Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa, led Samoa’s delegation to the 10th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), held in Luanda, Angola.
The Summit focused on the theme, “3 Continents,3 Oceans, 1 Common Destiny”: Building A Resilient And Sustainable OACPS”.
The OACPS comprises 79 Member States from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific regions representing 1.2 billion of the global population and more than 40 percent of the United Nations membership. Sixty-four members of the OACPS are coastal States, of which 38 are Small Island Developing States like Samoa.
This is the first in-person meeting for the Leaders since the COVID-19 pandemic and thus provided an opportunity to discuss the impact of the pandemic, the worsening climate crisis, pressures of geopolitical changes and alignments; economic diversification and peace and security challenges.
Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa spoke during the inaugural ceremony to represent the Blue Pacific continent highlighting the priorities of the region that are aligned with OACPS strategies, calling for a united stance on these priorities such as climate change and ocean.
She also stressed the need to move beyond donor-recipient relations with partners and to focus on genuine and durable partnerships, where OACPS sit as equals.
Samoa highlighted concerns about the delay in signing the OACPS-EU new partnership agreement and welcomed the OACPS leader’s call for the signing to take place before the end of June 2023 in Samoa.
The agreement is to be called the Samoa Agreement.
The Pacific also led discussions and called for a commitment to adopt the UN General Assembly Resolution for an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on Climate Change.
The Heads of State and Government adopted the Luanda Declaration providing a strategic direction for the Organisation for the next two years, which included a call from the OACPS Leaders to the UN Member States to vote in support of this UN Resolution. Prime Minister Mataafa also represented the participants of the Summit to provide a vote of thanks to the hosts, the Government of Angola.
The Summit also endorsed the Republic of Maldives as the newest member of the OACPS.
Prime Minister Fiame also held bilateral meetings with the leaders of small island developing states Vanuatu, Maldives, Barbados, Mauritius, and Trinidad; Tobago to discuss SIDS issues within OACPS and the UN has given Samoa’s chairmanship of the Association of Small Islands States in 2023. Meetings were also held with the Secretaries General of both OACPS and the Commonwealth on the upcoming Signing of the Samoa Agreement in Samoa as well as the hosting of CHOGM 2024.