News 31 Mar 2017
A fleeting visit to New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific by the Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) reinforces the European Union’s (EU) presence in the Pacific, and its commitment to assisting the region to flourish.
On Thursday evening, Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) hosted a reception in Auckland for the Director-General Stefano Manservisi and a small EU delegation of HE Bernard Savage, EU Ambassador to New Zealand; Julian Wilson, Head of Unit, EEAS, Relations with Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific; Jobst Von Kirchmann, Head of Unit, DEVCO, Development Coordination with the Pacific; and Christoph Wagner, Head of the Cooperation Section, EU Delegation to the Pacific.
Approximately 80 guests gathered at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Auckland office to hear Mr Manservisi share about the major funder’s aims for the region, and strengthening partnerships with Australia, NZ, and others to work more closely together.
The visit was also an opportunity for the EU to gain an understanding of what projects the EU and the region can implement together; and how they can do it, Mr Manservisi says.
With European citizens living in the French territories such as New Caledonia, the EU’s interest and commitment to the Pacific is genuine, while there is also a moral concern for the welfare and livelihoods of people in the region, Mr Manservisi adds.
For these reasons, the EU has reformed its development and aid policies.
“Sustainable goals are at the centre of our new European Consensus on Development and the international community is linked through the objectives of fighting poverty, inequalities and exclusion,” the Director-General explains.
It is not a case of we – the rich, and you – those people in countries needing assistance – but everyone is bound by the agreement, and its aims while enhancing partnerships, creating awareness and making the right choices when it comes to grants/financial assistance, he adds.
The EU aims to use grants in a more effective way, and it wants to use money for aid to leverage off, and generate investment through private sector involvement.
Often small scale markets cause investors to step down due to the lack of profit being made and the high-risk environments; however, with wide-spread commitment from Governments, local communities and the private sector to contribute to sustainable goals, this approach can be set in motion, Mr Manservisi says.
With disparities between rich and poor inevitably increasing in the coming decades, the blending of EU funding and private sector investment to create sustainable projects in nations, and therefore increased employment, incomes and an increase in skills and knowledge, it is the only alternative, he adds.
It is the EU’s aim to become an even better partner to the likes of Australia and NZ, the countries throughout the Pacific – it is here for the long term.
Click HERE for more information on the DG DEVCO.
(Main picture caption: PCF Chair Peter Kiely (left) with Director-General of the DG DEVCO Stefano Manservisi at a reception in Auckland.)