The Melanesian Spearhead Group Chair, Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands met with the Director- General of the Secretary of the Pacific Community, Dr Colin Tukuitonga and Deputy Director-General, Mr Cameron Diver in Noumea on Sunday.
Discussions at the meeting focused on the MOU signed between the MSG Secretariat and the SPC in 2012 for the enhancement of collaborative efforts between the two regional entities, both of which are charged with providing their members with advisory, capacity building and research services and how MSG can capitalize on it for the effective implementation of its priority programmes.
The agreed areas of partnership under this MOU are the following:
• Develop joint programming in areas of mutual interest such as culture and the arts, labour mobility, trade and economic development, and disaster risk management;
• Collaborate to provide joint support to members on conservation and sustainable management and development of natural resources;
• Facilitate the promotion of sustainable energy;
• Support capacity development in economic infrastructure such as transport and information and communications technology;
• Strengthen capacities in statistical analysis and interpretation to improve policy formulation for sustainable economic and social development;
• Undertake research in areas of common interest to members;
• Integrate approaches for more coordinated efforts to achieve objectives at both national and regional levels;
• Establish and facilitate forums for staff in both organisations to share, discuss, develop, implement and monitor programmes of mutual interest;
• Attend and participate in meetings of each others’ governing bodies and/or relevant sectoral meetings; and
• Support capacities in trade-related areas such as biosecurity and standards.
As part of the MoU, the MSG Secretariat has engaged the SPC as the implementing arm of its coastal fisheries project.
The SPC Director-General told the MSG Chair that SPC is appreciates his support for SPC and assured him that SPC stands ready to assist the MSG Secretariat implement its other priority programmes including the MSG Shipping Concept.
Dr Tukuitonga said for any priority programme that the SPC does not have the capacity or expertise to implement for the MSG Secretariat, it (SPC) would plug onto other sources for their implementation.
He singled out climate change adaptation as SPC’s ‘bread and butter ‘ and that it stands ready to assist the MSG Secretariat on this front.
The SPC Director-General said the demand for funding to implement climate change adaptation programmes from the Global Environment Facility is high, adding that SPC is in the process of getting accreditation as an Implementation agency for climate financing mechanisms.
Implementing agencies for climate change financing mechanisms will be required to work directly with the climate change financiers to assist recipient countries in the preparation and implementation of climate change financed projects, which will enable them to access resources from climate change trust funds directly.
Dr Tukuitonga said funding is always available under the climate change financing mechanisms but the issue has been how to access them hence SPC’s accreditation as an Implementing agency would be of great value to the MSG Secretariat.
In terms of SPC’s Youth At Work Programme, the SPC Deputy Director-General, Mr Diver said SPC is looking at expanding the programme to the entire MSG sub-region and beyond in an effort to provide employment opportunities for youths.
In response, the MSG Chair thanked the SPC for its assurance of continued support for the MSG Secretariat and its mandate of implementing the decisions of MSG Leaders.
He said the MSG Secretariat will get back to the SPC on what other priority programmes that it will require the assistance of SPC to implement.
The MSG Chair said the MSG and the SPC together can bring about a positive difference in the MSG sub-region and the wider Pacific region through their collaborative efforts.
The Special Secretary to the MSG Chair, Mr Rence Sore also participated in the discussions.
– Prime Minister’s Press Secretariat