Donor partners congratulate Tuvalu for reforms

The donor partners of Tuvalu have congratulated the government of Tuvalu for showing leadership and taking charge of its policy reforms as it implements the country’s Forum Compact Peer Review recommendations.

At the invitation of the government of Tuvalu, officials from Tonga, Vanuatu, and UNESCAP with support of the Forum Secretariat undertook a review of Tuvalu’s planning, budgeting and aid management processes under the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Cooperation (Forum Compact). The Tuvalu Peer Review Report 2011 was approved by the Tuvalu Government in consultation with its development partners.

“We’ve had two really important high level policy meetings with the government as development partners since the peer review was done and in both of those meetings the government in particular the Minister of Finance has talked extensively about their commitment to improve aid effectiveness and aid management in Tuvalu and the policy reform matrix for budget support is a really important initiative to help implement some of those findings,” says Sarah Goulding, AusAID’s representative at the 3rd high level dialogue between the Tuvalu government and their key donor partners held in Funafuti on 20th and 23rd April 2012.

“What we’re seeing is the government putting itself in the driver’s seat of its relationship with development partners. It has a particular challenge in front of it of a financing gap as a result of the global financial crisis and also as a result of how government has managed its own resources, and in identifying a range of reforms it wants to take, its putting itself in a position of being one that is taking some hard decisions and then asking donors for some support to implement those hard decisions,” said Ms Goulding.

She added: “Australia is a strong supporter of the Forum Compact and we certainly see that the Peer review has given the Tuvalu government some really useful information and recommendations from other partner countries in the region and from specialists in other agencies to take some practical steps to improve aid effectiveness and we already see how the government is engaging in this issue of financing crisis, some real improvements in how we’re working together as partners led by the government and I think it’s been an incredibly important initiative and we look forward to working with the government going forward as well.”

H.E Larry Tseng, Ambassador of Taiwan/Republic of China to Tuvalu noted: “This year 2012, the Tuvalu budget has been reduced to $29 million, I think roughly compared to total expenditure in year 2011 which was AUD$33.7 million. It decreased a lot. So I was very impressed. The government managed to cut the budget to large scale. As a small nation as Tuvalu, 13 to 14 % is indeed very difficult. But that shows their commitment to face these challenges. So I was very impressed.” New Zealand’s non-resident High Commissioner to Tuvalu, H.E Gareth Smith, who led his country’s delegation to the 3rd high level dialogue in Funafuti echoed sentiments expressed by Australia.

“The government of Tuvalu is in the driver’s seat in its relationship with donor partners. The dialogue we’re involved in with Australia, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank has been firmly led by Tuvalu and that’s great for us as donors because we’ve been told clearly what Tuvalu’s priorities are,” said Mr Smith.

Mr Smith also welcomed the decision by the government of Tuvalu to cut its national budget in 2012 by some 13%.

“Making cuts given the pressing needs is difficult, but I think it’s a courageous decision and shows strong leadership on the part of the Tuvalu government.”

ENDS.

For media enquiries, contact Mr Johnson Honimae, the Forum Secretariat’s Media Officer on phone 679 331 2600 or email: johnsonh@forumsec.org.fj