Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, Hon. Jeremiah Manele held a bilateral meeting with the visiting Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), H.E Dr Georges Rebelo Pinto Chikoti, on Monday 30th October 2023.
The Minister used the occasion to welcome the Secretary General to the Solomon Islands and the region in his capacity as head of the OACPS Secretariat.
The agenda for discussion between the two include areas of Climate change resilience, the Blue economy, Marine conservation, Trade and Cooperation.
On Climate Change resilience, the Minister conveyed to the Secretary General that what Solomon Islands need is in terms of adaptation to the negative impacts of climate change, which is already affecting our islands and communities.
He expressed Solomon Islands gratitude to the OACPS for their support in seeking financial resourcing for Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) including Solomon Islands towards recovery, resilience, and sustainability to the impact of climate change.
As a strong proponent of the Blue Economy narrative, Minister Manele used the occasion to promote the Blue Economy given its potential benefits to achieving sustainable and economic growth and societal advancements.
He also highlighted the actions the Solomon Islands government has made to promoting the blue economy at the domestic level through the launch of the Solomon Islands National Ocean Policy in 2019- on the Regional front through fostering regional ocean cooperation, one of which is the Country serving as host to the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency.
On the International level, Solomon Islands is among the first countries to sign the Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable use of Maritime Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 2023 meeting in September.
Minister Manele also spoke of the importance of Marine conservation and how the Solomon Islands have implemented various course of actions at the national, regional and international level as part of commitment to marine conservation.
At the national level, the country has various legal frameworks with associated policies and strategies developed to enable the country meet national targets, regional and international commitments connected with the ocean. In the regional level, Solomon Island is at the forefront in terms of transformative ocean management.
On Trade and Cooperation, Minister Manele states that the Trade Dynamics for member countries has been shaped by various regional agreements, historical ties, and common challenges faced by these regions. The OACPS plays a significant role in fostering trade and development cooperation among its member countries
Minister Manele said it is important to continue the ongoing efforts to promote inclusive and equitable economic growth, as well as to leverage the collective strengths of these regions, continue to shape the trade relations and cooperation among OACP states.
“Solomon Islands would like to acknowledge and pay tribute to the hard work and commitment of the Secretary General, Chitiko and Secretariat of the OACPS in the efficient and effective coordination of activities under the respective partnership framework between the OACPS member states and the EU”,” Minister Manele added.
He also acknowledges and thank the Secretariat’s role in facilitating and ensuring the successful conclusion of negotiations of the soon to be signed Samoa Agreement in Apia next month and further assure the Secretary General of Solomon Islands continued support to the OACPS. The Samoa Agreement will succeed the Cotonou Agreement as the new cooperation and engagement framework between the EU and 79 member countries of the OACPS for the next twenty years.
The Organization of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), formally known as the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), was established in 1975 through the Georgetown Agreement, is a tri-regional group of 79 developing countries that work together to promote development, trade and economic cooperation with the EU.
Solomon Islands is an active member in the OACPS and have played a leadership role in various capacities over the years.
In 2021, Minister of Foreign & External Trade, Hon Jeremiah Manele was the Interim Chair of the 112th OACPS Council of Ministers. Solomon Islands then held the Presidency of the OACPS Parliamentary Assembly and the Co-Chair of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly under Hon. Peter Kenilorea Junior from June 2021 to 2022.
Minister Manele said this reflects Solomon Islands commitment to the OACPS and what it stands for.
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