The European Commission's Director-General for International Cooperation and Development, Stefano Manservisi, visited the Pacific region to strengthen coordination and cooperation on development policy. From 28 March to 3 April 2017, Director-General Manservisi visited Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
The visit began in Australia and New Zealand to strengthen an already close partnership with the two countries and to further coordination on development policy. He then travelled to Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia to continue discussions with authorities and stakeholders and assess the impact of EU development assistance.
In Australia, Director-General Manservisi led talks with senior counterparts at the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and reviewed the latest EU and Australian development priorities, in line with the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Human rights and gender issues, climate change and resilience, sustainable management of marine resources, and peace and security featured on the agenda.
During his visit to Canberra, he met the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells as well as the Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Claire Moore. He inaugurated the first EU-Australia Leadership Forum Sectorial Policy Workshop which was dedicated to digital development. Among other meetings, he also met with the representative of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to the Pacific and delivered a speech at the Australian National University.
In New Zealand, Stefano Manservisi met Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully to exchange views on efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda and to reaffirm cooperation on the EU-New Zealand Pacific Energy Partnership. He also participated in an event with the private sector at the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF), which addressed private sector opportunities in the Pacific.
He also signed with Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum (PIFS), the EU "Investment Facility for the Pacific" to support and promote sustainable development in the Pacific. The agreement, worth EUR 20 million, will support Pacific regional investment projects through the Investment Facility for the Pacific. The Facility supports inclusive and sustainable growth by combining EU grants with public and private sector resources in order to leverage additional financing in infrastructure and other sectors.
A short stop took place in Vanuatu, where he met Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabismasmas. Main topics discussed included ongoing cooperation, climate change and disaster risk reduction, and regional integration.
The final destination on the visit was New Caledonia. Mr Manservisi travelled to Ouen Island to visit a pilot project funded by the EU on coastal zone management, preservation and development of natural resources and island ecosystems. He also met the President of the Government of New Caledonia, Philippe Germain, and discussed 11th European Development Fund (EDF) programming, including a financing agreement worth EUR 29.8 million to be signed in Brussels this week. This support will contribute to create employment opportunities in New Caledonia.
Concluding the week-long visit, Mr Manservisi also met with representatives from the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) to discuss regional programmes for environmental protection and sustainable management of natural resources.
EU cooperation with Australia
The EU is currently the second-largest donor in the Pacific region after Australia. Effective cooperation in the region, as outlined in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action, is vital to achieving development gains. The EU has signed the Partnership Framework with Australia outlining collaboration on common aid implementation plans as well as the exchange of information on human rights in Asia and the Pacific, as amongst its long/medium-term objectives.
EU cooperation with New Zealand
The EU and New Zealand have both committed themselves to working closely together with the aim of promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
In particular, both have a shared interest in maintaining strong relationships with the countries of the Pacific.
EU cooperation with the Pacific
Overview of EU cooperation with the Pacific states
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Elgars Ozolins, Press and media officer. T. +32 2 299 4406 E-mail: Elgars.Ozolins@ec.europa.eu