Opening remarks by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna
at the Pacific ACP Officials meeting
11 September 2023
Chair of the Pacific ACP Officials Meeting
Heads of Delegations and Representatives of PACP Member Countries
Representatives of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific
Ladies and Gentlemen
Kia Orana and good afternoon.
I am pleased to welcome you all to this Pacific ACP Officials Meeting. I also thank you for taking the time to help prepare the recommendations for the PACP Leaders.
Today’s PACP Officials Meeting is expected to finalise the recommendations on important matters for the PACP Leaders’ consideration.
The agenda for this meeting is focused on aspects of our engagement with the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), in anticipation of the operationalisation of the new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement.
The new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement now has the full EU membership approval, and all agreement partners will be meeting hopefully later this year or early next year in Apia, Samoa to complete the signing formalities and to celebrate the new agreement’s launching and recognition of this agreement as the “Samoa Agreement”.
Excellencies, we are at an important juncture of our relationships with the OACPS as the Members collectively execute the revised Georgetown Agreement that installs the ACP Group as an Organisation with new ambitions; and also, with the EU as we transit from the Cotonou Partnership Agreement to the new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement, to be called the ‘Samoa Agreement’.
The Pacific region will have access to significant voices to strategically influence the global agenda to serve our collective interests. We should therefore be exploring how best we capitalise on this opportunity. Our discussions today will refer to a number of technical engagements where we can work closely with the OACPS and the EU.
The substantive papers for today’s meeting refer to the discussions we had to progress the mandates and decisions taken by the Pacific ACP Leaders at their meeting on July 2022 on the following key priority issues:
The test of this ‘Samoa Agreement’ is in its implementation and flexibility to incorporate, adjust and realign to any future changes made by our 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan.
The ‘Samoa Agreement’ has at least a 20-year life span and will fall within our 2050 timeframe. It is therefore imperative that we work together to implement this agreement, and for the EU to engage with the Pacific region in genuine partnership to build sustainable finance and technical capacity for the region.
Today’s meeting is also an opportunity to consider an update on the implementation of 11th EDF Regional Indicative Programme for the Pacific (PRIP) and the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) update including the status of the Duly Mandate Regional Organisation and the EDF Regional Authorising Officer functions.
With those remarks, I thank you Chair, Excellencies and Senior Officials and wish you all well in your deliberations today.