Delegation of the European Union to New Zealand

Kiribati-European Union High Level Political Dialogue

24/01/2018 - 22:58
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The first enhanced High Level Political Dialogue between the Republic of Kiribati and the European Union under the Cotonou Agreement was held in South Tarawa on Wednesday 24/01/18. The meeting was chaired on the Kiribati side by the Honourable Natan Teewe, Minister of Justice of Kiribati and His Excellency Julian Wilson, Ambassador to Kiribati and Head of Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific.

Secretaries, Officer-in-Charges and senior Government officials were present at the Dialogue. The Parties reviewed bilateral relations between Kiribati and the European Union and discussed possibilities to intensify trade relations and strengthen bilateral co-operation in regional and international matters of common concern.

The Political Dialogue meeting was organised in the framework of Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement which provides for regular exchange of views at the highest level, covering all subjects of mutual interest, including respect for human rights, good governance, democratic principles and the rule of law.

After the meeting, Hon. Minister Teewe said: '' In acknowledging the long traditional partnership that Kiribati has enjoyed with the European Union, the dialogue presents a lot of opportunities as it times well with the discussion and work on the Kiribati vision for 20 years (KV20) with a long-term vision to transform Kiribati into a wealthy, healthy and peaceful nation. The Minister provided an update on the KV20 work which is close to conclusion and which will serve as the Government’s ‘bible’ for quantum development – a development update which is critical as we commence the post Cotonou possible priorities and commitment.” The Minister added that “with the shared values and desire to strengthen our partnership, he has the confidence that we will be able to build stronger our cooperation and looks forward to the EU partnering with Kiribati on its journey to implement the KV20 particularly on those areas that present comparative advantage to the EU.”

H.E. Ambassador Julian Wilson said: ''This promises to be a very productive year for Kiribati-EU relations. Thanks to Kiribati’s strong commitment in recent years, we will be able to advance our cooperation in the fisheries and maritime areas in 2018. In addition, work begins this year on the €20.5 million (AUS$ 31million) programme in energy, water and sanitation for Kiritimati, as well as on Kiribati’s participation in the wider regional programme addressing oceans, trade and gender issues in the wider Pacific region. We are also continuing our work together on climate change, cooperation that proved so effective in getting the Paris Agreement through. We expect Kiribati will be crucial again, along with its Pacific neighbours, as an ally in assuring success on agreeing an implementation plan for the Paris Agreement and addressing issues of common concern, such as the well-being of our common oceans. Following our Political Dialogue, a technical team will come to Kiribati next week to start moving development issues forward and we will meet again in February to detail steps in the other areas. "

Among other outcomes was an agreement by the parties to work together on key international challenges such as human rights and fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing including continued EU and Kiribati cooperation to resolve the yellow card placed on Kiribati.

Parties agreed to do the necessary to ensure the implementation of ongoing and future development programmes including the EUR 23 million for improving livelihoods, notably the renewable energy and water sanitation sectors in Kiritimati Island.

On his first official trip to the island nation threatened by climate change, Ambassador Wilson visited EU-funded renewable and water sanitation projects in Abaiang to witness how the EU is improving the life of ordinary people in the outer islands of Kiribati. 

Background

The Cotonou Agreement offers a framework for the European Union’s cooperation relations for the economic, social and cultural development of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP). Centred on the target of reducing, and in the longer-term, eradicating poverty, the cooperation must also contribute to peace and security and the democratic and political stability of the ACP states.

The objective of the political dialogue is to exchange information, to foster mutual understanding and to facilitate the establishment of agreed priorities and shared agendas, in particular by recognising links in the various areas of cooperation between the Parties as laid down in the Cotonou Agreement.

EU-Kiribati development cooperation

Under the 9th and 10th European Development Fund (EDF), between 2000 and 2014, the EU provided assistance to Kiribati totalling €26 million, mostly in the sectors of water, sanitation and renewable energy. Under the 11th EDF, the bilateral allocation (for the time period from 2014 - 2020) for Kiribati totals €23 million. In addition to these projects, Kiribati benefits from regional projects in disaster risk management, climate change, education, sustainable energy and trade. A very fruitful partnership with NZ on Energy is on-going and is channelling a total budget of around 5M EUR to Kiritimati island.

EU Contact:          Mr. KASIM Mohammed Nazeem, Press  & Information Officer

                               Tel: +679 3313 633 (Ext:110)

                  Email: Mohammed-Nazeem.KASIM@eeas.europa.eu

Kiribati Contact:   Tearinibeia Eno

                               Communication Officer, Office of Te Beretitenti

                               Email: tteabo@ob.gov.ki

                               Phone: 7502 1183

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