Marking a significant milestone in international cooperation, Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the European Union (EU), Georges Maniuri, has signed the groundbreaking Organisation of African, Caribbean, Pacific States (OACPS)—EU Partnership Agreement in Apia, Samoa.

This historic event represents the first comprehensive partnership agreement between the OACPS and the EU to be signed in the Pacific region.

The agreement, known as the Samoa Agreement, was officially signed on 15 November 2023 by governments’ representatives of both the members of the OACPS and the EU during the OACPS–EU Partnership Agreement signing ceremony. This occasion underscores the commitment of the OACPS and the EU to strengthen their collaborative efforts in addressing critical global challenges, fostering sustainable development, and promoting cooperation in various fields.

Ambassador Maniuri expressed his enthusiasm about the agreement, stating, “Vanuatu is proud to be part of this historic agreement that will enhance cooperation and solidarity between the OACPS and the European Union. We believe this partnership will bring significant benefits to our region and contribute to the well-being of our citizens.”

The Samoa Agreement reflects the shared values and aspirations of the OACPS and the EU, focusing on areas such as climate change mitigation, sustainable development, trade, and cultural exchange. It represents a crucial step forward in the pursuit of common goals and the strengthening of ties between the Pacific region and the OACPS and EU member states.

Prior to the signing ceremony, both the OACPS and the EU had their last joint council of Ministers meeting under the previous partnership agreement, the Cotonou Agreement.

The Cotonou Agreement, which addressed development challenges and opportunities for both the OACPS and the EU, has been for the past 20 years the beacon of cooperation between the two organisations. The lessons learned from the implementation of the Cotonou Agreement will provide improvements in the execution of the Samoa Agreement.

Ambassador Maniuri stated that “the Cotonou agreement will end on the 31st of December 2023, and from the 1st of January 2024, the provisional application of the Samoa agreement will begin.” The Agreement will enter into force upon consent by the European Parliament and ratification by the Parties, such as all EU Member States and at least two-thirds of the OACPS Members.

The Joint Council mandated the Joint OACPS-EU Committee of Ambassadors to agree on a road map leading to the full application of the agreement.

Vanuatu looks forward to a prosperous and cooperative future with its international partners, and the signing of the Samoa Agreement is a testament to the nation’s commitment to global collaboration.