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EU Commissioner announces support for Pacific

EU Commissioner to deepen political dialogue and announce support programmes during visit to Pacific

Source: Delegation of the European Union to New Zealand

Today 1 June, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will begin his visit to the Pacific Region, where he will announce new support for post cyclones Pam (in Vanuatu) and Winston (in Fiji) recovery and response to the effects El Niño (for the most affected six Pacific countries)and together with New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and New Zealand Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett, will leave for a joint official visit to Vanuatu, Kiribati and Tuvalu. The Commissioner will conclude his visit in New Zealand by co-hosting a high-level conference on energy, agriculture and climate change in the Pacific. The visit will also be an occasion to expand the cooperation with New Zealand in energy with Tonga and Nieu, as well as in agriculture in Vanuatu.

EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said: "The European Commission is amongst the Pacific's leading partners, not only in the struggle against climate change, but also in achieving sustainable development in the region. In addition to the €634 million allocated for the Pacific Region in the period 2014-2020, we will be contributing additional 54,5 million for climate change mitigation and climate relevant actions. We value the strong foundations of our partnership and remain committed to contribute to the wellbeing of the citizens of the Pacific."

Visit to Papua New Guinea, 1 June

Commissioner Mimica will take part in the EU-ACP Summit and will hold a series of bilateral meetings. First, the Commissioner will meet Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O'Neill, to discuss cooperation in areas of mutual benefit and deepening economic and trade ties.

The Commissioner will sign a financing agreement worth €10 million with the Prime Minister of Fiji, Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, to support the rehabilitation effort in the rural areas most affected by tropical cyclone Winston.

In December 2015 the EU announced support to finance emergency actions in countries affected by the extreme weather phenomenon ‘El Niño’. The Commissioner will announce additional financial support of €14.5 million for the Pacific to strengthen food security and build resilience in the most exposed countries, namely Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Fiji, Marshal Islands, Micronesia and Palau.

The Commissioner will also hold a bilateral meeting with the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Dame Meg Taylor.

Visit to Vanuatu, 2 June

Commissioner Mimica will meet with Prime Minister Charlot Salwai and other members of the government to discuss, among other things, post cyclone Pam recovery, development cooperation and climate change. The Commissioner will also announce an additional €10 million to support Vanuatu's post cyclone recovery process in the rural and agricultural sector. To further enhance this commitment, the Commissioner will sign a Joint Declaration together with his New Zealand and Vanuatu counterparts on cooperation in the agricultural sector. Together with New Zealand's ministers, Commissioner Mimica will also visit an EU funded project - Vanuatu Agricultural Research and Technical Centre (VARTC) as well as Nanda Blue Hole, a high potential site for agro-tourism development benefiting local producers and businesses.

VARTC contributes to the economic development of Vanuatu through applied research, improved plant materials and cattle, providing training in agriculture and breeding, and providing scientific and technical information.

Visit to Kiribati, 3 June

Commissioner Mimica will meet the President of Kiribati, Taneti Mamau, and together with New Zealand ministers visit three projects: 1.Tungaru Central Hospital, where he will hand over a new healthcare waste incinerator that will significantly reduce the health and environmental risks currently associated with the management of the hazardous waste produced by the hospital and its laboratories; 2. Inaugurate the new offices of Kiribati Water and Sanitation in Outer islands project, which improves and maintains the water and sanitation infrastructure in eight of the selected outer islands; 3. Environmentally Safe Aggregates for Tarawa project, where he will hand over vital equipment that will contribute to the conservation of Kiribati's coastline, by making safe aggregates available to the building sector.

Visit to Tuvalu, 4 June

Commissioner Mimica will meet Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga and other members of the government and together with New Zealand ministers visit three EU funded projects: 1. Princess Margaret Hospital, where the Commissioner will hand over a new healthcare waste incinerator to improve the management of hazardous waste; 2. "borrow pits" remediation project, which came to represent an important health and environmental hazard; 3. a land reclamation project to help increase capital Funafuti's land area.

Visit in New Zealand, 6 - 7 June

Commissioner Mimica will co-host the Pacific Energy Conference with New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully. The Commissioner will sign the expansion of the EU-New Zealand Energy Partnership to include Niue and Tonga and confirm the expansion of the Partnership to the new sector of agriculture/rural development, starting with Vanuatu.

Commissioner Mimica will also announce that the EU will make a special allocation of €20 million to the EU Investment Facility for the Pacific, to leverage investment projects in sustainable energy and agriculture in the region involving the private sector.

For more information

Website on EU development cooperation with the Pacific: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/node/7303

Website of Commissioner Neven Mimica: http://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/mimica_en

ENDS


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