Busan, Republic of Korea- A Pacific Islands Forum Smaller Island State, Tuvalu has used the platform of the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness underway in Busan, Republic of Korea to call for more harmonization of development assistance to the developing countries.
Speaking at a plenary session on Managing Diversity and Reducing Fragmentation, the Tuvalu Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Hon. Lotoala Metia said Tuvalu has a population of 10,000 but with only seven staff in the government’s planning office and one person in its Aid Management Unit.
Tuvalu has 58 development partners and the aid it receives is about 50% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
“We need our development partners because our own options are limited. But from these development partners we receive approximately 900 development related visitors a year. This is nearly 10% of our total population arriving on the two international flights we have each week. These officials come to scope, consult, implement, evaluate, monitor, provide advice and so on,” said Hon Metia.
“Our development visitors all want to speak to me or other ministers, have input into policy, and meet and consult with our officials. All this is managed by our one aid coordination officer.
“These development visitors all come to Tuvalu in good faith, and we appreciate their desire, but the way they deliver their assistance is overwhelming our capacity to lead and effectively manage our own development,” Minister Hon. Metia told the international forum.
Just as Tuvalu experiences mission overload, it also experiences increasing project complexity. This year there are 87 projects in Tuvalu.
Hon. Metia told the plenary session that harmonization is starting to happen, especially across its traditional partners, “but efforts are still ad hoc and not standard across all.”
“This story unfortunately is not unique to Tuvalu. It is shared amongst many of our neighbouring Pacific island nations such as Niue, Kiribati and Nauru.”
Tuvalu’s Finance and Economic Development Minister, Hon Metia said that in an attempt to take leadership of its development agenda, Tuvalu recently completed a Peer Review of its national systems of planning, budgeting and aid coordination as part of the Pacific region’s Forum Compact Peer Review process.
“As recommended by this review, we have drafted an Aid Policy. This outlines how we want our partners to work with use, and includes our desire to see a significant move towards earmarked budget support and programmes rather than projects, said Hon. Metia.
He added: “We also have a Trust Fund and a Consolidated Investment Fund, which, if used more by partners, would simplify transaction costs on both sides. We are so small that the fragmented nature of the current development environment impacts on us hugely.”
Pacific Islands Forum countries today also participated in the plenary session on climate change and the Side Event organised by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat together with the African Union agency, NEPAD on “Localising the Global Agenda on Development Cooperation: Regional Dimensions in Strengthening Mutual Accountability – Examples from Africa and the Pacific”.
On Thursday 1st December Pacific Islands Forum countries attending the 4th High Level Forum (HLF4) on Aid Effectiveness will participate in a Mini-debate on the Peer Review process under the Cairns Compact for Strengthening Development Coordination, as an event in the Knowledge and Innovation Space at the HLF4. This event is also coordinated by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
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