Leaders across Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) were in Apia this week to seal a historic multilateral development and trade partnership with the European Community known as the Samoa Agreement.
Pacific Leaders joined Samoa Prime Minister, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, together with the OACPS Secretary General, Georges Chikoti, European Union Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen for the signing on 15 November 2023.
More than 500 Officials were in Samoa for the OACPS Council of Ministers Meeting, the 46th session of the ACP -EU Council of Ministers and the formal signing of the Samoa Agreement.
Covering 106 nations of the world and some 1.5 billion people, the Samoa Agreement will become the first ever comprehensive partnerships agreement between the OACPS and EU, to be signed in the Pacific.
The signing of the Samoa Agreement comes in an opportune moment following the recent endorsement of the 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan by Forum Leaders.
Significantly, it now succeeds the Post Cotonou negotiation strengthening relations between the EU and the Member States of the OACP. The Agreement will strengthen cooperation between the European Union and the OACPS and prioritise partnerships including human rights, democracy and governance, peace and security, human and social development, inclusive sustainable economic growth and development, environmental sustainability and climate change, migration, and mobility.
The Agreement features a common foundation text and three regional protocols to ensure a focus on the specific needs of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific region.
The Pacific Regional protocol provisions are directly aligned to the thematic areas of the 2050 Strategy such as people-centered development, climate change and environment, economic development, and resources.
The Samoa Agreement also provides an opportunity to highlight the opportunities and interlinkages of key partnerships and modalities of development, for realisation of the collective ambition under the 2050 Strategy.
The implementation of the Samoa Agreement and 2050 Strategy may be considered for financing under the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI).
Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna and Forum Director for Governance and Engagement Sione Tekiteki attended the signing agreement as observers.
“The Samoa Agreement is a milestone for multilateral transformation and with its name, puts both Samoa and the Blue Pacific continent in the global spotlight,” said SG Puna.
“I especially commend the Prime Minister and host nation of the Samoa Agreement for their support of the tireless efforts of diplomats, Officials and Pacific negotiators who have served to ensure this new Agreement will enhance areas of cooperation, and engagement for the benefit of our Blue Pacific continent. We look forward to supporting our Member States in this new chapter,” he said.
The Partnership Agreement is between seventy-nine (79) Members of the OACPS and twenty-seven (27) EU Member States.
The Pacific ACP States (PACPS) within the OACPS consists of fifteen (15) Member States. Fourteen (14) of them are Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Member countries: Fiji, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Timor Leste, a Special Observer of the PIF, joined the PACP group in 2003.