PALOP and Timor Leste: Co-operation with Lusophone countries

The group of PALOP countries, comprising Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe, share a strong linguistic and cultural identity, a similar system of governance (including similar systems of public administration, justice, public finance management, interlinked labour markets and social services) and a long tradition of contacts and exchanges amongst themselves. The programmes developed are based on a long tradition of mutual exchanges among the African countries sharing Portuguese as the official language.

Co-operation between the five PALOP countries and the EC started in 1992. Within this framework, the EDF has so far funded two PALOP-targeted Regional Indicative Programmes (RIP): RIP PALOP I, signed in 1992, for a sum of EUR 25 million financed under the 7th EDF, and the RIP PALOP II, signed in 1997, with a EUR 30 million allocation under the 8th EDF.

The RIPs PALOP provided the umbrella for multi-annual and multi-country projects which directly address governance issues (justice and public administration). Further, a statistics project also converged for that common purpose. Under the 9th EDF, three social-sectors-oriented (health; employment and training; culture) projects have also been launched. Two Technical Cooperation Facilities (TCF I and II) have been used to support coordination meetings and other activities related to project-cycle management activities.

Following a ministerial meeting held in Mozambique, in the context of an assessment of EC co-operation with the PALOP countries, the political and technical dialogue was reinforced in 2005 to renew a common approach and accelerate the mobilisation of existing resources.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in 2007 defining the framework of an extension of the long-standing partnership under the 10th EDF (Governance Initiative PALOP & TL), reiterating that shared solidarity is important to guarantee sustainable development along the conditions for democratic governance. Timor Leste joined the PALOP group on this occasion, thereby expanding it from Africa to the Asian-Pacific region. Under the 10th EDF, a total sum of EUR 33.1 million is dedicated to supporting governance initiative projects in PALOP & TL countries. This initiative represents an additional 4% of each PALOP/TL National Indicative Programme for that period.

This is as an example of ‘functional co-operation’ in the overall governance initiative under the 10th EDF. Furthermore, the consolidation of the democratic process, the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms are clearly defined as fundamental elements of EU governance policy in Commission Communication 615/2003 on Governance and Development.

By building on shared traditions and working together as an example of South-South co-operation, the PALOP & TL have developed strong synergies helping to integrate them into their geographical regions while preserving their common identity. It was convened to further intensify the partners' dialogue drawing on the holistic approach to democratic governance with a special emphasis placed on joint capacity-building within the selected areas of governance.

Projects jointly identified include electoral assistance, support to the PALOP/TL coordination mechanism, economic governance and private sector, state of law, public services, and the Institute for Macroeconomic and Financial Management, and Technical Cooperation Facility III, to support the identification and implementation of actions.

Since January 2006, Mozambique has been the ‘Regional Authorising Officer’ (RAO) under the RIP, or the ‘Coordinating Regional Officer’ (CAO) as per the 2007 memorandum. In addition to the CAO, one of the national authorising officers is appointed as chef de file for each project or programme and acts as delegated authorising officer. Periodically, the EC and PALOP & TL hold coordination meetings at ministerial and technical levels, convened by the CAO and the Commission, and held alternately in Brussels and on a rotating basis in each of the six countries.

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