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OVERSEAS AID - Monthly News Bulletin

OVERSEAS AID

A monthly news bulletin about New Zealand Official Development Assistance (NZODA), from the office of Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Matt Robson. NZODA is administered by the Development Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand missions overseas.

About this bulletin...

Welcome to this first email bulletin of recent developments involving the Government's overseas aid programme. We will provide this service every month except January. If you don't wish to receive the bulletin – which will be kept to the point and as brief as possible - or if you know someone you think would like to have it, please click reply and send a message to the sender.

UN Secretary General's Special Representative in East Timor visits

This visit on October 25/26 was an opportunity for NZODA to discuss with Special Representative Sergio de Mello the future shape of New Zealand's assistance to East Timor. The NZODA allocation of $NZ2 million this financial year is concentrated in five key areas - education/human resource development, law and justice, governance (public and political administration), community development and multilateral assistance. NZODA is currently supporting personnel from Police, Customs, and Corrections in
their work in East Timor and other projects are under development. New Zealand representation in Dili will be established on November 13 when diplomat Jonathan Austin opens a new office there. This will be known formally as the Representative Office of the New Zealand Government.

Solomon Islands Peace Agreement paves way for reconstruction

The signing of a peace agreement (Townsville, October 19) between the warring factions in the Solomons has opened the way for a coordinated programme of humanitarian assistance and reconstruction. An International Peace Monitoring Team including 14 New Zealanders and part funded by NZODA is being put in place this month. A joint donor mission coordinated by the World Bank was held in Honiara in early November. The meeting, which
involved NZODA, considered future approaches to funding peace building and economic recovery. New Zealand's bilateral aid programme in the Solomons has been substantially refocused in the wake of the violence earlier this year. It is now divided into four main categories: conflict resolution and peace building, humanitarian assistance, human resource development and capacity building for non-government organisations (NGOs).

Donor discussions on Indonesia

An international consultative group of donors to Indonesia - which includes New Zealand - met in Tokyo in October. New Zealand and Japan gave a clear message to the Indonesian Government that it must intensify its efforts to control pro-Jakarta militias in West Timor and address the refugee problem. Donors pledged up to $US5.33 billion in loans to help meet Indonesia's external financing needs for 2001. Encouragement for the reformist direction of President Wahid's government was tempered with concern not only
over West Timor, but also over slow progress in the forestry sector where corruption is rife. New Zealand's bilateral allocation for Indonesia is $NZ5.29 million, in the form of grants and project aid. The programme is concentrated mainly in the east of the country and concentrates on education, the environment, governance and community development.

Visit by Samoan Minister of Education

Samoa's Minister of Education, Hon Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, visited New Zealand in October. Education is the principal focus of the NZODA Samoa programme and the Minister's visit reflected the importance of educational links between the two countries. Fiame was particularly interested in New Zealand's achievements in Maori language education and the "closing the gaps" policies. In the course of the five-day visit, Fiame called on the Governor-General, Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition and held discussions with officials. She also visited a wide range of educational institutions from pre-school to tertiary level.

Taking NZODA to the Pacific business community in New Zealand

NZODA, in conjunction with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, held seminars in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in September-October to introduce Pacific business people to the ODA programme. Keen interest was shown in the opportunities for Pacific consultants to be involved in delivering NZODA projects in the Pacific, drawing on their experience of working with Pacific communities in New Zealand. Further training will be provided to assist new consultants to bid successfully for project opportunities. The seminars also canvassed potential linkages between small business development in New Zealand and the Pacific.

NZODA talks in Cambodia and Laos

An NZODA programme-planning mission in October visited both Cambodia and Laos. Assistance to Cambodia is focused on humanitarian and governance projects, including demining, rehabilitation of mine and polio victims training in electoral processes (in the run up to Cambodia's first democratic local government elections in late 2001) and rural development.
To date, 51 Cambodian officials have been through English language training at Victoria University. Funding from all NZODA sources totals $2.5 million.
ODA to Laos is targeted to clearing productive land of unexploded ordnance, legal and judicial support and eco-tourism. Again, English language training for officials - to enable them to play a more active role in ASEAN and wider diplomacy - is a centrepiece of the programme.

Philippines field visit

The Philippines programme manager visited NZODA's coastal resource management project on Camiguin Island and its sustainable plantationn forestry project in the central Mindanao region of Bukidnon. The coastal project aims to develop sustainable coastal and land based resources and eco-tourism, and to provide a model for coastal resource management elsewhere in the Philippines. This is a new project and the visit was an opportunity to build a relationship with the local fishing community to ensure their full involvement in project planning. At the Bukidnon forestry project, NZODA's emphasis is now on community development. Amongst the many activities now underway, New Zealand has funded practical training courses, fruit tree planting, fish farming, high value vegetable cropping, tree seedling propagation, water systems and bee, swine and poultry management.

South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC)

SOPAC held its annual session in Tarawa, Kiribati, in early October. The organisation helps Pacific countries develop resource policy and capacity for managing water, minerals, waste, ocean exploitation and pollution. New Zealand scientists are actively involved, and SOPAC is doing ground-breaking work in developing an Environmental Vulnerability Index for small island
countries. In 2000/01 SOPAC is due to receive NZODA funds totalling around $NZ1 million.

Coming up...

New Zealand's South Pacific heads of (diplomatic) missions will meet in Wellington November 15-17 to review developments in the region, NZODA issues and future policy directions.

Second Biennial NZ International Development Studies Network Conference, VUW, 17-19 November. The theme is "Poverty, Prosperity and Progress" and NZODA is among the sponsors.

Questions?

Please refer to the NZODA section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website at www.mft.govt.nz/nzoda. Or you could email to this address, phone NZODA on (04) 494 8590 or send a fax to them on (04) 494 8515.
For NZODA related inquiries to the Minister, please contact Anton Ojala on (04)471 9767.

ENDS

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