational education and training and tertiary education programmes.

4.    The Parties shall promote policies that enhance the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of labour-market institutions. They shall promote intra-regional labour mobility in support of the development needs of the Pacific Members of the OACPS and to respond positively to the needs of the private sector and to contribute to improved economic integration, greater investment and enhanced business productivity.

5.    The Parties shall support the development of key infrastructures such as energy, transport and water, as well as of information and communication technologies services and digital connectivity.

6.    The Parties shall promote the development of rural areas and the diversification of the rural economy, including by strengthening linkages between resilient infrastructures, tourism, agriculture and industry.


7.    The Parties shall support measures to improve the quality, availability and accessibility of insurance, financial and non-financial services for private enterprises, in both the formal and informal sectors. They shall improve access to affordable finance, including by developing viable banking and non-banking systems and strengthening digital financial services that facilitate value addition through the integration of firms, particularly micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), into regional and global value chains, and through enhanced production, trade regulatory capacity, entrepreneurship, improved business facilitation, the diversification of products and export destinations, and technological enhancement and innovation, including of e‑commerce platforms.

ARTICLE 15

Investment

1.    The Parties commit to encouraging, creating and maintaining a conducive environment for responsible investment for their mutual benefit. They shall streamline and accelerate administrative procedures and requirements, and shall support measures that create a predictable and secure investment climate, facilitate partnerships and promote public‑private sector dialogue.

2.    The Parties agree to attract and retain sustainable and responsible public and private investment, including foreign direct investment, through blending, guarantees and other innovative financial instruments to boost investor confidence. They shall endeavour to provide investors with adequate and easily accessible information on business opportunities in both the EU and the Pacific OACPS Members.


3.    The Parties undertake to cooperate in facilitating investments through an appropriate intervention mix, with particular attention to youth and women.

ARTICLE 16

Private sector development

1.    The Parties shall support the development of a dynamic, competitive and responsible private sector, including through the adoption of the necessary policies and economic, institutional and legislative reforms at national and/or regional levels. They shall take measures to strengthen and improve private sector productivity and efficiency. They shall pay special attention to the growth and improved competitiveness of MSMEs, to business incubators and to the development of cottage industries.

2.    The Parties shall seize the opportunities of technological progress and the digital economy. They shall endeavour to mobilise investment in support of research and innovation, and the digital economy, and to encourage the private sector to boost digitalisation, in particular in terms of investments, innovation, market knowledge, access and expertise.


3.    The Parties shall promote industrial development with a view to the achievement of sustainable economic growth. They shall adopt targeted policies aimed at facilitating industrial growth and opportunities, notably through the creation of linkages and value-adding activities, including small-scale industries. They shall encourage the development of appropriate technologies and processes and the diversification of niche products. They shall develop and implement strategies that build regional and national capacity for competitiveness in medium- and high-tech manufacturing and exports.

4.    The Parties shall support increased resource-use efficiency and the adoption of cleaner and more environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes. They shall effectively address all forms of pollution resulting from economic activities, including through a clear definition of responsibilities and their attribution to the industry and business operators throughout the supply chain, on the basis of the extended producer responsibility principle and the polluter pays principle.

ARTICLE 17

Science, technology, innovation and research

1.    The Parties shall cooperate in scientific research, technological development and innovation, with the aim of promoting social and economic development, tackling societal challenges and improving regional competitiveness. They shall develop the interconnection and interoperability of research networks and of computing and scientific data infrastructures and services, promoting such development within their regional context.


2.    The Parties shall facilitate, as appropriate, access to each other's science, technology and innovation programmes, research infrastructures and facilities, publications and scientific data in areas of relevance, including climate change and oceans.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate on matters of common interest in the area of civil space activities, such as space research, Global Navigation Satellite System applications and services, development of satellite augmentation systems, Earth Observation and Earth Science, particularly on the use of early warning and surveillance.

ARTICLE 18

Remittances

The Parties, recognising the importance of remittances as a major source for inclusive and sustainable development, shall endeavour to reduce the transaction costs of remittances to less than 3 %and eliminate remittances corridors with costs higher than 5 % by 2030, to promote financial literacy awareness and financial inclusion via innovative financial instruments, and to improve regulatory frameworks for enhanced involvement of non-traditional players, including through the use of new technologies.


CHAPTER 2

TRADE COOPERATION

ARTICLE 19

Trade integration

1.    The Parties undertake to boost trade opportunities to their mutual advantage as well as with the wider region including the Overseas Countries and Territories associated with the European Union (OCT). They shall aim to foster the smooth and gradual integration of the Pacific States into the world economy, especially by making full use of the potential of regional integration and trade with other regions.

2.    The Parties shall support the implementation and functioning of the existing Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Pacific States, encouraging the accession of interested countries and where appropriate broadening the scope of the EPA.

3.    The Parties shall support regional economic integration processes in the Pacific region, including trade facilitation and regulatory harmonisation, to enable countries to take advantage of trading with their neighbours and to foster their integration into regional and global value chains.


ARTICLE 20

Trade capacity

1.    The Parties shall cooperate in building trade capacity, including through strengthened production and entrepreneurship, and increased investment in value-adding sectors. They shall ensure that the framework conditions and the right domestic policies are in place to facilitate greater trade flows.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate in the area of trade facilitation, building on their respective commitments under the Agreement on Trade Facilitation of the World Trade Organization. Such cooperation shall take into account the specific needs of Pacific OACPS Members, including those related to geographic constraints, technology, trade finance and connectivity. They shall endeavour to reduce trade costs related to imports, exports, transit and other custom procedures on the movement of goods and services, including the automation of custom procedures.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to prevent, identify and eliminate unnecessary technical barriers to trade as well as unnecessary non-tariff barriers restricting their exports. In particular, they shall cooperate to ensure compliance with international standards through appropriate capacity‑building support, and improved quality control mechanisms and certification laboratories.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen sanitary and phytosanitary regulations and practices, including through institutional and regulatory mechanisms and adequate information systems and infrastructures.


