Pacific Islands development has received a boost from New Zealand, with a new funding commitment to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to strengthen its work in three vital thematic areas.

New Zealand’s Consul General in New Caledonia, H.E. Justin Fepuleai, and the Director-General of SPC, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, have signed an agreement to extend New Zealand’s funding to SPC’s agriculture, public health and geoscience services programmes for a further two years, totalling NZD 4,430,000.

“Today’s announcement brings New Zealand’s total core and programme funding for SPC, for the period 2014 to 2016, to NZD 18.3 million which also includes existing support for SPC’s work in sustainable management of oceanic and coastal fisheries,  and strengthening Pacific Island national statistics systems,” Consul General Fepuleai said.

Dr Tukuitonga welcomed the funding extension for SPC’s programmes during a ceremony at SPC’s headquarters in Noumea.

“The move from annual to more flexible and predictable funding enables our scientists and other technical experts to plan work with countries in a more strategic way, and to respond effectively to the most important challenges and opportunities facing SPC’s Pacific Island members.

“New Zealand is one of SPC’s founding members, and has been a constant supporter of our work in the Pacific for more than 65 years, contributing to making a real difference in people’s lives,” the Director-General said.

For example, in the past 10 days, New Zealand Aid Programme support has enabled SPC’s world-class Geoscience Division to set up a Cyclone Pam Spatial Data Resources portal (http://pcrafi.spc.int/static/pam/index.html), which contains detailed analyses of satellite images of affected areas and other spatial data resources to assist humanitarian efforts.

New Zealand and SPC signed a 10-year strategic partnership arrangement in December 2014, which broadened the relationship to enhance opportunities for more strategic collaboration to address development priorities in the Pacific region.

SPC is the principal technical and scientific organisation supporting development priorities in the Pacific region. It has 26 members, including all 22 Pacific Island countries and territories, as well as Australia, France, New Zealand and the USA.

Media contact: Julie Marks, SPC Communications Director, [email protected], +687 80 74 95