Have you ever considered what some of the underpinning frameworks are that forge partnerships, establish collaborations, drive the decision making process, enable successful and sustainable developments and ultimately impacts the lives of those who seek to thrive in these local, regional, national and global communities?
The Contonou Agreement is one of these underpinning frameworks. Initially signed on 23 June 2000 and revised in 2005, 2010 with the inclusion of adopted modifications in 2014, the Agreement outlines the partnership between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States (ACP) and the European Community, now the European Union, and its Member States of the other part. The Contonou Agreement is also a 20-year (2000-2020) multiannual financial framework.
The Agreement states that the objective of the partnership is to “Expedite the economic, cultural and social development of the ACP States with a view to contributing to peace and security and to promoting a stable and democratic political environment.” The document goes on to say “the partnership shall be centred on the objective of reducing and eventually eradicating poverty consistent with the objectives of sustainable development and the gradual integration of the ACP countries into the world economy”. It is also careful to acknowledge that whilst supporting ACP Members, the responsibility for establishing such environments primarily remains with the ACP country concerned.
Article 13 specifically considers migration. The document asserts “All parties shall develop co-operation programmes to facilitate the access of students from ACP States to education, in particular through the use of new communication technologies”. Amongst other considerations, Parties (all those who signed the Agreement) agree to “consider that the partnership implies, with relation to migration, fair treatment of third country nationals who reside legally on their territories, integration policy aiming at granting them rights and obligations comparable to those of their citizens, enhancing non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural life and developing measures against racism and xenophobia”. There is also a mutual expectation between EU Member States and ACP Countries that workers legally employed in each other’s territory shall be free from any discrimination based on their nationality in relation to working conditions, pay and dismissal.
It is good to see the commitment to support national and regional co-operation programmes that focus on the training of ACP nationals in their countries of origin, another ACP country or within the European Union as education can be a strong driver for migration. With regard to vocational training, it is interesting to note that with the training of ACP nationals in Member States there is an expectation that “action is geared towards the vocational integration of ACP nationals to their countries of origin”.
This article provides a very small insight into a much larger document. However, I hope that you are challenged to think more widely about what the underlying frameworks might be that help to form and drive government strategy, policies and their implementations. After all, the end result is a real impact on individual lives, hopes, dreams, aspirations and of course generations.
Shepperson & Shepperson Consultants LTD