Tuvalu (Photo: UNDP)

Suva, Fiji / Funafuti, Tuvalu
– A virtual high-level dialogue, known as the Annual Programme Review Meeting (APR), was held between the UN Development Programme and the Government of Tuvalu this morning. The two parties gathered to assess the pace and quality of progress made during 2020, as well as to discuss development priorities and the projects currently being implemented.

The online discussion was the first formal strategic dialogue between UNDP and the Government of Tuvalu. Tuvalu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Fisheries and Trade, Hon. Minute Taupo, joined the meeting with senior officials in Funafuti, while H.E. Ambassador Samuela Laloniu, Tuvalu’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Dr Nese Conway, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Works, Infrastructure, Environment, Labour, Meteorology and Disaster Management, participated from New York and California respectively.

At the start of the meeting, Mr. Levan Bouadze, UNDP Resident Representative in Fiji, warmly thanked the Government of Tuvalu for the opportunity to discuss UNDP’s programme, and stated, “I firmly believe that this dialogue will strengthen our partnership. It is an excellent opportunity to assess how we are implementing our joint programmes. The focus areas of our engagement- climate change, governance, and economic growth- are the real agents of sustainable development.  UNDP’s overall objective is the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are embedded in the Government of Tuvalu’s priorities”.

“These are the hardest times, and COVID-19 is more than just a health emergency, it is impacting all aspects of socio-economic development which requires a particular response which need to be figured out jointly. UNDP has a profound commitment to Tuvalu and through these consultations we may be in a better position to find joint approaches and solutions to mounting challenges.” Mr Bouadze assured the Government of Tuvalu.

Virtual Zoom discussion between UNDP and the Government of Tuvalu (Photo: UNDP)
Photo: UNDP

In response, Tuvalu’s Acting Permanent Secretary for Finance, Mr. Niuatui Niuatui, who co-chaired the meeting, stated that the Government of Tuvalu values its partnership with UNDP and appreciates the significant and sustained support that it has provided for the implementation of Tuvalu’s national development plans.

“Our relationship goes back to the early 1980’s. The first Prime Minister of Tuvalu signed the assistance agreement with UNDP on 16/01/1979. UNDP engaged with Tuvalu immediately after independence and has supported our development since,” Mr Niuatui confirmed.

Tuvalu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Fisheries, Hon. Minute Taupo, added that “Tuvalu and UNDP have a very good partnership and are working well together well under the UN umbrella. I hope that we will continue to explore cooperation in fisheries for economic development, particularly in the outer islands.”

Following a brief presentation from UNDP on key 2020 results, the Government of Tuvalu presented its national strategic plan, or “Te Kete”, for 2020-2030, as well as its Infrastructure Investment Plan 2020-2025. These two strategic plans provided a framework for discussions between UNDP and Tuvalu, which focused on projects promoting growth, good governance, and resilient development.

“I commend the Government of Tuvalu for having such a clear vision for sustainability and the prosperity and wellbeing of the Tuvaluan people. Its priorities resonate really well with those of UNDP. UNDP, as a global organization, is capable to connect its rich experience, knowledge and expertise to needs of Tuvalu, such as its recently developed  Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Offer, which focuses on climate action, blue economy and digital transformation,” stated Mr. Bouadze.

Representatives from the Government of Tuvalu agreed that there are many synergies between Tuvalu’s national priorities and UNDP’s knowledge and expertise. Tuvalu’s Deputy Prime Minister also spoke on the importance of growing the green/blue economy in Tuvalu, as well as looking at trade in a way that makes the most of Tuvalu’s comparative advantages to support growth in outer islands.

The Annual Programme Review meeting certainly seemed to meet its objective of strengthening the partnership and setting the stage for continued dialogue. The Annual Programme Review will now be held on an annual basis, with the next APR planned for early 2022. In the meantime, UNDP and Tuvalu are committed to strengthening their partnership and ensuring that it continues to result in tangible benefits for all the people of Tuvalu.  

For media queries, please contact:

Emily Moli, Knowledge Communications Analyst, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. Email; emily.moli@undp.org  or mob: +(679) 722 5301

Setaita Tavanabola, Communications Associate, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. Email: setaita.tavanabola@undp.org or tel: +(679) 3227 523

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