5.    The Parties shall cooperate to implement administrative cooperation and verification arrangements in their trade relations.

6.    The Parties, recognising the contribution of digital technology to trade facilitation, agree to cooperate towards appropriate Pacific regional digital platforms for national and cross-border trade.

ARTICLE 21

Services

1.    The Parties shall support the development of a robust and vibrant services sector, acknowledging its importance in terms of its contribution to economic growth and job creation, in providing inputs to all economic activities and in facilitating transformative production and export processes.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to strengthen capacity in the supply of services. They shall pay particular attention to services related to the movement of natural persons for business purposes, financial and other business services, tourism, cultural and creative industries, and construction and related engineering services.

3.    The Parties agree to encourage the establishment of mutual recognition agreements where appropriate, including with a view to facilitating the recognition of professional qualifications. They shall cooperate to address barriers to trade in services, with a view to fostering competition, creating employment, spurring growth and development, and improving the quality of their services sector.


CHAPTER 3

KEY SECTORS

ARTICLE 22

"Blue economy"

1.    The Parties shall promote a "blue economy" that is well managed and sustainable, and that aims to reconcile sustainable economic growth with employment creation, improved livelihoods and social equity, fair economic benefits, and strengthened food security, based on the conservation of marine ecosystems and biodiversity, and the sustainable use of resources.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to develop sustainable aquaculture through effective spatial planning, an ecosystem-based approach and an enhanced level playing field for investors, ensuring that it meets the concerns of local communities.

3.    The Parties shall enhance sustainable fisheries development, including at the level of artisanal fisheries, by promoting sustainable value chains through enhanced investment in productivity and local processing capacities, while ensuring the sustainability of fisheries resources and improved food security and safety.


4.    The Parties shall seize opportunities in the area of marine biotechnology, supporting research and reducing technical bottlenecks to facilitate access for investors, while avoiding risks to the marine environment.

5.    The Parties shall promote research, innovation and the sharing of knowledge, best practices and lessons learned on the blue economy, including strengthening spatial planning and sound investment decision‑making.

6.    The Parties shall promote marine renewable energy with a view to accelerating the clean energy transition on all islands.

ARTICLE 23

Agriculture

1.    The Parties shall promote sustainable agriculture and support agro-ecological practices and actions to build climate-resilient agriculture and ensure value addition and diversification, so as to improve livelihoods, expand incomes and create decent employment.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to increase opportunities for producers, processors and exporters, particularly smallholders, to access markets at national, regional and international levels, including through improved agricultural extension support, rural infrastructures and access to finance. They shall cooperate to ensure compliance with internationally accepted practices and standards, taking into consideration their relevant policy frameworks.


3.    The Parties shall promote food security by developing inclusive and biodiverse nutrition- sensitive value chains, including through local value-addition and processing and enhanced capacities of value chain agents. They shall engage in the registration and protection of geographical indications (GIs) for agricultural and food products from the Pacific region and the European Union.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to combat pests, diseases and invasive species affecting their agriculture.

ARTICLE 24

Tourism

1.    The Parties undertake to ensure a balanced and sustainable development of tourism, maximising its potential for economic growth, the creation of decent jobs and increased government revenues while ensuring the integration of environmental, cultural and social dimensions.

2.    The Parties shall enhance the protection and promotion of cultural heritage and natural resources, and shall strengthen linkages between tourism and other relevant economic sectors, in particular transport, agriculture and the blue economy.


3.    The Parties shall cooperate to promote sustainable development practices and shall aim to optimise the socio-economic benefits of tourism, protecting land, oceans, people and cultures, respecting the integrity and interests of local communities, and supporting their involvement in the process of tourism development, in particular rural and community tourism and eco‑tourism. They shall encourage investment in new technology for research and statistical development, climate and disaster resilience, biodiversity, waste management, renewable energy and energy efficiency, water and food security, and community livelihoods and participation.

4.    The Parties shall bolster investment in the promotion and development of tourism products and services. They shall promote the development of innovative partnerships with relevant airlines and cruise operators and invest in human capital development, tourism training and capacity building, marketing, including digital marketing, and encourage business contacts and exchanges of skilled personnel, with a view to boosting competitiveness, improving service standards and for the further development of the tourism sector.

ARTICLE 25

Sustainable energy

1.    The Parties recognise the importance of the energy sector for economic prosperity and for human and social development and human security, as well as the need for a smooth transition to a low‑carbon economy. They shall endeavour to strengthen energy security and the resilience of energy infrastructures to improve accessibility and affordability of clean energy.


2.    The Parties agree to support energy reforms in the Pacific region that contribute to reducing the carbon intensity of its development processes, increasing the efficiency of supply and end-use energy consumption, enhancing the resilience of energy infrastructure and decreasing net greenhouse gas emissions, taking into consideration their relevant policy frameworks, including the Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific and the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific.

3.    The Parties shall facilitate open, transparent and functioning energy markets that drive inclusive and sustainable investment in responsible generation, transmission and distribution, and in energy efficiency.

4.    The Parties shall promote energy efficiency and energy savings at all stages of the energy chain, from generation to consumption, and shall strengthen, improve and transform power production, generation and distribution facilities, including by strengthening and expanding urban and rural power distribution grids.

5.    The Parties shall promote the energy transition of the Pacific region through the development and uptake of clean, diverse, cost-effective and sustainable energy technologies, including renewable and low-emission energy technologies.


ARTICLE 26

Connectivity

1.    The Parties, recognising the geographical constraints faced by Pacific Island States, shall strengthen connectivity across the Pacific region, ensuring that it is sustainable, comprehensive, rules-based, and that it fosters investment and a level playing field for businesses. They shall endeavour to build safe, secure, resilient and sustainable transport links, by air, land and sea, and digital networks, from mobile to fixed, from the internet backbone to the last mile, from cable to satellites. They undertake to work towards energy connectivity, with the aim of fostering modern, efficient and clean solutions and to promote people-to-people contacts.

