Opening remarks by SG Tuiloma Neroni Slade at PIC Partners meeting

Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa Hotel, Nadi
24 – 25 June, 2010



Distinguished Colleagues
Senior Officials from Forum member countries
Representatives of Development Partners
Members of the Diplomatic Corps (PNG High Commissioner; Ambassadors for FSM and Marshall Islands)
Ladies and gentlemen

Allow me to extend to you all a very warm welcome to Nadi, Fiji Islands and to the 2010 Pacific Island Countries and Development Partners (PIC-Partners) meeting. Special welcome to those representatives of development partners who travelled from abroad to attend this meeting.

2. I understand that most of the representatives of Pacific island countries have been here in Nadi since the start of the week, to take part at the Pacific regional workshop on aid effectiveness.

3. My brief informed me that the workshop on aid effectiveness in the Pacific was a success and a highly interactive and productive workshop; and we all look forward to a briefing on the outcomes of the workshop at the start of this meeting, in fact under the agenda item immediately after these opening remarks.

4. As you will have noted from the agenda of the meeting, the PIC-Partners meeting for 2010 has taken a new and added dimension.

5. With the implementation of the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination, and the critical partnership the Compact advocates between the Pacific island countries and development partners in terms of enhancing the effective coordination of all available development resources in the region; it is imperative that the PIC-Partners meeting play a significant role in progressing the implementation of the key deliverables under the Cairns Compact.

6. This is clearly evident from the strong Cairns Compact flavor of the meeting agenda.

7. Those of you familiar with the origins of the PIC-Partners meeting, would recall the very limited focus of the meeting when it was initially convened as part of the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM), to provide the opportunity for development partners to discuss coordination of their development assistance in support of the FEMM outcomes.

8. Since the 2007 FEMM, the PICT-Partners meeting had been elevated to a stand-alone meeting. Its focus was also broaden to provide the opportunity for discussion of coordination of development assistance around the broader spectrum of regional development priorities, not necessarily confined to a single sector, including all those under the auspices of the Pacific Plan.

9. Now with the Cairns Compact premised on enhanced development coordination, the PIC-Partners meeting provide the logical forum to consider the key deliverables of the Cairns Compact and associated issues.

10. The meeting will receive an update on the status of the implementation of the Cairns Compact and an opportunity for closer examination of some of the deliverables of the Compact.

11. I want to take advantage of this opportunity to thank all of you present in this room that contributed to the implementation of the Cairns Compact. Most of you provided direct report on the relevant deliverables, others provided support in kind in terms of technical assistance and participation in the various technical working groups set up to assist the Secretariat in coordinating the implementation of the Cairns Compact. Particular mention need to be made of the financial contribution by Australia and New Zealand that allowed the Secretariat to commence work on the implementation of the Compact.

12. The PIC- Partners meeting provides for the most comprehensive consultative mechanism between Pacific island countries and all development partners with development assistance prorammes in the region, including those that are not conferred post forum dialogue partner status.

13. But this meeting is only part of a broader network of interactions and exchanges between the island countries and development partners.

14. The role of development partners and partner agencies in the development of the region, in collaboration with island countries, is at the heart of the Pacific Plan. This is an acknowledgement of the significant contribution that development partners contribute to the sustainable development of the region.

15. So I am grateful for the opportunity presented by this meeting and the demonstration of interest and commitment by development partners in your presence in numbers today and your readiness to dialogue with island countries.

16. I strongly advocate the notion of partnership in development. Development partners must work hand in hand with the island countries. There must be clarity in the articulation of development priorities at the national and regional level. And it is incumbent on development partners to align and harmonise their development assistance with those clearly enunciated development priorities.

17. Similarly, island countries on the other hand, should also demonstrate their commitment to achieving those development priorities by prioritizing the allocation of their own development resources in support of those declared national priorities.

18. At the regional level, the Pacific Plan remain the center of regional development and the platform for regional cooperation and integration to support collective responses in addressing regional development priorities.

19. The Cairns Compact has recently generated a lot of interest and the subject of serious discussion. Though it may be viewed as a new regional initiative, it is firmly rooted in the Pacific Plan. The centrality of the Pacific Plan and national development plans or strategies are firmly acknowledged by the Cairns Compact.

20. Some may view the Cairns Compact as generating a new body of work for the region. But my contention is that, the Cairns Compact is not new work, it is a new and smarter way of doing the same work to enhance the effective coordination of development resources which in turn will provide for development effectiveness.

21. Development coordination and development effectiveness could only be achieved and make sense, once those efforts can be translated to practical benefits at the national level and actually making a difference to the standard of living of the people of the region. That must be the ultimate objective of any development agenda.

22. This meeting and other regional and international meetings with development agenda must instill clearly that objective at the core of their discussions and deliberations.

23. And I want us to remind ourselves of that ultimate objective in our deliberations over the next two days.

24. I look forward to your constructive contributions and wish you well in your deliberations.

Thank you.


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