New revised members’ contribution to the Forum give members 51 percent ownership by 2021

PIFS Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor. Picture: RNZ

YAREN,07 SEPTEMBER 2018 (PACNEWS) – In its efforts to promote greater ownership of the Pacific Islands Forum, Leaders this week agreed to increase the proportion of their contributions to be 60 percent of the primary budget.

This will mean that by 2021, Pacific members will fork out 51 percent of the cost of operating the Suva-based Secretariat by 2021.

Addressing journalists at the final press conference at the end of the 49th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Nauru Wednesday, Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor said the proposal, to kick-start in 2019, is an attempt to promote greater ownership and equity amongst members.

“The end result is this – 51 percent of the primary budget will be contributed by forum island countries and that is tremendous achievement from what it was before.

“We are always criticised that Australia and NZ own us. If members want to own the programme and the policies that your institution have, then this is it. The leaders have committed that they over time – from 2019 start paying the extra amount.

“You see the percentage for the smaller island states is small but some of the bigger countries will carry a substantial amount and this will be reviewed in 2021, said Dame Meg.

She said the proposed fee structure is less than what some members are paying to other international organisations.

“If you compare the fees for other organisations that our members pay for example they pay 75,000 British pounds to the Commonwealth, we don’t come anywhere near that.

Forum Leaders in their decision agreed to increase members’ contribution through progressive, pre-determined incremental adjustment over a period of nine years, starting next year.

There will be regular three yearly review beginning in 2021 of the level of the assessed contributions from members and voluntary contributions.

According to the revised scale of contributions to the budget made available to the Leaders, by 2021 both Australia and New Zealand will contribute 49 percent of the Forum Secretariat’s primary budget, leaving 51 percent for island member countries. Australia and New Zealand will reduce their share of the budget from just over 70 percent to 49 percent.

Papua New Guinea’s share of the budget will double from 5.29 percent this year to 10.66 percent in 2021 to be followed by New Caledonia and French Polynesia with almost 10 percent of the Forum primary budget from 2021.

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