Atoa o Samoa meeting underway


In welcoming Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa and her delegation for the Atoa o Samoa Meeting, Governor Lemanu P. S Mauga said the goal of the meeting is to reinforce cooperation between the two governments and fostering the common objective to promote economic development and cooperation to obtain fuller opportunities for our people.

“This is the third meeting of our two governments since the commencement of the Atoa o Samoa here last year and it is my hope that we will continue to build on the outcome of our discussions in Apia,” said Lemanu.  “The Atoa o Samoa meeting is an opportunity to address social and economic challenges we face as small islands.” 

Lemanu also thanked Prime Minister Fiame and the Cabinet Ministers of Samoa for their foresight and for strengthening the partnership for the future of the two Samoa. 

Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa said the sole core of the talks is to continue collaboration and to consolidate their position on what they see will reap mutual benefits for all of the Samoan people.

“At this juncture, let us reflect on the beginnings of our journey and what we have achieved. “At the 27=28 July inaugural meeting here in American Samoa, we renamed the formerly known Two Samoa Talks to Atoa o Samoa, by our respective new governments. 

“The spirit of genuine partnerships, the unity of family and the willingness to share resonated in the concepts ua atoa Samoa.” 

Fiame said at the second Atoa o Samoa meeting in October 2022 in Apia they went further to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to re-establish the principles of economic cooperation and commit to promoting sustainable development.

“The two-day meeting in Apia included bilateral meetings between departments and counterparts and the start of site visits to major development projects, a demonstration of what can be done and how we can learn from each other,” said Fiame. 

The Prime Minister further noted that this third meeting will report on progress made since Apia.

“I am happy that some agencies have interchanged visits and interchanged personnel and hopefully have progressed priority issues. “I understand that the next session will provide an overview of progress or otherwise. 

“I am sure that you will all agree with me that implementation of our decisions and what we have agreed to will be indicative of progress.” 

Samoa’s Prime Minister went on to say: “We are living in difficult times fraught with challenges that have impacted our way of life, well-being and security. 

“Our situation as small island states are made worse by our vulnerabilities.” 

Fiame cited the Russia-Ukraine war continues to preoccupy the major powers.  

“The world’s attention continues to shift away from small island states like our two countries that are also sinking under the weight of rising fuel and food prices as a result of such aggression. 

“Our geographical isolation no longer protects us from the impacts of climate change and future pandemics, but we should never stop advocating for the world to be held responsible for promises kept thus thwarting our rights to peace, security and prosperity,” said Fiame.  

Furthermore, the Prime Minister pointed out that Samoa is hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next year. 

“The signing of the Samoa agreement with the leaders of the European Union and the African Caribbean Pacific Group as well as chairing the Alliance of Small Islands States within the United Nations over the next two years reflect our commitment to stand up and be counted.” 

Samoa’s Prime Minister concluded the Atoa o Samoa framework can be a unique partnership model for the benefit of the people of Samoa and American Samoa. 

“We must ensure that it works well and has sustained benefits for all. If changes are deemed necessary, let’s not turn away from them,” said Fiame.