Monitoring Economic Partnership Agreements: A methodological overview

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    The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states and the European Union (EU) countries have agreed to negotiate new WTO-compatible Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).  This InBrief presents a preliminary overview of some methodological issues linked to the design of a monitoring mechanism for the EPAs. Key Messages To ensure that the development dimension of EPAs is fulfilled, it is of prime importance to closely monitor both the negotiation and implementation of the new partnership agreements. Before an EPA monitoring mechanism can be established, the ultimate goals of the EPA must be identified, complemented by more specific objectives, policy reform ambitions and required accompanying measures. Background As reflected in the provisions of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, the parties involved in the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations, namely the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the European Union (EU), have agreed that the new free trade arrangements should, first and foremost, be instruments for development. However, the prospect of EPAs has raised serious concerns about their capacity to actually deliver on development. Conclusion There is no ready-made approach for monitoring EPA negotiations and implementation. Those involved might be tempted to try to set up a monitoring mechanism quickly, based on general guiding principles and specific indicators. Designing a monitoring mechanism is a complex process in itself. The format of the monitoring mechanism has to be determined. This means parties have to agree on the legal basis and institutional setting. To be of any help, a monitoring mechanism must be transparent and thus relatively simple. To strike a balance between accuracy and simplicity, a broad consultation and participatory approach are essential to help identify priority issues and bolster ownership among concerned parties and stakeholders in the process.
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