Diversity defines relationship with E.U., says P.M. Tuilaepa

A two-day high level dialogue between Pacific States of the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Group and the European Union (EU) for ACP-EU negotiations for a post-Cotonou treaty was held at Taumeasina Island Resort this week.

The Cotonou agreement is a treaty between the EU and the ACP countries which will be renewed by 2020 with the post-Cotonou treaty.

According to a statement by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) on Tuesday, Pacific leaders said that the region would continue to strive for partnerships that are committed to building on regionally determined priorities, and are founded on Blue Pacific ambitions during a major roundtable with the European Union.

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Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said that the Blue Pacific continent has distinct features and characteristics that set it apart from other regions of the ACP Group, and that this diversity defines its special relationship with the EU.

As the first EU high-level engagement with the ACP regions since the launch of the post-Cotonou negotiations in September 2018, the dialogue recognized the importance of utilizing existing regional priorities such as those agreed under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.

The priorities articulated by the Pacific ACP region underscored the need for genuine and durable partnership founded on the principles of mutual respect and cooperation.

Specific priorities discussed at the high-level dialogue covered ocean governance through the Blue Pacific identity; safeguarding the region’s resources and security; building on the economic potential and sustainability of the region’s fisheries resources; realising sustainable development goals and aspirations; strengthening commitment to addressing climate change and disaster resilience; and striving toward quality education and universal health.

Leaders emphasized the need for the new partnership agreement between the Pacific and EU to recognize the unique challenges, and build resilience and consider appropriate responses to address these vulnerabilities.

Pacific leaders have requested for adequate and predictable funding in the new partnership beyond 2020 to ensure effective means of implementation, including appropriate financing modalities, focusing on sustainable capacity building support for regional and national institutions, their civil society organisations and private sector.

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