NZ envoy congratulates Forum for peer reviews

Alofi, Niue– The New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue, H.E Mark Blumsky has congratulated the Pacific Islands Forum for the initiative of conducting peer reviews in Forum island countries as it provides a catalyst for moving work forward and an opportunity for sharing best practice.

The government of Niue invited a Peer Review Team in June 2011 under the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Cooperation (Forum Compact) to review its planning, budgeting, public financial and aid management processes. The Team, made up of representatives from Nauru, Samoa and Australia, made 12 recommendations which were endorsed by the Government in consultation with Niue’s development partners.

“It’s all about sharing best practice. There are so many countries in similar situations, with the same problems trying to find the right answer, but they are unaware of what each other is doing. But if they all get together, talk about how they are doing the same thing and share some of their experiences and learning’s then it could make a huge difference. It just makes so much sense. “ Mr Blumsky agreed that one of the recommendations of Niue’s Peer Review that “Niue and New Zealand make an intensive effort at senior level to ensure that the Joint Commitment for Development”, provided the catalyst to progress and conclude the Joint Commitment last year.

“It’s very pleasing that we were able to conclude the document as we are now focused and a lot more specific and we are having a better conversation with the Government of Niue because of the Joint Commitment,” said Mr Blumsky.

The New Zealand High Commissioner to Niue also agreed that one of the recommendations of the Peer Review Team for the government of Niue to set up an Aid Management Unit and draw up a simple draft aid management policy has focused the government on aid coordination.

“I totally agree that the issue of aid coordination would have drifted but I think the recommendation by the Peer Review has focused the government of Niue on aid coordination and particular with New Zealand as one of the bigger players in Niue’s aid programme.”

Mr Blumsky added: “As far as the big picture of aid donors, I absolutely agree that this recommendation is important in making sure we the donors to Niue know what we are doing so that we do not duplicate or trip each other up. We all see where the government is going and do our bit to compliment what the government is doing. After all it’s still the vision of the Government of Niue, it’s still their strategic plan, it’s still their country but we all have a bit to do. If we know what we’re doing then we would be able to encourage each other.”

“We the donor parties don’t work together enough. We are here and I believe other donors could learn from this post about some of the things that are happening and we would support other donors with their programmes either through providing some insights or just having a chat. I don’t think that happens enough.

Mr Blumsky thanked Australia for agreeing to allow the New Zealand High Commission in Niue to coordinate with the government of Niue on their behalf a project worth several million dollars for the new primary school in Niue. A team from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat was in Niue from 28 April to 6th May to record the progress and challenges in implementing the Niue Peer Review recommendations and what could be done by development partners and the Secretariat to assist.

ENDS.

For media enquires, contact Mr Johnson Honimae, the Forum Secretariat’s Media Officer on phone 683 5525 or email: johnsonh@forumsec.org.fj