2.    The Parties undertake to restructure, strengthen and improve transport and related infrastructure systems, facilitating and improving the movement of passengers, including those with reduced mobility, and of goods, and providing cost-effective, safe, secure and sustainable access to reliable and effective urban, air, maritime, inland-waterway, rail and road-transport services. They shall improve the overall governance of the transport sector, by developing and implementing efficient regulations to facilitate harmonisation across the Pacific region, to allow fair competition and interoperability within and between transport modes, as well as to activate and promote the participation of the private sector in transport projects, including on maintenance and on the elimination of capacity constraints and of missing-link infrastructures.


3.    The Parties acknowledge the importance of cost-effective and efficient maritime transport services as the main mode of transport facilitating trade. They shall cooperate in the maritime transport sector to promote the efforts of Pacific OACPS Members in developing competitive ports and port services, including navigation infrastructure, with a view to improving the movement of goods and people.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate in the aviation sector, including considering an increase in routes and frequency of air services in to the Pacific region. They shall also cooperate to strengthen and improve aviation safety and security, and airspace surveillance, including capability to respond to related threats and risks. They agree to strengthen and improve air and sea travel navigational aid facilities, including air traffic control and cartography.

5.    The Parties shall aim at boosting access to open, affordable and secure broadband connectivity and digital infrastructures, including through improved undersea cables. They shall take measures to facilitate easy access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and support the appropriate utilisation of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things and the deployment of extensive low-cost wireless networks, adapted to local circumstances. They shall endeavour to establish the necessary regulatory institutions to license service providers, promote competitive behaviour and ensure consumer welfare and protection, strengthening regional cooperation, taking into consideration the relevant policy frameworks of the Parties, including the Pacific Regional ICT Strategic Action Plan.


ARTICLE 27

Extractive industries

1.    The Parties, acknowledging the contribution of extractive industries to economic development, shall facilitate sustainable and responsible investment through appropriate legislation, policies and regulatory frameworks consistent with international best practices. They shall aim to ensure fair and undistorted access to extractive resources, fully respecting national laws and the sovereignty of countries over their natural resources, and upholding the rights of affected local communities.

2.    The Parties agree to promote the responsible management of extractive resources, including the development of legislative frameworks, taking into account environmental impacts. They shall promote transparency and accountability, in line with the principles set out in the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

3.    The Parties shall promote the use of relevant technologies to facilitate the sustainable and responsible exploration and exploitation of extractive resources.


ARTICLE 28

Forestry

1.    The Parties shall promote the sustainable management of forests and the sustainable use of forest resources, reduce and halt deforestation and forest degradation, conserve forest biodiversity and ecosystems, combat illegal logging and associated trade, and promote resource- and energy-efficient products from sustainably managed forests.

2.    The Parties shall promote sustainable value chains of agro-industries and forest commodities and products, prioritising the creation of jobs and other economic opportunities in the conservation of ecosystems. They shall cooperate in the sustainable management of forests, including the legal and sustainable provision of products for commercial gain and the sustainable commercialisation of forest flora and fauna, in full respect of international best practices and standards and relevant international agreements. They shall collaborate and promote the use of appropriate technology and methods to identify and develop herbs and other forest-based materials that would contribute to medicinal products, while ensuring that no loss of biodiversity is incurred, that no ecosystem imbalance is created, and that access to medicinal products is not hindered.


3.
   The Parties shall cooperate to improve the governance and sustainability of forests, including by taking into consideration the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT) and by encouraging the development of voluntary partnerships agreements. They shall strive to strengthen coherence and positive interactions at country level between FLEGT and climate action in the forest and land‑use sector, including in the context of other international initiatives, particularly the Warsaw Framework on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). They shall engage in the development and review of policies, legislation, regulations, strategies and plans for climate action in the forest and land‑use sector, in line with countries' Nationally Determined Contributions. They shall take steps to improve the quality of inventories for emissions and removals from the forest sector.

4.    The Parties shall support the development of forest adaptation and conservation strategies, and initiatives to enhance forest health, reverse deforestation, restore degraded forest landscapes, enhance resilience to climate change and re-establish forest cover. Recognising the importance of natural and virgin forests in providing ecosystems, climate and cultural services that our societies depend upon, they shall cooperate to develop and implement suitable approaches and positive incentives for their adaptation and conservation.

5.    The Parties shall support the strengthening and capacity building of regional, sub-regional and national institutions and agencies responsible for the sustainable management of forests. They shall raise public awareness of deforestation at all levels and encourage the consumption of resource- and energy-efficient products from sustainably managed forests. They shall promote and support the use of alternative, sustainable and clean‑cooking fuel for local communities. They shall strengthen the involvement of local authorities and communities in forest protection.


TITLE III

OCEANS, SEAS AND FISHERIES

ARTICLE 29

The Parties acknowledge the essential role of oceans for life on earth, sustainable development and people's livelihoods. They agree to step up efforts to protect the oceans and seas from the adverse consequences and impact of different pressures such as climate change, ocean acidification and coral bleaching, overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and other destructive and unsustainable activities. They shall promote the sustainable development of the blue economy, protect marine ecosystems and biodiversity, reduce pollution of all kinds and deploy climate change mitigation and adaptation policies.


CHAPTER 1

OCEAN GOVERNANCE

ARTICLE 30

Sustainable oceans

1.    The Parties acknowledge each other's efforts to ensure improved and integrated ocean governance, strengthened regional and sub-regional fisheries conservation and management measures, the monitoring, control and surveillance of fisheries, other region‑specific strategies, and instruments for the effective management of the oceans.

2.    The Parties shall take the necessary steps to implement relevant international and regional treaties, conventions and agreements on ocean governance to which they are party, and the conservation and management of resources provided for therein.

3.    The Parties shall strengthen governance of the oceans for their sustainable use and conservation, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and taking into consideration relevant regional frameworks, including by promoting an integrated management approach, taking into account social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.


