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The third high level Political Dialogue between Papua New Guinea and the European Union under Article 8 of the ACP-EU Partnership (Cotonou) Agreement was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 1 June, 2018.
The discussions covered political, trade, and economic issues, developments in Papua New Guinea and the European Union, as well as topics of mutual interest such as increased investment, human rights, further developing the Economic Partnership Agreement, implementing the Bougainville Peace Agreement, the strategic alliance on climate change and ocean governance, people to people relations, as well as current and future development cooperation activities.
Relations between Papua New Guinea and EU are important both for the bilateral agenda and for jointly addressing global challenges. In particular, efforts to fight against environmental degradation, including deforestation, and climate change can have a positive impact both nationally and globally.
The participants referred to their successful cooperation in the 'High Ambition Coalition' ultimately resulting in the Paris Agreement and agreed to enhance cooperation in multilateral fora on this and other challenges. The positive impact of EU development cooperation with Papua New Guinea is demonstrated through projects such as the EU-funded National Forest Inventory that helps identify changes in the size of the rainforest, projects that secure access to clean water for many Papua New Guineans, projects fostering good governance, rural entrepreneurship, investment, and trade.
The EU recognised the need for workable solutions to facilitate travel between Papua New Guinea and the Schengen area, especially as Papua New Guinea citizens cannot currently apply for Schengen visas in their country.
The participants discussed the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in general and the upcoming referendum in Bougainville with a target date of 15 June 2019 and how the EU could support these processes.
They also exchanged views on cooperation after 2020, recognising the need to replace the Cotonou Agreement with an ambitious successor agreement that strengthens EU-Pacific relations. The EU acknowledged the prominent role of Papua New Guinea, together with Samoa, as lead negotiators for the Pacific region.
The EU and Papua New Guinea recognised that by strengthening cooperation and the implementation of the current Economic Partnership Agreement to new sectors of sustainable trade beyond fisheries, this would help to fulfil the significant potential of the agreement.
The High Level Political Dialogue was co-chaired by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Papua New Guinea, Ms Barbara Age, and the Deputy Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific in the European External Action Service, Ms Paola Pampaloni. It was agreed that the next High Level Political Dialogue would be held in Papua New Guinea in 2020.
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 the peace and security and the democratic and political stability of the ACP States.
Article 8 of Cotonou Agreement provides for a regular, comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue leading to commitments on both sides. 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.