Pacific leaders urged to move on on E.U. development assistance
“It is extremely disappointing that the region has still not been able to drawdown on the regional envelope of E.D.F11 funds to address the agreed priority areas identified by the region” – Dame Meg Taylor
The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, has urged leaders at the Pacific A.C.P Leaders (P.A.C.P.) Meeting to make a decision in relation to the European Union’s development assistance to the region.
Dame Meg delivered the message when she spoke during the opening of the P.A.C.P meeting at Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel this morning. The meeting is part of the build up to the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, which opens tonight at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.
Speaking about the European development assistance, Dame Meg reminded that such assistance is channelled through the European Development Fund (E.D.F.).
“We are now in the middle of its 11th cycle,” she said.
“Excellencies, will further recall that at your meeting in 2016, Leaders were updated on the challenges faced in the programming the European Development Fund - Pacific Regional Indicative Programme for 2014 – 2020, commonly referred to as EDF 11.
“It is extremely disappointing that the region has still not been able to drawdown on the regional envelope of E.D.F11 funds to address the agreed priority areas identified by the region.
“Further, the region has witnessed in recent months, a redistribution of funds within the regional indicative programme. It has also been brought to my attention that the European Union is considering a reduction in the allocated funds for the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme, particularly in the focal area on Regional Economic Integration. This meeting provides the opportunity for Leaders to discuss this matter in more depth.”
Dame Meg also touched on other “high-level political issues and some operational matters” including the “Post – Cotonou Negotiations.”
“As the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020 approaches, we will need to be proactive in ensuring that the development support under this arrangement is channelled effectively to our region and aligns with our regional priorities. We must also ensure that our priorities are reflected in any future partnership agreement with the European Union.
“The broader theme of the 48th Pacific Island Forum – The Blue Pacific - focuses on strengthening our collective identity and indeed collective political action to advance our regional priorities. I would therefore encourage the Pacific ACP Leaders to capitalise on this renewed impetus and new narrative, in progressing the preparatory discussions on post-Cotonou.”
Lastly, she spoke about Trade and Private Sector Development.
“Excellencies, on the important subject of trade and private sector development, you will recall your endorsement in 2016, of the Secretariat to be the Pacific ACP Regional Focal Point on the implementation of the A.C.P Private Sector Development Strategy (2014 – 2020), an Intra-ACP initiative focusing on empowering the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), amongst other priorities,” she said.
“The Secretariat is coordinating the execution of this work in partnership with the ACP Secretariat, the European Union, and other relevant stakeholders involved in supporting the region’s private sector. Our efforts in supporting private sector is directly linked to the region’s capacity to trade amongst the PACPS, as well as with the region as-a-whole and globally.
“Relatedly, your guidance and direction with regard to our intra-regional and multilateral trade arrangements, including preparations for the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in December and efforts to reinvigorate regional trade through the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) are important.”