4.    The Parties shall cooperate to mitigate and alleviate pressure on the oceans and their resources, for safe, secure, clean and sustainably managed oceans, as well as to strengthen knowledge regarding oceans. They shall cooperate on the protection, preservation and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate to prevent and reduce marine pollution and fight noise pollution and marine litter, including plastics and micro-plastics, oil spills and nuclear contaminants. They shall support and strive for the regulation of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, actively supporting the urgent implementation of the International Maritime Organization strategy on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships. They shall enact legislation and regulations governing the discharge of harmful waste and litter, including imposing penalties for violation.

6.    The Parties agree to base their decisions on the best available science, with due regard to the principles of the ecosystem-based approach, the precautionary principle and the importance of traditional and indigenous knowledge.

7.    The Parties shall strengthen cooperation on research, design and implementation of conservation and management measures, marine spatial planning and the establishment of marine protected areas and marine sanctuaries, in line with international law, based on the best available science, and taking into account indigenous and local communities' knowledge.

8.    The Parties shall cooperate to build capacity and expertise in ocean governance, including through marine scientific research and the transfer of marine technology, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.


9.    The Parties shall promote dialogue and cooperation on all aspects of ocean governance, including on matters related to climate change, sea‑level rise and its possible effects and implications, seabed mining, fisheries, marine pollution, and research and development.

10.    The Parties recognise the general concerns raised about the impact of seabed mining on the marine environment and its biodiversity. They shall use the best available science, apply the precautionary principle and ecosystem approach, promote research and share best practices in fields of mutual interest related to seabed mineral resources, in order to ensure the sound environmental management of activities for the protection and preservation of the marine environment and its biodiversity.

ARTICLE 31

Biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction

1.    The Parties shall cooperate, including through competent international and regional organisations and arrangements, on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, based on the best available science.

2.    The Parties shall promote capacity building and the transfer of marine technology for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, including through international cooperation.


CHAPTER 2

FISHERIES

ARTICLE 32

Sustainable conservation and management of fisheries resources

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to ensure the conservation and sustainable management and use of fisheries resources at bilateral, sub-regional, regional and multilateral levels, as appropriate.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to ensure that fisheries resources are conserved and managed effectively and harvested sustainably, and that social and economic returns are optimised.

3.    The Parties agree to promote transparent and science-based conservation and management measures in line with international law, in particular the rules and principles set out in the United Nations on the Convention on the Law of the Sea and the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, and respecting conservation and management measures adopted by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, where applicable.

4.    The Parties shall cooperate to ensure the sustainable economic development of coastal fisheries through effective policies, laws and regulations. They shall promote access to fisheries resources by local communities and small-scale and artisanal fishers, and shall promote food security and inter-generational and intra-generational equity.


ARTICLE 33

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities

1.    The Parties in accordance with international obligations shall maintain or adopt initiatives to combat, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in their respective jurisdictions, in other jurisdictions and on the high seas, recognising that such activities constitute a serious threat to the effective conservation, management and sustainable exploitation of fisheries.

2.    The Parties shall implement policies and measures to exclude IUU fishing activities products from trade flows. They shall implement and enforce monitoring, control and surveillance measures, such as observer schemes, vessel-monitoring systems, fishing licences and authorisations, catch recording and reporting, transhipment control, inspections and port state control and associated measures, to ensure compliance, including enforcement action and sanctions in accordance with domestic regulations, with the aim of conserving fish stocks, preventing overfishing and promoting sustainable fisheries.

3.    The Parties, in accordance with their obligations under existing national laws and sub-regional, regional and international instruments, agree not to grant entry to, deny service to, or to expel from their ports, vessels of Parties found to have engaged in IUU fishing activities in other jurisdictions and on the high seas, or that have a history of IUU fishing activity.


4.    The Parties shall endeavour to ratify relevant international agreements in relation to IUU fishing, notably the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, and shall promote complementarity and consistency between international and regional measures and strategies to combat IUU fishing activities.

ARTICLE 34

Harmful fisheries subsidies

The Parties agree to take necessary steps to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and to eliminate subsidies that contribute to IUU fishing and refrain from introducing such new subsidies, recognising that appropriate, effective, special and differential treatment for developing and least developed Pacific States should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation.


TITLE IV

SECURITY, HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE

ARTICLE 35

The Parties shall cooperate towards achieving peaceful and resilient societies, protect, promote and fulfil human rights, and shall strengthen democratic principles and good governance. They shall support accountable and transparent institutions at all levels and shall take concrete steps on tax good governance and on the fight against corruption, fraud and money laundering. They shall address new or expanding threats to security, including terrorism, threats to cybersecurity and all forms of transnational organised crime, particularly in relation to maritime security, cybercrime, human security and environmental security, while safeguarding human rights, including through regional cooperation, taking into consideration their relevant policy frameworks, including the principles set out in the Boe Declaration on Regional Security and relevant EU Common Foreign and Security Policy strategies. They shall endeavour to facilitate, whenever appropriate in line with existing international obligations, the work of Human Rights mechanisms, including that of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on relevant matters.


CHAPTER 1

SECURITY

ARTICLE 36

Peace and security

1.    The Parties shall cooperate to ensure peace, security and justice, through the protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights, good governance, strengthened human security, environmental security, and conflict prevention and peace building.

2.    The Parties shall address all forms of identity-based violence, including sexual, gender-based, inter-communal, ethnic and religious violence. They shall support reconciliation processes through transitional justice mechanisms, including traditional or customary practices, where and when these are not incompatible with internationally recognised human rights. They shall provide support to all victims of violence.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to enhance maritime security, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and taking into consideration relevant regional frameworks, by sharing information, responding to threats to ships and maritime installations and assets, and enforcing relevant laws and regulations. They shall cooperate, including through the use of space technologies, to address security issues that arise from transnational crime such as drug trafficking, piracy and armed robbery at sea, forced labour, trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants.


4.    The Parties shall endeavour to develop new initiatives to prevent and combat terrorism in all its forms, in full respect of the rule of law and international law, addressing factors that may create an environment conducive to violent extremism and radicalisation. They shall develop new or strengthen existing legislation and strategies, and cooperate to combat and counter terrorism, terrorist financing and associated threats as appropriate, in full conformity with international law, where applicable. They shall cooperate towards the implementation of all relevant Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSCRs), including UNSCRs 2396 and 2462, and of the General Assembly. They shall refrain from providing any form of support to State and non-State actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transport, transfer or use nuclear, chemical, biological or any other weapons and their means of delivery for terrorist purposes. They shall enhance cooperation to enable individuals and communities to prevent, and increase resilience to, acts of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation.

