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2016 Pacific ACP Leaders Meeting - Opening Remarks by Dame Meg Taylor

Your Excellencies

Senior Officials

Representatives of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific

Ladies and gentlemen

It is my privilege to welcome you to this 2016 meeting of Pacific ACP Leaders that presents a strategic opportunity to progress intra-regional cooperation between the Pacific ACP States, and discuss partnership issues with the ACP Group and the European Union.

May I, on behalf of the Leaders and Heads of Delegations, offer our gratitude to the people and the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia for the warm hospitality extended to us, and in the facilitation of this Meeting.

Excellencies, in June this year, the 8th ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government was held in our region, in Port Moresby. Prominence was given to consideration of the future of the ACP Grouping. We were witnesses to the call of ACP Leaders for a renewed ACP Grouping that is focused, delivers clear and constructive outcomes, and facilitates effective political dialogue amongst its Members and with the rest of the world.

The ACP region is at a transformative juncture. As members of this 79 State Grouping, the 15 Pacific ACP States have a valuable opportunity to be part of this transformation. It is vital that we are well positioned in the future construct of the wider ACP collect.

Our discussions today will also inform our region’s position in the approaching dialogue on a new ACP – European Union Partnership beyond 2020. Our achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, and addressing the priorities under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism need to be an integral part of these discussions.

How can we, through the ACP, influence an effective future engagement with the EU? Arrangements such as the European Development Fund and trade-related endeavours with the EU must respond to, and progress the achievement of our regional priorities and commitments.

Your consideration and decision today is also encouraged on long-standing Pacific ACP matters such as the Economic Partnership Agreement and the consideration of our regional representation in Europe. We, however, need to be realistic on what can be achieved through these processes, and at the heart of these issues must lie the interests of Pacific Members.

In moving forward, our voice in the wider ACP grouping as in other larger associations is stronger when we are able to organise effectively as a collective.

The Secretariat, in its role as the Duly Mandated Regional Organisation for the region, strives to work with all technical agencies so that our efforts are coordinated and respond to the Members’ needs. May I reiterate your Secretariat’s strong commitment to effectively support you in your regional engagements with the ACP and the EU in a manner that ensures constructive and sustainable benefits for our people.

I wish you well in your deliberations.

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