New Zealand today strongly reaffirms the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) as a key partner in providing high level scientific and technical services to help Pacific Islands address key development challenges. H.E. Linda Te Puni, New Zealand Consul General in New Caledonia, and Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), signed a new grant funding agreement totaling NZD 13.89 million over the period 2014 to 2016.
The funding consists of New Zealand’s annual membership contribution and a grant for regional services to SPC member Pacific Island countries and territories in the areas of fisheries, agriculture, statistics, geoscience, public health and study exchanges. These services are targeted towards achieving the following development outcomes for the region:
• Oceanic and coastal fisheries are better managed for economic growth, food security and environmental conservation
• Agriculture, land and forests are more sustainably managed to improve food and income security
• National statistics systems strengthened to provide statistics for evidence-based decision-making
• Mineral resources sustainably developed and geosciences data increasingly used for development and disaster risk reduction
• Improved access to clean water and sanitation
• Public health services quality enhanced for improved health outcomes
This agreement includes three-year funding for SPC’s Statistics and Fisheries programmes. Dr Tukuitonga called the multi-year funding ‘a welcome move toward more predictable funding for SPC.’ He added, ‘this multi-year funding is the model SPC is promoting for its partnerships with all members and donors, in order to maximise predictability of funding and thereby enhance programme impact’.
Since taking up the position of SPC Director-General last month Dr Tukuitonga is working towards developing a more integrated programme approach addressing key Pacific Island development issues. The funding agreement with New Zealand is a significant help by making more flexible funding available to SPC sectors.
With expertise in a wide range of technical subjects, SPC has significant comparative advantages in providing an integrated approach to issues that challenge Pacific Island countries and territories. In several areas, regional initiatives provide a more effective and efficient way of working than individual country efforts. In particular, these initiatives profit from economies of scale and collaboration in sharing resources that benefit all Pacific people.
Ms Te Puni stated “New Zealand recognises the important work SPC does to support the economic, social and environmental well-being of Pacific Island countries. New Zealand is pleased to partner with SPC to build technical and scientific knowledge and deliver tangible results”.
On SPC’s behalf, Dr Tukuitonga thanked New Zealand, which has supported SPC services to the Pacific Island countries and territories as a member since the organisation’s founding in 1947.