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Fiji Time: 3:47 PM on Friday 19 September

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Aid to be based on needs

Mary Rauto
Saturday, September 22, 2012

FIJI is disadvantaged by the Korean and Pacific Islands Forum Co-operation Fund managed by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).

Speaking at the first Korea-Pacific senior officials meeting in Seoul, Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Saipora Mataikabara said Fiji would be disadvantaged because of the Fiji-PIF situation.

She said it would be proper for the co-operation to have some flexibility and to consider other modalities that would be appropriate for Fiji's case.

Also, she called for a review of the progress of agreements made at the Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers' meeting last year, a statement said.

Ms Mataikabara stressed in the statement that overseas development assistance would only reach people at the grassroots level if it was aligned to the recipient country's national priority goals.

She said for aid to be effective, it must be needs-based and aligned to national interest and priorities.

"Our preference would be bilateral but if regional mechanisms are to be used as vehicle to deliver aid, then we encourage Korea to look beyond the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to other equally important agencies and forums like the recently-endorsed Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and at sub-regional level, the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) and others," she said.

"The Fiji government greatly values the continuous commitment by the Korean government to engage Pacific Island countries in discussing ways to expand co-operation in the areas of development, climate change and environmental issues.

"The effort to expand trade and investments to include fisheries, marine resources, energy and tourism, is greatly appreciated."

Ms Mataikabara also updated the meeting on Fiji's progress on the agreements made at the Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers' meeting and emphasised Fiji's stand and preference on the modality to be used for ODA, in particular, the Korea-PIF Co-operation Fund.

The next round of the senior officials meeting will be conducted next year to further discuss issues that would be tabled at the next Korea-Pacific Foreign Ministers' meeting the following year.


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