Address by Mr Garth Henderson, Financial Secretary and CEO, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, Cook Islands,
Chair of the PRF-Technical Working Group, at the launch of the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) and unveiling of the PRF Logo.
12th May 2021 — The Honourable Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, The Honourable Dr David Teuea Toatu, Vice President of Kiribati, The Honourable Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Rural, Maritime Development and Disaster Management, The Honourable Crossley Tatui, Minister for Finance and Infrastructure, Honourable Tevita Lavemaau, Minister for Finance, Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Ms Fekita Utoikamanu, the Under Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Representatives of the Pacific Islands Forum, Representatives of the Forum Dialogue Partners and Forum Observers, Representatives of our CROP Agencies; Development Partners, Ladies and Gentlemen across the Blue Pacific region–
Kia Orana and Greetings from the Cook Islands.
As chair of the PRF-Technical Working Group, I am pleased to be part of this important occasion. The launch of the PRF Prospectus and its Logo are significant milestones for this Pacific designed, led and owned facility to build resilience in our communities.
Some of you would recall the journey of the PRF. It commenced three (3) years ago with the proposal to establish a regional financing facility for the Pacific, which would include provision of all types of development financing from bonds, grants, to guarantees.
Even though Economic Ministers felt the idea was reasonable, the type of facility and the proposed products were too ambitious and importantly would not be realised within a short period of time.
Given the immediate needs of the Pacific in the face of climate change and recurring disasters, Ministers directed the PRF Technical Working Group and the PIFS to develop a financing facility that would, among others:
• be developed and driven by Pacific countries;
• be established within a short-period of time, and address a common financing problem of the region;
• provide products that could be easily accessible to the countries;
• fill a particular niche as compared to financing already available to the region; and
• importantly, not increase the debt-burden of Pacific countries.
Based on that mandate, and with extensive consultation with Member countries, development partners, civil society and the private sector of the region, the Technical Working Group and PIFS developed the proposal and framework of the Pacific Resilience Facility.
The PRF was endorsed by the Forum Economic Ministers and the Forum Leaders in 2019.
Despite setbacks imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, work has progressed including the development of the PRF prospectus, and engagement with development partners to support the PRF.
The Prospectus outlines the key information on the PRF, including its Purpose, Objectives, Niche, Governance and Financial arrangements, as well as, appropriate reporting and accountability mechanisms. It is the document that promotes the fundamental features of the PRF.
Detailed information of the PRF is included in the Prospectus, but I would like to highlight two issues why PRF is important for the region.
(a) PRF uses country systems
Firstly, the PRF will provide small grants to Pacific communities, using existing national government systems and based on the Paris principles of aid effectiveness, to enable these communities prepare for catastrophic events. Given that the size of the projects will be smaller, PRF will be agile and responsive without compromising core mandate of upscaling resources for disaster risk reduction at the community level and core operating principles of transparency and accountability.
(b) PRF is sustainable
Secondly, the PRF is premised on a sustainable financing mode. Upon capitalisation, Pacific communities will immediately benefit through an initial allocation across the participating members. The remaining funds will be managed by a Trust Fund Manager, with returns continuously re-invested in disaster risk reduction. This self-sustaining mechanism will serve to reduce reliance on external support for risk reduction, particularly at the community level for many years to come.
Unveiling and Launch of the PRF Logo
This brings me to the other reason for this occasion – the unveiling and launch of the PRF Logo. Before I do so, I would like to thank all the participants of the PRF Logo Competition. We have received overwhelming response from across the region with 95 entries. It is was difficult task for the Panel of Judges to arrive at the wining logo, because all entries were creative, and resonated with the fundamental issue which the PRF will address – i.e. building resilience of vulnerable communities in the Pacific against disasters.
However, the Panel of Judges assessed that one Logo stood out among all of them and best reflected the essence of the PRF.
As chair of the panel of judges, it is my honour to announce the Winner of the PRF Logo Competition. The Logo which will be used by the PRF was designed by Mr Shiri Ram, from Fiji. And it is my honour to unveil and launch the PRF Logo! Congratulations, Mr Shiri Ram. Thank you once again to the participants of the PRF Logo Competition, as well as the Forum Secretariat and Panel of Judges.
Check against Delivery