5.    The Parties reaffirm that climate change is an existential threat to the livelihoods, security and well‑being of peoples and communities, and commit to making progress on the implementation of the Paris Agreement. They shall promote the global recognition of climate change as a security risk and shall work together to prevent climate change impacts from continuing to act as a threat multiplier, such as threats from rising sea levels and extreme weather events, with serious implications for peace and security. They shall recognise and act on the threat of climate change to peace and security by strengthening adaptation and resilience measures as well as early warning systems.


6.    The Parties shall strengthen cooperation to promote cybersecurity and to prevent and combat cybercrime and cyber-enabled crime, including the cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property. They shall cooperate to share best practices for protecting more effectively national and regional critical infrastructures from cyber-attacks. They shall promote multi-stakeholder internet governance and address issues relating to the online distribution of illicit or harmful materials. They shall exchange information on the education and training of cybersecurity technical experts and cybercrime investigators, the investigation of cybercrime and digital forensic science. They shall strengthen international cooperation to promote security and stability in cyberspace. They shall recognise that cybercrime is a global problem and acknowledge the need to build on existing international norms and standards, including those of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime.

ARTICLE 37

Organised crime

1.    The Parties shall strengthen and implement legislation and strategies to combat transnational organised crime, including, but not limited to trafficking in persons, illicit drugs, small arms and light weapons, illegal logging and associated trade, illegal trade of endangered species including endangered marine species, wild animals and plants, as well as derived products, and other illegal economic and financial activities.


2.    The Parties shall cooperate with a view to maintaining coordinated efforts to prevent and combat the use of their financial systems to finance criminal activities. They shall exchange information and enforce appropriate measures to fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and illicit financial flows, in line with relevant international standards and frameworks, notably the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations.

3.    The Parties shall strengthen dialogue and cooperation in the area of law enforcement, with the aim of combating the activities of transnational organised criminal and terrorist networks. They shall improve coordination between national and regional security mechanisms through open dialogue and the exchange of strategic information in support of early warning and cooperation with relevant international organisations, partners and stakeholders.


CHAPTER 2

HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE

ARTICLE 38

Human rights

1.    The Parties recognise that human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and agree to respect, protect, fulfil and promote all human rights, be they civil, political, economic, social or cultural. They shall take necessary steps in accordance with relevant international treaties to ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of thought, religion and belief. They shall address and fight all forms of racism, discrimination, gender-based discrimination, including their manifestation through gender-based violence, trafficking in persons, with women and girls being especially targeted for sexual exploitation, hate speech and hate crimes, xenophobia and related intolerance.

2.    The Parties shall intensify efforts to achieve gender equality and the full enjoyment of all human rights by women and girls and their empowerment. They shall promote, protect and fulfil the rights of the child.


3.    The Parties shall promote the rights of persons belonging to minorities and advance the rights of indigenous peoples, as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

4.    The Parties shall support measures to enhance a rights-based approach to development, encompassing all human rights, and take the necessary steps to ensure, inter alia, equality and non-discrimination for all in the enjoyment of human rights, including access to and control over the resources and services essential for the right to an adequate standard of living. These include, but are not limited to, the rights to education, health, including sexual and reproductive health, food, drinking water and sanitation, adequate housing, work and justice. The steps to be taken for the realisation of these rights shall include accessible services addressing the causes and adverse impacts of climate change and the promotion of fair and equitable distribution of resources.

5.    The Parties shall cooperate towards the realisation of human rights in the Pacific region, including through the establishment and strengthening of independent national and regional human rights mechanisms and institutions, and through the strengthening of an enabling and safe environment for the active engagement of civil society, human rights defenders, and other relevant stakeholders, including through their capacity building and access to regional and international human rights mechanisms.


ARTICLE 39

Democracy and governance

1.    The Parties shall uphold democratic processes and institutions in accordance with internationally recognised principles and national legal frameworks, including accountable governments elected through peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible elections, the acceptance of election results and the ensuing government transition and the individual's right to participate in the public affairs of the society they live in.

2.    The Parties shall enhance the role of parliaments, promote media independence and pluralism, and preserve and broaden an enabling space for civil society, with a view to improving democratic accountability. They shall strengthen national, regional and decentralised capacities to ensure respect for democratic principles and practices.

3.    The Parties shall promote the principles of good governance. They shall take concrete measures to build inclusive, accountable and transparent public institutions. They shall support capacities for policy design and implementation, develop an accountable, efficient, transparent and professional civil service, and strengthen the delivery of quality public services.

4.    The Parties shall accelerate the deployment of e-governance services and digital services infrastructure as a means of enhancing access to and the availability of public services, improving democratic practices and governance, and promoting, protecting and fulfilling human rights and fundamental freedoms.


5.    The Parties shall establish or strengthen mechanisms and institutions to combat corruption, bribery, fraud and corporate financial crimes, including by implementing and promoting relevant international standards and instruments, notably the United Nations Convention against Corruption. They shall promote transparent management of public resources and accountability, encourage actions that support the values of a culture of transparency, legality and behaviour change in order to ensure the eradication of corruption, and further develop legislation to facilitate the recovery and return of assets.

6.    The Parties shall strengthen governance systems to stem irregular migration and to combat smuggling of migrants and related criminal networks, as well as trafficking in persons, with a specific focus on victim protection.

ARTICLE 40

Rule of law and justice

1.    The Parties shall promote respect for the law and cooperate to consolidate the rule of law. They shall aim to ensure an independent, impartial and effective judiciary and to strengthen institutions in the administration of justice. They shall take the necessary steps to provide access to justice for all under due process.


2.    The Parties shall oppose and condemn all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by state and non-state actors in all contexts, including by supporting the ratification and effective implementation of the Convention against Torture and its optional protocols.

