On 1 August 2021, SPC’s member countries and territories welcomed the EU as the first Permanent Observer in the history of the Pacific’s largest development organisation.
This new status further enhances a longstanding relationship based on a shared desire to implement multilateral cooperation efforts to respond to the great challenges facing the Pacific Islands, in particular, climate change, sustainable development, resilience, sustainable management of marine and land-based resources, health (including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic), gender issues, and human development.
As a Permanent Observer, the EU will now be more closely involved in SPC’s meetings and work. This increased participation will offer new opportunities to the EU and to SPC and its 26 member countries and territories to enhance their strategic dialogue, pursue new technical and financial partnerships, and carry out cooperation activities on topics of mutual interest.
“The European Union has become the Pacific Community’s first Permanent Observer. This significant step will support the further development of the EU’s partnership with the Pacific region, an increasingly important part of the world. It will help in seizing the opportunities offered by the new European Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, under the new Global Europe instrument, the future Agreement between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries and its Pacific Protocol. It also comes at a moment when the EU and its Member States are finalizing the Blue-Green Alliance and setting the priorities for European Union cooperation in the Pacific for the 2021-2027 financial cycle,” declared the European Union through its spokesperson, Nabila Massrali.
“We are delighted by this historic step forward in our relationship, based on our common values of mutual respect and inclusiveness and a shared ambition to promote development in the Pacific Islands,” said Stuart Minchin, SPC’s Director-General. “While continuing to resolutely carry out the projects that we are currently involved in, we are already looking into opportunities for future collaboration to further apply science and knowledge in support of the peoples of our region.”
The Pacific Community is the European Union’s main regional implementing partner in the Pacific, in charge of a portfolio of projects that has amounted to some EUR 244 million since 2007.