The creation of jobs, strengthening private sector engagement, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change and strengthened human rights and gender empowerment are a few of the impacts targeted through the new EU Pacific Regional Programme (RIP) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for which the European Union makes available €166 million. Beneficiaries are the 15 Pacific Island Countries which have signed up to the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific.
This week the Fund’s Regional Steering Committee for the Pacific is meeting in Suva and brings together high level representatives from 15 Pacific countries, regional organisations, overseas countries and territories, Civil Society Organisations and the EU. The Committee will review the progress and lessons learned from previous regional programmes of over €119 million. It will also provide strategic guidance to ensure that the €166 million allocated under the 11th cycle responds effectively to the challenges faced by the people of the Pacific.
“The Framework for Pacific Regionalism has four high level objectives, relating to sustainable development, economic growth, strengthened governance, and security. Alignment of the regional EDF spending behind these areas that Pacific Leader have identified as being priorities is a best case example of the way in which our partnerships should work,” said Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor. “The European Union is an active and valued Forum dialogue partner for the Pacific region.”
Mr Jobst von Kirchmann, Head of Unit in the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission said ”I am pleased about the positive spirit of our meeting and the joint commitment to do the utmost to deliver the best possible projects to those who really matter: the people living in the Pacific. To focus primarily on their needs and expectations and combining it with the expertise available in the region will allow us to get the best possible impact”.
H.E. Andrew Jacobs, the European Union Ambassador to the Pacific emphasized: “Coherence of regional support with national programmes as well as with EU support to the Pacific overseas countries and territories of EU Member States is crucial, and this week’s Steering Committee meeting will seek to ensure this is effective.”
The 11th EDF will be delivered through the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme which is coordinated by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat which is the Duly Mandated Regional Organisation for the Pacific.
The Regional Steering Committee for the Pacific meets once a year. The Committee is co-chaired by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the European Union. Countries attending the meeting this week include the Cook Islands, East-Timor, Fiji, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu as well as French Polynesia and New Caledonia.
Pacific countries, in particular low-lying Small Island States (SIDS), are at the forefront facing the impact of climate change, the consequences of which will include decreased availability of lands for housing, threats to agricultural production and infrastructure, deforestation and pollution of fresh water supplies. Through this funding, the EU will assist the SIDS to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, thereby creating an impact on the ground.
Additionally, private sector development plays a key role in creating economic growth, employment and improved living conditions. Through the priority area 1 of the RIP, the EU will impact on people’s lives through increased access to goods and services, including basic ones such as clean water, sanitation and energy. It furthermore incentivises people to invest in education and skills acquisition which means a better future for the people.
The conservation and sustainable management of coastal and oceanic fisheries is another significant issue which is vital to improving livelihoods and in ensuring that the resources are sustained for the future generations will also be tackled by this funding.”