Remarks by SG, Tuiloma Neroni Slade at the 11th EDF Regional Programming Meeting

11 – 12 OCTOBER 2012


Head of the European Union Delegation in Fiji and Co-Chair, Mr Alistair MacDonald
Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and Heads of Delegations
CROP Heads
Donor partner representatives
National Authorising Officers
Overseas Countries & Territories
Non-State Actors’ representatives
Senior Officials, Colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen.

1. I have much pleasure in welcoming you to the Forum Secretariat Headquarters, and to this consultation meeting on the 11th EDF Regional programming for Pacific ACP countries.

2. This meeting is one of considerable importance. It marks the start of the consultation process for programming 11th European Development Fund allocations for the Pacific region. The discussions that will take place today and tomorrow will guide us in the formulation, and subsequent implementation of the 11th EDF Pacific Regional Indicative Programme (PRIP) for the period 2014-2020.

3. I am particularly pleased to have the privilege – shared with the Head of the EU Delegation - to co-chair this meeting which brings representatives from a wide range of stakeholders. We have representation from National Authorising Offices, Pacific Overseas Countries and Territories, CROP agencies, International Organisations, Development Partners and Non-Stare Actors. We are all here together, to discuss during these two days, the best and most effective mechanism to address the main challenges that our region is facing and the support that can be provided by the European Union.

4. The Pacific partnership with the European Union is forged through historical links, and the support through the European Development Fund is enshrined in the Cotonou Agreement. Current discussions on EU’s relationship with developing countries suggest a “differentiated” approach for future support. Given the vulnerability and the smallness of the Pacific ACP States, it is important that the EU continues its support for further growth of the Pacific islands. I take this opportunity to thank the European Union and the Member States for their ongoing support to the Pacific region in addressing our development needs.

5. In the context of the framework of dialogue between the European Union and the Pacific, the Special Consultative Session in 2007 agreed that the Pacific Islands Forum and the EU would enhance political dialogue. Regular consultations have since been held with the EU at different levels. Most recently, a Ministerial level Meeting between the Pacific Islands Forum Troika and the EU was held in June 2012 in Auckland, to discuss the EU – Pacific Partnership in order to take forward the ambitious agenda to contribute to global and regional peace, stability, democracy and prosperity. Both parties exchanged views on a wide range of topics of mutual interest, and agreed on a three year agenda for action.

6. The EU and Pacific representatives exchanged views on opportunities to take forward the EU-Pacific partnership towards a comprehensive strategic political relationship; to ensure that the UN charter and resolutions are respected globally; to facilitate a sustainable and peaceful resolution to conflicts; to promote human rights and democracy globally; to foster cooperation within the UN system; to contribute to global and regional security and stability; and to foster mutual prosperity.

7. Through the Council Conclusions on a renewed EU-Pacific development partnership adopted on 14 May 2012, the European Union has reiterated the importance of the Pacific within the EU external action. The Council referred to the challenges for EU aid effectiveness in the region outlining the main responses envisaged to improve and adjust delivery methods, including budget support. The objective is to increase and improve capacity building, development and cooperation, to enhance policy coherence, to stimulate the partnership to grow beyond the “donor-recipient” relationship and also to support successful integration of the associated overseas countries and territories in the region. Further details of our engagement will I am sure be highlighted in the Keynote Address.

8. The programming of the 11th European Development Fund, to cover the period 2014-2020, gives an opportunity to the EU and Pacific countries and regional organisations to move towards an enhanced and more effective EU-Pacific development and cooperation. The Pacific Plan and its priorities as determined by Forum Leaders will form an essential basis for identifying the region’s priorities overall for funding under the 11th EDF.

9. I am pleased to note that today we have brought together all the key stakeholders who work collectively for the development of our region.

10. A series of presentations on EU’s political dialogue, lessons learned from past and current development programmes, the role played by regional and international organisations, and the pivotal place of the Pacific Plan for aligning, coordinating and streamlining future response strategies will be provided to you at this meeting.

11. Your views will be sought on how the 11th EDF Regional Indicative Programme should best respond to the region’s needs. I urge you to take this great opportunity to interact with the wide range of stakeholders, and to propose a coherent, consistent and convincing set of proposals.

12. Considering the extreme heterogeneity and diversity of our island countries, we will need to develop a framework of engagement that takes into account the differing levels of development and vulnerabilities of the Pacific ACP States. Already there are a known range of regional priorities such as climate change cooperation, regional economic integration, energy solutions, trade development, sustainable management of natural resources, tourism development, fisheries management, agricultural production, oceans development, investment creation, trade in services and skills mobility, infrastructure development, private sector growth, economic reforms, social development, protection of our environment - and the list goes on.

13. We also need to strengthen the linkage between the regional programme, and the priorities and strategies that are defined in your respective countries. We need to strengthen the ownership and demarcation of roles and responsibilities between national and regional programmes.

14. I call upon your wisdom and willingness to combine our efforts to make this meeting a successful starting point for flagging the priority action areas where resources need to be allocated. I note that we will have many priorities to take account of and the consolidation of the priorities to develop focal areas will be challenging. The clearer our proposals and recommendations are, the greater will be the chance for these proposals to be translated into a programme that will genuinely respond to the needs of our region and our people.

15. I am confident that, with a continued political dialogue between our member countries, coupled with a firm commitment from the European Union, from regional and international organisations, non-state actors and the development partners, we can develop solutions for dynamic and prosperous Pacific economies for the benefit of all.

16. I wish you a fruitful and constructive discussion and deliberations.

17. I now call upon the co-chair of this meeting, Mr Alistair MacDonald, the Head of the EU Delegation in Suva to deliver address the Keynote Address.

Thank you.


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