Pacific Island Peers Head to Samoa

Following the completion of the first leg of the review of Australia’s effectiveness of its development assistance to the Pacific region, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat coordinated Peer Review Team is now visiting Samoa from 5th to 8th May 2015 to better understand the delivery of Australia’s aid program to a Pacific nation.

The Review team’s visit to Canberra, Australia included meetings with senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and other stakeholders from 28th April to 1st May 2015.

“We greatly value the Peer Review as it provides an external perspective – a second set of eyes – from which we can learn and improve processes,” says Mr Daniel Sloper, First Assistant Secretary (Pacific Division), DFAT.

The review of Australian development cooperation to the Pacific Forum Islands countries also includes consultations in Fiji with a number of agencies responsible for implementing regional education initiatives funded by Australia in the Pacific.

“The meetings in Fiji gave the team the opportunity to better understand some of Australia’s regional programs and how these are complementing national priorities,” says Ms Susan Sulu Dhari, Peer Review team member and Director of Aid Coordination in the Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Solomon Islands.

The team is continuing the effort this week in Samoa where they will meet with the Australian High Commission, relevant government and non-government stakeholders, members of civil society as well as resident development partners.

“We are interested in sharing our experiences and learning from the review process,” says HE. Sue Langford, the Australian High Commissioner to Samoa. “Australia’s aid is primarily focused on Pacific islands countries’ driving their own agenda. The majority of Australia’s support in Samoa is channelled through Samoa’s own Government systems.”

The terms of reference for the review focuses on assessing the effectiveness of Australia’s bilateral and regional development cooperation and fostering mutual learning, innovation and coordination.

A key outcome will be possible recommendations for improvement and an agreed implementation plan with targets and indicators for review, follow up and monitoring. -Ends-

Background Information:

The key objective of the Forum Compact was to drive more effective coordination of available development resources, to achieve real progress against the Millennium Development Goals.

One of its key deliverables was to conduct peer reviews of country systems, including processes for development planning & budgeting, public financial management and aid management systems. To date, thirteen Forum Island Countries have completed peer reviews of country systems.

The idea of a peer review process for development partners in the Pacific emerged from the 2012 Pacific Regional Aid Effectiveness Workshop (PRAEW). In recognising the value added from the results of eight (8) country peer reviews at the time on how to strengthen country systems in Forum Island Countries, the PRAEW suggested that peer reviews of development partners would be an appropriate next step. The 2012 PIC/Development Partners meeting affirmed the recommendations of the PRAEW and tasked the Forum Secretariat to prepare a Terms of Reference for the peer review of development partners.

Click on the link for more information: Effectiveness at heart of review of Australia’s aid to the Region

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