3.    The Parties shall promote justice reforms to ensure efficient court systems and procedures, and modern penitentiary systems. They shall cooperate to enhance the capacities of key actors in the judiciary and legislative bodies.

ARTICLE 41

Financial governance

1.    The Parties shall promote sound public financial management, including effective mobilisation and use of public revenues, sustainable public debt management, sustainable, transparent, competitive and predictable public procurement systems, and support for national oversight bodies.

2.    The Parties shall enact legislation, take concrete measures and strengthen relevant institutions and mechanisms to implement the principles of good governance in the tax area.

3.    The Parties shall cooperate to combat tax evasion, tax avoidance and illicit financial flows, and ensure the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and fairness of tax systems.


TITLE V

HUMAN AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

ARTICLE 42

The Parties are determined to eradicate poverty in all its forms by 2030, foster human and social development through inclusive and equitable access to social services and enhanced food security, tackle inequality effectively, promote gender equality and women and youth empowerment, ensure that everyone has the necessary means to enjoy life in dignity, and create the conditions for people to participate effectively in democratic life and contribute actively to sustainable economic growth. They shall take concrete measures to promote social cohesion and social protection as a fundamental investment for poverty eradication and fighting inequality, and as an important means of reinvesting economic gains more broadly in society and people. They shall promote culture and sport as drivers for sustainable human and social development and inclusive economic growth, as well as for social inclusion and peaceful societies.


CHAPTER 1

SOCIAL SERVICES

ARTICLE 43

Education

1.    The Parties shall support inclusive and equitable access to quality education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, early childhood care and technical and vocational education and training, taking into consideration their relevant policy frameworks, including the Pacific Regional Education Framework. They shall promote the development of digital literacy and skills. They shall pay special attention to women and girls, and marginalised and vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities.

2.    The Parties shall take measures to improve the quality of formal and non-formal learning and to support the development of skills through technical and vocational education and training, with a view to increasing the number of highly educated and skilled workers matching labour market needs and opportunities.

3.    The Parties shall promote initiatives that encourage and enable the development and wider use of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


4.    The Parties shall endeavour to improve infrastructure and equipment of education centres. They shall improve the quality of education through evidence-based policies, curriculum development and enhanced quality of teacher training and professional development.

ARTICLE 44

Health

1.    The Parties shall aim to achieve universal health coverage and equitable access to healthcare services, including through strengthened national health systems, modernised facilities and equipment, and quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines.

2.    The Parties shall take measures towards strengthening the prevention and control of non‑communicable diseases, with a view to reducing their incidence, including by increasing investment for health promotion, and primary and secondary prevention strategies. They shall take into consideration their relevant policy frameworks that promote the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. They shall address the challenges associated with mental health through the development of healthcare and community-based services, including those addressing psychosocial disorders.


3.    The Parties shall strengthen national and regional surveillance and monitoring systems to detect and respond rapidly and effectively to communicable diseases and other health emergencies of national, regional and international concern, including infections with pandemic potential such as influenza. They shall cooperate to implement a "one health" approach to address antimicrobial resistance and its consequences for both human and animal health.

ARTICLE 45

Water and sanitation

1.    The Parties shall strengthen efforts to foster access to sufficient, safe and affordable water for personal and domestic use, paying special attention to people in vulnerable situations. They shall promote action to strengthen water security against the impacts of population growth, climate variability and climate change, including through improved water-use efficiency, drinking-water safety, sustainable use of water resources, and development of national water catchment and storage systems.

2.    The Parties shall boost physical and affordable access to sanitation for all, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, socially and culturally acceptable and that provides privacy and ensures dignity. They shall support and strengthen local communities' participation in establishing, managing and maintaining facilities and hygiene practices in households, schools and healthcare facilities, particularly in areas facing difficult challenges, such as rural and remote areas, small islands and informal urban settlements.


3.    The Parties acknowledge the importance of shared knowledge and technology, including the capacity building required to plan, deliver and maintain quality water and sanitation systems and infrastructure.

ARTICLE 46

Housing

1.    The Parties shall strengthen efforts to secure equitable access to adequate, safe and affordable housing for all, including those in vulnerable situations. They shall address the issue of inequalities between urban households and rural areas, and between remote and main islands. They shall promote the sharing of best practices, including on building codes, with a view to enhancing environmental resilience and achieving climate-smart housing.

2.    The Parties shall work towards achieving universal access to sustainable energy services for all, improving access to electricity and supporting efficiency in households' energy usage.


ARTICLE 47

Food security and improved nutrition

1.    The Parties shall aim to ensure that all have access to sufficient, affordable, safe and nutritious food, including by promoting local nutritious food and investing in sustainable food systems, including climate- resilient transportation and storage. They shall pay particular attention to ensuring the availability of adequate sources of emergency food during disaster recovery.

2.    The Parties shall cooperate to end all forms of malnutrition and address the underlying causes of food and nutrition insecurity.

3.    The Parties shall support agricultural diversification and local food production for both subsistence and commercial purposes. They shall aim to strengthen resilient and diversified farming systems and resource-efficient agriculture by using resilient and high-yield nutritional crop varieties. They shall address overexploitation of fisheries resources, considering that fish is a critical source for food and nutrition security.

4.    The Parties shall promote healthy diets, reducing reliance on imported food with low nutritional value, strengthening nutrition-labelling regulation, fostering education and public awareness programmes on nutrition and healthy diet practices, and promoting the production and consumption of local healthy food.


CHAPTER 2

INEQUALITY, SOCIAL COHESION AND SOCIAL PROTECTION

ARTICLE 48

Social protection

1.    The Parties shall promote the creation of inclusive and well-functioning labour markets and employment policies geared to ensuring decent work for all, including enhancing health and safety conditions for workers. They shall address issues related to the informal economy, including access to credit and micro-finance, and strengthened social protection measures, with a view to facilitating a smoother transition to the formal economy. They shall combat all forms of exploitation for profit, including sexual and work exploitation, in both formal and informal economies.

