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Representatives from 13 Pacific Island States gathered at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) in Suva today for a two-day regional workshop on the next phases of the Post Cotonou Negotiations, with the European Union (EU).
The Post Cotonou negotiations were launched in September 2018 between 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and 28 EU member states. Together, the two groups represent more than half of all UN member countries and home to over 1.5 billion people. The negotiations will set out the tone, priorities and parameters of the relationship, including development cooperation between the EU and the ACP countries over the next 20 years.
It has recently been agreed that the new agreement will be signed in Samoa in 2020.
In welcoming the representatives to the Regional workshop, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor said:
“At the forefront of our minds are the principles and objectives of the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, wherein Pacific Leaders want to see our Blue Pacific future determined by our own priorities.
“We want development to be more effective, more coordinated and make a real difference to the people of the region.
“Discussions over the coming days will be key in ensuring our Blue Pacific voice is heard and our priorities, the things that matter most to the Pacific People, are clearly reflected in future PACP–EU relationship arrangement,” said Dame Meg Taylor.
At a major roundtable between Pacific Leaders and the EU in Apia in February, Pacific Leaders articulated the priorities they would want to see reflected in any agreement, including: 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.
Five of the Pacific ACP Ambassadors who represent the region in the negotiations have travelled from Brussels to engage in the discussions - Joshua R. Kalinoe from Papua New Guinea; Fatumanava Pa'olelei Luteru from Samoa; Deo Saran from Fiji; Moses Mose from Solomon Islands; and John Licht from Vanuatu.
Over the two days, senior officials will discuss the shape, focus and contents of the Pacific Regional Protocol (which will guide the region during negotiations) including topics such as Environment Sustainability; Climate Change; Security, Human Rights and Governance; Human and Social Development; and Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Development.
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