26 February, 2019
APIA, Samoa: Pacific Leaders reinforced 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 (EU). The High-Level Dialogue between Pacific States of the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) Group and the EU Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation, Mr Neven Mimica, was held in Apia, Samoa, on 26 February 2019. The Dialogue was the first EU high-level engagement with the ACP regions since the launch of the post-Cotonou negotiations in September 2018.
The President of Nauru, and the Pacific ACP Chair, H.E. Baron Waqa highlighted the need to further strengthen the long-standing relationship between the ACP and the EU, and the Pacific ACP and the EU through a partnership underpinned by common areas of strategic interest including development cooperation.
In welcoming the PACP Leaders and EU delegation to the Dialogue, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, outlined 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.
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.
The Dialogue recognized the importance of utlising existing regional priorities such as those agreed under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
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 emphasised the need for the new partnership agreement between the Pacific and EU to recognise 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.
The Pacific ACP Leaders and the EU Commissioner commended the ACP and EU negotiators for the progress made to date, and encouraged them to ensure that the future ACP-EU relations reflect and respond to global challenges, and address the regional specificities and priorities.