The Pacific Group of the African Caribbean Pacific Leaders must reassess their priorities as a region and be innovative and strategic in their approaches and engagements with friends and partners including the European Union.
Prime Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare today (11 July) reminded PACP Leaders in Suva Fiji, the widespread effect of the COVID-19 pandemic provides an ideal opportunity to re-assess our priorities as a region in the wake of the ongoing global and regional challenges we all face.
He also acknowledged the excellent work of regional negotiators in Brussels, in ensuring the Blue Pacific’s priorities are amplified and embedded in the concluded text of the future OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement, and more importantly in addressing our sustainable development priorities through the Pacific-EU Regional Protocol.
He explained, Post Cotonou negotiations in December 2020 and the initialling of the draft Agreement by April 2021 signaled the OACPS’ collective commitment to finalize and sign the future partnership agreement with the EU, under the name ‘Samoa Agreement’.
The Prime Minister reaffirmed Solomon Islands support of the Decision made by the 114th Session of the OACPS Council of Ministers held in June 2022, reiterating concerns on the delay by the EU internal processes towards conclusions in finalizing the signing of the Samoa Agreement.
Solomon Islands joins the OACPS to urge the EU to fast-track the conclusion of their internal consultations to enable the signing and implementation of the future OACPS-EU partnership Agreement.
“Our collective voice and support is needed to reinforce the OACPS Council of Ministers concerns to the EU, and in enabling the visibility for a Blue Pacific signing in Apia, Samoa.”
Future Role of the PACP Group/ Representation and Presence in Brussels
On the future role of the PACP Group, Prime Minister Sogavare said, effective regional and national coordination is vital to ensure the Blue Pacific’s priorities for sustainable development are achieved through our engagement in the new Agreement.
“We support the proposal for the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to act as the lead agency to coordinate and the institutional arrangements of the Samoa Agreement.”
Solomon Islands further propose that the PIFS explore the possibility of establishing a regional office in Brussels to provide the much-needed technical support and coordination for the implementation of the Pacific-EU Regional Protocol in the Samoa Agreement, as well as work in close coordination with our members, the OACPS Secretariat, CROP agencies and the EU.
Prime Minister Sogavare stressed, with the gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in our respective countries, our region must continue to advocate on the importance of global efforts to address the pressing issues of inadequate and lack of access to vaccines, medical equipment and other related items for the prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19, to ensure the safety of our communities from future global health risks.
Further, the Prime Minister adds, we must remain united and maintain our solidarity in our fight against the impact of climate change.