The development relationship between the European Union (EU) and the Zambian government can be traced as far back as 1975 when Zambia joined the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) organisation and became a signatory to the Lomé Convention. The European Union Delegation has been based in Lusaka since then. As of 2000 Zambia has been a signatory of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
One of the EU Delegation's main activities is to ensure the effective implementation of the EU development assistance to Zambia, and more recently Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Most programmes are financed under the European Development Fund (EDF), the main instrument for providing the EU assistance to countries in ACP, under the Cotonou Agreement.
Programmes implemented under the EDF are reflected in the Country Strategy Papers –National Indicative Programmes (CSP – NIP). They fit into the five-year cycle of each EDF and are the result of negotiations with the Zambian Government, Civil Society, EU Member States and other Cooperating Partners. Regional integration is covered by Regional Indicative Programmes (RIP) signed with COMESA.