A delegation from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), made up of the Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, and two Deputy Directors-General, Cameron Diver and Fabian McKinnon, took part in a series of meetings in Brussels on Monday.
The delegation met with Ambassadors from Pacific countries to provide an update on SPC’s efforts for closer engagement with the European Union and perspectives for Pacific development under the future EDF 11.
The delegation also met with Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, the European Commission’s Director-General for Development and International Cooperation. The conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding between the EU and SPC as a means of recognising the EU’s role and engagement with the Pacific Community was warmly welcomed in Brussels, as was the suggestion that SPC could constitute a regional development community as a platform for greater coordination of EU-Pacific cooperation. Climate change and its very real and immediate effects on Pacific Islands populations were also a priority for discussion and joint action, following the recent SIDS conference and in the lead-up to COP20 and, in particular, COP21 in Paris next year.
From renewable energy initiatives to deep sea mineral exploration, agriculture policy and planning, disaster risk reduction, climate resilience or gender equality, the European Union provides considerable support to the Pacific, across the whole range of SPC’s sectors and programmes and with both ACP countries and European Overseas Countries and Territories. Both SPC and its interlocutors in Brussels shared the need to work closely with all of SPC’s Member countries and territories and recognised that the breadth of SPC’s mandate and membership gives it unique added value when seeking to improve global development effectiveness and foster truly inclusive regionalism.
In the words of Dr Tukuitonga: “The EU is SPC’s largest donor-partner but, beyond that, we have a truly effective strategic partnership for the benefit of our Members and their populations. We were able to really put Pacific development challenges front and centre with Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, and it was very satisfying to see the degree of enthusiasm and support he gave to deeper engagement with SPC as a premier partner for the EU in the Pacific”.