The Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Premila Devi Kumar represented the Prime Minister to the High-level Dialogue on post Cotonou negotiations in Apia Samoa. The Fijian delegation included the Permanent Secretary for Industry, Trade and Tourism, the Fijian Ambassador to Brussels and Senior Trade Officials.
The Leaders from the Pacific African, Caribbean, Pacific and the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica met to discuss all matters relating to the new agreement. The High-level Dialogue was an opportunity for the Pacific ACP Leaders to raise concerns and identify key priorities for the Region to be part of the negotiations. As textual negotiations on the new agreement between the EU and the ACP will begin soon.
The Minister emphasized at the High-level Dialogue that whilst we are finalizing the new EUACP partnership, there is critical need to simplify the process and have clear financial mechanisms.
Prior to the High-level Dialogue, the Pacific ACP Senior Officials met and strongly recommended to the Pacific ACP Leaders that the Pacific-EU partnership needs to be on equal footing and it recognize the relevant strengths of the parties. The Senior Officials also emphasized that the parties must take into account the lessons from the implementation of the Cotonou Agreement and ensure that there are no unilateral decisions made without adequate consultations with the parties.
The EU and ACP relations has been governed by the Cotonou Agreement, which was signed in 2000. The partnership agreement between 107 industrialized and developing nations will expire on 29 February 2020.
In order to ensure that there is a successor agreement in place to continue this partnership that started more than 4 decades with the Lomé Convention and then the Cotonou Partnership Agreement, the Pacific ACP Leaders in Nauru, last year, endorsed the Pacific ACP region to engage in the negotiations for the Post-Cotonou Agreement.
The objective of the negotiation is to obtain a new Agreement that consists of a Foundation and three regional partnerships. The Foundation, applicable to all members of the Partnership, will list general objectives, principles and priorities, and enable increased cooperation at international level.
Then there will be regional agreements, setting region-specific priorities towards countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, in line with intensified regional dynamics and the increased importance of regional organisations.
Currently, the ACP Officials in Brussels and the EU Officials have agreed on the structure of the new agreement. The structure of the new agreement is based on the ACP mandate and the EU Directives and all parties agreed to 5 key strategic priorities for the Foundation Agreement, which include: Title I: People-centred, rights based, peaceful and stable societies; Title II: Human and Social Development; Title III: Inclusive Sustainable Economic Growth and Development; Title IV: Environmental sustainability and climate change; and Title V: Migration and Mobility.