WELLINGTON, 03 APRIL 2017 (RNZI) — The head of the European Union’s international development arm says its partnership with the Pacific Islands region is at the dawn of a new era.
With the EU’s current partnership agreement with the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries expiring in 2020, they are working towards a new agreement.
Stefano Manservisi, the Director-General of DEVCO, is visiting the Pacific, taking in visits to Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Australia and New Zealand.
He said the EU was proposing to embed in a new agreement a “specific Pacific pillar,” based on common objectives.
“During my talks I’m raising how we can build together this Pacific pillar which is based largely on the Pacific Islands Forum, but which is based also on some common objectives that we have to set up together. So we are at the beginning of a new era in which we as the European Union, we want to consolidate and further develop our presence.”
Manservisi said the EU wanted to strengthen its co-operation with Australia and New Zealand in its development efforts around the region.
At a time of uncertainty about future levels of assistance to the Islands from the US and other partners, Manservisi says the EU has increased its support for Pacific partners in priority areas.
“We have now an envelope of 800 million euros (US$852 million) that we are investing in the Pacific. But this could be increased… [it] will certainly be increased in order to support in particular investment in clean energy, in ocean governance and in climate change-related measures.”
Manservisi said the EU’s alliance with Pacific countries had been important in the forging of the binding climate agreement reached at COP 21 in Paris.
He denied a suggestion that European countries had not made funds for climate adaptation readily available, explaining that the EU last year provided EUR 17.6 billion (US$18.7 billion) to help developing countries tackle climate change…..PACNEWS [/restrict]