Statement by H.E Ambassador Mere Falemaka at the Signing of an MOU between WTO’s Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

H.E. Mr Eloi LAOUROU, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Benin and EIF Board Chair,
Mr Ratnakar ADHIKARI, Executive Director of Enhanced Integrated Framework
Excellencies and Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of my Secretary General, Dame Meg TAYLOR, I wish to extend my sincere appreciation for attending the signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Enhanced Integrated Framework.
These are first of all two like-minded organisations.
For small Pacific Islands Countries, outward-looking development strategies represent the best option to Increase Economic Prosperity in a sustainable manner.
It is for this reason that over the years the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has supported its members to negotiate, conclude, and implement trade agreements; to develop national Trade Policy Frameworks; to establish trade governance mechanisms such as the National Trade Committee; and to coordinate the development and monitoring of the Pacific Aid-for-Trade Strategy.
In Pacific LDCs, EIF assistance has merged seamlessly with PIFS’ programs. Diagnostic Trade Integration Studies have often informed Trade Policy Frameworks, National Trade Committees have often acted as EIF Steering Committees, and significant portion of EIF Tier 1 support has been devoted to enhance capabilities for trade negotiations and the management of the Aid-for-Trade cycle.
The opposite is also true, noting the many instances when PIFS’ assistance has been extended to its LDC members to enhance effectiveness of EIF programs and initiatives, for example on the occasion of joint PIFS-EIF capacity-building workshops, drafting of specific DTIS chapters, as well as the development high-impact of Tier 2 project proposals.
Convergence between PIFS and the EIF is not only about the type of assistance provided, but also about the approach to economic development. In particular, both organisations place a very great emphasis on ensuring country ownership, promoting partnerships, and achieving sustainable results.
The many instances of cooperation between PIFS and the EIF create very strong foundations for this Memorandum of Understanding, whose immediate outcome will be to further structure an already successful partnership and make it more strategic, so as to better serve the interests of Pacific LDCs.
I also believe that by bringing together the premier Pacific trade organisation and the premier LDC development program, this Memorandum creates a mechanism, which can play an important role in leveraging international partnerships. PIFS and the EIF will certainly use this Memorandum as a platform to share strategic priorities for cooperation, identify possible partners, and join forces for the delivery of transformational projects for Pacific Islands Countries.
Dear director Ratnakar, in concluding my short intervention, and on behalf of our LDC members, I wish to thank the EIF for the tremendous support that the EIF has extended so far to the Pacific.
If our small size, remoteness, and isolation are today a bit less binding constraints than they were a few years ago, this is also thanks programs like the EIF.
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat stands ready to continue working by your side to further improve the effectives of trade-related assistance extended to the Pacific.
I trust and believe the mechanism that are establishing today with the signature of this Memorandum of Understanding will serve this valuable purpose.
Thank you all for your attention.
[H.E Ambassador Mere Falemaka is the Permanent Representative to the Permanent Delegation of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to the World Trade Organization (WTO)]


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