by Linda Straker
- Ambassador Raphael Joseph signed agreement on Wednesday, 22 November
- Signing occurred on same day PM Mitchell said Grenada would not be rushed into signing any agreement containing morality issues
- Provisional application of agreement will start on 1 January 2024
Grenada may have to amend its constitution or existing legislation or approve new legislation because of signing onto the Samoa Agreement, which is the new partnership agreement between the European Union and the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States.
This agreement will succeed the Cotonou Agreement, which expired in 2020. According to a news release on the Office of the Prime Minister Grenada’s Facebook page, Resident Ambassador in the Kingdom of Belgium His Excellency Raphael Joseph signed the agreement on behalf of the State of Grenada on Wednesday, 22 November 2023.
The signing occurred on the same day that Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Andall said that Grenada would not be rushed into signing any agreement containing morality issues.
“There is a window of countries to sign… we are not willing to surrender our sovereignty to any international organisation, and if there is any part and proposed agreement inconsistent with our constitution and with our values, we will think very long and hard before signing into any such agreement,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said international agreement or not, morality and values are largely designed by the culture of any particular country or region.
Heads of Mission of 4 other Member States: Burundi, Central African Republic, Niger, and St Kitts & Nevis, also signed the agreement at the Headquarters of the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific States, in Brussels.
The new Partnership Agreement lays down common principles and covers 6 priority areas among the EU and ACP members:
- democracy and human rights
- sustainable economic growth and development
- climate change
- human and social development
- peace and security
- migration and mobility
It is a reciprocal agreement, and its objectives are to:
- promote, protect and fulfil human rights, democratic principles, the rule of law and good governance, paying particular attention to gender equality
- build peaceful and resilient states and societies, tackling ongoing and emerging threats to peace and security
- foster human and social development, and in particular 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
- mobilise investment, support trade and foster private-sector development, with a view to achieving sustainable and inclusive growth and creating decent jobs for all
- combat climate change, protect the environment and ensure the sustainable management of natural resources; and
- implement a comprehensive and balanced approach to migration, so as to reap the benefits of safe, orderly and regular migration and mobility, and stem irregular migration while addressing its root causes, in full respect of international law and in accordance with the parties’ respective competences
Under the human rights, democracy and rule of law articles, the agreement states that 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 the freedom of opinion and expression, the freedom of assembly and association, and the freedom of thought, religion and belief,” states the agreement initially signed on 15 November.
Regarding gender equality, the agreement states that all states signing the agreement reaffirm their strong commitment to achieving gender equality, the full enjoyment of all human rights by all, as well as 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,” states the agreement that is set to enter into force upon consent by the European Parliament and ratification by the parties – that will be all EU Member States and at least two-thirds of the OACPS Members.
“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 women’s and girls’ equal access to, equal opportunities in, equal control over, and full and equal participation in, all spheres of life, on an equal footing with men and boys,” the agreement mandates.
The provisional application of the Agreement will start on 1 January 2024, and the EU will provide funding to the tune of billions of euros for all programs and projects relative to the agreement.