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USP Development Partners Forum - a success

USP Development Partners Forum - a success

The University of the South Pacific (USP) – Development Partners Forum which was convened at its Laucala campus on 19 November 2015 was a success.

In attendance were Japan Ambassador H.E. Mr. Takuji Hanatani, New Zealand High Commission H.E. Mr Mark Ramsden, First Secretary at the NZ High Commission Dr Helen Leslie and Counsellor, Regional Health, Education and Gender, Australian High Commission Ms Sheona Mckenna, UNFPA’s Director Dr. Laurent Zessler, ADB Regional Director Robert Jauncey and French Ambassador H.E. Mr Michel Djovokic.

Others who attended included Mr. Shelvin Karan, Economist, International Monetary Fund, Mr. Jesús LAVIÑA, Head of Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment, EU, Mr Ichiro Mimura, Deputy Resident Representative, JICA, Ms Frances Tavaiqia – Finau, Assistant Programme Officer, JICA, Mr Yasin Mohammed, National Professional Officer, World Health Organisation, Ms Emmanuelle Charrier, Head of Cooperation and Cultural division, Embassy of France, Ms. Niu Likun, Third Secretary, Embassy of China, Mr Daniel Lund, Head of Climate Change and Regional Affairs, British High Commission, Mr Satoshi Sasaki, Officer – in-Charge, International Labour Organisation and Mr Amani Cirikisuva, Fiji National Commission for UNESCO.

USP Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Rajesh Chandra warmly welcomed the development partners saying their presence signified a much greater commitment and bolder aspirations of their governments and institutions in supporting USP.

He noted that it would allow more understanding of the work of the University and for development partners to ensure a better outcome for the benefit of the region.

Delegates observed a minute of silence to show solidarity in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, which resulted in the death of more than 120 people and many injured.

Commenting on the world premiere of Moana 2, which was screened at Damodar City Cinemas on 18 November featuring USP’s Pacific Arts and Culture students, Professor Chandra said it is a tribute to many things, including partnership.

The film is the result of partnership between USP, the European Union and the University of Bergen in Norway.

“It is a successful attempt to put a human face to the issue of climate change and it has come at a very opportune time, just before COP21. It also demonstrates how powerful partnerships can synergise and deliver impact that no one group can do on its own,” he said.

Professor Chandra said the strong support from development partners continues to contribute immensely to the accomplishment of key targets and objectives under USP’s Strategic Plan 2013-2018, which recently underwent its Mid-Term Review.

“USP’s achievement has been considerable because of the support of development partners. It is about sharing the same goals, being open and honest in our engagements and how we can all reach towards those goals,” he noted.

He said that USP is doing very well in making the transition from good to excellent, and a recent independent review indicated that there is good strategic understanding of what USP is doing in the region.

“USP Council has commissioned an independent review of the Strategic Plan at its midpoint and it has reaffirmed its direction, suggesting ways in which the final outcome can be improved and we are very open to this,” he stressed.

Professor Chandra confirmed that USP will be participating in the COP21 in Paris from November 30 to December 11, where six graduate students will accompany Professor Elisabeth Holland, Director of the Pacific Centre for Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) .

New Zealand High Commissioner His Excellency Mark Ramsden praised the University, saying New Zealand is deeply impressed with the work that has happened around the Strategic Plan.

“We recognise the steps USP has taken in terms of reaching your Strategic Plan goals, your self-confidence and expertise,” he said.

Counselor Regional at the Australia High Commission Sheona McKenna said Australia is almost at the midpoint of their current partnership with USP.

“We have been a strong supporter of USP since its establishment and essentially we are behind them in their vision to move from good to excellent,” she said.

She encouraged other development partners to consider engaging with the University at a more meaningful level.

UNFPA Director Dr Laurent Zessler said they were satisfied with their partnership with USP and wished to continue with their collaboration. He also congratulated USP for its achievement so far.

Asian Development Bank Regional Director Robery Jauncey commended USP saying they were impressed with the University’s efforts in transforming.

“We want to step up our support for the University,” he said.

Mr Jauncey said he was pleased with the support to regional campuses, adding that the recent opening of the new USP Kiribati campus, which was financed by ADB was a huge accomplishment for USP.

Head of Climate Change at the British High Commission Daniel Lund said it was encouraging to note that they had some relationship with USP and they were keen to formalise them “in a way that can unlock direct funding”.

Japan Ambassador His Excellency Takuji Hanatani said Japan has an outstanding partnership with USP going back almost 20 years.

“Over the years, our partnership has grown from strength to strength. Our engagement is wide ranging from youth exchange to ICT assistance and capital programmes,” he said.

H.E Takuji Hanatani reassured Japan’s commitment to strengthen its partnership with USP and they looked forward to taking it to greater heights,” he said.

Head of Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment at the Delegation of the EU, Jesus Lavina commended USP for its work in the region, adding that their cooperation with the University has been very strong.

Fiji National Commission for UNESCO Mr Amani Cirikisuva said UNESCO is interested in collaborating with USP in strategic areas such as skills development, ICT in education and Pacific studies.

International Labour Organisation Officer-in-charge Satoshi Sasaki said ILO would like to see possible areas of collaboration in research.

Professor Chandra thanked each partner for their contribution during the Forum saying that USP’s success was because of their direct support.

He particularly expressed gratitude to the Governments of Australia and New Zealand for continuing to be a strong partner of the University since its establishment and they have been the main contributors to USP’s core budget.

Professor Chandra also mentioned that a major landmark for USP is its 50th anniversary which will be celebrated in 2018 and the University wishes to include all of its development partners in the celebration. He further said that the University will be establishing a trust fund to mark the occasion and will be grateful for support from its development partners.

ENDS

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