2.    The Parties shall work towards extending social protection coverage, especially for people in a situation of vulnerability and marginalized groups as well as those who are formally and informally employed, with the aim of progressively reaching universality, through basic income security and adequate and shock-responsive social protection systems.


ARTICLE 49

Gender equality and empowerment of women and girls

1.    The Parties shall strengthen policies, programmes and mechanisms aimed at ensuring, improving and expanding equal participation and opportunities for men and women in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life. They shall encourage the ratification and support the effective implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol. They shall ensure that the gender perspective is systematically mainstreamed across all policies. They shall take into consideration their relevant policy frameworks, including the Pacific regional architecture for gender equality.

2.    The Parties shall support women's economic empowerment, identify economic opportunities for women and ensure that their economic and social rights are respected and promoted. They shall facilitate women's access to financial services and employment, and control over and use of land and other productive assets. They shall take measures to support women entrepreneurs, cut the gender pay gap and remove other discriminatory regulations and practices. They shall work towards building women's resilience to climate change impacts and shall sustain their livelihoods in agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, and cultural industries. They shall strengthen the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of accessible statistical data on women's economic empowerment.


3.    The Parties undertake to adopt the necessary legislation and policy measures to end child, early and forced marriage, and to eliminate all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence, all forms of sexual and work exploitation and all forms of harassment in the public and private spheres, including through awareness‑raising initiatives for behavioural change.

4.    The Parties shall take measures to enhance women's and girls' participation and voice in public and political life, including in electoral, policy, governance and development processes, local government, traditional and customary mechanisms, leadership, constitutional bodies, state-owned enterprises, peace building and reconciliation.

5.    The Parties shall strengthen national and regional institutions to address and handle issues related to all forms of violence against women and girls, including prevention and protection against all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, harassment investigation and accountability mechanisms, and care and support for victims. They shall endeavour to align national legislation and regulations, and regional frameworks with the relevant international conventions and regional frameworks.


6.    The Parties shall commit to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, and the outcomes of their review conferences. They shall enact policies and design programmes that aim at achieving universal access to affordable, comprehensive and integrated quality sexual and reproductive health services with adequate counselling, information and sexual education programmes, taking into consideration the UNESCO international technical guidance on sexuality education, as appropriate, as well as the delivery of sexual and reproductive health-care services. The Parties shall support the effective implementation of the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development, as appropriate.

ARTICLE 50

Youth

1.    The Parties shall establish governance structures to benefit from the youth dividend and to empower young people and increase their influence in decision-making processes and their active participation in political life and in peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts. They shall promote increased participation of young people in environmental action, particularly climate change monitoring and adaptation programmes.

2.    The Parties shall support youth entrepreneurship and decent employment for young people, paying particular attention to those in education, employment or training, to help them acquire labour market-relevant skills for employment.


3.    The Parties shall foster social and justice programmes for the prevention of juvenile delinquency and integration into economic and social life. They shall support institutions, such as schools, faith-based organisations and youth groups, which may contribute to building resilience in vulnerable communities and with youth at risk.

4.    The Parties shall take measures to improve and strengthen child protection systems and safeguards. They shall support measures to end child labour and abuse, early and forced marriage, and corporal punishment.

ARTICLE 51

Persons with disabilities

1.    The Parties shall promote, protect and fulfil the rights of persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind. They shall take concrete measures to ensure their full inclusion in society through equal access to social services, including education and health and effective participation in labour markets and other economic opportunities.

2.    The Parties shall encourage the ratification, and support the effective implementation of, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, taking into consideration their relevant policy frameworks.


ARTICLE 52

Culture, sport, and people-to-people contacts

1.    The Parties shall promote the protection and enhancement of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, and the diversity of cultural expression, with a view to enhancing mutual understanding and fostering balanced cultural exchanges. They shall cooperate and promote investment to support the preservation and promotion of traditional arts and culture, indigenous knowledge and cultural diversity.

2.    The Parties shall promote creative and cultural industries and cultural tourism as drivers for jobs and sustainable growth. They shall endeavour to promote the mobility of culture and creative professionals and the circulation of works of art, and carry out joint initiatives in various cultural and creative spheres. They shall encourage the economic empowerment of women and youth through culture value chains, by strengthening public-private partnerships for cultural production and mainstreaming culture, taking into consideration their relevant policy frameworks, including the Pacific Regional Cultural Strategy.

3.    The Parties shall promote creativity and innovation, knowledge‑sharing, international and regional co-creation, and market access opportunities for cultural goods and services. They shall develop sector-specific regulatory frameworks and institutional support that, inter alia, protect intellectual property rights for creative works.


4.    The Parties shall promote exchanges in the cultural sector, including among institutions such as museums and conservatories, and shall encourage intercultural dialogue between people as well as relevant stakeholders. They shall support the mobility of young people and youth workers as a means of promoting intercultural dialogue and the acquisition of knowledge, skills and competences outside formal educational systems. They shall endeavour to implement relevant initiatives in the field of higher education mobility, with a view to promoting cooperation and modernisation in higher education and encouraging learner and academic mobility.

5.    The Parties shall promote sport as a driver for sustainable development, inclusive economic growth, social inclusion, non-discrimination and the advancement of human rights. They shall endeavour to build capacities, develop adequate facilities and encourage people's increased participation in sporting and other physical education activities, with particular emphasis on youth and women. They shall support sport as a means for intercultural dialogue and cooperation between nations, the prevention of conflict and violence, and post-conflict reconciliation.

________________


ANNEXES

ANNEX I

RETURN AND READMISSION PROCESSES

For the purpose of this Annex:

(1)    "requesting State" shall mean the State (one of the OACPS Members or one of the EU Member States) submitting a readmission request pursuant to Article 74(3) of the General Part of the Agreement;

(2)    "requested State" shall mean the State (one of the OACPS Members or one of the EU Member States) to which a readmission request pursuant to Article 74(3) of the General Part of the Agreement is addressed.



