Negotiations for the historic multilateral development and trade partnership between the European Union, the Pacific, Africa and the Caribbean known as the Samoa Agreement took three years.
George Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary General for the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), says the agreement was initially negotiated in 2018 and concluded in 2020 with the signing happening earlier this week in Apia.
The Samoa Agreement now succeeds the post-Cotonou negotiation that was finalized in the early 2000.
George Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, Secretary General for the Organization of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), says the Agreement will strengthen cooperation between the European Union and the OACPS and prioritize 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.
“But the importance of this agreement is that it provides for a historic and strong relationship between the European Union and all the ACP nations from the Caribbean, the Pacific and Africa. Through this agreement, the European Union funds and support our struggle for the development of our countries. Our countries do fight against poverty for the development of their countries, and now the Eu is particularly active in the climate change challenges that our countries face, particularly the small SIDS countries.”
Covering 106 nations in the world and some 1.5 billion people, the Samoa Agreement will become the first ever comprehensive partnership agreement between the OACPS and EU to be signed in the Pacific.
The Samoa Agreement also provides an opportunity to highlight the opportunities and interlinkages of key partnerships and modalities of development for the realization of 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).
Meanwhile the European Union had pledged $650 million EUROS during the ACP meeting in the Cook Islands last week.
Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna says 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.
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 consist 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.