Nadi, Fiji - A regional meeting started in Nadi today to examine the extent to which aid has improved development results for Pacific Island people and how these results can be further enhanced.

The Pacific Regional Workshop on Aid Effectiveness, organized jointly by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is attended by representatives of Pacific Island governments, donor agencies, CROP and United Nations (UN) agencies.

The meeting aims to discuss the progress made on the implementation of the Pacific Principles on Aid Effectiveness as well as to facilitate discussions around the preparations and issues for the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness which will be held in Ghana in September this year. The Pacific Principles on Aid Effectiveness are derived from the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and are designed to fit the Pacific context. The Paris Principles, agreed to by countries and development partners in 2005, focus on five major areas: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, managing for results and mutual accountability.

In his opening statement, the UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator, Richard Dictus said the United Nations system has been mandated by the UN General Assembly resolution 62/208 issued in December 2007 to support capacity building and capacity development of developing countries, and upon their request to effectively co-ordinate and evaluate the impact of external development assistance in line with national development plans and priorities.

“This resolution stresses that national governments have the primary responsibility for their countries’ development and for coordinating all types of external assistance on the basis of national strategies and priorities. This includes assistance provided by multilateral organizations, in order to effectively integrate such assistance into the development processes of partner countries.”

Mr Dictus said that the UN system in the Pacific has taken on the aid effectiveness issue with great energy through the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) process.

“The UN system in the Pacific has a major role to play on three fronts in aid effectiveness: development results, monitoring aid effectiveness and capacity development for aid management,” said Mr Dictus.

“We would like to make a concerted effort to support countries in raising the effectiveness of their expenditure, through supporting fact based policy making, planning and costing.”

PIFS Deputy Secretary General Feleti Teo also highlighted the importance of this workshop and emphasized that this would serve as an opportunity for Pacific Island Countries to ensure a Pacific specific focus at the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. This will be discussed in detail during a dedicated session tomorrow.

The outcomes of discussions at the workshop would be presented to the meeting between Pacific Island countries and development partners scheduled for Tuesday April 8 that the PIFS is organizing.

The Pacific Regional Workshop on Aid Effectiveness also provides a forum for exchanging lessons learnt on aid effectiveness from different Pacific Island countries. The workshop continues tomorrow morning and finishes on Monday.

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