A successful High Level Consultation (HLC) was held between USP and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) on Monday, 16 April 2018 to deliberate on current engagements of the University in the region and future partnership with New Zealand.
USP shares a long-standing partnership with New Zealand since the start of the University in 1968 and this critical linkage has strengthened over the course of the past fifty (50) years through regular dialogue and exchange of ideas.
Professor Derrick Armstrong, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and International (DVC RII) led the University Delegation to Wellington for the HLC and side meetings with other key stakeholders of the University including AQA Universities New Zealand and Royal New Zealand Air Forces (RNZAF).
Ms Charlotte Darlow, Divisional Manager, Pacific Regional Division from MFAT hosted the University Delegation and acknowledged the vital role played by USP in the region through the delivery of quality higher education and regional integration services.
Ms Darlow mentioned that the University, through its interventions in close collaboration with development partners and other regional organisations, is strategically positioned to address many of the challenges facing the Pacific region including issues relating to climate change, oceans, fisheries and cyber security.
She further acknowledged the University’s 50th Anniversary and ensured New Zealand’s commitment towards its partnership with USP.
Ms Darlow said that the ‘Pacific Reset’ is premised on New Zealand’s view that it is ‘in and of the Pacific’ and that the Reset will seek to strengthen a regional approach to addressing regional issues, including through increased engagement with key regional stakeholders such as USP.
Professor Derrick Armstrong thanked Ms Darlow and MFAT officials for the warm welcome and said that ‘it is encouraging to note that New Zealand remains committed to its partnership with the University’.
He further mentioned that the University is committed to working closely with key stakeholders in addressing the social and economic development issues facing the region and such efforts are significantly strengthened by the persevering support of development partners like New Zealand.
The University’s achievements under the current USP Strategic Plan 2013-2018 was noted by MFAT and it acknowledged the consultative efforts of USP in progressing the development of the New Strategic Plan 2019-2024 to be presented to the USP Council at its May 2018 meeting in Nauru.
USP and New Zealand are keen on collaborating to effectively support and strengthen research capacities in the Pacific in partnership with other development partners and CROP agencies.
Professsor Armstrong said that USP will undertake more consultations with Pacific Islands Countries as well as CROP agencies to ensure that collaborative research informs policy developments in member countries.
With the current USP-New Zealand Partnership coming to an end on 31 December 2018, both partners mutually agreed that the process for development of the new Partnership Agreement for 2019-2021 will be initiated by MFAT in collaboration with the Strategic Partnerships, Advancements and Communications (SPAC) Office at USP with an intent of signing and launching the partnership before end of 2018.
Ms Darlow said New Zealand will work closely with the University through MFAT Wellington and Suva post to support delivery of its key strategic objectives and wished USP well for 2018.
Professor Armstrong said that the University is enthused with the level of engagement and support from New Zealand and thanked MFAT for the open and frank discussions that will assist in steering the University forward.