The role of multilateralism is crucial in the process of socioeconomic development, in particular for Small Islands Developing States like Fiji.

These comments were made this week by Fiji’s Ambassador to the Organisation for the African Caribbean and Pacific States , Ambassador Deo Saran, as the organisation celebrated its 45th anniversary of its founding on the 6th of June 1975.

Fiji’s Ambassador to the Organisation for the African Caribbean and Pacific States Deo Saran says as a member of OACPS family, Fiji takes great pride in celebrating not just this Group’s founding but equally, its success in the development of our nations and harnessing the potential of our people.

Saran says through this Group, we have made progress in developing our nations in the fields of agriculture, trade, culture, education, gender and youth empowerment, security and many other areas.

Formerly known as the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), the newly renamed organisation consists of 79-member states from these regions.

Whilst the primary development partner of the organisation is the European Union, the OACPS is pursuing building partnerships with other potential development partners.

Its relationship with the European Union is through a 20-year agreement which has expired.

Signed in 2000, the Cotonou Partnership Agreement has been the main framework for cooperation and relations between the ACP and the EU.

The Agreement covers three key pillars of cooperation: Economic and Trade Cooperation, Development Finance Cooperation, and Political Dimension. Fiji’s own relations with the EU is founded on this agreement.

A new partnership agreement is currently being negotiated and is expected to be signed later this year.

As a founding member of the ACP and through its Embassy in Brussels, Fiji has been actively part of the negotiation process for the new agreement.

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