Regional Public Financial Management Symposium
22 March 2022
Opening Remarks by Deputy Secretary General, Dr Filimon Manoni
• His Excellency, Sujiro Seam, the Head of Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Excellencies;
• Secretaries of Finance;
• Representatives of PFM Implementing partners;
• Representatives of Development partners;
• Representatives of International Organisations;
• Heads of Regional Organisations;
• Senior officials of Forum members;
• Representatives of the Private Sector;
• Representatives of Civil Society Organisations;
• Distinguished Participants and Ladies and Gentlemen.
• Bula vinaka, Kia Orana and greetings to you all.
• On behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, I welcome you all to the 1st Regional Public Financial Management (PFM) Symposium. This event is hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and funded by the European Union, as part of the ‘Strengthening PFM & Governance Programme’ in the Pacific.
• At the outset, the European Union’s commitment to support Public Financial Management (PFM) in the Region is in line with the commitment of the Pacific Leaders through the Teieniwa Vision 2020 on Pacific Unity Against Corruption. A key element of this is the strengthening of public finance management systems across the region. This commitment, to strengthen governance and transparency, is even more critical today as forum countries respond to economic pressures due to Covid-19 and recurring climate induced disasters.
• COVID-19 has impacted the region in many ways. The conversation around economic recovery, provides us an opportunity to relook at our national systems, and their ability to cushion risks from fiscal pressures emanating from climate change, natural disasters and COVID-19.
• The significant increase in debt levels by member countries signals a lack of adequate resources to cope with these shocks. We need to look at other opportunities for improvement, including revenue strategies, expenditure forecasting, bringing in the private sector, and above all, we need to ensure governance and accountability are ingrained into recovery measures.
• We must acknowledge the immense amount of work that our members have done in strengthening and enhancing their PFM systems. We also acknowledge the work of Regional Institutions and Development partners, for the significant support rendered to our member countries in building robust PFM Systems. This includes technical assistance and capacity building programs coordinated by the Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Center (PFTAC), and for oversight agencies such as Parliamentary bodies and Auditor General’s Offices by the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). But we must do more to accelerate progress in building PFM systems, not only to enable access to development funds, but more importantly, enhance governance of our national financial systems.
• Ladies and gentlemen, as a region that is very prone to climate and disaster shocks, having robust PFM systems is crucial to effectively access and manage climate and disaster risk finance. In the past decade, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat has undertaken national climate finance assessments in most of our Forum Island Countries, which include a dedicated pillar on PFM. This helped Members to identify their level of readiness to directly access and effectively manage climate finance. Through the support of our Forum Economic Ministers, the Forum Secretariat and PFTAC are jointly chairing a Technical Working Group that advises the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting on climate finance and PFM issues. Many agencies joining this symposium today are members of this working group and I thank you for your support. The focus is to promote the inclusion of climate change considerations in the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) framework, through the piloting of a new PEFA climate module in Samoa; promoting direct access to the Green Climate Fund; and elevating the importance of climate finance effectiveness. We have also supported Tonga and Solomon Islands to create new climate and resilient development finance units within their Ministries of Finance.
• Therefore, the 2022 PFM Symposium, is an important platform for us to reflect on our strengths and challenges and participate in a call for regional solutions that best meet our resource capacities and our unique context. Over the next four days, we will hear reflections on the experiences and the challenges we face across our region.
• I encourage us all to contribute to the conversations around strengthening PFM systems, as well as building our networks within the region for regional solutions that are fit for purpose for our region.
• I wish you all a very fruitful and successful deliberations over the next 4 days.
• I thank you.– ENDS
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