The European Union (EU) and the Republic of Fiji (Fiji) held their fifth High Level Political Dialogue under article 8 of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) - EU Partnership (Cotonou) Agreement in Suva, Fiji, on 27 and 28 October 2020. This was the first time the Political Dialogue was held virtually. The Dialogue provided an opportunity to review recent developments in the EU, Fiji and the broader region, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public health and the support provided by the EU under the Team Europe response amounting to €119 million for the Pacific region.
The meeting took stock of the achievements and discussed concerns relating to the new Partnership Agreement between the ACP countries and the EU, of the EU strategy and commitments on climate action and implementation of the EU Green Deal as well as of the EU priorities for the Our Oceans Conference.
The EU and Fiji highlighted their commitment to further strengthen their political partnership and continue joint efforts towards the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and promotion of the rules based international order and effective multilateralism. Discussions focussed in particular on the mutually shared ambitions and priorities ahead of the upcoming 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26) and the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15). Fiji and the EU agreed on the need to improve how progress is tracked on the implementation of joint projects in interest of building and maintaining trust amongst the Parties.
The EU and Fiji reviewed bilateral relations, including development cooperation and preparations for the programming of EU assistance to the region from 2021-2027, trade relations, including the operationalisation of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA), as well as, cooperation on tax good governance and visa related issues.
Among other areas for strategic cooperation, the meeting discussed the draft Joint Declaration between the EU and IEPA parties on Trade and Sustainable Development proposed by the EU, ocean governance, including sustainable fisheries, working together to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing as well as cooperating on broader peace and security issues.
The EU and Fiji discussed developments in the area of Human Rights and the Rule of Law, policies related to addressing gender equality and gender-based violence, elections and Fiji’s priorities as member and Vice-President of the UN Human Rights Council.
The Dialogue was co-chaired by the Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at the European External Action Service, Mr Gunnar Wiegand, and Fiji's Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr Yogesh Karan.
On the occasion of the Dialogue, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, held a phone call with the Prime Minister of Fiji, Josaia Voreque Bainimarama. A press release is available.