Hub, spokes program critical to Pacific economies

THE hub and spokes program has made an important contribution by assisting several Pacific Islands countries develop their first trade policy framework and by facilitating continuous on-the-job training in Pacific trade administrations, says Christoph Wagner, head of cooperation at the EU Delegation for the Pacific.

Mr Wagner made the comment at the end of a three-day regional planning workshop recently with appreciation of the programs tangible impacts on the ground.

Pacific development partners and beneficiaries of the hub and spokes program, an aid-for-trade initiative, developed a new framework that is likely to guide the implementation and management of a successor program.

A statement from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat said the proposed framework aimed to support sustainable and inclusive development through technical assistance and capacity building in international trade.

It said the hub and spokes program was a multi-donor aid-for-trade initiative of the European Union, the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific states) Group Secretariat, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF); its current phase ends in August this year (2018).

The workshop was jointly organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Forum Secretariat; the program across the ACP Group is supported by the European Union.

“Over the years, the program made an important contribution by assisting several Pacific Islands countries develop their first trade policy framework and by facilitating continuous on-the-job training in Pacific trade administrations,” said Mr Wagner.

‘The regional planning meeting was effective in identifying the strengths of this unique trade related technical assistance program that has benefited many Pacific Islands Countries,” Stephen Fevrier, the Regional Trade Policy adviser (Hub) based at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, said.

“Beyond identified strengths, the meeting explored how a successor program can best respond to new and emerging needs, in line with needs of beneficiaries and against the backdrop of a changing global trade environment.”