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SAMOA CSOs supported to influence Post Cotonou negotiations

The Samoa Umbrella for NGOs (SUNGO) will be sending its representative, to Brussels this week for the Non State Actor consultations on post cotonou agreement.

This follows a briefing by the Pacific CSO delegation last week attending the Apia High Level Dialogue on the Post Cotonou negotiations.

The government of Samoa has the lead role in the Post Cotonou Central Negotiating team, and CSOs have been organising to be strategically influence Pacific governments, the ACP and the EU for the negotiations.

The Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO), Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) and Vanuatu Association of NGOs (VANGO), briefed the Samoa Umbrella Non Governmental Organisation (SUNGO) Executive Council on the 27th February, following the High Level Dialogue on what the Post Cotonou negotiations is about.

PIANGO Executive Director Emele Duituturaga said they updated SUNGO on the Suva based CSO briefing paper which they had prepared for the PACP meeting but also for national CSOs to be aware of the key issues involved

“As Pacific CSOs, we have a responsibility to ensure the interests and aspirations of our communities are taken onboard to ensure that the successor agreement is cognizant of Pacific specific priorities and that the voices of Pacific society are not left out.” Ms Duituturaga said.

The EU signed a bilateral agreement with SUNGO. This means EU will provide funding directly to SUNGO.

Ms Duituturaga said in their Apia discussions with the EU negotiating team, there is still room to propose mechanisms for CSO support in the post cotonou scenario and the fact that EU has given direct support to SUNGO is a milestone achievement.

She said current European Development Funding goes to government as national authorising officer and then to Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat as regional authorised officer.

“We want to push for direct funding coming directly to CSO, and the bilateral agreement signed between SUNGO and EU is a significant move for us,” she added.

It is believed that there is an increasing concern by Pacific civil society organisations that the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of states (ACP) are under-prepared to strategically negotiate with the EU, and will likely accommodate the EU’s negotiating position.

The Cotonou Agreement between the EU and ACP states was signed June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin (West Africa) and will expire in February 2020.

The Post Cotonou Agreement currently being negotiated will define ACP-EU relations post 2020.

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