The European Union (EU) and the Pacific Community (SPC) have launched three new projects that will help address the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, whilst supporting longer-term economic recovery and health benefits for the Pacific region.
The EUR 1.5 million Pacific Regional Integrated Food and Nutrition Security Initiative to COVID-19 (PRISCO19) will provide immediate support for food and nutritional security across 12 Pacific Island countries, while the Safe and Sustainable Drinking Water for Kiritimati Island (EUR 6.2 million) will improve access to clean and safe drinking water in the Republic of Kiribati and the Sustainable Energy and Accompanying Measures (SEAM) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (SEAM – REEE) (EUR 11.6 million) will improve access to sustainable energy security for the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
This announcement outlines the significant partnership and commitment between the EU, Pacific countries and SPC to deliver genuine, meaningful and impactful development solutions for the lives and livelihoods of Pacific people.
The EU Ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E Sujiro Seam said, ‘‘The projects launched send 4 important messages for the Pacific. First, the EU is present in the whole region, from the North to the South Pacific. Second, ‘Team Europe’ response to COVID-19 addresses the socio-economic impact of the crisis, with this focus on food and nutrition security. Third, it also deals with the health impact of the crisis, with an emphasis on water, sanitation and hygiene in Kiribati. Fourth, despite the COVID-19 crisis, the EU continues to pursue the European Green Deal as its top priority, as the project on sustainable energy in FSM shows.”
Senior government officials from the Republic of Kiribati and the Federated States of Micronesia who were present during the grant signing ceremony welcomed the partnerships noting the significant contribution this work will have for their countries and communities.
Kiribati High Commissioner to Fiji, H.E. David Teaabo said, “It is a great achievement that our country is still COVID free, however we remain to be diligent in how we prepare and respond to COVID-19 should it ever reaches our shores. Food security and access to clean, safe drinking water are both critical in responding to the impact and risk of COVID-19 whilst also being instrumental development actions for our people into the future. The outcomes of this work will support some of our most remote communities and we commend both the EU and SPC for their partnership commitment to support the people of Kiribati.”
Embassy of the Federated States of Micronesia Chargé d’Affaires, Mr Wilson Waguk today signed EUR 11.6 million agreement that will significantly reduce FSM’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation across the country and support the transition to renewable power options into the future. He said the commitment to increasing access to energy for its four states including boosting private investment in the sector is a significant step for the FSM.
“This work will boost access to electricity and reduce the reliance we have to fossil fuels and generators for power supply. Currently 42% of our total emissions in FSM comes from the generation of electricity. This project will contribute to the implementation of the FSM Energy Master Plan which holistically with other national projects and interventions will reduce the emission from the electricity sector to 21,000 tonnes per annum. This is about 65% below the electricity sector’s total emissions in 2000," said Waguk.
SPC’s Deputy-Director General Dr Audrey Aumua commended the European Union’s commitment to the Pacific during the unprecedented global crisis and outlined the significant outcomes that can be achieved through Pacific-owned and Pacific-led partnerships such as these.
“Further deepens our strong partnership with the European Union and shows its commitment to the people of the Pacific, even as we face the challenges posed by the devastating impacts of COVID-19. This ongoing and deepening partnership is heart-warming and in the true spirit of Pacific resilience. Its outcomes will help change the lives and livelihoods of many Pacific people whilst supporting longer-term economic recovery and growth for our Members as we continue to realise the full impact COVID-19 will bare on our countries, economies and communities. Thank you for your true partnership and meaningful commitment to effective and immediate development actions,” she said.
The launch and partnership signings will allow the projects to move into implementation which will be delivered by SPC in partnership with Pacific Island countries and the EU. SPC’s strong Pacific-led team is ensuring immediate delivery of critical work is still possible despite travel restrictions currently in place globally and across the Pacific Region.