Zambia’s representative to the African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union Joint Parliamentary Assembly (ACP-EU JPA), Ms Sibeso Kakoma Sefulo, Member of Parliament for Mwandi Constituency, says the Post Cotonou Agreement should, among other things, enhance cooperation to ensure equitable access to learning opportunities. As a bedrock for sustainable development, Ms Sefulo asserted that cooperation in delivering quality education between ACP states and the EU, is key, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this regard, Ms Sefulo advocated for the need to eradicate inequalities between the developed and developing countries and demanded mutual respect in tackling global challenges, especially in the education sector. She emphasised that inequalities at the global level, are deeper and reflected at national levels, as evidenced by differences in development capacities between rural and urban communities.

Ms Sefulo, therefore, called for a strengthened partnership between the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) and the EU if global challenges are to be eliminated. She said this during the 60th Session of the OACPS Parliamentary Assembly and the 41st Session of the ACP-EU JPA that took place from 29th March to 4th April 2022 in Strasbourg, France.

At this meeting, the JPA celebrated 20 years of the Cotonou Agreement, reflected on accomplishments thus far and looked forward to the signing of the Post Cotonou Agreement, which is expected to take place in June 2022. It was anticipated that the new agreement would invigorate, sustain, preserve and enhance the partnership between the OACPS and the EU.

The meeting was the last one to be held under the Cotonou Agreement. The ACP-EU JPA is a unique and permanent democratic institution that brings together an equal number of elected Members of Parliament from the ACP states and Members of the European Parliament to promote human rights, trade, democracy and greater understanding and cooperation between the EU and the ACP states.To this effect, the JPA discusses and adopts resolutions on a variety of issues covered by the partnership, makes recommendations and contributes to parliamentary oversight.