CAPTION: Dr Rodgers and H.E. Linda Te Puni.
Monday 25 February, SPC headquarters, Noumea, New Caledonia. Today H.E. Linda Te Puni, New Zealand Consul General in New Caledonia, and Dr Jimmie Rodgers, Director-General of SPC, signed a new grant funding agreement totaling NZD 6.1 million.
The funding consists of New Zealand’s annual contribution (approximately half of the total) and a grant for regional services in the areas of Oceanic Fisheries, Coastal Fisheries, Land Resources, Statistics, Ocean and Islands (geoscience), and Public Health. Details are below.
• Membership assessed contribution NZD 3,045,000
• Purchase of regional services NZD 3,055,000 – broken down as follows: o Oceanic Fisheries NZD 430,000
o Coastal Fisheries NZD 310,000
o Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees NZD 245,000
o Para-veterinary training NZD 245,000
o Statistics for Development NZD 300,000
o Ocean and Islands (geoscience) NZD 1,025,000
o Public Health NZD 500,000
Ms Te Puni stated that all of the programmes supported by New Zealand in 2013 address issues that are central to the development of the Pacific region, and that the funding demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to contributing to the Pacific region’s development agenda through its bilateral and targeted regional assistance. She highlighted the fact that the areas supported not only have relevance in supporting sustainable livelihoods, they all contribute to private sector development, which is an important aspect of New Zealand’s support channelled through regional and international organisations. Ms Te Puni reaffirmed the New Zealand government’s appreciation for the work SPC is doing to assist its island members.
On SPC’s behalf, Dr Rodgers thanked New Zealand, which has supported SPC services to the Pacific Islands as a member since the organisation’s founding in 1947. With particular reference to New Zealand’s funding in 2013, Dr Rodgers welcomed the increase in key regional services that it will make possible, and the resulting benefits to members. Examples of such benefits include:
§ Oceanic fisheries – Assessment of tuna stocks for a number of countries and maintenance of regional database on tuna fisheries;
§ Coastal fisheries – Enhancement of coastal fishery catches through deployment of fish aggregating devices and associated training on their use; establishment of an aquaponics trial in Marshall Islands (aquaponics is a method of combining aquaculture and hydroponics in a closed circuit to produce food with minimal input and environmental impact); provision of coastal fisheries management advice to four countries;
§ Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees – Provision of ‘climate ready’ varieties of crops particularly adapted to conditions such as drought, flooding or high concentrations of salt to 15 Pacific Island countries to support food security and livelihoods;
§ Para-veterinary training – Training of up to 40 paravet officers to further strengthen the region’s capacity to detect and respond to zoonotic diseases (those that can be transmitted from animals to people) and in particular strengthening capacity in meat inspection;
§ Statistics – Production of national accounts in five countries; expenditure weights derived from household income and expenditure surveys and consumer price index baskets for three countries; weights for international trade for four countries;
§ Geosciences – Certified hydrographic services to support the production of new maritime charts to enhance safety at sea; support in areas of tsunami hazard and impact assessment; storm wave impact assessment; and specific coastal geormorphology, geotechnical and geophysical surveys and assessments in six countries to support their national development priorities;
§ Public health – Strengthening the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network, which is the region’s early warning system on disease outbreaks, surveillance and advisory services in all 22 island countries in the region.
Dr Rodgers said that the New Zealand Government’s support in 2013 will go a long way towards ensuring that the 22 island members of SPC will receive benefits in areas in which they currently lack expertise at the national level, noting that SPC’s services are tailored to complement national capacity. He also pointed out that SPC represents the only source of support for certain members in some sectors because of the highly technical and specialised nature of the services.