News 4 Jul 2018
New Zealand has set up a new Strategic International Development Fund as it steps up its approach in responding to the emerging needs of Pacific Island Countries.
This is in line with New Zealand’s Pacific Reset – shifting the dial on its relations with Pacific Island Countries.
Foreign Affairs Minister & acting Prime Minister, Winston Peters reiterated the objective of the Pacific Reset policy is change and not a modified status quo.
“We are seeking new approaches, not putting new labels on the same old bottles. This applies with our aid funding,” he said.
“We seek to redefine New Zealand’s influence in the region in several ways. One way is by investing in footprint projects which last for 50 years or longer. And these projects are not in isolation, they are partner projects with our friends be it from Europe, Japan, or Australia.”
Mr Peters said an example of New Zealand’s stepped-up approach is its support for a Kiribati land reclamation project as a response to the existential threat of climate change.
“This week the Government of Kiribati said it is moving ahead with plans for reclaiming and climate proofing 300 hectares of land in Tarawa for housing. It will significantly improve the country’s climate change resilience. The New Zealand government will assist with this project, particularly because of its practical outcome.”
Shifting the dial in the Pacific for such projects require different funding channels than the status quo.
“For this reason, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is establishing a new Strategic International Development Fund. This will allow New Zealand to be flexible and responsive to the emerging needs of our Pacific partners,” said Minister Peters.
He acknowledged that as a small state New Zealand cannot do everything in the Pacific alone – ‘we need partners’.
“We greatly value our partnership with Australia in the Pacific and commend Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s recent comments which emphasised Australia’s special responsibility to support stability, security and prosperity amongst the small island nations in the North Pacific and South Pacific. We also acknowledge the United Kingdom’s decision to open three new diplomatic posts in the Pacific.
“Strengthening our cooperation with other partners in support of stability and sustainable development in the Pacific was a central theme of our engagements in recent visits undertaken to Brussels, London, Noumea, Tokyo, and Beijing.”
Source: Vanuatu Independent