The Secretary General of the Organisation of African Caribbean and Pacific (OACPS) Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti has emphasised the importance of strategic partnerships and strengthened collaboration in addressing the challenges faced by the region.
Addressing the Pacific ACP Leaders meeting Tuesday in Rarotonga, Chikoti highlighted the new OACPS-EU Partnership Agreement, to be known as the Samoa Agreement, is a strengthened and modernised framework for cooperation between 79 OACPS members and 27 European countries – that represent more than half of the membership of the United Nations.
“In turbulent times of geopolitical multipolarity, instability, and weakened multilateralism, the OACPS needs the EU just as the EU needs the OACPS, to build stronger ties and reinforce their long, historic partnership.
“The OACPS-EU cooperation is set to be more political and is geared towards achieving greater ambitions at local, national, regional, continental, and international levels.
Secretary-General Chikoti is excited to be the Pacific for the upcoming signing of the Samoa Agreement in Apia on 15 November, which will mark the beginning of the implementation process.
“The provisional application pending ratification of the Samoa Agreement will commence on the 1 January 2024. In this regard, I invite the Pacific region to set the example by committing to high level representation for the signing event. I also encourage the Pacific members of the OACPS to put in place necessary preparations and measures to reap the full benefits of the Samoa Agreement.
“Working together towards common goals, while strengthening multilateralism, is important, as all Members of the OACPS, small and large, will together have a louder voice, influence and impact on the international stage,” he said.
The Secretary-General reiterated the role of the OACPS Secretariat in the implementation of the Samoa Agreement, as mandated by the Revised Georgetown Agreement which mandates the Secretariat to provide services to the Organs of the OACPS and, as appropriate, the joint institutions established with all external parties.
“In turn, the role of the Secretariat is recognised in the EU Declaration on Means of Cooperation and Implementation, linked to the Samoa Agreement. The EU reaffirms its commitment to contribute to the operating costs of the OACPS.
“The Secretariat is ready to address all issues concerning the implementation of the agreement,” he said.
Chikoti also said the Pacific region will have to decide on the composition and modalities for the functioning of the Institutions of the Regional Protocol.
“In this regard, the OACPS Secretariat will work and collaborate closely with Pacific Leaders and their Secretariat – PIFS to support the work of the institutions and bodies that the region will set up, for implementing the Samoa Agreement which is closely aligned with the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
Regarding financing arrangements, Chikoti discussed the adoption of the Neighbourhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), also known as “Global Europe,” which replaced the European Development Fund (EDF).
He stressed the need for alignment and coherence between the NDICI Global Europe regulation and the strategic priorities of the Samoa Agreement during the mid-term review.
Chikoti urged engagement with the EU to operationalie the commitment to support the strategic priorities identified in the Samoa Agreement. The ongoing EU consultations during the Mid-Term Review of the NDICI-GE provide an opportunity for OACPS members to ensure that NDICI-GE becomes the instrument for implementing the Samoa Agreement.
He highlighted the importance of inclusive and multi-stakeholder policy processes in the Samoa Agreement, and the Secretariat’s role in establishing mechanisms for partnership dialogue. Capacity building will also be a crucial aspect of addressing challenges and achieving the objectives of the agreement.
Secretary-General Chikoti also reiterated the OACPS’s commitment to work with and serve the Pacific region.
“As the Pacific Islands Forum meets over the next few days to “strengthen relationships and reset goals and priorities for regionalism and collective action as a Forum Family” I reiterate the commitment of the OACPS to work with and serve the Pacific Region to meet its aspirations and objectives as an important part of the extended Family that is the OACPS.