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European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)

From legal commitments to practice:
Monitoring Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)

Discussion Paper no. 79

Sanoussi Bilal, Franziska Jerosch, Niels Keijzer, Christiane Loquai and Francesco Rampa

European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)

October 2007

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As the contours and implications of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries gradually emerge, it is becoming clear that careful consideration needs to be given to the challenges of their implementation, which is in principle due to start in 2008.

Although people are growing more aware of the importance of monitoring the implementation and impact of EPAs, little thought has been given so far to the possible details of a monitoring mechanism. The ECDPM has engaged in and encouraged debate on this issue, with its partners and through a consultative process. In view of the imminent deadline for the conclusion of the EPAs, and the information needs of the negotiating parties and the many different actors involved, this paper seeks to share the key conclusions and recommendations emerging from this work (see Box 1).

Section 1 briefly describes four key questions relating to the shape of a future monitoring mechanism. Section 2 proposes key recommendations and options for what to include in the text of an EPA or an attached protocol on the monitoring of the agreement. The points covered are the objectives and principles, key functions, scope, institutional aspects, methods and procedures. A number of options are suggested for each of these points. Section 3 focuses on the process of setting up an EPA monitoring mechanism. Finally, Section 4 proposes a road map with a number of concrete steps during the period after an EPA has been signed.

Box 1
Monitoring Economic Partnership Agreements: inputs for negotiations and beyond

In collaboration with the German Development Institute (DIE), the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) launched a study to inform the debate on how best to monitor the EPAs. This study, which is due to be published in the autumn, makes specific recommendations on how various options for monitoring EPAs could be included in their texts and subsequently operationalised.

The study builds on work previously performed by the ECDPM, resulting in “Bilal, S and F. Rampa (2006): Designing a monitoring instrument for Economic Partnership Agreements: Methodical issues, GTZ Eschborn”. (, summarised in “Bilal. S, F. Rampa, F. Jerosch and D. Makhan (2007): How to Approach the Monitoring of the ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements: An Overview, ECDPM InBrief 18, Maastricht: European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM)”.

This Discussion Paper goes beyond the study by describing and visualising some of the key options in greater detail, and by suggesting a possible road map for establishing and implementing a process for monitoring EPAs. All documents and additional information on this project are available at

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