Readmission of persons without a valid travel document

Return and readmission processes shall be carried out as follows:

If the person to be readmitted is in possession of an expired passport, a valid or an expired identity card or another official identity document with a photograph or if the person's identity has been confirmed by all appropriate means including as a result of a search carried out in the visa application records or any other official records of the requesting State, the requested state shall, on receipt of the relevant information, provide travel documents as soon as possible after the request of the requesting State, unless justifiable reason is provided for additional time, and in any case in the shortest possible time.

In other cases, if the nationality of the person to be readmitted needs to be verified, the requested state shall proceed with the necessary verification immediately following the receipt of the request from the requesting state by using the most suitable and efficient identification procedure including identification interview upon request of the requesting State. When available, the requesting and requested States commit to consult biometric registries.


In any event, when it receives a readmission request for one of its nationals, the requested state shall respond at the latest within 30 days after such request was made in line with the time limits provided for in Annex 9, Chapter 5.26 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation by providing its nationals with appropriate travel documents for return purposes or by satisfying the requesting State that the person concerned is not one of its nationals.

Means of transport for return

Return shall take place, with prior notification to the requested state, by any means of transport in line with the obligations set out in Article 74 of the General Part of this Agreement. Return by air shall not be restricted to the use of scheduled flights.

Return of unaccompanied minors

In order to ensure the best interest of the child, an unaccompanied minor can only be returned to a member of his or her family, a nominated guardian, other authorities provided for in the national laws, or adequate reception facilities of the third country.



Bilateral agreements and arrangements

Without prejudice to the direct applicability of Chapter 4 under Title VI of the General Part of the Agreement and this Annex, the Parties shall, at the request of one of them, conclude bilateral agreements and arrangements, governing specific obligations for the readmission and return of nationals of Member States of the European Union and the OACPS Member concerned. These agreements shall include shorter time frames for the identification and issuance of travel documents, to further facilitate the implementation of this Annex. Such bilateral agreements and arrangements shall cover, if deemed necessary by any of the parties, arrangements for the readmission of third country nationals and stateless persons, who have their habitual residence at the territory of the requested State.

The obligations set out in those bilateral agreements and arrangements shall be compatible with the provisions set out in this Annex.

________________



ANNEX II

OPERATIONS OF THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK

ARTICLE 1

Legal Personality and Status

1.    The European Investment Bank (the "EIB") and any subsidiary of the EIB shall enjoy full legal personality in the territory of the OACPS Members, including in particular the capacity to contract, to acquire and dispose of movable and immovable property and to be party to legal proceedings.

2.    The EIB and any subsidiary of the EIB shall enjoy in the territory of each OACPS Member the treatment in respect of tax and customs arrangements accorded to the international institution operating in that OACPS Member that is most favoured in respect of such arrangements and status.


ARTICLE 2

Banking and Finance Regulation

The EIB and any subsidiary of the EIB may pursue as an international organisation within the territory of the OACPS Members for the purposes contemplated by this Agreement the activities envisaged by the statute of the EIB or of such subsidiary, as it may be amended from time to time, including, but not limited to, financing by means of loans, bonds, guarantees, equity, quasi‑equity or any other financing instruments, providing or financing technical assistance, investing on money markets, buying and selling securities and carrying out any other financial operation linked to any such activity, and the operation of bank accounts in any currency.

ARTICLE 3

Foreign Exchange

1.    For all operations carried out by the EIB, or any of its subsidiaries, financed by the EU to support achieving the objectives this Agreement, the OACPS Members shall ensure that:

(a)    beneficiaries and counterparties may convert into any fully convertible currency, at the then current exchange rate, the amounts in the national currency necessary for the timely payment of all sums due to the EIB or to any subsidiary of the EIB in respect of such operations; and


(b)    such amounts shall be freely, immediately and effectively transferable inside or outside the territory of the OACPS Member concerned so as to enable such beneficiary or counterparty to meet its obligations to the EIB or to such subsidiary.

2.    The OACPS Members shall ensure for all operations carried out by the EIB, or any of its subsidiaries, financed by the EU to support achieving the objectives of this Agreement that:

(a)    the EIB or such subsidiary may:

(i)    convert into any fully convertible currency, at the then current exchange rate, the amounts in the national currency of the OACPS Member concerned received by the EIB or by such subsidiary; and

(ii)    freely, immediately and effectively transfer the amounts so converted outside the territory of the OACPS Member concerned to such bank accounts as the EIB or such subsidiary may freely determine, or dispose of such amounts within the territory of the OACPS Member concerned.

(b)    the EIB or such subsidiary may convert into the national currency of the OACPS Member concerned at the then current exchange rate, any amounts in any fully convertible currency.


ARTICLE 4

Recognition of Court Decisions

Each OACPS Member undertakes, in respect of any dispute arising between the EIB or any subsidiary of the EIB and a beneficiary or any third party regarding the activities of the EIB or any subsidiary of the EIB to achieve the objectives of this Agreement: (i) to ensure that the courts of the OACPS Member have the authority to recognise a final decision delivered by due process by a court or tribunal of competent jurisdiction, including the Court of Justice of the European Union or any national court of a member state of the EU or any arbitration tribunal to the extent permissible by the constitution of such OACPS Member; and (ii) to ensure the execution of any such decision in accordance with its applicable national rules and procedures.

________________


Brussels, 11.6.2021

COM(2021) 312 final

ANNEX

to the

Proposal for a
COUNCIL DECISION

on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application of the Partnership Agreement between the European Union, of the one part, and the members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific (OACPS) States, of the other part


EU DECLARATION ON MEANS OF COOPERATION AND IMPLEMENTATION

1.    The EU undertakes to communicate, at the earliest opportunity and insofar as its internal regulations and procedures allow, an indicative allocation for each of the respective, African, Caribbean and Pacific regions. The EU further undertakes to subsequently communicate the amount of national and regional envelopes for programming purposes, as well as any other relevant information.

2.    The EU reaffirms its commitment to contribute to the costs associated with the organisation of meetings of joint institutions and to the operating costs of the OACPS Secretariat with regard to the implementation of this Agreement, including its protocols.