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The relations between the European Union and Lesotho are conducted within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement, a global agreement signed in 2000 between the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States and the European Union. The Cotonou Agreement will end in 2020 and negotiations are underway for a successor agreement.
The Delegation of the European Union to the Kingdom of Lesotho is part of the extended network of Union representations abroad placed under the responsibility of the High Representative / Vice President of the Commission, Ms Federica Mogherini, with the duty to assist her in carrying out her mission of representing the Union and promoting its external policy.
The Delegation's main task is to implement the Cotonou Partnership Agreement linking the EU Member States to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries. The central objective of this partnership is to reduce and ultimately eradicate poverty through sustainable development, the progressive integration of partner countries into the world economy and the promotion of the rule of law, democracy and human rights.
The main interlocutor for the implementation of the EU's cooperation with Lesotho is the National Authorising Officer (NAO), Dr Moeketsi Majoro, Lesotho's Minister of Finance.
The roles and responsibilities of the NAO as per Article 35 of the Cotonou Agreement (see: Consolidated text of the Cotonou Agreement) include coordination, programming, regular monitoring and reviewing of the implementation of activities under Lesotho - EU cooperation.
Under the umbrella of Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, the Political Dialogue takes place with the objective of exchanging information, fostering mutual understanding and facilitating the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas. The aim is also to facilitate and strengthen cooperation within international fora and to promote and sustain a system of effective multilateralism. It focuses on specific political issues of mutual concern or of general significance at the international level. The latest political dialogue took place in Maseru on 26 April 2018 and focused on Lesotho's reforms agenda, bilateral cooperation, the Southern African Development Community Preventative Mission (SAPMIL), whose deployment the EU is supporting, and Brexit.
The European Union's programme of financial and technical cooperation supports the implementation of Lesotho's National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP). There is an indicative EU funding allocation of €124 million from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF 11)'s National Indicative Programme (NIP) for the period 2014-2020.
In agreement with the Government of Lesotho, EDF 11 support is focusing on three priority sectors, namely, Water, Governance and Energy. The funding allocations are as follows: Water €69 million; Governance €39 million; Energy €7 million; Support to civil society € 4.5 million; the remaining €9 million has been set aside for support to the identification and formulation of other actions that will be implemented under EDF 11. Actions under these sectors will be implemented by the Government with the support of technical assistance, by civil society organisations, or by implementing bodies such as UN agencies.
In addition, a number of other projects aimed at enhancing respect for human rights and strengthening the capacity of civil society are being carried out under the thematic funding instrument of the EU called the European Instrument for Human Rights and Democracy (EIDHR).
Furthermore, the EU and its member states provide about half of the financing allocations under the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tubercolosis and malaria. The total allocations under the Global Fund between 2014 and 2019 for Lesotho amount to US$ 159.55 million (approximately EUR 136 million).
The EU is also supporting the deployment of the SADC Preventative Mission in Lesotho (SAPMIL) through the African Peace Facility with an amount of €1.34 million.
The EU is supporting Lesotho in its efforts to integrate into the world’s trading system so that she can benefit from the global economy. The EU is convinced that international trade is part of the path to sustained economic growth and development, and that Lesotho has an opportunity to make trade a high priority in her development strategies. The EU also believes that Lesotho can also work on improving the challenges in her economy by increasing business activity and thus, creating jobs.
The EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on 10 June 2016 with some of the countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), namely, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland. Lesotho is also party to the agreement. Collectively these countries are known as the the SADC EPA group.
The SADC EPA is a development-oriented trade agreement that gives asymmetric access to the partners in the SADC EPA group, allowing participating SADC countries to shield sensitive products from full liberalisation and safeguards can be deployed when imports are growing too quickly. A detailed development chapter identifies trade-related areas that can benefit from funding. The agreement also contains a chapter on sustainable development which covers social and environmental matters. The EPAs between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and regions aim at promoting ACP-EU trade - and ultimately contribute, through trade and investment, to sustainable development and poverty reduction.
As the SADC EPA Group's largest trading partner, the EU is working closely together with the Lesotho Government to implement the EPA and boost economic growth and create jobs with an envelope of EUR 6 million. The overall objective is to promote sustainable trade and investments for the private sector, mainstream gender into all sectors of the economy and build a desirable future for the youth of Lesotho. The EU aims to achieve these objectives by continuing to support inclusive and sustainable job creation; contributing to scaling-up private and public investments to support a more diversified, clean and competitive low-carbon economy; supporting value chain development; promoting regional trade and economic integration; enhancing trade and investment relations with Europe and holistically seizing the opportunities under the EPA.
Find out more about the top 10 benefits of these partnerships for development.
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