The Pacific Community (SPC) and Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding that signals a greater commitment to work together to assist Pacific Island countries and territories with achieving their development aspirations.
The three-year partnership was signed in Wellington, New Zealand, by the Pacific Community Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, and VSA Chief Executive, Dr Gill Greer.
“I’m delighted with the resolve of our two organisations to complement one another’s efforts for the benefit of Pacific Islands people by calling upon New Zealand’s wonderful volunteering spirit,” Dr Tukuitonga said.
“SPC works across 25 broad sectors including fisheries, public health surveillance, geoscience and plant genetic resources. The skills and experience of VSA’s volunteers will be an invaluable contribution to this important work,” Dr Tukuitonga added.
Dr Greer said, “VSA and SPC share ambitions for a prosperous Pacific, in which people are able to create better lives for themselves and their children. Working with SPC will allow us to offer even more opportunities for our Kiwi volunteers to use their remarkable skills and experience to achieve these goals.”
Cooperation between the two organisations dates back to 2013 involving SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, the Forum Fisheries Agency, and work related to disaster preparedness in Vanuatu.
This new agreement covers all future collaboration which will see New Zealand volunteers assigned to SPC activities and projects across the Pacific for up to two years.
In the 53 years since Sir Edmund Hillary was its founding President, VSA has recruited over 3000 New Zealand volunteers for the Asia-Pacific region.
SPC is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, proudly supporting development since 1947. It is an international organisation owned and governed by 26 country and territory members, including New Zealand.
The agreement signing has coincided with a High-level Consultation between New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and SPC to discuss progress under their strategic Partnership Arrangement 2014-2024, focused on sharing expertise and resources to support sustainable Pacific Islands development.