Opening remarks by SG Tuiloma Neroni Slade at PIC/Partners meeting



Pacific Island Countries/Development Partners Meeting
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
19 – 20 July 2012

Senior Officials from Forum member countries
Representatives of Development Partners
Members of the Diplomatic Corp
Distinguished colleagues

1. We extend to you all a very warm welcome to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and to the 2012 Pacific Island Countries and Development Partners (PIC-Partners) meeting.

2. This meeting is one of considerable importance, for what it represents in the reaffirmation of engagement and commitment and towards the maintenance of effective partnerships between Pacific island governments and their development partners.

3. Indeed, it is an opportunity especially valued for the mutual sharing of information and experiences, and for the presentation of Pacific perspectives on the range of key regional and global development issues and processes. These issues are featured on your agenda, supported by background papers, and to be presented in a manner that we hope will provide a useful and constructive basis for your dialogue and discussions over the next two days.

4. The timing of this meeting is of particular significance, given the outcomes of the major conferences in Busan and Rio – both of which will be the subject of presentations - and also as we prepare for the Forum Leaders’ annual meeting in the Cook Islands next month and the Leaders Post-Forum Dialogue with development partners.

5. As we know, the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness adopted the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation calling for a more inclusive and transparent global partnership in the delivery, management and monitoring of our development efforts and reaffirmed the catalytic role of development cooperation in supporting development outcomes.
6. The Rio+20 outcomes, once again, place sustainable development goals at the forefront of global attention and call for a more balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in to our development efforts.

7. What lies ahead in international development aspirations, beyond the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, is now the burning question and there is gathering momentum in international development discourse on the matter. We should take the opportunity of this meeting to begin to seek out the answer.

8. In our region, there is firm commitment to the relevance and currency of the Pacific Plan as the master strategy by ensuring it reflects updated priorities that can effectively be supported through regional cooperation and integration. It is essential to strengthen the Pacific Plan as a regional framework that facilitates and complements the effective translation of international development policies into concrete action at the national level. I would note in this connection that the outcomes of both Busan and Rio+20 highlight the importance of the regional dimension in sustainable development efforts.

9. In these circumstances, the proposed review of the Pacific Plan in 2013 is timely in light of the global dialogue on sustainable development and effective development cooperation.

10. In all of this the centrality of the partnership approach cannot be emphasised enough. For Pacific countries, committed and effective partnership in development is simply critical. We know that regional and global evidence confirms that much more is needed to be done to enhance partnership arrangements to foster the resilience of Pacific countries and their coping capacities.

11. We also know that effective partnerships must build on solid platforms. Otherwise, there cannot be real prospect for effective partnership with continued calls on development partners to meet obligations under the MDGs or international commitments on financing for development if, for example, Pacific countries are not consistent in providing robust national and sector plans, supported by clear monitoring and evaluation frameworks, to steer development partner efforts. Equally, there cannot be real prospect where development partners continue to insist on inflexible partnership arrangements and rigid compliance frameworks, not explicitly defined by the unique socio-economic, environmental and small island geo-political features of Pacific countries.

12. A partnership where expectations are pitched in differing contexts is at its best, a partnership foiled from the outset.

13. A shared understanding of the Pacific context and diverse country situations would be key drivers in fashioning a workable partnership approach. Clarity in the articulation of development priorities at the national and regional level would be essential, with island countries demonstrating their commitment to achieving those development aspirations by prioritising the allocation of their own development resources in support of those declared national priorities.

14. And, in my own view, it would be incumbent on development partners to contextualise, align and harmonise their development assistance with those clearly enunciated national development priorities.

15. As I close, let me express to all our friends and colleagues representing the development partners of the region our gratitude and appreciation for your demonstrated interest and commitment by your presence in such good numbers today and your readiness to dialogue with the Pacific island countries. Let me also acknowledge with appreciation the cooperation and support of our CROP organisations and colleagues in our joint efforts.

16. May our endeavours produce good and concrete outcomes.


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