Good news! It is not too late to impact this treaty! It has not yet been adopted and ratified by ACP-EU states!
Although the draft treaty text was “initialed” on April 15, 2021 by the chief negotiators representing the OACPS (Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States) and the EU, it will not go into effect until, at a minimum, the European Parliament has voted on it and approved it and until each ACP country has signed it and ratified it.
On the EU side, there will likely be other legal hurdles as well that may be required. And as far as we know, not one ACP country has ratified it as it has not yet been released from the EU side for that purpose.
On the ACP Side
In order for the treaty to go into effect in each ACP country, each ACP head of state must sign it, and each ACP country will have to ratify it according to their own national procedures. For many ACP countries this means that their parliaments must ratify it before it goes into effect.
This gives an entry point to convince parliamentarians of its dangers and to encourage them to refuse ratification unless it is amended to either remove all the harmful elements or to add the following clause as called for in the petition on this site as follows:
“Nothing in this treaty shall be construed to promote or encourage abortion, comprehensive sexuality education, rights related to sexual orientation or gender identity or autonomous sexual rights for children of minor age. The implementation of this treaty must be effected with full respect for the national sovereignty, laws and religious and cultural values of ACP countries.”
Click here to sign and then share this petition.
On the EU Side
The requirements for the EU side to operationalize the agreement is very complicated, and the process is unclear. However, it appears that the European Commission hopes it can convince EU countries that the ACP-EU treaty is not a “mixed” agreement, meaning that the Commission should be able to sign and effectuate the treaty on behalf of EU states without each EU state needing to ratify it individually. However, the only way this could happen legally is if all the issues in the treaty were within the competency of the EU, and that is certainly not the case, especially since the treaty is full of direct and indirect (mandates for implementation of other documents that mandate SRHR) SRH and SRHR provisions—issues that are not within the competency of the EU. And some competencies are shared by the EU and states.
In other words, if the treaty is deemed by the EU to be a mixed agreement for them, that means that each EU member state must ratify it individually. But if it is deemed to be an “EU-Only” agreement, then the EU can sign it into force. But even then, there are other procedural hurdles that must be jumped. So here is what we do know according to a September 2021 brief published by European Parliament:
What can you do?
Lobby ACP and EU government officials, parliamentarians and diplomats! Consider sending them:
1. A copy of the “Amend the ACP-EU Petition!”
2. A link to or copy of the 12 Harmful Elements in the ACP-EU Treaty.
3. A link to this website so they can explore the links to documentation of all of the harms themselves.
With regard to Africa, an AU-EU Summit scheduled in Brussels from 17 to 18 February 2022 provides a great opportunity to lobby key AU decision makers who will be there, especially before they arrive.
Click here to see the Treaty Timeline