The Fijian Government and the Pacific Community have signed a Host Country Agreement, which will expand and enhance their collaboration.
The agreement will contribute to the achievement of Fiji’s national development priorities, while providing SPC with stability for its staff and offices in the country.
The Agreement was signed on Wednesday this week by the Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs, Hon. Inia Seruiratu and the Director-General for SPC, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Suva.
Speaking at his second engagement as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister Seruiratu acknowledged SPC for its commitment and support to national development in Fiji, saying, “This agreement is another milestone achievement for Fiji as we pursue new levels of bilateral and multilateral engagement both regionally and internationally.
We will maximise opportunities for socioeconomic development through enhanced cooperation with SPC.”
The Pacific Community has a significant presence in Fiji, with offices dedicated to critical development areas such as geosciences, maritime, education, social development, gender, land resources and energy.
Fiji is also home to the SPC managed Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT).
Dr. Tukuitonga congratulated Minister Seruiratu for his new role as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and reaffirmed SPC’s commitment towards having a robust and constructive partnership.
The SPC Director-General expressed his delight in seeing the agreement come to fruition and highlighted how it will enhance SPC’s operational processes within the host country.
“SPC is grateful to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of Fiji.
This agreement will help us to enhance our processes and strengthen the programs we have with the Fijian Government in areas of fisheries, agriculture, human rights, gender and climate change to name a few,” Dr. Tukuitonga said.
Dr. Tukuitonga also congratulated Fiji on its achievement in bringing the voice and views of the Pacific to the world.
“The coordination of the COP23 process is a good example on how Fiji has increased visibility globally and regionally on the effects of climate change for small island states in the Pacific.
And Fiji’s recent representation on the UN Human Right Council has shown it is ready to play an important and influential role for the benefit of the entire region.”
Prior to the signing, Minister Seruiratu and Dr. Tukuitonga held a meeting and discussed issues including details of the Host Country Grant, SPC’s office accommodation and future initiatives.