Samoa’s Ambassador to the European Union (E.U.), Fatumanava III Dr. Paolelei Luteru has been appointed the first Coordinator of a special forum of Small Island Developing States established within the group of 79 African, Carribean and Pacific nations.
The appointment was made during the A.C.P’s 8th Summit that has just concluded in Papua New Guinea.
Maritime boundaries, sustainable development and climate change were identified at the summit as key issues facing island members.
The Assistant Secretary-General of the A.C.P group, Viwanou Gnassounou, said the Forum’s creation had emphasised the vulnerability of island nations to natural disasters.
“Their resilience is much lower than the larger states,” he said .
“So our first aim is to recognise that they need to be given specific instruments to support their economies and to recover as quick as possible whenever they have been hit by natural disasters, can be also food security issues.
“But the first thing is to agree among A.C.P countries is that those countries are vulnerable countries and they have to be given special attention.”
Mr. Gnassounou welcomed Fatumanava as the first Coordinator of the A.C.P’s Small Island Developing States forum.
The A.C.P Summit was attended by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi who delivered a statement on behalf of Pacific countries. He was invited by A.C.P Chair and Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, to address the gathering of global leadership on repositioning the A.C.P-Group to the Challenges of Sustainable Development.
The Prime Minister spoke of two key issues central to the future of the A.C.P family of nations: Climate Change; and the future beyond the year 2020 when the Cotonou Agreement between the Group’s 79 member states and the European Union comes to an end.
Highlighting the Paris Accord as the “thread that binds the global community together”, Tuilaepa heralded the Paris Agreement as a new beginning for global efforts to address climate change, and acknowledged the importance of collective action. “The Paris Agreement demonstrates what is possible at the global level if countries are prepared to set aside their differences and vested interests for the common good of humanity,” he said, adding “it also reaffirms the critical importance and support of genuine and durable partnerships based on common interests.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa noted the commitment of Pacific small islands developing states (S.I.D.S) through the signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement, as well as actions already in place for the implementation of Intended Nationally Determined Commitments.
“We in the Pacific have been proactive in contributing to the solution with the acceptance that we are responsible for our own development. “For instance, Palau has created the world’s six largest ocean sanctuaries, with no fishing or other extractive purposes,” said Tuilaepa.
Looking to the A.C.P’s post-2020 future, the Prime Minister envisages a cohesive force, with strong and effective institutions geared towards timely decision-making and implementation, capable of articulating shared concerns and interests at the global level.
Tuilaepa also called for more genuine political dialogue with the European Union, to fast-track the collective decision-making process and continue to improve and learn from past challenges, particularly those associated with E.P.A negotiations and dialogue under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement.
The Prime Minister also touched on issues of displacement, land rights and sustainable management of our oceans and fisheries.
“As a family, we need to strengthen our resilience not only to climate change but other exogenous shocks whether they be natural disaster induced or economic and social in nature.
“Policies framed around our uniqueness and diversity must prevail.” The Prime Minister returned to Samoa for the 54th Independence Day celebrations while the Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, represented Samoa for the remainder of the Summit.
- Reporting from Radio New Zealand and the Office of the Press Secretariat