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NZ commitment to key Pacific agency

NZ commitment to key Pacific agency

Aid Minister Marian Hobbs has announced a funding commitment of $18 million over the next three years to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, a regional agency that provides technical assistance to Pacific island countries.

NZAID, the New Zealand government’s international aid and development agency, has committed $18 million between 2004 and 2006 to help the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) provide critical technical assistance in the Pacific.

Established in 1947 and with a membership of 27 Pacific island countries, SPC aims to develop the technical, professional, research, planning and management capability of Pacific Island people.

"Whether it's teaching pest identification and fisheries management techniques, training youth and community workers or working to prevent the incidence of malaria and tuberculosis, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community has a key role to play in enhancing the lives and livelihoods of those in the region," Marian Hobbs said.

"There has been a long-standing and very positive relationship between New Zealand and SPC, guided by a joint focus on poverty elimination and sustainable development. We are building on that today by committing to a three-year programme of assistance. New Zealand's support will be spread across a number of programme areas including health, fisheries, agriculture, women and youth.

"We are particularly pleased to be able to support the work of SPC in improving the health status of Pacific people through the Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network, a programme that works in the identification and treatment of infectious diseases.

"The new partnership between New Zealand and SPC will also mean greater funding security for SPC, greater administrative efficiencies and the ability for New Zealand to engage more actively and strategically on SPC’s work including regional needs assessments, quality assurance and organisational capability."

Employing around 250 staff, SPC is the oldest and largest Pacific regional organisation with bases in Noumea and Fiji.

Marian Hobbs formalised the new funding package by signing a Memorandum of Arrangement with SPC at its bi-annual Ministerial Conference in Fiji today.

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