Australia values its partnership with Samoa

By Emily Luck, Australian High Commissioner to Samoa. 07 May 2022, 7:21PM

This year, Samoa celebrates 60 years of independence, a formidable milestone for one of the oldest democracies in the Pacific. Samoa has established itself as a respected voice and valued contributor to our region, particularly through the Pacific Islands Forum. 

Australia is proud to be working in partnership with the many regional bodies that are located in Apia. 

Last year, Australia and Samoa marked 50 years of diplomatic relations. But our relationship goes back much further. Our deep bonds and wide-ranging relationship are underpinned by personal connections, with some 75,000 people of Samoan decent now making their home in Australia. 

As part of the Pacific family, Australia and Samoa have worked hand in hand during times of need. From November 2019 to January 2020, Australia deployed doctors, nurses and other medical personnel to assist Samoa’s health services in responding to the measles epidemic. 

The bonds built between our frontline workers have grown in invaluable ways, as they continue to share knowledge, experience and support each other during the COVID-19 pandemic, including on vaccines. Samoa’s exceptional vaccine coverage, the highest in the Pacific, is the result of the Samoan government, communities and international partners working together. Australia has shared over 175,000 vaccine doses with Samoa as part of our commitment to comprehensive vaccine coverage in the region. 

Australia has been and will continue to be there for Samoa, responding flexibility to meet Samoa’s changing needs in a COVID-shaped world. 

We have worked with Samoan authorities to invest in Samoa’s future, improving access to schooling for students, including those with disabilities. 

We have supported teacher training so students leave school with the skills they need. And we have helped over 460 Samoans receive a tertiary qualification in Australia or the region. These high achievers, more than half of whom are women, have returned to apply their new skills, knowledge and experience in a range of areas. 

Delivering high quality, resilient infrastructure projects, tailored to Samoa’s needs and built to last, continues to be a focus for our partnership. The Maoto Fono (parliament house) showed us working together to deliver a quality building that is climate and disaster resilient, all the while celebrating Samoa’s rich and unique cultural heritage in its design. 

Our collaboration with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank on the Tui Samoa undersea cable has delivered faster and cheaper internet access, increasing opportunities for all Samoans. Assisting Samoa’s economic and skills-based development, our approach prioritises opportunities for Samoan contractors, creating local jobs. 

Regionally, Australia is committed to the protection of our Blue Pacific as enshrined in the Forum’s 2018 Boe Declaration. And we know women play a critical role in addressing climate change. That is why Australia empowered women leaders from the Pacific, including Samoa, through the Pacific Women Climate Change Negotiating training program to affect change on the front lines of climate negotiations, policy, and implementation. 

Samoa’s story since independence has been one of continuous development and achievement. We value highly our partnership with Samoa – a partnership based on respect, listening, and learning from one another – and look forward to continuing to deepen our partnership through our shared commitment to the region’s security, stability and prosperity. Samoa’s contribution to the region is substantial, and we cherish its presence in the life of Australia and Australians. Just as family should.  

Emily Luck
 Australian High Commissioner to Samoa

By Emily Luck, Australian High Commissioner to Samoa. 07 May 2022, 7:21PM
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