Setting the course for the future of Pacific regionalism


Monday 11 July 2022

Honourable Leaders and Ministers
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum
Representatives of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific
Ladies and Gentlemen

Ni sa Bula Vinaka, it is my greatest pleasure to welcome you to the 2022 PACP Leaders Meeting.

It is always a valuable opportunity when we convene as Leaders to consider and discuss issues of mutual concern and priority to us.

As the Pacific ACP States, we share mutual interests and opportunities in our engagement with the European Union and with our fellow African and Caribbean States.

Broader than this, this platform provides us an opportunity to work together to discuss and develop solutions to overcome common development challenges as we continue to strive towards a sustainable future for our people.

Excellencies, as we meet this week, we celebrate 50 years of Pacific regionalism. We are also setting the course for the future of our Pacific regionalism, through the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

The 2050 Strategy sets the vision and direction for our Blue Pacific region and provides a framework for all our development partners, including the EU, to align their cooperation with us. Indeed, as geopolitical and partner interest in our region grows, we must be steadfast and firm in calling for genuine partnerships for regional development cooperation on our Pacific terms and in support of our regional institutions and priorities.

Excellencies, we last met as Pacific ACP Leaders in person in Tuvalu in August 2019, amid the Post Cotonou Negotiations. Today, we will consider the implementation arrangements to the new partnership agreement between the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States and the European Union – expected to be named the ‘Samoa Agreement’.

I would like to acknowledge our Ministers, Senior Officials and our Ambassadors in Brussels who have worked tirelessly to finalise the ‘Samoa Agreement’ that is reflective of our Pacific priorities, in particular, climate change and resilience; and Oceans, seas and fisheries.

In our discussions today, we need to consider how we move forward collectively to implement this new agreement. We need to ensure effective and efficient implementation arrangements that will respond to our regional vision and maximise the benefits for our countries and people.

The new agreement also provides us with the opportunity to strengthen our collaboration with the African and Caribbean regions in meeting our development goals.

Excellencies, just as crucial today, we must consider the future role of our PACP group. I invite you to reflect on the evolving regional and international context, the Revised Georgetown Agreement, the ‘Samoa Agreement’ and the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent – to consider the future purpose, scope and mandate of the PACP group to serve our collective interests.

Excellencies, I wish you well in your deliberations today.

Thank you and Vinaka Vakalevu–ENDS.