Opening Statement by SG Slade at 11th EDF Pacific Regional Programming Consultative Workshop, 27 February

11th EDF Pacific Regional Programming Consultative Workshop
Thursday, 27 February 2014, Suva, Fiji

Tuiloma Neroni Slade
Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and Regional Authorising Officer

Honourable Ministers
Excellencies and Heads of Delegations
Director of the Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and Pacific in EuropeAid at the European Commission, Mr Dirk Meganck
Heads of the CROP Agencies and development partner representatives
National and Territorial Authorising Officers
Non-State Actors’ representatives
Senior Officials, Colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen

1. It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Forum Secretariat Headquarters, and to this second consultation on the 11th European Development Fund Regional programming for the Pacific region.

2. In particular, I would like to warmly welcome and thank Mr Dirk Meganck, for his personal attendance and personal involvement in this consultation.

3. Today, we have a strong, very committed presence of both European Union officials and Pacific representatives. Our European Union colleagues have come from afar from Brussels and possibly from elsewhere, and the delegations in the Pacific demonstrating the EU’s commitment to assist the Pacific region in their engagement in the identification and implementation of the areas of development for the region over the next 7 years under the European Development Fund.

4. Our regional stakeholders have also turned up in numbers to be part of this consultation and I am pleased to see such a significant commitment and interest by all of you.

5. The support that the Pacific region has received from the European Union is a matter of public record, and fundamental to Pacific development in both volume and range. Key regional institutions have also played their part in ensuring that these development projects are implemented in a coordinated manner to benefit the Pacific island countries.

6. Over the years, much of the European development assistance has been directed towards the management of our resources and the building of sustainable capacity. There has been considerable progress in developing knowledge and analysis capacities, including legal and economic governance mechanisms that support the Pacific development agenda.

7. The European support has contributed to strengthening the management of key terrestrial and marine resources, facilitating maintenance of our essential ecosystem services, investments in renewable energy, and building resilience to climate change impacts. Through the EU assistance, we have also been able to improve trade infrastructure, and are working on enhancing trade relations with the European Union.

8. I am sure there is even greater potential to do more including opportunities for increased collaboration with the Overseas Countries and Territories of the EU in the Pacific and developing synergies with the OCTs on the regional projects will be an important objective.

9. The meeting today is one of considerable importance, and builds on the consultation process for the 11th EDF Pacific Regional Programming that we initiated here at the Forum in October 2012. Our discussions today will guide us in the formulation, and implementation of the 11th EDF Pacific Regional Indicative Programme (PRIP) for the period 2014-2020.

10. I am particularly pleased to see representatives from the wide range of stakeholders including the National Authorising Officers, Pacific Overseas Countries and Territories, CROP agencies, International Organisations, Development Partners and Non-State Actors.

11. There was a high level of engagement by all our stakeholders during the first round of consultations in October 2012. Two prospective focal sectors were identified for consideration by the region - the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Environment, and Regional Economic Integration.

12. We also discussed a number of other measures that that we need to take into account as we develop the regional projects. Alignment of the 11th EDF regional projects to the regional priorities as determined by the Pacific Leaders and reflected in the Pacific Plan is of highest importance. We also need to ensure that we have an inclusive approach involving the widest range of stakeholders at both regional and national levels in the formulation, implementation and monitoring of the projects. The complementarity and synergy between regional initiatives and national priorities are essential.

13. We also need to ensure that our development agenda is based on aid effectiveness principles with reinforced coordination mechanisms and with innovative implementation schemes. It may necessitate the strengthening of the institutional capacities and governance, including a focus on gender issues, and continued involvement of the civil society and the private sector.

14. At our consultation today, we will seek to define the strategic priorities and broad areas of engagement and indicators of success.

15. Our analysis will centre on the three areas of development focus: Regional Economic Integration; Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Environment; and a cross-cutting sector covering governance, gender, support to Non-State Actors, capacity building, institutional strengthening and other areas as deemed necessary.

16. With your informed and deep knowledge, our combined efforts should ensure a successful progression to the identification of the priority action areas where resources need to be allocated. Your assistance in this regard will be particularly important and critical, as the identification of these ‘action plans’ or ‘intervention logics’ will lead to the formulation of the 11th EDF Regional Indicative Programme for the Pacific.

17. May I urge all member countries, implementing agencies, development partners and all stakeholders to also work towards a strengthened coordination mechanism and deepen the dialogue and cooperation among all concerned to deliver on the development objectives of the our region.

18. May I wish you productive discussions and every success in these important consultations.

Thank you.

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